KDP Staff

Member Experience Team

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Christopher Whited, BS, CAE

Chief Experience Officer

317.829.1528

christopher@kdp.org

As the Chief Experience Officer for KDP, Christopher oversees the Member Experience Team. He has been working with nonprofit organizations and associations for more than 25 years in various capacities from marketing, fundraising, and event planning to membership, resource development, and program operations. His career began in graphic design because of the encouragement from his high school art teacher. Her belief in him sparked his college education and a successful career in publishing prior to transitioning to helping organizations. During his downtime, Christopher enjoys restoring antique toys and spending time with his wife and kids.

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Amber Ellington, BA, BS

Member Experience Manager – Teacher Candidates

317.829.1526

amber@kdp.org

Amber Ellington is one of the Member Experience Managers for Teacher Candidates. She primarily works with the West, Online, and Community College chapters of KDP but is enthusiastic about any opportunity to work with our members and counselors across the country. She has been at KDP since October 2019 and has loved working with all of KDP’s chapters, volunteers, and members. Amber studied Psychology and Sociology at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, until it closed during her junior year. She transferred successfully to Marian University in Indianapolis, and graduated on time in Spring 2018. She has had plenty of amazing teachers and professors throughout her life, but the teacher that made the longest-lasting impression is one that she never even had, but from whom she learned a lot: Ms. Cindy, who was Amber’s co-teacher during her time as an early childhood educator. She notes that while she may never have had the opportunity to learn from Ms. Cindy as a student, she did learn a lot from her just working alongside Ms. Cindy. She led by example and taught Amber lessons on how to be a better educator and human in general. She credits amazing educators like Ms. Cindy for being the reason she does her job at KDP day in and day out.

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Jerome Goff, BA, MS

Online Community and Volunteer Relationships Manager

317.829.1535

jerome@kdp.org

Jerome is the Online Community and Volunteer Relationship Manager for KDP. He oversees our virtual platform that links together members for all across the country. He is responsible for building the technical structure of the community and facilitating connections and conversations to support students and teachers. He graduated from Kentucky State University with a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art. He then received a Master of Science in Digital Marketing from Full Sail University. He has taught elementary and middle school art in both public and charter schools. He enjoys traveling, hiking, health and wellness, creating artwork (murals), and producing music. Jerome's favorite teachers were his middle school and high school art teachers. They encouraged him to create without boundaries.

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Laurie Quay, BS

Associate Editor

317.829.1543

laurie@kdp.org

Laurie has worked at KDP for more than 10 years as Associate Editor. She proofreads and edits much of the content for KDP, including articles for The Teacher Advocate and KDP Record, website content, and other materials. She also manages the TA editorial review panel. Laurie grew up in South Bend, Indiana, and then attended Butler University in Indianapolis, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Public and Corporate Communications. Laurie enjoys being active, watching sports, cooking and baking, reading, and visiting national parks. She and her husband Paul have three older children and a goofy dog named Gunner. Laurie had many wonderful educators throughout the years, but two stood out: Mr. Henry Chandler, high school Government teacher, and Dr. Bill Neher, a Butler professor and her academic advisor. Both connected with students, genuinely cared about them, and had high standards.

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Lindsey Acton, MEd, PPL

Director of New Teacher Member Experience

317.829.1532

lindsey@kdp.org

Lindsey Acton is KDP’s Director of New Teacher Member Experience. She has been married to her husband, Jon, for 7 years and is the proud mother of two sons: Jackson (13) and Andrew (6). Prior to her arrival at KDP, Lindsey spent 15 years as a classroom teacher, where she primarily taught high school English. Lindsey earned her master’s in Curriculum and Instruction in 2011 from Indiana Wesleyan University and spent her undergraduate years at IUPUI in Indianapolis, where she was a scholarship member of their Division 1 swimming and diving program. Lindsey is the author of Throwing Rocks, which explores teacher trauma. The most influential educator in Lindsey’s life taught her to treat her students like people, to listen to their stories, and to build relationships with them before anything else. In her own classroom, Lindsey followed this advice and truly believes that this was what contributed to her own ability to connect with students.

