Our Team

The School & Main team includes our full-time staff and a devoted cadre of faculty from around the country.  


Andy Beck, Executive Director

Andy is the Executive Director of School & Main Institute. Andy has over 25 years of experience creating community-wide strategies that impact young people, their families, and the communities in which they live. Andy has been involved in efforts that range from educational leadership and teaching to workforce, youth and community development. At SMI, Andy has facilitated collaborative work at the federal, state and local level and is known nationally for his ability to bring systems that support youth (education, workforce, human services, juvenile justice, housing, etc.) together to achieve meaningful outcomes for youth and greater effectiveness and efficiency for the systems that support them. Andy has worked as a teacher, a building principal, and an instructor at the graduate level and is a former president of the Alternative School Alliance based in Massachusetts. When Andy’s not working, you might catch him at a basketball game or at a music concert.

Sue Brown, Financial Manager

Sue is School & Main Institute's Financial Manager. The co-founder of a local School-to-Career partnership in Summit County, Colorado, Sue is also a member of the Colorado Tech Prep/School-to-Career Advisory Board. She brings almost 20 years of financial management and small business ownership experience to the organization. Sue’s travels nearly span the globe and she loves the Rocky Mountains, and her extended family.

Kathy Flynn Woodland, Director of Field Services

Kathy brings over 25 years of extensive experience in the fields of education, youth development, workforce development, and community mobilization. Her work includes being a trainer, technical assistance provider, facilitator and strategist with PK-12 schools, districts, higher education, state and federal agencies, and community partners to build successful collaborations targeting education improvement and school to college/career transition initiatives. Kathy currently serves as a coach and technical assistance provider working with MA “turnaround” schools on the implementation of strategies related to improving climate & culture and the development of strong internal and external wraparound student support systems geared to improving graduation rates. She recently helped develop Rhode Island’s statewide interagency collaborative case management model for the state’s “highest risk” youth – dropouts, pregnant & parenting teens, foster care youth, and court-involved youth. Prior to working with SMI, Kathy was the Director of Partnership Development for the Massachusetts Office for School-to-Work Transition helping to mobilize and build the capacity of community partnerships by providing technical assistance in strategic planning, system benchmarking, program operations, sustainability planning, and continuous improvement/change management methods. Kathy’s professional experience also includes both local and statewide management of at-risk and out-of-school youth programs, administration of youth and adult local workforce development efforts, administration of a non-profit rehabilitation center, and as an archaeologist in the Hudson River Valley and Guatemala. 

Jean Hammes, Field Service Manager

Jean, has been a member of the School & Main Institute team since 2004 working on School-to-Work/School-to-Career efforts in Colorado, workforce development efforts in our statewide Texas Initiative and as a faculty member and TA provider in our national Institutes, Summits and capacity building sessions. She has been active in the field of project management and partnership development for many years, with experience in teaching, education reform, workforce development, community development initiatives, and program administration.

Born, raised, and educated in Iowa, Jean began her career teaching at a small Iowa high school. An opportunity to work on school-to-work partnership initiatives took her to California for 5 years working as Project Director for the Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR) in Emeryville, California, where she managed the workflow across multiple large-scale projects located in four states, and worked with the team in conducting research to support projects and remain on the forefront of policy and practice. In 2004, Jean started working and collaborating on education and workforce development initiatives with School & Main Institute in several states and localities. Jean has provided training and technical assistance supporting educational reform, partnership skills building, and strengthening workforce development linkages to support youth investment and community youth development systems.

Jean has also served as the Program Director for the Alpine Agency on Aging, a program of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments.  She was responsible for a wide range of functions related to advocacy, planning, coordination, inter-agency linkages, contracting, evaluating and program development.  She administered and coordinated the delivery of services, including evidenced-based programming, for a five-county area. She successfully provided and managed federal and state programs and funds. 

Susannah Madan-Erbil, Project Manager

Susannah Madan-Erbil has been working at SMI since 2000. Prior to her work with SMI, she worked in the marketing department of an Internet company where she assisted in marketing their educational program to schools across the country. Susannah has an MA in Education from Simmons College, Boston, MA and she taught third grade for one year before returning to the business world. After receiving her BA from Barnard College, New York, NY in German Studies, she worked in the translation business for three years. With Susannah’s many years living in Germany and Turkey, she is our resident German-Turkish guru.

Nora Priest, Field Service Manager

Nora has over 20 years of experience in education; youth program design, public/private sector partnership development, publishing, and instructional technology design. An SMI staff member and associate since 1994, she has provided training and technical assistance to numerous state and community level education and workforce partnerships. She also spent five years immersed in the educational technology market as Vice President for Educational Services at KidsEnergy, an innovative e-learning company she helped found. There she served as lead architect and project director for large scale e-learning applications, including ProjectPower, a project-based learning application, and a suite of tools for Big Picture Learning’s national network of high schools. Nora also owns MindMoxie, a creative educational design company which does web application and curriculum product development for K-16 publishers and other educational organizations. Previous career adventures include work with the national office of Reading is Fundamental and the Fulbright Teacher Exchange program in Washington, DC, and two years in Haiti, where she helped found and direct a children’s home, school, and clinic. In addition to her field work expertise, Nora is our resident technology whiz and loves living near the ocean.

