A natural empath, Nancy is driven to find a way to appreciate and to advocate for every teacher and student she works with. Her passion for increasing student learning aligns with her capacity for discovering and implementing communication strategies that stabilize classrooms and accelerate learning. Nancy has an intuitive ability to read a situation and know the next steps to take. Based in part on her own 22 years of classroom experience, Nancy developed the Catalyst Approach with creative partner Jacki Brickman.
After 11 years of teaching, Andrea was ready to leave the classroom, and after she started implementing Catalyst Approach strategies, she stayed for 11 more! Now, Andrea channels her 22 years of expertise into helping other teachers live their best lives. She has diverse experience in both subject matter and grade level, having worked with all grades from pre-K to 8th and taught music and PE. She has worked in Montessori, private, charter, and public school settings, with many years spent working in schools with high Somali and East African populations. Andrea loves the way that the 7 gems enable teachers to preserve their time and energy and have a more balanced life in and outside of the classroom. She is passionate about fostering teacher-student relationships to increase opportunities for student learning.
Nati spent 16 years teaching in Minneapolis, dividing her time between all four corners of the city and working with 2nd through 6th grades in schools varying from 5 to 99 percent free and reduced lunch. Nati’s passion for social justice and dismantling inequity informs her work inside and outside of the classroom. As a trained yoga instructor, she believes that the Catalyst Approach aligns with the way she sees the world. Her favorite gem is Exit Directions because of its creative visual aspect, and she finds that low breathing and increased pausing help her both listen more deeply and honor the introvert in her—a win-win!
Kim has come full circle back to her passion of working with educators, after following her heart to become a licensed professional counselor and developing her entrepreneur side by opening a restaurant in Honduras! She has taught at various grade levels and in an assortment of settings: rural, suburban, psychiatric and international. Her 14 years abroad fed a deep curiosity about human nature and the belief that we are all more alike than different, no matter our life circumstances. Her favorite part of the Catalyst Approach is the focus on creating calm atmospheres, where both adults and students can cultivate strong relationships to maximize opportunities for learning.
Eva brings her experience in office administration, recruiting, and marketing to the MEC team, where she enjoys working with a wide variety of districts, schools, principals, and teachers and supporting them on their Catalyst Approach journey. She loves hearing feedback about the impact that the Catalyst Approach makes in schools, getting to see teachers implement the 7 gems (especially MITS—how long will they pause!?), and strategizing with clients to maximize the benefits of the Catalyst Approach.
Beckie joined the MEC team after years of graphics work in advertising and marketing. She is grateful for the opportunity to enter the world of education and enjoys witnessing the profound impact this work has on educators and students. As Site Visit Coordinator, she is able to share the talents of our trained host teachers with their colleagues who are eager to begin the process.
An award-winning teacher with a passion for helping everyone become better at what they do, Jacki Brickman is a pro at relating to people. She has a reputation for empowering people through her keen observations and insightful feedback. Be prepared for hilarious reenactments of her personal and professional experiences. Her ability to captivate diverse audiences suggests that she might just practice the communication skills she teaches.
A hyperactive child who graduated from high school with a 4th grade reading level, Michael Grinder went on to earn a Master’s degree, became runner-up for Washington’s Teacher of the Year, and authored 13 books including the ENVoY Trilogy. He is the master of, and world-renown expert in, the power of influence, the science of nonverbal communication, leadership, group dynamics, advanced relationship building skills, and presentation skills. Nancy and Jacki are grateful for his guidance and mentorship.