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Melissa O’Neill, BSW, BS

Member Experience Manager – Teacher Candidates

317.829.1550

melissa@kdp.org

Melissa O’Neill is one of the Member Experience Managers for Teacher Candidates. She joined the KDP staff in 2015 after spending the first half of her career as a case manager. Melissa graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a B.S. in Psychology, as well as a graduate certificate in nonprofit management. She enjoys making a beautiful spreadsheet as much as supporting members and chapter leaders. The teacher that most inspired Melissa was Mr. Stulpe, her AP Government teacher. He was the first teacher that made Melissa feel she was allowed to have fun, while still being a good student. Not only did she score a 5 on the AP exam, she also learned how to execute a fantastic spitball during study halls with him.

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Kathie-Jo Arnoff, BA

Managing Editor, Kappa Delta Pi Record

kathie-jo@kdp.org

Kathie-Jo is the Managing Editor of the Kappa Delta Pi Record, a journal she has stewarded for the past 2 decades. Formerly, she was Director of Publications at KDP, Writer/Editor at Pictorial, and Title Manager at MacMillan in Indianapolis. A graduate of Barnard College in New York, her early career included serving as Editor/Writer for the American Association of University Women and B’nai Brith Women International in Washington, DC. Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, Kathie-Jo was fortunate to have Mrs. Abramson as her English teacher for 3 years in a small elementary school. Mrs. Abramson used an expansive vocabulary with her students, even her second graders, and instilled in Kathie-Jo a love of language and publishing that has lasted a lifetime. Kathie-Jo enjoys reading, solving puzzles, and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

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Thomas Ulmet, B.A.J.

Member Experience Manager – Teacher Candidates

317.829.1530

thomas@kdp.org

Thomas is the Member Experience Manager – Teacher Candidates for the Midwest, and has been with KDP for more than 9 years. He is the longest-tenured member of the Member Experience Team, having attended five KDP Convos (only missing one for the birth of one of his children). Thomas is also the coordinator for KDP’s popular Teacher Toolbox Series of webinars. Thomas has spent more than 17 years of his career working in professional education organizations. He coordinated the National Teacher of the Year program for the world’s largest retail company and also led the effort to create one of the earliest online national teacher mentoring programs. These experiences, working with some of the highest-achieving educators in the country, continue to inspire his work supporting future educators at KDP.

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Phil Kitchel, BA

Managing Editor, The Teacher Advocate

317.829.1558

phil@kdp.org

Phil has been at KDP since 2019 and is the Managing Editor of The Teacher Advocate and the KDP Blog. He spent 20 years in book publishing before spending a few years as a stay-at-home dad. He is married to his best friend, Cindy, and they live in Indianapolis with their three teenagers: Max, Tom, and Sylvester. At times a semi-professional musician, he enjoys most kinds of music, some kinds of sports, engaging and amusing conversations, and following political journalism, all with the occasional cocktail. Discovering a love of reading (mostly history) at an early age proved to be the key influence in his personal and professional life. Phil had many positive mentors and role models at all levels of his education, but the two most influential were Dr. Robert Pettit, sociology professor, and Dr. Charles Boebel, writing and journalism professor. They demonstrated how to study, challenge, and apply what you learn, and to do so with wit and compassion.

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Michelle Melani, BA

Director of Knowledge Integration

317.829.1561

michelle@kdp.org

As the Director of Knowledge Integration, Michelle leads KDP’s work to prepare members with creative expression and knowledge to ensure they thrive as educators. Michelle has been with KDP since 2018 and formerly served as the Director of Publications and the Managing Editor of the New Teacher Advocate. As an English major with a Creative Writing minor, Michelle has worked in some area of publishing, writing, or editing for 3 decades. She took several years off to homeschool her two children before transitioning them into the public school system and uses her understanding as a home educator and as the parent of school children to inform her work in supporting teachers. Michelle's favorite teacher is Dr. Connelly, who taught her much more than freshman composition and Irish literature. He opened her eyes to the larger world beyond Indiana, encouraged her curiosity, mocked her attempts at trying to sound too smart in her writing, and was generally a stellar human being. Michelle loves traveling, reading, photography, kayaking, and biking. She lives in Irvington with her two teenage children.

