The following are members of the Positivity in Education Advisory Council

Andy DuRoss - Superintendent Schaumburg School District 54

Andy DuRoss has been the superintendent of School District 54 since 2013. Previously he served as the assistant superintendent of human resources, the principal of Frost Junior High School in Schaumburg and the assistant principal at Addams Junior High School in Schaumburg.

DuRoss also worked as a teacher at Westmont Senior High School and an assistant principal at Westmont Junior High School before coming to District 54. He has a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University in Ohio, and master’s degrees from DePaul and Northern Illinois University. DuRoss resides in Naperville with his wife and two children.

During his tenure as superintendent, District 54 has focused on early intervention with the building of an Early Learning Center in 2014 and the implementation of free, full-day kindergarten at all of our elementary schools in 2015.

We also continue to focus on collaborative learning through Professional Learning Communities. PLCs operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous, job-embedded learning for educators. Our staff includes 1,288 certified teachers and other personnel who support the teachers, including mentors; instructional coaches in literacy, math, bilingual and technology; gifted instruction teachers; bilingual resource teachers and special education teachers at each school site. All of our resource teachers not only support the classroom teachers, but work directly with students during daily math and literacy acceleration blocks in every school.

With these supports, student achievement continues to grow. District 54 is in the top 5 percent of all districts in Illinois, based on the PARCC assessment and the percentage of students who meet and exceed in both math and reading are nearly double the state average. 

We are able to provide our students with these supports due to our fiscal stability and responsibility. District 54 has had a balanced operating budget for more than 20 years and has been debt free since 2011. District 54 has earned a rating of Aaa, the highest, most prestigious rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

District 54 is the largest elementary school district in Illinois. We serve about 14,500 students from birth through eighth grade in our early learning center, five junior high schools, 21 elementary schools and one school with children from kindergarten through eighth grade.

We serve almost 15,000 students. Of those students, 22 percent are from low-income families, and 14 percent are English Learners from families that speak more than 80 different languages. In addition, more than 10 percent of our students receive special education services.

We believe that every child has the ability to learn, regardless of whether a student was born here or emigrated from another country; is gifted or has a special need; has wealthy parents or receives government subsidies for food. We are a diverse school community (only 41% of our student population is white). We embrace that diversity and teach the students to do the same.

All District 54 schools practice PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports). Teaching social behaviors creates a positive school climate and supports social-emotional learning and our focus on meeting the needs of the whole child. 

Dr Lisa A. Hagel - Superintendent of Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD)

Dr. Lisa A. Hagel was unanimously appointed as Superintendent of Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) by its Board of Education and assumed those duties on September 1, 2010. Dr. Hagel began her near 30 year career in education as an elementary school teacher and coach. Throughout her career, she has held numerous educational leadership positions including Elementary School Principal, High School Principal, Curriculum Director, and a local district Superintendent.

Dr. Hagel has earned multiple degrees from Central Michigan University, University of Michigan, and Eastern Michigan University. She earned her Doctorate degree from Walden University.

Lisa Hagel has achieved numerous professional credentials. In her previous post as Superintendent of Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools, the district received the Visionary Leadership Award from the Michigan Association of School Boards. This prestigious award recognizes district leadership teams for their effective governance and success at improving student achievement. Dr. Hagel also participated as a member of the Michigan Association of School Administrators Courageous Journey Leadership Certification Program. This professional development series is an intensive experience that applies transformational leadership processes in school settings in order to provide school leaders an opportunity to receive state endorsement while distinguishing themselves in the role of superintendent. 

As a member of the Genesee County Superintendents Association, Lisa Hagel has held the position of President, and has chaired all of the superintendent committees. She has also served as Chair of the GenNET Governing Board, a consortium of all 21 public school districts and GISD that provides state of the art voice, video and data resources for all member districts. Currently, Dr. Hagel is serving on and chairing numerous boards such as Greater Flint Health Coalition, the Priority Children Board of Directors, Genesee County Education Foundation Board, Genesee Career Institute Advisory Board, Mott Middle College Advisory Board, Genesee Early College Advisory Board, Greater Flint Education Consortium, and Genesys Healthcare System. Finally, Lisa is the President of the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Districts Board of Directors, and is the Chair of the MISEN, the Michigan State Education Network, working to construct a fiber optic network that connects all Michigan ISDs and districts.

