Our Consultants

Art & Design - Dr. Debra Fitzsimmons

Grandville APSI - Online

Dr. Debra Fitzsimmons believes development of creative thinking skills is important for every child's healthful development, for our mutual cultural wellness, and for our collective economic viability.  Through multiple publications and presentations, she has shared her knowledge of art and art education. She has shared her passion for and supported arts education through 4 decades of involvement in local, state, & national art education organizations. Dr. Fitzsimmons is the recipient of multiple art education awards including: Illinois Alliance for Art Education – 2005 Distinguished Service Award; Illinois Art Education Association – 2006 Illinois Art Educator of the Year & 2014 Distinguished Service Award; and the South Bend Heritage Foundation – 2014 Art and Social Justice Award. Dr. Debra Fitzsimmons is also an award winning artist represented by Manhattan's Agora Gallery. Her teaching experience includes public school K-12 Visual Arts, AP® Studio Art course instructor, 300-500 level college Art Education Methods, AP® Studio Art Exam Reader, and Consultant for AP® Studio Art and AP® Studio Art Vertical Teams Professional Development.  Very importantly Debra believes art helps students connect to the world, to themselves, brings meaning to life, and makes learning fun!

Biology - Jim Smanik

Grand Blanc APSI - Online, Grandville APSI

An AP Biology and Physics teacher at Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jim Smanik has 24 years of teaching experience with 14 of those years as an AP Biology instructor. A College Board Consultant since 2000, Jim has been an AP Biology reader for 12 years, with approximately 7 of those as a table leader. Additionally, Jim Smanik served on the AP Biology Test Devlopment Committee during the recent AP Biology Course Redesign.

Biology - Shari Cohen

Grandville APSI - Online

Shari Cohen has taught Chemistry and all levels of Biology including AP Biology at Homewood-Flossmoor High School for 34 years. She has been a consultant for the College Board since 1999 and has been in the National Leader Program and Mentor Program of the College Board. An AP Reader and Table Leader since 1997.  

Calculus AB/BC - Dr. Joe Brandell

Grand Blanc APSI - Online

For the past twenty years Dr. Joe Brandell has been involved as an AP Consultant and AP Reader.  He has presented at College Board Workshops both nationally and internationally. Currently teaching AP Calculus at West Bloomfield High School, he also serves as their Mathematics Department Chair.  

Calculus AB/BC - Teresa Horvath

Grandville APSI - Online

Theresa Horvath has been teaching AP Calculus (AB and BC) in McKinney, Texas since 2008 and has been an AP Reader since 2014. She was a member of the College Board Instructional Design Team for the AP Calculus 2019-20 updated Course and Exam Description. Theresa is an approved College Board AP Calculus consultant and a NMSI Calculus and Computer Science consultant. In 2016, she received the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Educator Award and was nominated for the prestigious PAEMST award. She has received ten Inspirational Teacher awards from her graduating senior students over the past ten years.

Calculus AB/BC - Laszio Nagy

Central Illinios APSI - Online

Chemistry - Brenda Brockland

Central Illinois APSI - Online

Chemistry - William Cumming

Grandville APSI - Online

Economics - Mary Kohelis

Grandville APSI - Online

Mary Kohelis currently teaches AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics at Madonna High School in Weirton, WV.  She previously taught both courses at Brooke High School in Wellsburg, WV.  From 2004-2007, she served as a member of the AP Economics Test Development Committee.  From 2011-2014, she was the College Board Advisor on the AP Microeconomics Test Development Committee.  She also served as a Reader, Table Leader, and Question Leader at the AP Microeconomics Exam Readings.  Currently, she is serving as a member of the Microeconomics Instructional Design Committee.  Since 2000, she has served as a College Board Consultant, presenting summer institutes in West Virginia, Michigan, and California, one-day workshops in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, and a two-day workshop in the Netherlands. 

English Language - Patricia Fox

Central Illinois APSI - Online

Patricia Fox has taught high school students for over 39 years. Her M.A. is in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on American and New England history and culture. For the last 11 years, she has served as a Reader and Table Leader for the Educational Testing Service and as a presenter at the annual AP Conference, NCTE and for its local affiliate MCELA. In addition, she serves as a consultant and mentor for all AP instructors in the Fryeburg, Maine school district.

English Language - Dr. Sherry Wynn Perdue

Grandville APSI - Online

Since 2009 Sherry has been at the helm of the Oakland University Writing Center.   As an AP Consultant she enjoys offering one-day workshop throughout Midwestern campuses and relishes sharing her passion for teaching during the week-long summer institutes.

