Pat Wolfe – Mind Matters, Inc.

Trainer Referrals

Here is a list of persons I am recommending to conduct training in the applications of brain research to the classroom. They have all completed my training of trainers session. You can contact any one of them and they will send you copies of evaluations, letters of recommendation, names of persons with whom they have worked, or any other information you may want that is not contained in the brief sketches below. They are listed below according to the approximate length of time they have been presenting in this field after having completed my training of trainers program.

Debbie Estes (Texas) :: :: Phone: (903) 892-0033
Deborah G. Estes, Ed.D. is known for her warmth, humor, and ability to involve everyone in the fun of learning. Since 1995, she has worked with education entities, law firms, corporations and medical health care teams throughout the United States as both a consultant, facilitator, and conference keynote speaker and presenter. She specializes in the areas of leadership and team building skills, brain-based learning, presentation skills, facilitation skills, personality styles, total quality management (TQM), effective schools, collaborative skill building and diversity. Her primary interest is in the area of brain research and how this knowledge can directly impact our lives as educators, and even more significantly, as human beings.

Sheila Govern(Arizona) ::    Phone:  (520) 529-8514, (520) 272-6706

Sheila’s passion to share her knowledge of brain research and implications for learning coupled with her experience as a classroom teacher, staff developer, curriculum specialist, UbD trainer, school improvement facilitator, and administrator (school principal) have prepared her to interact with adults, students and organizations who are interested in how the brain learns.  She feels that this understanding is advantageous to become an informed consumer/evaluator of programs, as well as orchestrating brain compatible environments for optimal success in all arenas.  Sheila is well received at conferences and trainings.

George and Lynette Zimmer (Wisconsin) Phone: (262) 249-1287 This is a husband/wife team (George is superintendent of schools in Sussex , Wisconsin and Lynette is Assistant Superintendent of Schools in the Fremont School Distirct 79 in Mundelein, IL. They have been getting excellent reviews. They are very creative in their training. One of their strengths is that they are using the research in their schools.

Gayle Gregory (Ontario, Canada) Phone: (905) 336-6565
Gayle is a well-respected full-time consultant specializing in brain research and its applications to the classroom. She is co-author of the book “Designing Brain-Compatible Learning” and therefore is valued for her ability to apply the research in practice. Web site address is:

Laura Lamberto-White (Arizona) (602) 493-8366
Laura is the principal of a K-8 school that is on the cutting edge of integrating brain compatible strategies with classroom instruction. She models techniques for her own staff to implement, as well teaches brain research classes to other teachers in her district. She has also done presentations on the principal’s role in implementing brain compatible strategies into the classroom.

Justin Cunningham (San Diego, California) Phone: (858) 693-0695
Having worked as a site administrator, teacher and coach at k-12 schools, worked in both rural and urban areas, worked as a consultant for textbook publishers, and worked for the California Department of Education, Justin brings a wide range of perspectives to educational issues. He is a sought after trainer on health issues, integrated curriculum, and implications of brain research for teaching. he currently leads the Small School District Services Unit at the San Diego Country Office of Education.

Nancy Blair (Wisconsin) Phone: (414) 567-0808
Dr. Nancy Blair is the Chair of the Graduate Education Department of Educational Leadership at Cardinal Stritch University. Working with Pat Magestro, she facilitates a wide variety of workshops and staff development experiences related to active/brain based learning. She has had training with Pat Wolfe, Eric Jensen, and others.

Jim Craigen and Chris Ward (Canada) and Phone: 1-800-265-3968 extension 6926
Chris and Jim are staff developers with the Durham District School Board of Education in Ontario, Canada which won an international award for excellence in school innovation and staff development. They have presented in Norway, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Mexico, across Canada and the United States. Their highly interactive presentation utilizes brain-compatible instruction. Participants will not only learn theory but experience brain-compatible structures which can be immediately applied in the classroom. Workshops can range from one to five days. They also conduct half-day sessions for parents.

David Ghoogasian (California) Phone: (562) 463-0460
David has a rich background in education including teaching at all levels, counseling, administration (school principal) and staff development. He has taught brain research to educators at every level in both public and private schools. He works equally well with those who teach in the early childhood setting as he does with parents and university educators. David is currently a full-time educational consultant, trainer, and school improvement facilitator. He has served on visiting committees of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges , Accrediting Commission for Schools. He is the owner of The Lyceum, a company that provides quality training and consultation services to individual schools and school districts. His presentations and training are consistently well received. David teaches courses for teachers on the brain research for both UC Riverside and California State University Extension programs.

