With Understanding Comes Calm Advisory Council

Gathering together experts in education, giftedness, business and virtual platforms, WUCCAC provides advice and wisdom to identify and meet our goals. I am grateful to our advisors for their time and dedication to the With Understanding Comes Calm mission of empowering parents, educators, clinicians and 2e adults to bring out the best and raise self-confidence through education, strategies and advocacy training.

With Understanding Comes Calm Advisory Council Members

Wendy Behrens

Gifted and Talented Education Specialist at Minnesota Department of Education

Wendy A. Behrens serves as the Gifted and Talented Education specialist for the Minnesota Department of Education, providing leadership and consultation services for educators, administrators and parents. She provides technical assistance to and collaborates with institutions of higher education, professional organizations, educator networks and others interested in promoting rigorous educational opportunities. Behrens served as Project Director for Project North Star, a Jacob Javits Grant. She presents frequently on the nature and needs of gifted learners, instructional strategies, service design, and policies that support highly able learners. Behrens co-authored Exploring Critical Issues in Gifted Education: A Case Studies Approach, Differentiated Instruction for Gifted Learners: A Case Studies Approach and Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance and Single Subject as well as several book chapters in gifted education textbooks. Prufrock Press will publish her latest book, Understanding the Unique Needs of Twice Exceptional Learners: building a Bridge from Research to Practice in 2020.

Prior to her service to the state, Behrens worked for 12 years as a district K–12 gifted services coordinator and a consultant for the Science Museum of Minnesota. She is a frequent presenter on instructional strategies, assessment, comprehensive service design and evaluation, and policies that support gifted learners. Behrens has been an invited speaker in the Middle East, Far East and Europe.

Behrens is an active member of NAGC, previous Presidential Award recipient and serves on the board of the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted, as secretary of the Council for Exceptional Children – The Association for the Gifted, as an elected delegate to the World Council on Gifted Children. She serves on advisory boards for the Northwestern University Center for Talent Development, Gifted Child Today, and The Grayson School.

Beki Bahar-Engler

Chief Administrative Officer at Graduate Management Admission Council™ (GMAC™)

Beki Bahar-Engler joined GMAC in October 2019 in the new position of Chief Administrative Officer. In this role, she has executive oversight for GMAC’s Human Resources, Legal, Finance and Facilities functions, leading an integrated team charged with building the administrative, financial and human capital infrastructure in support of GMAC’s mission and enabling its strategic direction. Beki has extensive experience in both the profit and non-profit sectors, specializing in strategy, talent, finance, and technology. Her most recent position before joining GMAC was as Senior Vice President for Partnerships and Infrastructure at Leadership for Educational Equity. Beki holds an MBA from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in international relations from American University.

Joan Green M.A. CCC-SLP

Founder, Innovative Speech Therapy

Joan always has an eye out for affordable cutting-edge technologies to help others thrive in life. Her mission is to help young children, students and adults not only overcome communication, literacy, and cognitive challenges, but to maximize success and happiness.

Since the mid-1980s, Joan has been providing forward-thinking speech therapy services to individuals of all ages who have a wide variety of speaking, understanding, reading, writing, learning and attention challenges. She received her undergraduate as well as graduate education at Northwestern University. After spending time working for others in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and home care, she formed Innovative Speech Therapy in the Washington, DC area in 1992, so that she could provide top quality rehabilitative and intervention services using her unique approach combining cutting-edge technology with individualized action plans. She continues to prioritize her own learning by attending and presenting at workshops and conferences, networking with colleagues, and exploring emerging technologies.

In addition to providing 1:1 therapy and professional development and online webinars and courses, Joan has published 4 books. Her most recent bestselling publication was published in 2018 titled, Assistive Technology in Special Education, 3rd Edition: Resources to Support Literacy, Communication and Learning Differences.

She has received several awards for her unique approach to helping others and is actively involved with many local, online and international groups and associations. Joan is ASHA certified and licensed in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. She was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and lives in Potomac, MD. She is the proud mother of 4 wonderful young adults and 2 dogs.

Theresa Jackson

Supervisor, Talented and Gifted

Theresa is the Supervisor of Talented and Gifted and Junior Achievement Finance Park in Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland. She is a graduate of the University of Baltimore, Mount Saint Mary’s College, and Western Maryland College with degrees in Jurisprudence, Elementary Education, and Curriculum and Instruction. She has been an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University College of Education, gifted education graduate program, as well as McDaniel College and Drexel University. She taught in a full-day gifted magnet elementary program for 10 years prior to becoming the Supervisor for Talented and Gifted Programs in 2005. She has served as the chair of the Maryland State Gifted and Talented Advisory Council, vice-president of Maryland Educators for Gifted and Talented Education, and Social Media/Communications chair for Maryland Coalition for Gifted and Talented Education.