Dr. Hagel also received the Justus Prentice Award for being named National ISD Superintendent of the Year.

Through these leadership positions, Dr. Hagel has been deeply involved in the changing landscape of education in response to federal and state policy changes. She has also served as chair of numerous North Central Association accreditation teams helping districts move forward in meeting the needs of children and families. In 2015, Dr. Hagel was inducted in the Greater Flint Area Women’s Hall of Fame.

Dr. Hagel also volunteers in many community organizations such as: Special Olympics Board of Directors, Big Brothers / Big Sisters, Toys for Tots, and has coached several athletic teams. Lisa has run in seven marathons and enjoys reading, gardening, golf and watching her children participate in athletic and other events.

Lisa and her husband, John, have four adult children who add sheer joy to their lives. 

Aaron Sandoff - Superintendent for the District of North Fond du Lac

I was born in 1971 in Fond du Lac, WI and I served in the US Army as a cavalry scout after graduating high school in 1990. I have earned degrees from UW-Madison and Marian University. In the fall of 1997 I began my career in education as a social studies teacher (psychology and history) in Manitowoc, WI. I taught for the next 9 years in Manitowoc and Fond du Lac, WI, mostly at the high school level, my passion and specialty became helping students learn about psychology. In 2006 I was selected to be middle school principal at Bessie Allen in the School District of North Fond du Lac, where I served for 3 years until becoming the cct, which I have served in for the past 8 years.

I have presented at national, state and local conferences on a variety topics including technology utilization, political advocacy and happiness. I have served in leadership positions in professional groups, non-profit boards and currently am member of the Governing Board for AASA (national superintendent’s organization). I have testified in front of our state legislature twice on educational issue related to Common Core State Standards and budget needs and enjoy advocating for public education and the power of happiness.


Trained as an OF trainer in November of 2015
Lead 7 day one OF workshops (trained over 180 staff of my District and assisted at a Cristo Rey in Dallas, TX)
Helped lead 1 day two training with my District staff
Developed a happiness accountability team (HAP MAT – Happiness Matters) that is focused on two goals
  1.  Entrenching the power of Happiness and Orange Frog training in the District culture
  2. Developing, Educating and Distributing District Public Relations materials

Helped develop and implement “Reading Together for the Success of All,” a program where each family of our 5k – 5th grade students get a copy of The Orange Frog book and will read with their families.
Developing plan for OF day one training to be provided for all 6th and 9th graders in our District.

Randy Poe - Superintendent Boone County

Superintendent for Randy Poe began with his graduation in 1979 from Newport High School. He studied Marketing/Education at NKU graduating in 1983, and in 1985 received his Master of Arts in Secondary Education from NKU. In 2013 Dr. Poe received his Executive Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.

His focus as superintendent revolves around academic rigor, real world relevance and focused partnerships with students, parents and the community. These concepts have proven successful. Boone County Schools is a high performing, large, diverse school district in Kentucky. Dr. Poe has been recognized at both the state and national levels for his accomplishments. He was honored to be named as the 2015 F.L. Dupree Outstanding Superintendent Award, 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award by Northern Kentucky Education Council, and the 2013 Kentucky Superintendent of the Year by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. Randy was also named the 2012 Outstanding NKU Alumnus of the College of Education and Human Services. He was selected for the Northern Kentucky Education Council – One to One Literacy Award in 2011, and serves on Kentucky Leads the Nation Roundtable. That same year the Northern Kentucky Education Council awarded Dr. Poe their Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Poe was honored in 2016 as he was the recipient of the Community Advocacy for Public Education (CAPE) Award.

Randy has been invited to present at state and national conferences including the National School Boards Association, Kentucky School Boards Association, National Center for Education Research and Technology, American Productivity and Quality Center and the Kentucky ACT State Organization.