Sarah Armstrong, Ed.D. (Virginia) Phone: (434) 760-8930
Sarah has been conducting workshops on applications of brain research for teachers and administrators in both public and private schools for over 20 years. Her numerous instructional leadership positions–including principal, director of staff development, director of personnel, and assistant superintendent of instruction, k-12–have provided opportunities for practical applications across schools and school systems. A full-time consultant and owner of Leading and Learning Solutions, a company focused on instructional improvement specializing in the application of brain research for classroom instruction, Dr. Armstrong conducts workshops at national and state conferences and works regularly with administrators and teachers in school systems, K-12–with a recent focus at the middle and high school levels. In addition, Sarah is a trainer in leadership programs for novice and aspiring school administrators with areas of expertise in identifying leadership styles and helping leaders guide teachers to building brain-compatible schools. She is adjunct faculty for two universities embedding the brain research in classes in curriculum and instruction, assessment, and risk and resiliency. Sarah’s highly interactive presentations receive reviews from participants such as “An excellent training session which included relevant and current, cutting edge material. Invite her back again!”

Rick Smith (California) Telephone: (415) 456-9190
Rick is known for bringing humor, liveliness, and clarity to his presentations which are entitled “Brain compatible Approaches for Motivating Reluctant Learners.” He brings his extensive experience teaching at-risk students to his presentations which focus on the M.E.A.N.S. (Memory, Emotion, Attention, New Meaning, Strategies) for making a difference. His workshop includes 32 Approaches for Motivating Reluctant Learners and is weighted toward practical classroom strategies that can be used immediately for at-risk (and indeed, all) students.

Tom Prescott (California) Telephone: (707) 255-2209
Tom recently retired from a thirty-four year career in secondary education. during that time he served as teacher, coach, Social Science Chairperson, Dean of Activities, Assistant Principal in charge of curriculum, and principal during a seven year tenure for a large comprehensive high school. Since retiring, Tom has taught a course entitled The Implications of Brain Research for Teaching and Learning to master’s candidates at Pacific Union college. He also supervises student teacher candidates. In addition, Tom is consulting for a large Fortune 500 company in the creation of a Learning and Development Department. His ability to synthesize his wide range of practical experience with the unfolding new information from brain research and present these ideas with insight and humor has earned him excellent evaluations as a presenter.

Leah Welte Ph.D. (California/Utah) Telephone: (949) 677-3420 (801) 224-1108
Leah’s energy, enthusiasm and humor create within her audience members the desire and self-confidence to employ principles revealed through brain research. She reaches teachers, administrators, students, and parents equally well because of her varied experience in teaching K-16, as well as extensive district and site-level administration in California. Leah energizes others with her knowledge and passion for brain-compatible teaching and learning at keynotes, workshops and multi-day trainings. Her expertise ranges from best brain strategies, to opportunities in the first twelve years, supporting the reading process, special needs youngsters (ADD, ADHD, gifted, eating disorder, bipolar), adolescent brain development, and how to keep the brain young. She promotes audience interaction, models best strategies, and provides information via power point presentations (personalized for each audience). Providing many practical applications for home and school, Leah leaves her participants excited to begin and eager to learn more!

Carolyn J. Cottrell, Ph.D. (Missouri) PH: (816) 943-1171 (home)   (816) 854-0166 (mobile) Carolyn is a lifelong educator, having taught students from ages 8 to 68, in public and private institutions.  After 35 years at Webster University, where she was Regional Director in both St. Louis and Kansas city, Carolyn has formed “Brain-Wiser” a consulting firm based on the idea that “the more we know about the brain, the better equipped we are to teach and train, parent, learn, take care of our own brains, and understand others.”  Since 2000, Carolyn has focused on ways brain research may be applied to teaching and learing at the post-secondary level, train and the workplace, and stress management.  She has written and presented nationally and internationally on these subjects and has trained with Dr. Pat Wolfe and others for 15 years.  Participants enjoy Carolyn’s enthusiasm and “walk-the-talk” strategies.  She customizes her presentations for each individual group.  Her mission is to share trusted neuroscience research and her own experiences with others so that they can apply brain concepts to their unique situation.   Her particular interest focus on brain-compatible strategies, stress management, brain development, creating curriulum, college teaching, teaching adults, and keeping the brain active trough the lifespan.