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Joe Clemmer, BS

Member Experience Manager – Teacher Candidates

317.829.1527

joe@kdp.org

Joe has served KDP as the Member Experience Manager for the Northeast for more than 5 years. In this role, Joe works directly with chapter leaders to develop programming, leadership training, and more. He also assists members in the northeast as they prepare to enter the classroom. Joe grew up in Warsaw, Indiana, and then attended Purdue University and Ball State University, where he studied Sociology and History. In his off-time, Joe enjoys music production and audio engineering, as well as his two Corgis, Nova and Korra. Joe had far too many excellent educators to name just one, but he pays special thanks to his high school band teacher, Mickey Ratliff, and history teacher, David Hoffert. He also recognizes college professor Dr. Melinda Messineo as a great source of knowledge and mentorship. Joe is mindful of the critical role educators play in life and recognizes that we are all the product of an educational lineage far older than ourselves. He is proud to serve this noble tradition.

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Amy Ashley, BS

Executive Assistant to the Member Experience Team

317.829.1527

aashley@kdp.org

Amy joined KDP in 2022 as the Executive Assistant to the Member Experience Team. She primarily handles administrative duties within the Member Experience Team as well as collaborates with all areas of the National Office. As a Linguistics major with experience in law, Arabic, and Spanish languages, Amy will graduate with a BA from IUPUI in 2023. She loves spending her spare time practicing martial arts, reading, and learning languages. Amy plans to continue working at KDP after college and to grow within the company and advance in her position. A teacher that made an impact in Amy’s life was her sophomore history teacher, Ms. Ostendorf. She was a family friend of Amy’s and always put in so much effort to make class topics relevant to high schoolers and to the 21st century. She had terminal cancer but never let that halter her motivation to make her classroom a place of effortless learning.

Advancement & Partnerships Team

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Samantha Tarlton Procento, BA

Chief Advancement & Partnerships Officer

317.829.1556

samantha@kdp.org

Sam is the Chief Advancement & Partnerships Officer, in which she enjoys working with organizations and donors to help further KDP’s goals. She studied sociology at Hanover College in southern Indiana. After graduating, she became a teaching assistant at a nursery school, where she loved being around babies and young children. Sam started at KDP in 2017. She spends her spare time with her husband and dog. Baking and cooking are some of Sam’s favorite activities and she watches many YouTube videos to learn new recipes and techniques. Her favorite educator, Dr. Ryle, always challenged her to think outside of her perspective to meet people where they are.

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Ambre Baux

Assistant to Advancement & Partnerships

317.829.1560

ambre@kdp.org

Since starting with KDP in 2013, Ambre has worked in a few different roles. Her most recent being the Assistant to Advancement & Partnerships. In this capacity, she supports the management of scholarships, grants, donors, and partnerships. Ambre earned a Graphic Communications certificate and diploma from E.C. Goodwin R.V.T.S. (Regional Vocational Technical School) in New Britain, Connecticut. Her love of learning began at an early age. Not only did she learn in school, but her parents have been a great source of knowledge in many different areas: baking, the Bible, cars, cooking, construction, and more. One notable school experience she had was in middle school. She was never confident in her creative skills until her art teacher gave her praise for the project she was working on. Just those few words of encouragement made a great impact and helped her improve in her confidence and the quality of her project. For this reason, and many others, she is very proud to be working with KDP in support of educators like the ones who helped mold who she is today. Originally from Connecticut, she loves the fall season with all of its beautiful colors.

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Heather Lloyd, BS

Manager, Celebration of Teaching

317.829.1519

heather@kdp.org

Heather Lloyd, is a born and raised Hoosier who graduated from Southport High School in 1990. She has a BS in Physical Education from IUPUI-Indianapolis where she was an honor student and member of Phi Epsilon Kappa service fraternity. She also has her teaching endorsement in Family & Consumer Science. She has been involved in education in some way for over 20 years teaching, mentoring and coaching, maintaining strong ties with her students, co-workers and athletes. She is mother of four children, and a grandmother of two grandsons. Ms. Lloyd was a four sport athlete in high school and ran track in college. She enjoys watching football and basketball in her spare time. Ms. Lloyd's favorite teacher was Mrs. Sarah Traycoff, her English teacher at Southport High School. Heather was blessed to have had Mrs. Traycoff both her freshman and senior years.

