Purdue Global Leadership
Sara Sander began her career with Purdue Global (formerly Kaplan University) in 1997. She has served in a variety of positions including professor of communications and languages and program coordinator for the School of Arts and Sciences, now known as the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her experience includes over 15 years of teaching adult learners, with a focus in the last 10 years in online education and administration.
Education: PhD, Capella University; MA and BA, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
Research Interests: Emotional intelligence, faculty performance and behaviors, communication in the online classroomSara Sander Link
For many years, Lynn Massenzio's focus has been administrative, including strategic planning, accreditation, state approvals, and new program development. She previously served the University as an adjunct faculty member and assistant dean of faculty. Prior to entering the education field, Massenzio built on her experience as a former college athlete to start a small business as a fitness consultant and personal trainer. She earned her teaching certification through an alternative certification route at Oglethorpe University. After teaching high school science, she transitioned to higher education where she was a clinical instructor at Georgia State University and an assistant professor at LaGrange College. Both institutions, as well as Purdue Global, have enabled her to work with career changers entering the field of education through both traditional and alternative routes to certification.
Education: PhD, Georgia State University; MS, Georgia Institute of Technology; BA, Rutgers UniversityLynn Massenzio Link
Tessa Holst currently serves as the assistant dean of students within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences where she oversees and generates initiatives to develop student engagement and improve student retention. She is also responsible for problem identification and resolution for second-level student complaints and conflicts. Prior to her current role, Holst served as the graduation director and event planner within the Provost Office. She was responsible for bi-annual graduation event ceremonies, celebrations, and faculty retreats. She has worked in higher education for over 25 years and recently completed her second term as school board member for her local school district, having served for 4 years as president.
Education: MS, Kaplan University (now Purdue University Global)
Honors and Achievements: 2017 Social and Behavioral Sciences Outstanding Non-Academic Support Team Award (Kaplan University), 2005 Hero Award (Kaplan University), 2003 Extra Mile Award (Kaplan Higher Education)Tessa Holst Link
Betsy Tomei oversees the scheduling team responsible for the College of Social Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, and Concord Law School and manages the Universal Scheduling process for campus and online programs. She has also served as adjunct instructor, assistant chair of the Department of Professional Studies, and scheduling manager. Tomei has been in the field of education both as an educator and administrator since 1995. She started her career with Johnson & Wales University as a financial planning counselor and financial aid officer. Tomei later joined the Chicago Public School Department, where she served as a teacher and technology coordinator, and returned to higher education when she joined Purdue Global.
Education: MBA, Johnson & Wales University; MA, Saint Xavier UniversityBetsy Tomei Link
Dena AuCoin began at the University as an adjunct faculty member, moving to the assistant academic chair and the academic chair. She previously taught various undergraduate courses in early childhood with an emphasis in special education. Currently, she oversees numerous innovations in curriculum, oversees three departments, and participates in ongoing review of data to implement changes at course, department, and university levels. Before joining Purdue Global, AuCoin was an educator in early childhood, elementary, and special education for 15 years. She started her academic career at Grand Canyon University in 2009.
Education: EdD, Northcentral University
Publications: Chapter for a Montessori administration textbook
Research Interests: Early transition language and self-determination for students with disabilities, Montessori collaboration in special education, autism social skills, response to intervention in early childhood, support for students with disabilities in the Montessori classroom, how to make student collaboration more effective in the online environmentDena AuCoin Link
Purdue Global Full-Time Faculty and Full-Time Adjuncts
Jeffrey Bailie is a full-time faculty member with the School of Education. His areas of specialization include web-based instructional design, evaluation and assessment, and online faculty training, mentoring, and supervision. He serves as the lead faculty member for the Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology. Bailie has taught in a variety of learning environments, from middle school through doctoral level, on-ground and online, domestic and international. Over the past two decades, he has taught hundreds of online courses through a variety of institutions. Fulfilling his dedication to service, Dr. Bailie serves as a consultant evaluator for The Higher Learning Commission. He also serves on the University’s Institutional Research Board.
Education: EdD, Instructional Technology and Distance Education; MEd, Curriculum and Instruction; BSEd, Secondary Education
Publications: Published in the areas of validation of online instructional competencies, the effect of instructional immediacy and engagement on online student motivation and persistence, and the influence of learner expectations in the online environment; peer reviewer for a variety of professional journals
Honors and Achievements: 2017 Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award (Kaplan University), 2014 Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member Award (Kaplan University)Jeffrey Bailie Link
A full-time faculty member in the School of Education, Kelvin Beckett currently teaches graduate theory and research courses. He is also course lead for the history and philosophy of education course, and serves on several University committees. Prior to joining Purdue Global, he taught at the University of British Columbia and the University of Cincinnati. Beckett has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals. His areas of expertise include philosophy of education and urban education. He also presents each year at University symposiums and at an external conference, based on continuing research in the area of online teaching and learning.