Elaine Coughlin (Portland, Oregon)  Phone: (503) 296-9370
Elaine gives well-delivered presentations, including “Coaching the Brain,” using scientific research to inform classroom practice. Elaine has been a teacher,  Talented
and Gifted Facilitator and Consultant in the Beaverton, Oregon School District. She is an Assistant professor for Pacific University’s College of Education. With extensive training in brain research, differentiation, Socratic Seminars, and Group Investigation, she has published and presented on these methods in the English Journal and at conventions of the National Council of Teachers of
English and the American Educational Research Association. She has presented for audiences including school districts, CES Northwest, Lewis and Clark College, the NWRESD, OCTE, OSPI Summer Institutes and OHSU’s Brain Awareness Week. She also conducts trainings for yearlong “New Teacher Academies” for several schools, inducting new teachers into their school communities and
building a community of life-long learners. Each Academy begins with “Coaching the Brain” in order to best select and apply instructional strategies, and includes methods such as Socratic Seminars and Group Investigation,

Cathy D. Gangstad (425) 865-9365
Cathy has 25-years of experience as a K-12 educator and professor specializing in child abuse and trauma, the effects of violence on the developing brain, at-risk students, special education, fragile brains: implications for cognitive and social learning, adolescent brain development, learning and memory, school violence prevention, drug and alcohol education, and brain-compatible instructional strategies. She is a well-respected, full-time consultant, presenter, and speaker who is known for her humor, empathy, and her ability to involve everyone in the wonder of learning. Her highly interactive workshops provide participants with educationally significant brain research while actively involving them in an examination of useful, practical teaching strategies designed to take advantage of how the brain learns best. One of the strengths of Cathy’s presentations is that participants can immediately apply the brain-compatible instructional strategies that she models throughout her presentations. Cathy has studied with Pat Wolfe, Eric Jensen, and others. Cathy is a much sought-after presenter.She is the author of “Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect: Putting the Pieces Together.”

Susan Clayton (British Columbia) 250.765.1313
Susan worked in the British Columbia education system for 30 years spanning the K-16 spectrum. She taught PE, math, history and Language Arts at the secondary level. She was an elementary school counselor for 12 years. Susan coordinated and provided staff development for 10 years in the areas of Family Life education, Child abuse prevention, career development, assessment and evaluation and in the Understanding by Design planning model. She worked for Simon Fraser University (British Columbia) in teacher education, focusing on how the brain learns with her student teachers. She taught in the University of Northern British Columbia’s MEd. program. Her counseling communications course focused on creating limbic resonance, regulation and revision based on the work of Lewis, Amini and Lannon’s “A General Theory of Love”. Susan has presented workshops on brain-compatible learning for school staffs and districts. Susan currently works as a private contractor primarily in the area of Understanding by Design. She has woven the information on how the brain learns into this work. Susan also facilitates schools and districts working on mission, vision and action plan structures; workshops on building community in classrooms through conversation; and workshops on brain compatible strategies for all grades in all subject areas. Susan’s workshops are grounded in experiential learning. She designs with the brain in mind. Participants are provided opportunities to try a variety of strategies, invited to stretch their thinking and try strategies outside of their preferred mode of learning.

Julie Crotty (Iowa) Phone (319) 239-8941
A career educator for nearly three decades, Julie Crotty has a passion for teaching and learning. During her 21 years in the classroom, she served various levels of special needs students as well as teaching in regular education classrooms. Since 2000 she has been providing K-12 professional development through her work as an educational consultant at Area Education Agency 267 in Northeast Iowa. In addition to numerous workshops she had conducted, Julie has taught a variety of college-level courses. Most recently she has been a key facilitator for a large initiative in Iowa regarding the redesign of high school programs.

Regardless of the level of her students, Julie utilizes her understanding of the brain as she designs and facilitates learning opportunities. Her engaging presentation style, enthusiasm for the content, and passion for learning combine to make her classes and workshops highly valuable and immediately applicable to classroom practice. Of special interest is her knowledge of human motivation theroy and how it is supported by current research on learning and the brain.

“Julie utilizes all of the brain-compatible learning strategies in her workshops that she recommends participants use in their classrooms. Her class was truly the most valuable I’ve ever taken! Years later, I am still using the information I gained and I’m a better teacher because of it!” (Quote from a class participant.)