English Literature - Dr. Robert Staggenborg

Grand Blanc APSI - Online

For 38 years, Robert Staggenborg has taught AP English both in the urban environment and at Wisconsin's highest ranked suburban schools.  He has taught regional workshops and national summer institutes in AP English for the College Board for the past 15 years. Last year he taught AP Summer Institutes at Wichita State; Grand Blanc, Michigan; and the Buffalo, New York school system.  Dr. Staggenborg has supervised the national set up of the course audit system in AP Lit for two years and served on the staff who wrote the booklet describing prerequisites for the AP English course as well as sample syllabi. The College Board included him among the first wave of consultants trained to instruct AP teachers in the landmark transformations to the English Literature program known as AP 2019.  He has read and scored the national exam for twelve years and has traveled for three years as a presenter with the National Math and Science Initiative. He has taught on the university levels In England (while on a Fulbright) and in America. He holds a Ph.D. in arts historiography and literary theory and has worked as a professional theatre director. Robert has taught IB course in London, England while on a Fulbright and has created two dual enrollment programs in English in conjunction with four different universities. Most recently he taught Advanced Placement English courses at a small private academy in the southern Wisconsin. 

English Literature - Nichole Wilson

Grandville APSI - Online

Nichole Wilson teaches Advanced Placement English Literature and English 4 at William Mason High School. She is also the Senior English Team Leader. She is an AP English Literature Exam Reader, Mentor, and Consultant. She has spoken about best practices at a number of conferences, including the Advanced Placement Annual Conference (2017, 2018, 2019), the College Board's National Forum (2013, 2015, 2017), the College Board's Midwest Regional Forum (2013), and the ISTE National Conference (2013). Through the J. William Fulbright program, Ms. Wilson taught Literature, Language, and Media Studies at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in England. She has also worked as a journalist for a daily newspaper, and as a Public Relations Director and adjunct instructor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Ms. Wilson has an M.A. in Education and an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Environmental Science - Chris Groenhout

Grandville APSI - Online

Chris Groenhout graduated from Michigan State University with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. He has been teaching chemistry, biology, AP biology, and AP environmental science since 2000. He also has a masters degree in biology and a masters degree in educational technology. Chris has a passion for the environment and education. Chris currently teaches chemistry and AP environmental science at Grandville High School in Grandville Michigan. He is excited to provide meaningful and useful experiences to facilitate growth in educational best practices.

Physics 1- Jim VanderWeide

Grandville APSI - Online

Jim Vander Weide is a Physics teacher at Hudsonville High School in Hudsonville, MI and has been teaching for over 20 years.  He has served as an AP Reader (AP Physics test grader) from 2004-2017, was a Table Leader (in charge of a group of readers) from 2009-2014, and a Question Leader (in charge of several Table Leaders and their teams) from 2015-2017 and for the 2020 online reading.  In addition, Jim was a member of the AP Physics C Test Development Committee from 2011-2014.  He has participated in reviewing modules for the College Board as well as writing labs for the current lab manual that is available through the College Board.  In addition, he has worked with the College Board articulating the AP Physics C curriculum and is a member of the Instructional Design Team for Physics 1, which helped develop the Physics 1 Workbook that was released in 2019. Jim is also involved with NMSI (National Math and Science Initiative) where he runs student study sessions, teacher training sessions, and reviewing materials for the NMSI workshops. He also helped develop a 3-week course for the NYC Summer Enrichment Program through NMSI. Jim was also involved with a research project through the Van Andel Education Institute in Grand Rapids, MI that is focused on getting students to think more like scientists via the avenue of using inquiry learning. Jim earned his Masters in Physics Education in 2002 with an emphasis in Physics Education Research (PER) and since then has been working to improve his inquiry-based teaching style.

Psychology - Jeff Norby

Grandville APSI - Online

Jeff Norby has served 18 years as a psychology educator.  Currently, Jeff teaches Learning & Motivation, Behavior Modification, and General Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  Prior to UWRF Jeff spent 4 years at Wisconsin’s Northcentral Technical College (Developmental Psychology, Critical Thinking, Psychology of Human Relations) and 13 years as an AP Psychology instructor in Minneapolis, Green Bay, and Chicagoland area high schools.  Outside of the classroom, Jeff has served at the AP Reading for 16 years in both reading and table leading capacities, and is currently serving in year 13 as a consultant for the College Board facilitating workshops like this one at Grandville.  In his free time Jeff is an avid outdoors person and enjoys hiking and hunting the Wisconsin wilderness.

Spanish Language - Dr. Jennifer Zachman

Grandville APSI - Online

Jennifer Zachman is an Associate Professor of Spanish and the Faculty Coordinator of Study Abroad Programs at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN.  She holds a Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in Spanish Literature.  She is a certified AP College Board Consultant and has taught many AP Spanish Language and Culture Institutes.  She has participated in the AP Exam Reading and regularly teaches the college equivalent of AP Spanish Language and Culture.

