About Us

Meet the Team Behind Stronge & Associates

James H. Stronge, Ph.D., is President and CEO of Stronge and Associates Educational Consulting, LLC, an educational consulting company that focuses on teacher and leader effectiveness with projects internationally and in many U.S. states. He founded Stronge and Associates in 2011 and continues to be actively involved in the company’s work. Additionally, he is the Heritage Professor of Education, a distinguished professorship, in the School of Education at William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia. His research interests include policy and practice related to teacher quality and effectiveness, teacher and administrator evaluation, and teacher selection. He has worked extensively with state departments of education, school districts, and national and international educational organizations to support teacher and leader effectiveness, including designing and implementing evaluation and hiring systems for teachers, administrators, and other educational personnel. He has made more than 350 presentations at regional, national, and international conferences, and conducted workshops for educational organizations extensively throughout the U.S. and internationally. Among his current research projects are: 1) international comparative studies of national award-winning teachers in the United States and China, and 2) influences of economic and societal trends on student academic performance in countries globally. His most recent books include What Makes a World-Class School and How We Can Get There (2017, ASCD), Qualities of Effective Teachers, 3rd Ed. (2018, ASCD), Qualities of Effective Principals, 2nd Ed. (2021, ASCD), and International Beliefs and Practices that Characterize Teacher Effectiveness (co-editor) (2021, IGI Global). He has authored, co-authored, or edited 34 books and more than 200 articles, chapters, and technical reports. He was a founding member of the board of directors for the Consortium for Research on Educational Assessment and Teacher Effectiveness, and was selected as the 2012 national recipient of the Millman Award from CREATE in recognition of his work in the field of teacher and administrator evaluation.

Ginny Tonneson, Ph.D., is the Chief Operating Officer for Stronge & Associates and has been with the company since its inception. She runs the day-to-day operations of Stronge & Associates, serving as the external interface to clients, partners, and various agencies throughout the U.S. and internationally. In this capacity, she is the project manager for most major Stronge & Associates projects, produces the content for new evaluation and hiring components of the Stronge Teacher and Leader Effectiveness System, and works directly with international, state, and regional educational agencies as well as individual school districts on teacher and leader effectiveness initiatives. She also serves as a design team facilitator, workshop developer, and trainer. Ginny has taught at the elementary through graduate levels, has been a higher education administrator, and has worked as a post-doctorate research associate. She has presented at national-, state-, and local-level conferences in the areas of leadership, mathematics, and gifted education, and her work has been published in both books and peer-reviewed journals.

Lauri M. Leeper, Ph.D., is the Director of Instructional Design and Development. She is also a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and works with several state agencies and school districts on teacher and administrator evaluation systems. She is a former middle school and elementary school teacher, and library media specialist and has taught up through the graduate level. She has presented at national-, state-, and local-level conferences on topics including closing the achievement gap, effective schools, information literacy, problem-based learning, and curriculum design. Her research interests include effective reading comprehension instruction, teacher effectiveness, teacher/administrator evaluation, and teacher leadership. Lauri received her doctoral degree in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership from the College of William and Mary.

April Gonzalez joined Stronge and Associates in August 2019 as a trainer and became the New Jersey Coordinator in 2021. During her 32 years in education, April served in the South Brunswick School District, her alma mater, as an English teacher, English and Social Studies Supervisor, Assistant Principal of Academic Leadership, and a principal of an elementary school. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Montclair State University with a major in English and Psychology and attended graduate school at Marygrove and The College of New Jersey. She earned her Principal and School Administrator certifications following that. Throughout her career, April has provided professional development on various topics, district-wide, and served as a lead trainer for mentors of novice teachers. She has presented numerous workshops at conventions for the National Council for Teachers of English and the Conference of English Leadership. Given her K-12 experience, as well as leadership in professional learning, April brings expertise and enthusiasm to the role of NJ Coordinator and Lead Trainer.

Rachel Previs Ball, Ed.D., currently serves as a Senior Research Associate with fifteen years of K-12 experience in Virginia. She previously served as the first alumna director of a regional governor's school in Virginia for high-ability and gifted students in grades 10-12. She has also served as the principal of a primary school in a Virginia school district while also working on special projects for Stronge & Associates. Rachel has taught at the elementary through graduate levels. She received her undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate degrees from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Her dissertation addressed Virginia principals’ knowledge of classroom assessment and support of assessment for learning practices. She is a graduate of the School University Research Network’s Principal Academy, where she completed a two-year action research project that focused on providing formative observation feedback to teachers regarding student engagement. She has presented at various national, state, and local conferences, including the National Association of Elementary School Principals and Visible Learning.