While these and so many other accomplishments not mentioned here are proud moments for Dr. Poe, he considers his best accomplishments, family. His wife of 30 years Melinda and four children Jessica, Alysha, Katherine and Nicholas. 

Joel Pedersen - Superintendent Cardinal School District

In 2009 Cardinal Community Schools could be said to have the deck stacked against them – and in some cases that could be true. Their county was recently rated the lowest income in the state...

When Joel Pedersen took on the role of Superintendent in 2010 he was heavily advised against it. At the time, due to Open Enrollment, students were leaving the district in record numbers crippling the district financially. ACT and student achievement scores were down and Cardinal was named a Persistently Low Achieving School. Attendance rates were down and perhaps most important their was a crisis of identity. “We’re Just Cardinal” was a popular excuse for any sub-optimal performance. In 2010, Pedersen sought to change all that by focusing on building a Positive Culture. Positive Results followed. A positive culture indeed turned around Cardinal's performance. In 2015 Pedersen introduced “The Orange Frog” seeking to become the first “Orange Frog District” in the country. Positive Results followed.

I like the concepts, but I don't know how to get my lead administrators to buy in. Besides, this isn't my decision to make.

The wonderful thing about The Happiness Advantage and Orange Frog training is, anyone can lead it. In my situation, I introduced my staff to it as the superintendent, but we have enabled all staff members to take charge. Our chartering team has members of administration, teachers, support staff, secretaries, and even our maintenance man. It's hard for anyone to argue the difference it has made with all levels of people in our district.

How do you keep the momentum going? Won't this fizzle out like other training programs?

We have enabled people in every area of our district to take charge, so as it ripples out to the entire district, including our students, the positive change is hard to ignore. So many people begin to buy in that it becomes a collective effort and not one that is started by administration and forced upon the staff. 

Everybody learns differently and at a different pace; how did you get everyone up to speed so quickly?
You will see in your district that you will have some immediate leaders that take charge and you will have some staff that wait it out before jumping in. In education, things come and go so quickly, there are always people who initially resist. We embraced our early adopters and shared the good things that were happening with all the stakeholders. We shared this with teachers, support staff, students, and now community members and parents. We made a big deal out of those early success stories within our district and it just gets to a point where everyone else wants a piece of it.

It seems like a lot of work. We have a lot of other initiatives going on and I just don't see how we could take on another one.
Don't look at this as a separate initiative. This is a mindset shift, not a separate initiative that you have to manage. The administrator doesn't have to control the process. Leaders have to know when to let go and let others lead. We have seen people in our organization step up that we would have never expected. One example of that is our maintenance man that sends a poem to our whole staff every morning. No one would have expected him to be writing poetry to the whole staff, but that was his small commitment that he made. When each staff member chooses small things they can do to bring positivity to your district, it is amazing how easily things begin to change. 

Clay Stidham - Superintendent Blue Ridge School District

Personal Profile:

I was born in 1971 in Show Low, AZ. I am a 3rd generation public educator in the Blue Ridge School District. My grandmother started the first special education and music program in what was the Lakeside School District in 1958. My father was the student body president of the Class of 1964 and led the rebranding effort which changed the name of the High School from the Lakeside Apaches to the Blue Ridge Yellowjackets, formalized on November 22, 1963 literally minutes before learning that President Kennedy had been shot. Both my mother and father taught at Blue Ridge for 35 and 30 years respectfully, and I graduated in 1990 from Blue Ridge High School. I attended Northern Arizona University on a football scholarship for Offensive Line from 1990-1995, serving my last year as a Graduate Assistant Coach, graduating with a B.S. in Social Science/Secondary Ed. I completed an M. Ed in Educational Leadership from NAU in 1999, and M. Ed in Educational Technology in 2005, and am currently pursuing an Ed. D in Educational Leadership from NAU with a target graduation date of May 2019.