Education: PhD, University of London; MA, University of British Columbia
Honors and Achievements: 2016 College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Outstanding Professor Award (Kaplan University), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral FellowshipKelvin Beckett Link
Rhonda Figueroa is an early childhood adjunct professor, teaching a myriad of undergraduate courses for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In addition, she is a portfolio/course evaluator, a course lead, and an education facilitator for the Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney's Community Services Program. Figueroa’s professional experience includes teaching emotionally challenged/learning-disabled students in the public school system, serving as school principal for a Long Island UPK program, as well as owning a large Montessori Day School and EC Center. Her NYS credentials include permanent/dual certification in General Education (EC–Grade 6) and Special Education (birth–21 years). Additionally, she is certified to teach gifted and talented students, is a licensed Public School Principal, a licensed Mental Health Practitioner, and a Creative Arts Therapist (L-CAT). Figueroa is fully Montessori trained.
Education: MS, Adelphi University; BS, Dowling College; Graduate Certificate in Addictions (in progress), Purdue University GlobalRhonda Figueroa Link
Misty LaCour has been an educator to every grade level from kindergarten through graduate school. At Purdue Global, she teaches various graduate courses in the School of Education and is also a course lead. In addition, she assists in accreditation efforts and the administration of the assessment management system, and serves as chair of the School of Education Assessment Committee. LaCour began her academic career as a K-6 teacher before moving to higher education where she held various positions including department chair of teacher education. LaCour maintains recency of experience by regularly substitute teaching in K-12 classrooms. Her research has been cited for her expertise in providing literacy best practices as well as meeting the needs of at-risk, diverse learners. Other leadership positions include the executive director of the Arkansas Association of Teacher Educators, member of the Audit Team for NAEYC Higher Education for CAEP Accreditation, and editor of the ArATE Electronic Journal.
Education: EdD, Liberty University
Honors and Achievements: ASCD National Emerging Leader Award, additional teaching, research, and service honorsMisty LaCour Link
Carol Laman is a full-time adjunct instructor and teaches a variety of early childhood education courses including early childhood development, child nutrition, and current issues in administration. She has experience as a director of an early childhood facility, teaching in the early childhood and elementary school age environment as well as working with children and young adults with autism. Laman holds teaching certification in the state of Texas for general edcuation as well as special education.
Education: MA, Kaplan University (now Purdue University Global); MS, University of North DakotaCarol Laman Link
Carolyn McKeon has been teaching in higher education for 11 years, at Purdue University Global she teaches Early Childhood Education classes and has been with Purdue University Global since 2007. McKeon has presented professional for KU Village as well as other educational organizations. She has also been a subject matter expert and written several courses for two different colleges. McKeon founded and ran a small, non-public school in Pennsylvania in 2009.
McKeon has served on the faculty senate and been a course lead. She is a course life-long learning course evaluator and faculty advisor. She also holds two Master's degrees, two Bachelor's degrees, and is finishing her sixth degree in Criminology.
Education: PhD in K-12 Teaching and Learning, Capella University
Publications: "The 6 R’s of a Positive Facilitator" in the Journal of eLearning and Online Teaching.
Research Interests: Alternative education with a strong emphasis in autodidactic learningCarolyn McKeon Link
Julia Nyberg currently teaches various graduate courses in the Master of Arts in Teaching program, with a special emphasis on diversity, differentiation, and curriculum design. She collaborates on many projects associated with the curriculum, including lesson plan design, clinical practice, and key assessment analysis. Nyberg is the chair of the School of Education Diversity Committee, member of the Assessment Committee, member of the Faculty Curriculum Committee, and has served on the Faculty Senate. She is board member for the California Association for the Gifted. Nyberg was a K-6 classroom teacher and professional development expert before entering higher education. She frequently speaks at conferences and provides demonstration lessons for school districts related to her expertise on curriculum design and differentiated instruction for gifted and high-ability students.
Education: EdD, University of Southern California
Honors and Achievements: Outstanding New Faculty and Curriculum Revision Awards (Kaplan University), additional teaching, research, and service honors
Research Interests: How differentiated instructional practices for gifted and high-ability students are responsive to Common Core, NGSS, and the History-Social Science FrameworkJulia Nyberg Link
Lisa Wright has worked at Purdue Global (formerly Kaplan University) for 10 years, where she is a professor in early childhood and teaches a wide variety of undergraduate courses in early childhood, with a special emphasis on assessment and autism spectrum disorders. She has designed and revised curriculum in numerous early childhood courses. She began her academic career in the physical therapy department at the University of Missouri, where she was a full-time clinical assistant professor. Wright has experience working in early intervention, rehabilitation hospitals, public schools, and the home environment. She is a licensed physical therapist and volunteer Guardian Ad Litem for the state of Florida, and is certified to teach K-12 children with exceptionalities.
Education: PhD, University of Missouri; MA, University of Missouri; BS, University of Missouri; Post-Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis, Kaplan University (now Purdue University Global)
Publications: Research on interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders; reviews several professional organizations and journals
Honors and Achievements: Regular international conference presentationsLisa Wright Link