Communications & Marketing Team

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Stu Kushner, BA, CAE

Chief Communications and Marketing Officer

317.829.1534

stuart@kdp.org

Stu joined the KDP team in 2022 as Chief Communications and Marketing Officer. He graduated from Indiana University (Bloomington) in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a second concentration in English composition and a specialization in news reporting and writing. Stu earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification in 2020. Prior to working for KDP, Stu held various communications roles for numerous Washington, DC-based professional and trade associations, including the Global Cold Chain Alliance, Pickle Packers International, Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association, the American Meat Institute, and the American Frozen Food Institute. Most recently, he served as the Director of Communications and Membership for the Indiana Society of Association Executives, via association management company Raybourn Group International. In his spare time, you can find Stu performing improv with ComedySportz Indy, cheering on the Washington Capitals and other DC sports teams as well as spending time with his adorable cats– Chloe, Arnold, and Ralph.

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Chuck Jarrell, BFA

Art Director

317.829.1559

chuck@kdp.org

Chuck is KDP’s Art Director. He comes from a teaching family that includes his mother, who taught government and set an extremely high bar. Her example led him to teach drawing in the Gifted and Talented Program at John Herron School of Art before entering agency work as an illustrator and designer. Chuck joined KDP in 2003 and has enjoyed the diversity and challenges of the work he has been asked to do. Chuck enjoys illustration, photography, working out, hiking, video games, and movies.

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Raevyn Harris, BA

Digital Marketing Manager

317.829.1522

raevyn@kdp.org

As the Digital Marketing Manager, Raevyn implements KDP’s digital communications. She shares resources from team KDP and connects it to chapters, students, and educators. Raevyn is proud to be part of KDP! She hopes to drive the mission of inspiring and equipping future and new teachers to thrive. In her spare time, she loves to travel. She hopes to live in places for an extended amount of time, to learn from the different cultures. Great teachers can make a huge impact. For Raevyn, there were many who made an impact in her life: Mr. Yelton, her high school AP Biology teacher who made learning fun; the professor at Ball State who challenged her; and Mrs. Proctor, the woman whose support meant the world to her.

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Erin Sanders, BS

E-Commerce Manager

317.829.1551

erin@kdp.org

Erin is the E-Commerce Manager for KDP. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the KDP Store, which sells merchandise, apparel, books, graduation regalia, jewelry, and chapter supplies in an online retail environment. This includes marketing and promotions, inventory management, customer service, and being the primary liaison between KDP staff and retail vendors. Erin started at KDP in 2002. She enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her family and dog. She loves traveling to Louisville, Kentucky, and Venice, Florida. Mr. Amlung was her favorite teacher who was also her track and field hockey coach. He taught her how important it was to build relationships. He taught with humility and how important it was to be passionate and enthusiastic in everything you do.

Administration Team

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Patricia Bontempo, BS, CAE

Chief Administrative Officer

317.829.1518

patricia@kdp.org

Patti has worked for KDP for 14 years and is their Chief Administrative Officer. As the CAO, she oversees Finance, Administration, Human Resources, and IT. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Patti is married and has two older children, both of whom are currently pursuing higher education degrees. She enjoys warm places and spending time with her family.

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Kathy Jarrell, BS

Building and Office Manager

317.829.1524

kjarrell@kdp.org

Kathy hails from Lafayette, Indiana, and is a die-hard Purdue Boilermaker. She graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Speech Language Pathology and Special Education. Kathy’s mother was a teacher for over 25 years and, as the Building and Office Manager at KDP, she feels honored to provide building, office, and payroll support along with the occasional band aid to those at KDP who seek to support and advance educators like her mother. Kathy is married to Chuck Jarrell, the KDP Art Director. Together they have four grown children, two grandchildren, and a very lazy beagle/bulldog named Susie. In her spare time, Kathy likes to read, serve at Wheeler Mission, and collect recipes she knows she’ll never make. Kathy has been blessed with many excellent teachers but Dr. Richard Miles, Mr. Thomas Dick, and Mr. Alvin Jones, her high school band directors, were the most influential. Not only did they encourage her love of music, they also taught commitment, self-confidence, muli-tasking, and the value of teamwork.