Nancy Richmond is a former New Jersey Coordinator for Stronge and Associates and continues to share her expertise as a trainer and content developer. Following a 34-year career in public education, Nancy was a member of the Senior Staff at the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors' Association. As a public educator in New Jersey, Nancy served as teacher, reading specialist, and elementary principal. In 1998 she was named National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and in 1993 the school where she was principal was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Nancy co-authored a book on school leadership entitled, Learning to Lead: Ten Stories for Principals, and has been a featured writer for Principal Magazine. She has presented on numerous occasions at state, national, and international conventions. Nancy earned the Ed.D. in organizational leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Carol Pollack is the Stronge & Associates Arizona Coordinator. She has 32 years of educational experience in Arizona. She has held the positions of high school teacher, department chair, high school assistant principal, high school principal and central office administrator. She also serves as adjunct faculty for Arizona State University. She has presented at Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and has currently led the teacher and leader evaluation process for her district providing training and professional development for teachers and administrators. Carol Pollack received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership both from Northern Arizona University.

Jessica Straessle, Ph.D., serves as the senior research associate for Stronge and Associates. She received her doctorate from the College of William and Mary’s Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership Program. She holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University where she focused on effective teaching in an urban environment. While completing her programs, she worked as an elementary school teacher, teaching inclusion and gifted classes. Her research interests include teacher and principal effectiveness, teacher and principal evaluation, professional development and student individuality. Jessica has co-authored a book on surviving and thriving as a new teacher to be published in the near future and co-authored three assessment-related Quick Reference Guides published by ASCD.

Joanne Kerekes served as the New Jersey Coordinator for Stronge and Associates from 2019-2021, and continues to serve as a trainer. During her 43 years in education, Joanne served as teacher, unit leader, staff developer, principal, and assistant superintendent. A contributor to several educational publications, Joanne was honored to receive the Rutgers Graduate School of Education Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the NJ Music Educators Administrator of the Year Award, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Principal Fellowship. Joanne has extensive presentation experience, including moderating at the AASA/NJASA /NJPSA Women’s Leadership Conference, facilitating at the Rutgers Institute for Improving Student Achievement Equity Conference, and being the keynote speaker for NJASL and Rutgers Ed Camp. As an early adopter of the Stronge Evaluation System and member of the Achieve New Jersey Advisory Committee and the NJ School Boards Equity Council, Joanne brings a wealth of expertise as an experienced practitioner and trainer to the job.

Amy Griffin, Ed.D., serves as a trainer for Stronge & Associates. She currently, is the Deputy Executive Director of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) and adjunct instructor for the Radford University Educational Leadership doctoral program. Previously, she served as an executive liaison with the VDOE Office of School Quality as well as consulted and coordinated projects for the Virginia Department of Education, including the teacher, principal, and superintendent performance evaluation systems. Amy served as superintendent of Cumberland County Public Schools for 10 years before retiring from K-12 public education. She also served as assistant superintendent, director of instruction, director of special education, elementary principal, and elementary teacher. She is a member of the Longwood University Call Me Mister Advisory Council, the Region 3 Go VA Council, the Virginia Credit Union Advisory Committee, the Nottoway Habitat for Humanity Committee, and a support network partner of the Commonwealth Learning Partnership.

Vinh Hoang, Ph.D, is responsible for designing, developing, and building the digital components of the company, from web development to back-end management. In addition, Vinh is a full-time instructor at the Chesapeake Bay Governor's School for Biology and Marine Science, where he has been teaching Physics and Math since 2015. He is also an adjunct Physics Faculty at Rappahannock Community College and Germanna Community College. Vinh graduated from the Physics Ph.D program at the University of Virginia.

Joy Washington, Ph.D., joined Stronge & Associates as a consultant in September 2022. She also serves as a Research Assistant-Coach with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Best in Class-Elementary research project, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. She has 22 years of experience as a school library/media specialist in a Virginia school district, during which time she was an active member of the VA Association of School Librarians, presenting at several state and regional conferences and serving as a Regional director. In 2015 Joy achieved National Board Certification. She is a triple Ram, receiving her bachelors, masters and doctoral degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Xianxuan Xu, Ph.D., served as the longtime senior research associate for Stronge and Associates. In 2021, she transitioned to a position at the Virginia Department of Education. She received her doctorate from the College of William and Mary's Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership Program. Her research interests include teacher effectiveness, professional development, and teacher and principal evaluation. Xian’s research also focuses on international comparative analyses of teacher qualities in the United States and China. She has presented findings of her research on U.S.-China teacher effectiveness and teacher evaluation at national conferences, such as American Educational Research Association, University Council for Educational Administration, and National Evaluation Institute. She has co-authored numerous books including Qualities of Effective Principals (2nd edition, ASCD, 2021), What Makes a World Class School (ASCD, 2017), and several other books published by Solution Tree and Eye on Education.