Statistics - Sarah Johnson

Grand Blanc APSI - Online & Central Illinois APSI - Online

Proud professional educator, Sarah M. Johnson, teaches Mathematics & Statistics at Grand Blanc High School in Grand Blanc, Michigan, where she also acts as Chair for the Mathematics Department. She has been teaching AP Statistics for more than 10 years and currently serves as an AP Consultant for the Midwest Region of the College Board. Sarah has also worked as an AP Reader, AP Multiple Choice Item Writer, National Delegate to the Academic Assembly of the College Board, NCTM Proposal Reviewer, and as both a Consultant & Mentor with the National Mathematics & Science Initiative. Once upon a time, Sarah raised her hand in a department meeting and asked the question “Why don’t we have this AP Stats class I heard about?”.  This is the last time she has raised her hand in a meeting to date.  Since that day, she has been educating the masses about fighting our two enemies: bias & variability, and maintaining focus on the #1 job of any statistician-- translating statistics into english for common folk. Sarah uses simulation-based activities to ensure her students are good consumers of data (and also to keep them from sleeping in class).  Sarah is married to her marine engineer husband, and they are attempting to herd cats---err raise their 4 beautiful daughters (a.k.a. “Those Johnson Girls” ages 17, 10, 6, and 1).

US Government & Politics - Dr. Clarissa Peterson

Grandville APSI - Online

Dr. Peterson currently teaches at DePauw University, a liberal arts college in Indiana and has been involved with the AP program in various capacities since 2001.  She has completed numerous tasks for the College Board; writing exams, writing individual questions for the exams, scoring exams, previewing exams, facilitating workshops and institutes, reviewing syllabi, and many other things. Her research focuses on American voting behavior and racial politics, while her most recent research focuses on racial resentment across the world.  She is an award winning teacher (2016 Anna Julia Teacher of the Year Award) and constantly works to improve her teaching.  Over the years Dr. Peterson has been the recipient of multiple grants to complete summer research with undergraduate students and most recently has been a participant in grants to study in Australia, South Africa, Japan, China, and Hawaii.

US History - Kyle VanderWall

Grandville APSI - Online & Central Illinois APSI - Online

Kyle VanderWall has taught AP US History for 15 years at Grandville High School in Grandville, MI. Over that span, the program has grown from 40 students enrolled to over 100. He has served the College Board in a number of capacities over the last several years. For the past eight years, he has participated in the AP Reading as both a Reader and Table Leader scoring the Long Essay and Document-Based Question. Kyle has lead numerous one-day and week-long workshops for the College Board in Hawaii, Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and back to his home state of Michigan. He was also an author of materials for AP US History Insight and the AP Online Professional Development modules, where he focused on developing strategies to help students and teachers understand the historical reasoning skills taught in APUSH. Additionally, Kyle has been an author of ancillary materials for multiple AP US History textbooks. Kyle completed his undergraduate work at Hope College, finished his first Master’s Degree at Grand Valley State University and is currently enrolled in graduate study at Western Michigan University in the History Department where he is focused on nineteenth century political party developments and internal migration patterns. Kyle and his wife Ashley have three children, Theodore, George, and Eliza. They reside in Grandville, MI.

World History - John Maunu

Grandville APSI - Online

John Maunu taught AP World, AP European and other history courses at Riverdale High School, Wisconsin (3.7 years) and at Grosse Ile High School (37 years) from 1970-June 2010.  He currently teaches AP World History workshops to students at Cranbrook/Kingswood private school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan as an adjunct consultant and is an on-line mentor to AP World, AP Europe and APUSH teachers at Grosse Ile High School, Michigan. John is also a College Board AP World History consultant teaching APSI workshops nationally, a Reader and Table Leader at the AP College Board World History Reading (2004-Present), Digital Resources Editor for World History Connected on-line Journal, co-Moderator of the AP College Board World History Teacher Community website, and a reviewer of AP history materials for publishing companies. He holds a BS degree, History major with English minor, University of Minnesota, Duluth, a MA in American History, University of Wisconsin, Platteville and a Secondary Administrative degree, Wayne State University, Detroit. John is married, Johanna (46 years) with three grown children, Michael, Kristen, and Matthew.

Please reload



PO Box 1137, Grand Blanc MI  48480

800.204.1296 phone

810.356.4534 fax

email us

© 2020 by East Institutes LLC

View Privacy Notice


StephensDesign LLC — web, digital and print development 

  • Facebook

*AP, College Board, AP Vertical Teams, Pre-AP, the Advanced Placement Program and the acorn logo are registered trademarks of the College Board. Used with permission.