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Danielle Johnson

Accounting and Administration Assistant

danielle@kdp.org

Danielle has been in the accounting department at KDP for over 13 years, working in many different roles and positions. She has been with her husband for almost 15 years, and together they have two young sons and live in a farming community outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. She enjoys spending her downtime with her family, baking desserts, going to concerts, and reading books. She had many influential teachers growing up, but her biggest influence was her 10th-grade English teacher, Mrs. Scolaro. She instilled the love of reading that she still has to this day, and she taught her that with a little love and grace, you can do anything.

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Jayne Geslak, BA

Director of Data Integrity

317.829.1521

jayne@kdp.org

Jayne has worked at KDP for 12 years. She maintains the KDP member database as well as miscellaneous IT duties. Jayne has twins and enjoys cheering for them athletically and academically. Jayne is also a dog mom. She enjoys traveling to warm weather locations with her girlfriends. Jayne’s most influential teacher was her 8th grade English teacher, who instilled her love for English grammar.

Executive Team

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Tonja Eagan, MPA, CFRE, CAE

Chief Executive Officer

317.829.1554

ceo@kdp.org

Tonja joined KDP in June 2020 as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to collaboratively lead KDP with the Board of Directors, members, and staff into a new era of teaching excellence. For over 25 years Tonja has successfully led national, statewide, and local-based nonprofit organizations in education, youth, and human services. She was one of the first 100 people in America to earn a master’s degree with a concentration in nonprofit management in the 90’s. Other credentials include being a CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) and CAE (Certified Association Executive). She has received multiple leadership honors. including being named as a Forty Under 40 leader by the Indianapolis Business Journal and a Robert Skip Walsh Memorial Award by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as an outstanding mentor and role model for staff. Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), has recognized Tonja with the Distinguished Liberal Arts Alumni Service Award, the Glen W. Irwin Experience Excellence Award for service beyond the call of duty, the Maynard K. Hine Medal as the highest IU alumni honor, and the Spirit of Philanthropy Award. Upon receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1990, Tonja founded the IUPUI Student Mentor Program, which became the nationally renowned Bepko Learning Center. Annually, the “Tonja Eagan Mentor Service Award” is granted to an outstanding faculty mentor. As a philanthropist, Tonja established an IUPUI Mentor Impact Endowment Fund with the IU Foundation to support student peer mentoring. As an adjunct faculty member, Tonja has taught undergraduate courses at IUPUI, Ivy Tech Community College, and Ball State University. In volunteer roles, Tonja serves as a member, FBI Citizens Academy; member, Impact 100 Women’s Philanthropy; member, ISAE Diversity Task Force; coordinator, Financial Peace University; fundraiser, Paws & Think; and mentor to several youth, men, and women. Her favorite things to do are pontoon boating, mentoring, playing with her three dogs and two cats, listening to live music, and being with her husband, Frank.

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Kathy Dean

Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

317.829.1555

kdean@kdp.org

Kathy Dean joined the KDP team in 2022 as Executive Assistant to our Chief Executive Officer, Tonja Eagan. Kathy works directly with Tonja and many staff members coordinating executive and staff meetings as well as events. Kathy also plays a key role at KDP working on special projects assigned by the Leadership Team. She has a plethora of executive administration experience and worked in a high school supporting teachers and students daily. Kathy joined two honor societies at Miami University and graduated Magna Cum Laude. On many levels Kathy’s experience and commitment to education and excellence aligns well with the purpose and needs of KDP. In her spare time she enjoys playing pickle ball and taking her dog, Grizzy Bear on long walks.

Member Experience Manager Regions

  • WEST Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, National and International Online Colleges & Universities
  • MIDWEST Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Wisconsin
  • SOUTHEAST Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
  • NORTHEAST Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, DC