Rick Chromey joined Stronge and Associates in July 2019 as a trainer. His broad experiences throughout his 38 years in public education in New Jersey are a welcome asset to the Stronge and Associates Team. Early in his career, Rick taught at the elementary and middle school levels and served as a Team leader. He began his administrative career in 2001 when he became an elementary school principal. Rick went on serve as Director of Assessment, Director of Human Resources, and as Assistant Superintendent where he evaluated and supported school leaders using the Stronge Teacher and Leader Effectiveness System. He was a Geraldine R. Dodge Grant Recipient and was selected to serve on the Curriculum Advisory Committee for the National Middle School Association. Rick earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the College of New Jersey.

Bill Connolly joined the New Jersey team in August 2019 as a trainer. During a 34-year career in education, Bill served as a high school English teacher, coach, adviser, NJ secondary literacy specialist, and as a supervisor in K-12 and 9-12 districts. In several settings, he oversaw the evaluation system, professional development, and the mentoring program. He was fortunate to collaborate with a talented team of teachers and administrators on the integration of the district’s curriculum, instruction, and assessment systems. Bill evaluated teachers and supervisors using the Stronge TEPES and LEPES systems and believes strongly in the value and applicability of the standards, as well as the reflective and conversational components of the Stronge system.

Susan Coyle is a retired NJ educator who brings over 40 years of experience working in K-12 education serving as a supervisor, school counselor, student assistance coordinator and special education teacher. An expert in training and professional development, Sue has taught courses in school counseling and special education at Rutgers and Kean Universities and has delivered workshops on varied topics in mental health, trauma informed schools, SEL, Section 504, I&RS and RTI. At her former district, Sue used the Stronge Evaluation System for many years in supervising school nurses, counselors and education specialists. With this experience, Sue brings the perspective of the educational specialist and of those who supervise them. Sue received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary and Special Education from the University of Arizona and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Kean University.

Mary Wallen is the Director of Project Planning. She has over 38 years of educational experience in an urban public school district in Virginia, serving in positions ranging from that of a classroom teacher to a central office administrator. Her classroom experience included both regular and gifted education in an elementary setting. After 15 years of teaching in the classroom, she spent the next three years as a "teacher trainer" providing professional development to teachers in grades pre-K through 12. Mary then became an elementary school administrator, serving as the principal of two elementary schools for the next 20 years. In her last role with the district she was a Leadership Coach, providing guidance and support to principals of Title I schools. Mary received her B.S. from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts and her MA. Ed. from the College of William and Mary.

Kate Wolfe Maxlow previously served as a trainer and content creator for Stronge & Associates. She currently works on special projects for the S&A team. She has worked as a teacher, an instructional coach, and a professional learning coordinator in Virginia school districts, with a focus on aligned and engaging instruction. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in History and from the College of William and Mary with a Master's in Elementary Education. Through her work with Stronge & Associates, she has traveled the country to train educators on topics such as teacher evaluation, creating more valid and reliable assessments, and providing evidence-based feedback. In her work with the Virginia Department of Education, she helped to create an Academic Review system for districts to self-assess their alignment between the written, taught, and assessed curriculum. She was the lead author on the book, 20 Formative Assessment Strategies that Work (2017, Routledge), which featured a start-to-finish guide for practical and engaging activities to assess student understanding.

 Why choose the Stronge Teacher and Leader Effectiveness System?

» Aligns the criteria used for hiring, developing, evaluating, and supporting educators

» Fully customizable to state, district, or organizational requirements

» Comprehensive evaluation system is research-based, feasible, and sustainable

» Recognized expertise in assessment and student growth measures

» Top quality, handbooks, user guides, training materials, and support materials

» Reasonably priced

 Contact Us

Voice Mail: 757.707.9662


Email: Dr. James Stronge

Email: Dr. Ginny Tonneson

©Stronge & Associates, 2023