I began my career in education in 1995 teaching Social Studies at Leupp Public School on the Navajo Reservation before moving into the Flagstaff Unified School District in Flagstaff, AZ, opening the first Magnet school (technology) in that District in 1997. After that first year I moved into the main campus at Mount Elden Middle School (the magnet ran on a staggered schedule that precluded me from coaching) so that I could teach and coach high school football at Coconino High School. In 2002, my wife (also a teacher) and I relocated our two young children to Las Vegas, NV to be closer to her recently widowed mother. I was hired to teach 7th grade Earth Science at Charles I. West-Edison Junior Academy in the deepest part of the inner city in Las Vegas in 2002, and in 2003 was offered a job to teach and be assistant head coach of 4 varsity sports (Football, Wrestling (’03), Basketball (’06), and Head Track and Field Coach (’03-’06) at Shadow Ridge High School which opened in 2003.

In 2006 we relocated to Wheatland, WY as I had been recruited to enter High School Administration as the Assistant Principal of Wheatland High School. In 2010, with aging parents and grandparents, we moved back to Lakeside, AZ where I was hired as the Director of Technology for the Blue Ridge Unified School District, serving in that capacity from 2010-2015. In January 2016, I was hired in my current role as Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and Federal Programs.

I have been happily married to my wife, Jill, for 23 years. We have two daughters, Madison (18) and Lauren (14), who are both currently freshman. Madison, at the University of Arizona, majoring in Management Information Systems, and Lauren, majoring in being a teenage girl. In my free time, I try to find some. The doctoral program I am in and the multitude of hats and responsibilities in my current job generally consume somewhere between 18- 20 hours per day. If I do get a break, I enjoy watching/studying all levels of football and Mixed Martial Arts, playing fantasy football, and binge watching HBO, AMC, and Netflix original programming, with a minor in Real Housewives, DIY real estate, and a host of competitive cooking shows as required by my better half. 

Your experience with HA|OF and advancing positivity in education:

I attended the 2016 AASA National Conference in Phoenix, where I heard Shawn Achor as a featured keynote, bought his book and audiobook, diving fully into learning as much about positive psychology as possible.
Attended the 3-Day Orange Frog-TTT workshop with my Superintendent in April in Oceanside, CA, completing our certification in September 2016.

Trained/co-facilitated the Day 1 training of every employee in our entire District (250 employees) between September and November 2016.
Currently working on sustainability efforts and integration into each of our newly created School Leadership Teams (SLTs) as we move into a comprehensive District-wide consolidation/grade reconfiguration since the passage of a $15 million Facilities and Technology Bond in November.

Looking to find ways to contribute/expand into developing parent involvement, literacy, and anti-bullying curricula centered on positive psych, HA/OF principles.

What topics and/or research are most interesting

I am consumed with flipping educational paradigms and breaking the chokehold of the standards/accountability/test score movement, and restoring holistic humanity and joy to education. I am heavily influenced by Marin Seligman, Shawn Achor, Michelle Gielan, Daniel Pink, Simon Sinek, Carol Dweck, Angela Duckworth, and the incomparable William Glasser. I believe that the advances of neuroscience must inform and reconcile with increasingly postmodern realities and exponentials rev rates of technological change in all levels of organizational culture, presenting challenges within a four-generational workplace that can only be addressed with positive, strengths-based organizational processes. The focus of my dissertation will be centered on embedding 4-D Appreciative Inquiry processes and practices as espoused by David Cooperrider into collaborative leadership teams throughout the entire organization; with intended outcomes of developing and leveraging the 4’Cs of 21st Century skills against a student centered, problem/project based learning core. I would like to find ways to tear down conventional ‘content areas’ and to ‘invert’ the curricula, seeking to have students build into the traditional ‘core disciplines’ through their areas of interest. With this group, I am interested in finding ways to expand the OF parable, using Spark, into early childhood literacy, positive behavioral interventions, anti-bullying, and parent/family involvement to expand the reach of these transformative principles. I would like to also find ways to expand the model into a targeted public ed space that has generally limited funding, but find ways to make all of these materials viable to be utilized and paid for using Federal funding through Title I, II, III, and Rural/Low Income School grants. 

