Ronald W. Ogrodnik, Ph.D.Founder and President
Ideation – Strategic – Maximizer – Relator – Activator
After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ogrodnik became a licensed Psychologist and began his career in colleges as both professor and administrator. His path in life lead him to a variety of careers including many personal business ventures and leadership roles in a variety of educational and business settings.
His expertise are in the areas of Mergers and Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Organizational Development, and Leadership Development/Selection. His vision is to enhance the lives of people through Sarasota University.
Chuck Mlynarczyk, Ph.D.Vice President of Academic Affairs
Achiever – Intellection – Adaptability – Ideation – Maximizer
Dr. Mlynarczyk has more than 40 years experience in higher education both as a teacher and administrator in the public and private sectors. He has served as department chair of Teacher Education, department chair of Information and Communication Technology, Associate Dean of Professional Studies, Dean of Education and Assistant to the President for Institutional Planning and Budgeting. In addition, he has directed several National Science Foundation in-service professional development grants for the improvement of mathematics, science, and technology education. His doctoral degree is in Educational Administration with an emphasis on Operations Research and computer management systems. His current teaching focus is on instructional and administrative uses of computer technology and data driven decision making.
Dr. Mlynarczyk believes in the inherent worth of individuals and is an advocate for strengths-based leadership. He enjoys helping others work toward improvement and achievement of personal and professional goals.
Doug Riedmiller, Psy.D.Director of Operations and Regulatory Affairs
Maximizer – Strategic – Relator – Learner – Empathy
Dr. Douglas G. Riedmiller has over twenty-five years of experience in higher education teaching and administration. He has held various titles within educational institutions from lecturer to professor and from associate dean to Vice President. He received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges located in Southern California. He obtained his masters and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology at The Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida. Following his internship and residency at The University of Tennessee College of Medicine Dr. Riedmiller returned to Florida. His training and experience in higher education curriculum design and leadership as well as organizational, group and individual dynamics supports his current service to Sarasota University. As a licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Riedmiller understands, respects and is fully invested in Sarasota University’s unique commitment to Strengths Based Learning. His focus with Sarasota University is to help it reach the goals of providing superior education to students and playing a vital role in the well being of the university community and society in general.
Ryan Ogrodnik, MFA
Futuristic – Includer – Connectedness – Ideation – Self-Assurance
Ryan has earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from John Carroll University, a Master of Fine Arts from Miami International University of Art & Design, and is currently working on a second Masters degree in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling from Youngstown State University. He has an eclectic mix of professional experiences in a number of different industries. He has spent time at NFL Films in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, at Ameriprise Financial in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area as a Financial Advisor, and in Admissions and Advising at several institutions of higher learning including Kent State University, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and Robert Morris University.
Jonathan Small, DBADirector of Student Services, Registrar and Technology Support
Maximizer – Strategic – Relator – Learner – Empathy
Dr. Jonathan Small has over 13 years of experience in higher education teaching and the Information Technology (IT) industry. He has held various positions within educational institutions from adjunct professor to lecturer and within government agencies from business analyst to Sr. Operational Manager. He received his associate’s degree in Information Technology from Manatee Community College. He obtained his bachelors in Business Administration, masters in Business Administration/Information Systems, and doctorate degree in Business Administration/Management from Argosy University, Sarasota Campus. His training also encompasses many certifications within the IT industry such as Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, ITIL v3, Certified Ethical Hacker, Scrum certified, and Security +. He also has extensive experience within the administration to various Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Blackboard, Sakai, Sycamore, eCollege, and Campus. His role within the organization is to help with platform management, course creation, student and faculty support, transcript creation, and the graduation process.
Melissa Kaulbach, Ed.D.Chair of Montessori Programs & Faculty in College of Education
Strategic – Communication – Maximizer – Achiever – Includer
Dr. Kaulbach earned a certificate in Montessori Leadership from Montessori Live and completed her Master’s in Instructional Leadership with a concentration in Montessori Education. During the completion of her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, she served as Head of School for two Pre – K through elementary Montessori campuses. She is passionate about Montessori and is an advocate for infusing the Montessori philosophy and practices in all learning environments.
Dr. Kaulbach has been in the education industry for twenty three years and involved in Montessori for the last eight years. Her experience includes teaching elementary through higher education, Head of School for two Pre – K through elementary Montessori campuses, Principal, Curriculum Director, Educational Consultant, University Director of Internships, University Director of Faculty Training, and a University Professor. She has presented at numerous conferences and has served on university-wide committees including: Accreditation, Curriculum Redesign, and Rubric Development.
Dr. Kaulbach is interested in research that focuses on improving the student experience in adult learning environments. She is specifically interested in strength-based and Montessori education, because it allows students the opportunity to discover and learn in their desired mode of instruction with an emphasis on their strengths.
Julius L. Wynn, Ed.D.Faculty in College of Education
Strategic – Discipline – Achiever – Belief – Connectedness
Dr. Wynn earned his EdD in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida. He earned his BS from Florida State University and his MA from the University of South Florida. He holds an active Florida professional Educator’s Certificate and is currently a middle school assistant principal in Pinellas County, Florida. He has worked in Pinellas County Schools for 27 years. He has also worked at several colleges and universities and serves as a Quality Matters trainer.
He received a kidney in January 2008, from a member of the church in which he is the Pastor in Tampa. This restored life opportunity has fueled Dr. Wynn’s goal of helping students and educators to learn as Immanuel Kant states, “Do the right thing because it’s the right thing.” He has a passion for Educational Leadership, Ethics and Diverse populations. He has served on several college committees and has also designed courses. He is excited about helping students learn how to incorporate a Strengths-Based approach into their education practices.