William Rodriguez, School & Main Institute Faculty and Coach

Williie has been part of the School & Main team for over 15 years. He has contributed to our work on the Roxbury Youth Network, Boston Campaign for Proficiency and “Reimaging Juvenile Justice” partnership effort we are building with Wheelock College.  Willie has served in a variety of leadership positions such as executive director of La Alianza Hispana, the Boston Campaign for Proficiency, the Crime and Justice Institute and as Project Director to Bail Alternative and Alternative Sentencing Projects at The Vera Institute of Justice.  He also has served as Special Assistant to the President on Latino Affairs at Northeastern University.  In that capacity he co-founded the Latino Cultural Center, Latino, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program and helped develop Latino retention scholarships.  

Willie is a passionate and zealous advocate for human rights, social justice, and democratic equity for youth.  He is a recognized and influential leader in the Latino community in Massachusetts.  He is a pre-law advisor to students and co-advisor to the Latino student organization La Herencia Latina at Wheelock College.  He also was a research and writing contributor to the Boston Bar Association Task Force on Justice Report on Corrections, Bridging the Public Safety Gap - Prisoner Re-entry report for the Crime and Justice Foundation (1998).  Both reports led to criminal justice systemic reform and new program development in Massachusetts. Willie also serves as  Assistant Professor at Wheelock College in Boston and as Chair of the Juvenile Justice/Youth Advocacy Department.

Patricia Spradley, School & Main Institute Faculty and Coach

Pat has worked with School & Main on School-to-Career / School-to-Work efforts all the way back to the late 1990’s. She was a key component in the development of the Springfield Parent Academy – an SMI capacity building effort that helps parents and families develop effective partnerships with the public schools, while also helping caring adults develop skills and employment opportunities. Pat is the Chief of Parent and Community Engagement for Springfield Public Schools, in Massachusetts.  As Chief Officer, reporting to the Superintendent, she strategically engages key parents, community, and political and institutional partner support to assist with student achievement.  She currently has direct responsibility for Workforce Development, School Volunteers, Parent Facilitators & Family Education, the Parent and Community Engagement Center, the Springfield Parent Academy, Student Assignment Services, Homeless Educational Services, Migrant Refugee Support Services, Home Schooling, METCO and School Choice/Charters. 

Pat was born in Philadelphia, PA and is married to Willie L. Spradley, Jr.  They are the proud parents of four grown children, Sean, Tara, Dwight and Derek and four grandchildren.    In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to jazz, sewing, watching basketball and vacationing.  Pat holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources/Personnel Management, a Master’s degree in Organizational Development and a Massachusetts State Certification in Educational Administration.  She recently was nationally recognized by Education Week as a 2015 “LEADER TO LEARN FROM”.

Ephraim Weisstein, Schools for the Future Director 

A longtime associate and SMI collaborator, Ephraim has extensive experience helping school districts and communities in New England and across the nation make strategic investments based on analyzing student data and current and missing resources. While Vice President at the Commonwealth Corporation, Ephraim helped lead and design the Massachusetts’ Pathways to Success by 21 (P-21) initiative where he worked closely with state and local district leaders to implement resource mapping as a key method to identify gaps and duplication in available resources and the implications for strategic planning and policy development. He currently is working with the New York City Department of Education on a similar process for NYC’s large disconnected youth population. As an SMI associate, Ephraim has worked closely with both New York State officials in the Depts. of Education and Labor, as well as key leadership from several Alabama rural communities on the development and implementation of a shared vision for youth with the purpose of deepening collaborations—whether at the state or local level—and helping partners gain a better understanding of available youth services and resources and how to strategically maximize their use and foster new opportunities. Ephraim is currently launching Schools for the Future, a network of innovative fully performance-based schools designed to serve students old enough to enter high school but who have been held back 2 or more times, with significant gaps in basic reading and math skill development.

Beatriz McConnie Zapater, School & Main Institute Faculty and Coach

Beatriz is the newest member of our team. Over the past 40 years, she has created successful programs to prepare off-track youth to graduate from high school and continue on to post-secondary education. Beatriz strongly believes in student-centered, culturally-responsive, and equitable education, and understands that collaboration with community-based organizations and institutions are essential in order to develop the whole student. She has a profound belief that the development of the whole person (body, mind and spirit) is an essential human right. We first worked with Beatriz on our innovative blended learning models – Using Technology/On-Line Learning With At Risk Youth – in Massachusetts.

Beatriz began her career in education as an ESL teacher of Latino adults in Boston’s South End. Teaching then led her to develop and lead new schools and programs in both non-profit community-based organizations, and public schools in Boston. These have included El Centro del Cardenal/Cardinal Cushing Center, Greater Egleston Community High School, and Boston Day and Evening Academy.

In addition to her direct work with students and faculty, she has also been a Leadership Coach to district superintendents, administrators, principals and faculty, and facilitated participatory processes whereby schools and organizations can make strategic planning decisions that will transform culture and climate, and ultimately, students' educational outcomes.

Beatriz is also the author of two children’s books: Fiesta! and Three Kings’ Day.  She balances her work by staying healthy through fitness, making and enjoying art, playing and enjoying music, cooking, and staying connected to nature and family.

Beatriz holds a B.A. in Fine Arts and Liberal Arts and an Ed.M in Bilingual Education and Teaching ESOL, both from Boston University.  

In a Nutshell

Founded in 1985 at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Social Policy and Management, School & Main Institute (SMI) has grown into a nationally recognized, independent non-profit training and partnership development organization that has worked with organizations and state agencies in more than 35 states.


School & Main Institute staff and faculty have years of expertise as organizational leaders, program developers, trainers, and facilitators in the fields of education, workforce preparation, youth and community development.

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