Margaret Glick (California) Phone: (909) 982-6651
Margaret’s experience as a teacher, mentor, instructional coach, staff developer, administrator and instructor of a brain development and cognition courses combine to bring a wide range of skills and understanding to her work in education. Working with a wide diversity of school districts Margaret has adapted and differentiated her methods to achieve success in varied learning communities. Margaret’s areas of expertise includes the demonstrated ability to help schools and classroom teachers understand the relationship between current neuroscience research and its applications to education. Margaret offers an embedded coaching model for support as part of her work with schools which maximizes the effectiveness and implementation of brain-compatible classroom management, instruction, assessment and supervision.

Patrick Duncan (British Columbia); Phone: 250-475-4117
Pat Duncan has over 25 years of experience as a secondary school teacher, principal and associate superintendent of schools in the British Columbia public education system.  Pat also worked with the British Columbia Ministry of Education for a brief period of time.  As a principal, Pat was recognized and honored as a recipient of the Canada’s Outstanding Principal award. Pat is extremely passionate about investigating and sharing how we apply the latest findings in neuroeducation to improve motivation and learning amongst each and every one of our students. A spirited, humorous and entertaining speaker, Pat’s workshops focus on the most current brain research and its application to learning.   Pat has presented numerous workshops on brain-compatible learning for school staffs and districts.  In each of these workshops, Pat’s end in mind is to have every workshop participant leave the session with practical tools and strategies that are immediately applicable to classroom practice.  Pat has been trained by internationally acclaimed educator and author Dr. Patricia Wolfe.

Annie Acevedo  (Bogotá, Colombia)   Phone:  (571-3491080 Vonage  305-7353594 Annie
has been working as the Learning Center Director in Bogotá at Colegio Nueva Granada, the American School, for more than thirty years.  The brain and learning are her two passions. Helping learning disabled children led her to a deeper view into the brain.  Annie has various degrees including a posmasters degree in neuropsychology. Annie is also an international speaker on different themes including learning disabilities, parenting, happiness, adolescents, emotions and the brain. She is also the author of seven books, the last one was published a month ago in Spanish, is called  “Hazlos felices para que sean Buenos” –  “Make them happy so they become good” – and has to do with the brain and learning. She recently gave two conferences in Cartagena for the Tri Association which includes teachers from schools from the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.   Annie is totally bilingual and can offer workshops in English and Spanish

Dr. Lou E Whitaker (Orlando, Florida), Open Minds Enterprises,   Phone: 352-697-3429
Lou has a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Masters inAdministration and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Having over 35 years experience in education, she has been a teacher, an assistant principal, a principal, and served as the Associate Superintendent for Schools for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.  She was namedPrincipal of the Year and her school received the New and Innovative Ideas in Catholic Education Award as well as  the 2013Neuroscience-Based Teaching and Learning Award from the Learning Enhancement Corporation (LEC).  “Dr.Whitaker is to be commended for expertise and leadership in embedding a solid understanding of the brain and learning throughout the school.  It is exciting to see brain research being  embraced with such strong results for students.” (LEC, March 2013).As an Educational Consultant for Open Minds Enterprises, Dr. Whitaker provides seminars for a variety of groups from expectant parents to senior citizens.  She specializes in working with students, teachers, parents, and administrators in understanding “how the brain learns best.”  Her student presentations included cross-curricular assignments that are based on national Common Core Standards and Benchmarks.   Based on the latest neurological research, Dr. Whitaker compiled the most effective teaching techniques and methods into her StarfishStrategies.  Her professional development presentations are interactive, highly energetic and laced with humor.   Lou has presented at district, state and national conventions and is available for presentations and trainings.  “Lou is able to rally teachers and colleagues around her ideas as well as to communicate clear goals and strategies to attain them. She has done an exceptional job of transforming her school with brain-based strategies …” B. Hill, President & COO, Learning Enhancement Corporation.

Betsy Hill (Chicago, Illinois), The BrainWare Company,   Phone: 773-250-6467
Betsy Hill is an experienced educator and business leader who serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of The BrainWare Company, an organization focused on the application of neuroscience research to the teaching and learning process. Early in her career, she taught world languages and realized how little science had illuminated how the brain acquires and uses language. Since then, she has studied the application of neuroscience to education with Dr. Pat Wolfe, the author of Brain Matters, and an international authority on brain research and classroom practice, as well as other experts in the field. She has focused her research on scaffolding thinking skills from the basic cognitive process our brains use to take in, store, retrieve and manipulate information to executive functions and higher order cognitive processing.