Therese Kanai, Ph.D.Faculty in College of Education
Achiever – Harmony – Learner – Responsibility – Consistency
Dr. Therese Kanai is from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii and has been involved in the field of education for the last twenty five years. She taught high school for over ten years and embraced experiential learning and implemented a hands-on approach to engage students. Dr. Kanai earned her MA from Heritage University and her PhD from Walden University.
Dr. Kanai has taught online since 1998. During her higher education teaching career, she has taught at the undergraduate level, graduate level, and assisted several doctoral students as they developed and wrote their dissertation on Montessori education. Dr Kanai also presents at educational conferences each year. Dr. Kanai’s passion is online education and she truly believes that is the venue for the future of education.
Paula Klanot, Psy.D.Faculty in College of Education
Developer – Achiever – Responsibility – Individualization – Empathy
After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, Dr. Klanot attended the School of Professional Psychology at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida. While pursuing her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology at Florida Tech, Dr. Klanot developed an interest in working with children and families. After further developing her skills as a clinical psychology intern at the Santa Ana Child Guidance Center in Santa Ana, California, Dr. Klanot began her 25 year involvement in private practice, where she provides clinical services to the community, community and school consultation, as well as court services.
Dr. Paula J. Klanot has been teaching in higher education for over 15 years. She has held a number of positions in traditional, blended, and fully online programs, including instructor, professor and program chair for various counseling and education programs. Dr. Klanot has been instrumental in assisting universities in developing effective online-based programs for the non-traditional student. She continues to teach online courses while maintaining her clinical work within the community. She is excited to be a part of Sarasota University’s Strength-Based Learning community, as this philosophy aligns closely with her own clinical and educational beliefs and approaches.
Janice Fletcher, Ed.D.Faculty in College of Education
Connectedness – Developer – Adaptability – Positivity – Empathy
Dr. Fletcher has presented the content of her two books Wisdom from the Inner Teacher: Turning Aha!s into OWL Moments (Optimal Wisdom Learning) and Teach with Spirit: The Teacher’s Inward Journey Guide to many Montessori audiences, locally, regionally and nationally. Her books are being used with Montessori schools as book studies and in Montessori teacher preparation curriculums. Dr. Fletcher has partnered with Tim Seldin and CGMS with webinars and IMC to present her books’ messages in conference breakout sessions. She has authored a number of articles for Montessori Leadership (which can be read on janicefletcher.com).
Four advanced degrees: Bachelor of Elementary Education, Masters, Specialist and Doctorate in Educational Administration, are the foundation for her thirty plus years in education. She has served primarily in the public school setting as teacher, principal (she was awarded the Nationally Distinguished Principal award for the state of Georgia) assistant superintendent and was principal coach with Charlotte Mecklenburg schools.
Kym Elder, Ed.D.Faculty in College of Education
Learner – Belief – Futuristic – Individualization – Empathy
Kym Elder is founder and executive director of Island Village Montessori Charter and Early Childhood Programs as well as founding director of Montessori Live Educator Training Program. Kym earned a master of education in charter school educational leadership and a doctor of education in instructional technology and distance education from Nova Southeastern University. Kym has been an educator and administrator for 20 years. She holds AMS Montessori certifications for both elementary and early childhood levels and Florida professional certifications in educational leadership (K-12), elementary education (K-6), integrated middle school curriculum (5-9), exceptional student education (K-12), and earth and space science (9-12).
Michelle Lee Thompson, M.Ed.Faculty in College of Education
Strategic – Relator – Responsibility – Achiever – Connectedness
Michelle Lee Thompson has enjoyed over 20 years of educating children and adults. She is currently the Founder, Dean and Executive Director of Hand In Hand Christian Montessori, located in Roseville, Minnesota, which serves 250 children and their families. She also is a co-owner and teacher of KinderStudio of Musik that was held on Campus of University of Northwestern-St. Paul and recently celebrated its 20th year and with over 1000 registrants. She co-leads, along Mrs. Marlene Lee, the Child Alive Institute which purpose is to enlighten, educate and encourage the educator to see the child as intended to be – fully alive!
A graduate of Montessori Centre International in London, England, Michelle holds a Certificate of Montessori Theory with Merit. Michelle’s Montessori mentors include Dr. Lorna Heyge, from Musikgarten, Mrs. Audrey Sillick from the Toronto Montessori Training Center and Dr. Paul Czaja. She holds an Elementary Education Degree with Business from Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota; and a Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership with a Montessori Concentration from Argosy University, Sarasota, Florida.
Krista Cross, MA.Ed.Faculty in College of Education
Achiever – Maximizer – Individualizer – Relator – Responsibility
Krista Cross has been working in Montessori education for twenty years. After graduating From Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences, and an emphasis in Child Language Development, she studied Montessori education. Her training includes Early Childhood through St. Nicholas and certification in Elementary I and II through the Center for Montessori Teacher Education (CMTE). Both are AMS affiliated. She also has Master’s Degree in Montessori Education and Curriculum. Ms. Cross was one of four Arizona educators awarded the prestigious National Educator Award in 2000 by the Milken Family Foundation.
Throughout her years teaching in classrooms ranging from Pre Primary through Elementary II, Ms. Cross trained in programs such as Project Read and Read Naturally. She works with both students and teachers on Montessori curriculum as a Program Coordinator and Director of Education. She has also been a charter holder and Executive Board member of Montessori Academy in Paradise Valley, Arizona since 2002.