Founder and Innovator
Texas-born lifelong educator, Ervin Knezek, Ed.D., is Founder, Innovator, and Teacher at lead4ward. Ervin works with educators at all levels in designing and implementing learning systems to meet ever-increasing standards for students.
Chief Financial Officer
Kim Lehman provides financial, operational, and strategic direction for lead4ward. Kim has guided lead4ward from its infancy to become an integral partner in Texas education. She leads with an eye on service and a vision for improving educational outcomes.
Chief Operations Officer
Drawing from experience in education and business, Clee Upchurch, M.Ed., has worked at the intersection of education and innovation for over twenty years. Clee provides direction in communication, partnerships, service offerings, product development, operations, and general strategy for lead4ward. Read more–>
John Fessenden is an experienced education consultant who works with school districts, campuses, and regional educational service centers in the areas of assessment, accountability, and data analysis. Read more–>
Stephanie Camarillo-Zelenak, Ed.D., is an experienced educational consultant who works with campuses, districts, and regional education service centers in the areas of designing and implementing teaching and learning systems, and much more. Read more–>
With over 20 years of service in education, Wade Labay, Ed.D., brings a unique set of skills and experiences to the lead4ward team, serving districts in the areas of leadership and data visualization/analysis. Read more–>
Bringing years of district leadership experience, Justin Richardson, Ed.D., is passionate about engaging, challenging, and supporting educators to create something new and amazing! He believes our purpose as educators is to bring out the greatness in others. Read more–>
Nancy is an experienced educational consultant who works with state agencies, education service centers, and school districts in developing and implementing teaching and learning systems.
Abby Rutland is an education consultant and lifelong math enthusiast. Her first career was in social work, teaching social and emotional skills to kids in school.
Kim is passionate about supporting math educators. With over 20 years of experience, Kim equips interventionists, teachers, and specialists to implement best practices, plan intentional and aligned lessons, understand their data, and develop differentiated plans of support.
Social Studies enthusiast, Jodi Denton, M.Ed., serves as one of lead4ward’s content leaders. Utilizing the experiences of her 20 years of service in education, Jodi empowers teachers, support teams and administrators to meet the increasingly complex requirements. Read more–>
Jennie Ramsey is a Science consultant who focuses on connecting content with high-impact instructional experiences in the classroom. A lifelong fan of the sciences, Jennie’s first career was as a Registered Nurse. Read more–>
Reading Language Arts
Lakisha Ball, Ed.S., is an experienced educational consultant who works with local education agencies and service centers in the areas of curriculum development, instruction, and reading language arts. Read more–>
Reading Language Arts
Celina Meraz, Ph.D., has a passion for bilingual education and specializes in implementing research-based strategies that provide extensive language experience for all bilingual students, starting from the earliest stages of second language development.
Kathy Clapsaddle has been a champion of special educators for over 20 years. She has used her passion and experience serving pre-service educators and district professionals as the slightly nerdy, yet enthusiastic, special education voice at lead4ward since 2016. Read more–>
Debbie Boyer is wholeheartedly passionate about people, learning, innovation, and life. She is an encourager, supporter, and champion of educators who loves helping teachers grow and flourish. Read more–>
Leadership & Accountability
LeAnn supports school districts, campuses and regional education service centers in the areas of assessment, accountability and data analysis. Read more–>
Shelby Ellis, M.Ed., is an experienced educational consultant focusing on curriculum alignment, high-yield instructional strategies, and leadership. She is a champion for education. Read more–>
Brad Gibson, M.Ed., has spent his life and professional career empowering and equipping others for success. Brad is regarded as an accomplished and engaging presenter with a knack for bringing clarity to complex processes. Read more–>
As a leadership consultant and coach, Diane Potter works with campus leaders to enhance their confidence through increased competence in their work. She also provides individually tailored leadership coaching. Read more–>
Sophia Acevedo is the 2021 Texas recipient of the U.S. Department of Education’s Terrell Bell award. As principal, Sophia led her school to several TEA distinctions, including being named a National Blue-Ribbon campus. Read more–>
Jennifer manages lead4ward’s registration and accounts receivable, including invoicing and collections. Her multifaceted background enriches her work and contribution to education as a whole.
Professional Development Scheduling
Marie works diligently with clients to obtain the training best suited for their needs. Professionalism, attention to detail, and, sometimes, creativity come into play when managing the schedule. Read more–>
Contracts & RFPs
Mary manages contracts, RFPs, and invoicing. She works with clients and procurement departments to make sure all paperwork is in place prior to professional development or consulting services.
Human Resources & Administration
Sharon manages benefits, payroll, and other business office responsibilities for lead4ward. Sharon brings over 25 years of experience.
Graphic and Web Design
Lori brings over 25 years of design, web development, and client service experience to lead4ward. Working primarily in the education field, Lori feels passionately about supporting what is best for students.
Jayme Alexander has served special populations as a teacher and consultant for over 15 years. In her current role as the event guru at lead4ward, she is devoted to creating space for educators to learn, take risks, and innovate.
Resources and Special Projects
Sandy manages our free resources. Believing that “more” does not necessarily mean “better,” she is driven to synthesize and distill what is essential to create tools for teachers and leaders that are clear, useful, and up-to-date.
D’Ann brings over 20 years of educational support experience to lead4ward. She works in client services and strives to provide a exceptional customer service experience for every client.
Alex’s passions are finding creative ways to solve problems through technology and supporting educators in their quest to improve every student’s learning. Alex creates solutions for the schools we serve and lead4ward.
An avid organizer, Matt Morgan brings his passion for building efficiency and problem-solving to lead4ward. Matt supports our team with technical assistance, website maintenance, and database management.