Who We Are

Founders and Co-Owners

Marco Ramirez, BS, M.Ed

  Marco Ramirez is a national presenter and the 2006 Arizona Milken Foundation Principal Educator of the year. He has worked for the Arizona Department of Education as a facilitator for the Mathematics Standards development and as a facilitator for the Arizona Instrument for Measuring Standards performance objective task team.  He has also been a program committee member for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Washington D.C. conference as well as a presenter for the National Research Council in the area of mathematics.

Marco Ramirez has been a principal for over 10 years.  He has worked as a math coach for 6 years and has taught in both the elementary level and middle school level.  He has served as the Dean of Mathematics for Tucson Unified School District for which he supported the district in providing mathematics professional development and providing systemic reform support in the area of mathematics.  Marco was also a principal coach for the Arizona Department of Education Wallace Foundation, a mathematics consultant for Marilyn Burns Education Associates, and West Ed.  He has been a mathematics staff developer for over 20 years.

Marco co-authored the book, Small Steps Big Changes, Eight Essential Practices for Transforming Schools Through Mathematics with Chris Confer and together they produced 6 DVDs on classroom instruction, anchor charts, journaling, and using manipulatives to be released in the Fall of 2012. Marco is co-owner of Associates for Educational Success, an Education Consulting Firm.

Chris Confer, BA, M.Ed., Admin.

8-2-10Chris Confer is one of the nation’s leading presenters on mathematics, school improvement, and effective instruction. Her lively, engaging workshops and presentations are grounded in her extensive classroom experience with students of all ages. Chris’s presentations reflect her 35 years of experience as a teacher, an instructional coach and a district co-director of mathematics. Chris has authored numerous books on mathematics instruction, and has consulted for 25 years, both nationally and internationally.

Chris understands the key role that comprehension plays in mathematics, and how fluent skills and solid conceptual learning create effective webs of understanding. She and Marco Ramirez co-authored an exciting new book, Small Steps, Big Changes: Eight Essential Practices for Transforming Schools Through Mathematics. This book shares stories from the perspectives of the teacher, the principal, and the math coach, and will serve as a springboard for transformative school improvement discussions. Her other books, Math By All Means: Geometry for Grades 1 and 2, Developing Number Sense: Kindergarten, Developing Number Sense: Grade 1, and Sizing Up Measurement: Grades 3-5 describe mathematics activities and instruction that inspire students to say, “Yes, I can!”

Consultants and Associates

Jennifer Goodwin, Lead Consultant

Jenny Goodwin has been in education for over 15 years.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree, from Texas A&M University, in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Early Childhood Development.  Jenny has worked in a variety of roles in Title I schools including teacher, facilitator, and instructional mathematics coach.  During her time as a classroom teacher she had a track record of getting results.  From teaching first graders to read to getting fourth graders to pass a state exam, she held students to high expectations and guided them to success year after year.  As an instructional coach she worked closely with administration and teachers to develop a mathematics system that generated growth in all students and teachers.  She has provided Professional Development to adult learners for over ten years and has presented at state level and national level conferences.  Her presentations are engaging and interactive, but more importantly, they are targeted and provide teachers and administrators with activities and steps that are easy to implement immediately to create change.  Jenny is passionate about using best practices in the classroom to allow students the opportunity to discover for themselves the world of math and problem solving and the power it gives the students once they realize they hold the key.

Troy Noble, M.Ed., Lead Consultant

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Troy Noble has been in the field of education for over 12 years as a teacher, coach and interventionist.  He has a Master’s Degree in Administration and has worked in a variety of environments from K-8 schools through high schools.  He majored in mathematics as an undergraduate student and holds a degree in Middle Level Education.  Through careful questions and real world scenarios, along with captivating anecdotes, Troy brings math alive in the classroom and generates an environment rich in mathematical vocabulary and content.  His ability to teach across multiple grade levels allows him to model lessons for all teachers while at the same time he demonstrates small changes that can be implemented to improve student achievement and teacher pedagogy.


Jennifer Dower

Jennifer Dower started off as a classroom teacher before also designing curriculum and assessments for her district. Each year, during the last four years of her teaching career, she was nominated for teacher of the year.  She has been trained in Conscious Discipline and believes in using hands-on and engaging ways to learn. She has been featured in the American Chemical Society magazine for her classroom’s partnership with a chemist. Jennifer was part of AES mathematics professional development in Pflugerville ISD, Austin Texas.  As a result of her work with AES, her classroom student data increased and was recognized for her work.  She has presented and modeled mathematics instruction in grade levels K-8. She is fluent in sign language and enjoys teaching hearing students different words and phrases. She is certified to teach special education, English language learners, and Deaf education.  Jennifer is currently working with staff development for Associates for Educational Success.

Marcie Gumienney, M.Ed.

Marcie Gumienny has over 20 years of experience inspiring students and teachers in several states with her passion for making sense of mathematics.  Marcie received a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Mathematics from Texas A&M University. She earned her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in mathematics from Virginia Commonwealth University under Dr. John Van de Walle where she developed her passion for teaching math.  A three-time teacher of the year recipient, Marcie is dedicated to developing an appreciation and understanding of mathematics.  She has developed curriculum for districts and the state of Virginia as well as presented at local, state and regional NCTM conferences.  Marcie received professional development from Associates for Educational Success that transformed her instructional patterns and further developed her content knowledge.  The student success using the AES systems of learning were a stepping stone for wanting to work with teachers to share her success. Marcie loves talking math with teachers, but is really in her element in the classroom, interacting with students to help them understand and grow their knowledge.  Marcie is currently working with Associates for Educational Success to support teachers in developing their teaching and student success.

