Our Consultants

Art & Design - Dr. Debra Fitzsimmons

Grandville APSI

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

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 & Central Illinois APSI

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

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 - Barbara Montgomery

Grandville APSI & Central Illinois APSI

Barbara Montgomery currently teaches AP Calculus and Introduction to Statistics at East Kentwood High School in Kentwood, Michigan. She is an experienced AP Calculus AB and BC instructor as well as a Reader for the AP Calculus Test. She has designed and implemented numerous elective courses for the EKHS mathematics department, is managing a school-wide initiative titled "Mathematical Thinking Across the Curriculum," and enjoys presenting at local and national mathematics conferences.  Barbara holds degrees from Michigan Technological University and Grand Valley State University.  In addition to all things mathematical, she enjoys running, traveling, and collecting interesting facts for Jeopardy! games.                          

Chemistry - Alice Putti

Grand Blanc APSI

Since 1995, Alice Putti has taught mainly Chemistry and AP Chemistry at Jenison High School in Jenison, Michigan. For the last thirteen years,  she has been an Reader and Table leader for the AP chemistry reading.  She is also a College Board consultant, offering one-day and weeklong workshops around the country.  In addition to running AP workshops, Alice has also presented at state and national conferences such as ChemEd, BCCE (Biennial Conference on Chemistry Education), Pittcon and APAC (AP Annual Conference). Alice became a member of the AP chemistry test development committee in 2017. 

Chemistry - William Cumming

Grandville APSI

Computer Science Principles - Mel Hoffert

Grandville APSI

After working in the industry as a Software Engineer for nearly two decades, Mel transitioned to a teaching career in the late 90's.  His (Randy) Pausch-oriented approach to secondary education focuses on 3D modeling and animation, virtual reality, and College Board initiatives (AP Computer Science A and Principles Table Leader, AP Computer Science A and Principles Consultant).

Economics - Mary Kohelis

Grand Blanc APSI & Grandville APSI

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 - TBA

Central Illinois APSI

English Language - Patricia Fox

Grand Blanc APSI

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

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

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

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

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.

Music Theory - Dr. Terry Eder

Grandville APSI

Terry Eder is a retired choral conductor and music teacher with over 40 years of experience at both the college and secondary levels. He remains active as a teacher and currently teaches one AP music theory class at Lovejoy High School.  He is a College Board Consultant and has presented at many AP summer institutes and one and two-day workshops and has served as a reader and question leader in the reading of the AP Music Theory exam for the past fifteen summers. He has also developed a one-day workshop on vertical teams in music theory for the College Board, has written an article on strategies for dealing with the sight-singing portion of the AP exam, and has presented an online professional development session entitled, “Sight Singing and Its Influence on Melodic and Harmonic Dictation.” He is past co-chair of the College Board AP Music Theory development committee and served as a member of the Music Writing Team for the 2014 National Standards in the Arts.  Before his retirement from full time teaching, he was named Plano Senior High School Teacher of the Year.  He is also the primary author along with Akira Sato of the AP Instructor’s Manual published in 2018 to accompany the third edition of The Musician’s Guide by W. W. Norton.  He holds Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education degrees from Texas Christian University and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Oklahoma.

Physics 1- Jim VanderWeide

Grand Blanc APSI & Grandville APSI

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) since 2004, a Table Leader (in charge of a group of readers) from 2009-2015, and a Question Leader (in charge of a group of Table Leaders) since 2016.  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 two labs for the AP Physics 1 and 2 lab manual. This summer he will be our AP Consultant for both Physics 1 and Physics C (combined).

Psychology - Sean Mahoney

Grand Blanc APSI

I have been well prepared to teach AP Summer Institutes and greatly enjoy the process of preparing others to teach this great course.  Since 2001, I have taught the AP Psychology Course more than 60 times, leading at least four sections every year.  In addition to conducting related staff development at the district level, over the last five years I have trained three different new teachers to teach the course and am currently leading a four teacher Professional Learning Team with fourteen sections of AP Psych. I am also a CRISS trainer and work as a Content Mentor for the National Math and Science Initiative. Our AP Psych course is the most popular elective in our school, Warren Township High School in Gurnee, Illinois.  AP Psych will likely be the most popular course at your school as well!

Psychology - Jeff Norby

Grandville APSI

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 - Jennifer Zachman

Grandville APSI

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 - TBA

Central Illinois APSI

Statistics - Sarah Johnson

Grand Blanc APSI

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).

Statistics - David Ferris

Grandville APSI

Dave Ferris has taught mathematics at Noblesville High School (Indiana) for 37 years, AP Statistics for 19 years, and graded the AP Statistics exam for eight years. He currently teaches three sections of AP Statistics and serves as an instructional coach to his colleagues. In 2017, he was his school’s Teacher of the Year as well as a National Winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. He has led his district’s AP Math Vertical Team and served as math department chair. He has worked as an AP Statistics consultant for the NMSI initiatives, and has led College Board AP Statistics workshops in numerous states and school districts for ten years. Dave thoroughly enjoys exploiting the unique dynamics of AP summer institutes and will ensure participants are thoroughly engaged and inspired.


David earned his BS in mathematics from Taylor University in 1983 and his MA in mathematics from Ball State University in 1989. After school hours, he enjoys whitetail deer hunting with his brother, camping with his family, and playing keyboard at his church.

US Government & Politics - Dr. Clarissa Peterson

Grand Blanc APSI & Grandville APSI

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 - Rod Franchi

Grand Blanc APSI

Rod has been teaching AP US History at Novi HS in Novi, MI for 18 years. He teaches for many reasons, but underlying all of them is the belief that kids can become better thinkers and better writers with a little guidance from their teachers. The key to do this in APUSH, Rod believes, is to design lessons and year-long practices that help our kids think like historians. It's fun, too.


Writing plays a central role in Rod’s APUSH classroom. In addition to a master's in history education Rod also has a master's in English with a specialty in writing. Last year he started HistoryHive, a writing program that creates a space so former APUSH students can share writing insights with current students. You can read about it here:



Rod has been an APUSH Reader and served as department chair for 15 years in addition to various other leadership positions at the county and state levels. Recently he led two webinars in AP US History practices for the College Board. Rod has been an Attending Teacher in the University of Michigan’s Rounds Program since it began ten years ago. Rod’s current project is to develop the writing and testing sections for an APUSH textbook. Also, he and his wife Kristin are Co-Directors of the Novi AP Summer Institute. Rod looks forward to learning from his experience teaching APUSH with his current classes in preparation for next year.

US History - Kyle VanderWall

Grandville APSI & Central Illionois APSI

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

Grand Blanc APSI & Grandville APSI

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.

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