President/CEO: Christy E. Noe, Ph.D.
Educational leader and innovator, Dr. Christy Noe, served in leadership positions in Florida and North Carolina prior to founding Collaborative Educational Network in 2005. She has been involved in the charter school movement since 1997 when she became principal of the first charter school in Collier County, Florida, one of only 33 charters in the state at that time. The following year she was recruited to serve as principal of Exploris Charter Middle School in Raleigh, NC, which opened in partnership with the former Exploris Museum. Christy was recruited back to Florida to run the Florida Charter School Resource Center, founded to provide Exceptional Student Education (ESE) training and technical assistance to charter schools across the state.
A pioneer in the charter school movement, Christy is a nationally known expert in the areas of governance, exceptional student education, curriculum and instructional strategies, operations, and federal and state legislation. She worked closely with the Florida Legislature in the development of laws related to charter schools, and was a member of the team that developed the first statewide charter accountability report with the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. During her tenure as Executive Director of the Florida Charter School Resource Center the state experienced a rapid increase in the number of charter schools, expanding from 182 in 2002 to 334 in 2005. The first Florida Charter School Sponsors Intensive Seminar was held under her leadership in collaboration with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and the Broad Education Foundation.
Christy's expertise also extends into the realm of Exceptional Student Education. For a decade, she served as the Project Manager for the Portal to Exceptional Education Resources (PEER), Florida's statewide electronic IEP system. In this position, Christy actively collaborated with Florida school districts to develop IDEA compliant content that also complied with Florida statutes. Through PEER, Christy provided training to over 48 school district ESE staff. She also conducted large scale ESE evaluations in Orange County and Broward County, Florida, as well as in Virginia Beach and New Hampshire. Christy was also responsible for developing and delivering training to all Polk County staff, as a part of their corrective action plan with the Office of Civil Rights.
Executive Vice President: Kim Cavanah, Ph.D.
Dr. Kim Cavanah joined Collaborative Educational Network in 2011. Prior to her work with Collaborative, Kim served as a Program Director in the FLDOE Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services. She was responsible for compliance monitoring of school districts; conducting complaint investigations regarding alleged violations of the Individual
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by school districts; oversight of IDEA due process hearings; and providing training and technical assistance to other state agencies and offices as well as school districts and families.
Kim has worked closely with FLDOE’s Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice, providing expertise and technical assistance regarding the roles and responsibilities of charter schools and school districts regarding services to students with disabilities and other special populations; virtual schools; the McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities; and services for parentally placed private school students.
In addition to exceptional student education, Kim’s areas of expertise include curriculum and instruction; assessment; positive behavioral supports; and the implementation of a school-wide multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) that utilizes data-based problem solving to accelerate student achievement and performance.
Senior Consultant: Lindsey Granger
Lindsey Granger joined Collaborative Educational Network in 2016. Prior to joining the Collaborative team, Lindsey was Assistant Director of Exceptional Education and Student Services for a large school district in Florida. In this capacity, she supervised compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and she provided ongoing technical assistance and support to district and school-based administrators, parents, attorneys, advocates, and other stakeholders. She managed student-centered local resolution activities that limited the need for formal litigation proceedings, and oversaw charter school compliance with federal, state, and local special education requirements. Lindsey has been assigned by the DOE to serve as a neutral facilitator in IEP meetings throughout Florida. She has also been trained to facilitate state-sponsored mediation for special education cases in Florida.
Lindsey’s prior experience includes positions in the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services. First as a Program Specialist and then as Program Director, she supported the special education dispute resolution, compliance, and monitoring unit. While providing oversight for IDEA compliance activities at the state level, she also worked closely with other departments, including the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice. Lindsey’s areas of expertise include the implementation of general education interventions and positive behavioral supports for all students within a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). She is a skilled problem solver and facilitator, guiding teams through challenging circumstances and helping them communicate with focus and purpose to find common ground and resolution.
Lindsey has a Master’s degree in Behavior and Learning Disabilities from Georgia State University. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Psychology from Charleston Southern University. Her career has included special education and general education teaching positions in Georgia and Florida as well as educational leadership roles at the state and district level.
Consultant: Maria Parzych Sokol
Maria Parzych Sokol is an education consultant with over 20 years of experience. Four years after graduating from Boston College, while she was teaching in District of Columbia Public Schools, Maria earned a full scholarship from the United States Department of Education to attend a graduate program at the George Washington University. Maria received her M.Ed. in Special Education and joined the staff at the Children’s Health Council School in Palo Alto, CA. She was later recruited to design, open and operate Oak Canyon School, a small, private middle school for boys in Palo Alto.
Maria attended Harvard University’s Administration, Planning and Social Policy program, where she earned a M.Ed. (2004). She then became an Associate for School Improvement at the New York State Education Department, where she served as the primary liaison for Manhattan-based charter schools and was an active member of the statewide accountability team. In this role, she drafted state regulations; provided oversight of charter schools; reviewed charter school proposals; and made data-based recommendations for approval and renewal to the Board of Regents. After 7 years in this role, Maria became an independent education consultant.
Most recently, Maria has supported teams in developing successful charter school proposals (NY, TN, OK, CO); prepared renewal application materials; drafted revocation appeal memorandums; and collaborated with state education departments (LA, MN, and OH) to draft evidence-based recommendations consistent with national quality standards established by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Maria remains dedicated to upholding high-quality standards ensuring that all students benefit fully from the public education system.
Colonel Noe has worked in the field of education for 45 years. He served 24 years in the Air Force, where he was a command pilot with over 6,000 flying hours. He instructed airmen in the piloting of the T-38 aircraft, the T-39 aircraft and the C-141 aircraft. After retiring from the Air Force, he established the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Newnan High School in Georgia. After teaching JROTC for 12 years, he served 11 years as the guidance counselor at Newnan High, until his retirement in 2016.
Colonel Noe has a Batchelor’s degree in Aviation Management from AuburnUniversity and a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from Rider University.
Writer: Kendra Lee
Kendra Lee is a published freelance writer and consultant. She worked at the Florida Department of Education, where she co-authored the Federal School Choice Grant and edited the Federal Charter Schools Grant. She went from the Florida Department of Education to the Florida Charter School Resource Center, where she managed their communication efforts. Several years later, she found herself working as an Adjunct Instructor in the First Year Composition Program (FYC) at the University of South Florida (USF). She taught FYC classes, trained incoming Graduate Assistants, and co-edited the textbook for the FYC program. Kendra believes that products, ideas, people all have stories that need to be told. It’s her job to tell those stories.