Valerie Seldon

Valerie Selden has served her community in various educational capacities for over a decade. She obtained a dual-certification degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo in Elementary & Special Education and began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English and training Ni-Vanuatu K-8 teachers in literacy instruction. She earned her Master’s degree as a reading specialist at the University of Arizona while working as an AmeriCorps volunteer for a literacy non-profit organization in South Tucson. Valerie has worked as a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade teacher, an instructional coach and has written curriculum for Tucson Unified School District. Valerie has training in Understanding Backwards Design (UBD), Essential Elements of Instruction (EEI), Culturally Responsive pedagogy, Math Modeling, Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and Guided Reading. She is passionate about engaging teachers in reflective dialogue about their instructional practices and is thrilled to be part of the AES team!

Jessica Agnew-Weil, B.Ed, MA


Jessica Agnew-Weil holds a Master’s Degree in Middle School Mathematics Teaching and Leadership and a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona.  She has a current K-8 teaching certification with an SEI and a Math Specialist endorsement.  She has received extensive training in Cognitively Guided Instruction in mathematics from the University of Arizona.  Jessica has worked with students in K-6 classrooms in Tucson Unified School District as an SEI classroom teacher, an ELD teacher at a culturally/linguistically diverse school, a school math specialist and an instructional coach and mentor.  Jessica participated in the development of the district curriculum for Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core) and facilitated math professional development to district teachers.  Jessica also worked with the Institute of Mathematics Education at the University of Arizona to present Common Core Toolkit Trainings to teachers across Southern Arizona.  She participated in the planning and presentation of project-based learning STEM workshops for the Pima Regional Support Center and co-authored a web-based course on the Standards for Mathematical Practices for the Arizona Department of Education.

Jessica is committed to supporting teachers and students in mathematics education.  She enjoys embedding technology and hands-on, minds-on investigations into math instruction.  She is passionate about equity in education and making content meaningful for culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Karolyn Williams, M.Ed.

Karolyn Williams has been an enthusiastic elementary educator for the last 17 years.  Her experience has been working with minority and low-income students from grades preschool to 4.  Karolyn currently is an instructional coach in Tucson Unified School District. She received comprehensive instruction at the National Multiage Institute in Flagstaff and continues team-teaching in a 3rd/4th multiage classroom.  Karolyn was a Rodel Exemplary Teacher Semi-finalist.  Karolyn was selected to participate at DMI (Developing Mathematical Ideas) in Massachusetts and also presented for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in Washington D.C.  She co-authored the chapter “Co-teaching: A Powerful Tool in the book: The Math Coach Field Guide.  Karolyn developed math assessments and coordinated a math investigation study for Tucson Unified School District support staff and teachers along with a pacing calendar for implementation.  She organized and assisted in writing math “Problems of the Day” to support district math adoption for grades kindergarten through 5.  Karolyn co-authored Math by the Month for Teaching Children Mathematics Magazine: Published by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  Her students have achieved an exceptional record of high performance on the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards in mathematics.  She continues researching, co-teaching, and exploring student’s mathematical thinking.

Dora Saldamando

Dora Saldamando was selected as a 2010 semi-finalist in the Rodel Foundation of Arizona’s search for exemplary teachers. She has also worked as a mathematics consultant for Marilyn Burns Education Associates and has been a mathematics facilitator and coach for Tucson Unified School District in planning and implementing professional development workshops and at a Summer Mathematics Institute for teachers to ensure successful mathematics instruction across the curriculum.  Furthermore, Dora  has presented and modeled mathematics instruction in classroom settings to assist and support teachers throughout the Tucson Unified School District.  She has presented at math workshops for the Center for the Mathematics Education for Latino Students, Waggoner Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona and at the University of Arizona-College of Education. She has assisted in designing a district-wide math assessments and a rubric system for Tucson Unified School District.  Dora Saldamando has been an elementary school teacher at Pueblo Gardens K-8 School for the last 13 years and has participated as a co-author for Teaching Children Mathematics monthly magazine for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  She was also selected and acknowledged as a “Site Educator for Excellence” by Teacher Feature link in the Northeast Region-Tucson Unified School District.

Elizabeth Egan, M.Ed.

Elizabeth Egan has been an elementary school teacher at Pueblo Gardens K-8 School for the last 13 years.  She has taught grades Kindergarten through Fourth Grade.   Elizabeth has had extensive training through Title 1 Mathematics Projects, NCTM, as well as Math Solutions.  In 2009, Elizabeth was acknowledged to participate in the Talent Transfer Initiative. She is considered a “benchmark” teacher.  Her classroom has an excellent history of performing plus on the AIMS test in mathematics.  She is bilingually certified and has experience in Bilingual Classrooms as well as SEI Designated Classrooms.  She has been trained with the National Multiage Institute and has taught Multiage in a team teaching situation for the last eight years.  She has extensive knowledge and training in teaching second language learners.      She has also worked as a mathematics coach for Tucson Unified School District in planning and implementing professional development workshops.  In addition, Elizabeth has facilitated   “lesson studies” in classrooms with the purpose to model and support quality math instruction.  She has had experience being the AIMS Testing Coordinator.  She assisted in developing and implementing a district-wide math assessment and a rubric system for Tucson Unified School District in addition to developing the mathematics pacing calendar for the third and fourth grades.   Furthermore, she assisted in creating Math Problems of the Day for the Tucson Unified School District’s Schools who were using the “Investigations” Units for first through fourth grades.

Judith Rogers


Nora Ramirez

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