Wendy Knudsen

Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Secretary Cequel III, LLC | TierPoint, LLC | StayLock Storage, LLC

Wendy Knudsen serves as Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Secretary of Cequel III, an investment and management firm focused on growth-oriented companies in technology, communications, and business services. During her tenure with Cequel III and its portfolio companies, Wendy has overseen the legal work for more than $45 billion of M&A transactions and a variety of other operational and legal matters.

She also currently serves as Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Secretary of TierPoint, a leading national provider of hybrid IT solutions with 40 data centers in 20 markets, with oversight of TierPoint’s Legal, Security and Compliance, and Contracts Administration Departments, and StayLock Storage, a growing national self-storage business.

From 2006 through 2015, Wendy served as Executive Vice President and Secretary of Suddenlink Communications, the seventh largest cable operator in the United States at the time that was managed by Cequel III until being sold to Altice in 2015. Previously, she was Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of AAT Communications, a telecommunications tower company that was managed by Cequel III from 2002 until being sold to SBA Communications in April 2006.

For several years before joining AAT, Wendy was Associate Counsel, Legal and Business Affairs, for the National Football League. Prior to joining the NFL, she worked as an Associate for the law firm currently known as Smith & Duggan, a litigation boutique in Boston.

Wendy is a member of the California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey and New York state bars, as well as the United States Supreme Court bar. Wendy is also a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the American Bar Association. She graduated cum laude from Boston University School of Law, where she was named both an Edward F. Hennessey Scholar and a G. Joseph Tauro Scholar. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Colgate University with a double major in International Relations and Spanish and was named to the Konosioni Senior Honor Society at Colgate.

Wendy is an active supporter of several charitable organizations including the Life Skills/TouchPoint Autism Services division of Easter Seals Midwest, the Endangered Wolf Center, Duo (formerly Support Dogs), and the Institute for Conservation Medicine at the St. Louis Zoo. She was previously a member of the Board of Trustees of the Morris Animal Foundation, the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to funding humane research studies to improve the health and well-being of companion animals and wildlife all over the world. Wendy has been involved as an investor and co-producer in 20 Broadway shows including several Tony-award winning productions.

Morris Miller

Chief Executive Officer, Xenex Disinfection Services

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Morris is a graduate of the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University, The University of Texas at Austin, and Phillips Exeter Academy. He is the founder of Sequel and Cutstone Ventures, and co-founder of Tectonic Ventures which invests in/acts as an advisor to numerous start-ups such as Inventables, Adometry, and Golfballs.com.

He started Curtis Hill Publishing, the first company to publish Texas case law on CD-ROM, and he was also the co-founder and president/chief executive officer of Rackspace (NYSE: RAX). Miller is a member of APIC, BioMed SA, and ACG Central Texas.

Under Miller’s leadership, Xenex has become a world leader in automated room disinfection. Through the use of Xenon technology and innovative hospital disinfection protocols, the company has helped hospitals achieve significant infection reduction results. As chief executive officer, Miller is responsible for the company’s overall business strategy and oversight of day-to-day operations.

Henry J. (Hank) Nicols

Dean, Bridges Graduate School

Hank is a former high school Social Studies teacher and adjunct professor for international programs He has taught graduate classes across the United States, in Europe, Japan, Asia, Africa and South America.  He is the Dean of Graduate Programs for Bridges Graduate School in Studio City, California. Where they offer graduate programs in 2e., cognitive diversity and positive education. Bridges is licensed by the State of California to offer a Certificate, a Master’s Degree and a Doctor of Education.

Jules Polonetsky

CEO, Future of Privacy Forum

Jules is a lawyer and internet privacy expert from Brooklyn, New York who currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Future of Privacy Forum. Polonetsky is co-editor of the Cambridge Handbook on Consumer Privacy, with co-editors Omer Tene and Evan Selinger.

He began his career as an associate for Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and later served from 1990 to 1992 as a district representative for United States Representative Steve Solarz, and from 1992 to 1993 as a legislative aide to United States Representative Charles Schumer.

He served in the New York State Assembly from 1994 to 1997, representing southern Brooklyn. From 1998 to 2000, he served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs under mayor Rudolph Giuliani. In 2011 he was appointed to the Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee of the Department of Homeland Security.  Polonetsky also previously served as Chief Privacy Officer for both AOL and DoubleClick.

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