Greg Ray - CEO ITLN


Greg Ray is a talent and new media executive who pioneered the branded thought leader and business guru space, and continues to lead its advancement today. As an investor, owner, founder and creative force, he has helped grow the worldwide public brands of legendary 

thought leaders such as Stephen Covey, Tom Peters, and Ken Blanchard and launched several branded media properties including Faith and Value Media (acquired by National Interfaith Cable Coalition), (acquired by founder John Peterman), and Rovion, Inc. (acquired by His company WYNCOM also produced the FORTUNE CEO Forum in the mid-1990’s in association with FORTUNE Magazine, a market first putting CEO center stage as branded personalities.


Greg is the Chief Executive Officer of International Thought Leader Network and ISB Global a leading talent agency and the first agency focused on executives, business thought leaders and best-selling authors with specialty practices in entertainment and sports. ISB Global has been involved in the branding, development, and exclusive representation of more than 30 New York Times best-selling authors.

Greg Kaiser - Founder and President, International Thought Leader Network


A serial entrepreneur, Greg founded a series of companies including his first consulting business while attending SDSU where he graduated with a BS in Organizational Behavior.

Greg spent 8 years with Ken Blanchard Co., before assuming the #3 spot at Wyncom, a $64 million training and events company featuring dozens of “A-List” thought leaders producing over 150 events annually. Greg oversaw Sales, Marketing and Partner Relations launching the company’s training catalog and field sales organizations helping the company achieve a listing of 33rd and 42nd on the Inc. 500 List of Fastest Growing Companies.

Greg later co-founded e-Corporation, a leading Internet business incubator. Among other responsibilities, Greg brought in venture and strategic capital and orchestrated the launch and sale of Travelago LLC., the largest video destination guide on the internet and Rovion, Inc., an award winning, rich media technology company.

Today, Greg is a founding principle of International Thought Leader Network (ITLN) where he serves as President. ITLN is exclusively focused on the development and deployment of results oriented workshops based upon the works of best-selling authors.

Greg has been called upon to speak to Corporate Executives, NGOs, Government Organizations and Education Executives across the globe including South Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UK, Holland, Finland, Switzerland, France, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.

As a facilitator and consultant, Greg leverages his extensive operations experience, combined with long term training and product development relationships with the world’s premier thought leaders, to work with executive teams and facilitate working groups to produce meaningful change and tangible results. 

Andrew Greatrex - ITLN

Is an International Consultant with International Thought Leader Network and President of Global Achievers Company (Australia and NZ) and Thought Leaders Learning (UK).

His work includes the co-founding of Drive Workshop, a specialist organisation designed to implement the elements of NY Times Best Selling Author Daniel H. Pink. Dan Pink’s books have been translated into 34 languages and have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. His videos have been viewed by more than 31 million people world wide. Andrew works with key organisations such as The Pentagon, NSA, US Air Force and Navy plus companies such as Disney, Novo Nordisk, Capital One and Garmin.

Prior to founding Drive Workshop and Global Achievers Company, Andrew was the Executive Director of Patient Care Services of a tertiary teaching hospital in South Australia responsible for the running of all Patient Care Services including Operating Theatres, Division of Medicine, Out Patients and Accident and Emergency.

On top of these responsibilities he also served on the Board of the College of Health Services Executives, was a Visiting Lecturer at the Charles Sturt University on Health Administration and Founder of the Australia Leaders in Health Trust working with Political Leaders and Heads of Australian based companies.

Since 1998, Andrew has toured the world with Thought Leaders from Harvard Business School, London Business School, INSEAD, Stanford and other elite business Authors and Scholars including Peter Senge, Prof. John Kotter, Prof Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Prof Rob Goffee, Prof Manfred Kets De Vries, Prof Gary Hamel, Prof Chip Heath, Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Pink. He is an authority on promoting and working with the world’s top business thinkers and is highly skilled at creating Training and Consulting work on their behalf. He and his wife Melanie travel the world working with organizations interested at making the world of work better. 

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