Betsy has presented nationally and internationally, educating, teachers, clinicians, administrators and corporate managers on how the brain learns and how the rapidly developing discoveries of neuroscience researchers can help school leaders and practitioners address some of the most long-standing and perplexing problems in the education system – including closing the gap for historically underperforming students. She has gained important insights into the preparation of students for college and careers over the course of 14 years, two as chairperson, on the board of trustees of Chicago State University. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and an MBA, both from Northwestern University, and teaches strategic thinking in the MBA programs at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as the online course From Synapses to Strategies.

Dr. Sara Sawtelle (South Bend, Indiana), The BrainWare Company,   Phone: 773-250-6471

Sara M. Sawtelle, Ph.D. is the Director of Scientific Affairs for The BrainWare Company. She has served many roles in education prior to her current work—from instructional technology coordinator & chemistry teacher to training director to college chemistry professor at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN and the University of Memphis. Dr. Sawtelle received her Ph.D. from Boston College. Her career is focused on helping people learn, which includes the value of neuroscience-based tools in education at all levels, and helping people understand the value of field research. She has studied with Dr. Pat Wolfe, the author of Brain Matters, and other neuroscience experts, tracks neurocognitive research on an ongoing basis, and has served as a lead contributor to the Software and Information Industry Association guidelines on technology implementation in education. She has an extensive track record in training teachers, administrators and other educational staff on cognitive skills development, how the brain learns and best-practices for applying neuroscience in the classroom. She has led the implementation and analysis of dozens of research studies, including both published and field studies in authentic educational settings.

Dr. J. Michael Pragman Mobile 816.719.3138

Michael is a Director of Research, Evaluation and Data Accountability with the North Kansas City School District specializing in brain compatible learning and teaching for today’s educators.

Responsibilities include monitoring and creating assessments for a K-12 student population of 20,000.   Michael is establishing parameters for testing that maximize the potential of each child that promote brain development at appropriate intervals.  This focus on the child is creating a model school environment being recognized in the state of Missouri.

In 2013, Michael was asked to become an educational expert with NBC Parent Tool Kit. The website officially launched October 2013.  Check it out at  Dr. Pragman helped create instructional strategies for parents to use at home as examples of learning standards across the nation.   In 2015, he published an article for NBC promoting positive homework experiences between school and home.

Previously, Michael has been an elementary school principal for 17 years in Missouri with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.  He helped designed and opened Woodland Elementary School, a Kindergarten through sixth grade center serving 659 students.   Before that, he was principal of Westview Elementary in the same district.  Both schools have been named top 10 schools on multiple occasions in the state of Missouri for test scores and assessment while achieving balance with instructional practices and brain development.

Prior to his administrative work in Lee’s Summit, Michael was an urban administrator with the Kansas City, MO School District serving in the magnet school program in the Science and Math Investigative forum.  Michael was involved with one of the 5 original magnet schools promoting success through the sciences. During his third year with the magnet program, his staff was able to move to the third highest achieving elementary school in the district.

A former Speech-Language Pathologist, he has worked with students at the elementary, middle and high school level.   He is especially proud of his association with autism and deaf education.

Michael has presented seminars locally, nationally and internationally regarding the latest brain research on teaching and learning and translating this research into practical and effective strategies for the elementary classroom.   This has led him presenting at Escuela Internacional / Discovery School:  Teachers Teaching Teachers (T3), in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, February 2010; The Association of American Schools of Central America; Dominican Republic, October 2009; Readership Academy, International Reading Association (IRA), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the ASCD Powerful Learning Conferences.   17 years and counting, Michael is a trainer of brain compatible science having studied under Dr. Pat Wolfe, Napa, CA, who specializes in brain research for educators. Michael earned his B.S. in speech/language pathology, his M.S. in elementary administration and his Ed.S. in middle school administration, all from Southwest Missouri State University now known as Missouri State University.  He earned his Ed.D. in superintendency from the University of Kansas.

Finally, along with continuing to serve as a Director of Research and Data Accountability, Michael is a 12-year adjunct professor for William Woods University instructing classes M.Ed., Ed.S. and Ed.D. courses in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area.  His favorite courses to teach include Curriculum and Instruction with the Brain in Mind, Closing the Achievement Gap in Urban Education, Advanced School Law, Qualitative Research and Quantitative Analysis.