Students Are at the Center of All We Do
What We Do
The Professional Development Resource Center
Utilizing NYSED funding The Upstate PDRC serves all New York State Religious and Independent schools north of New York City at no charge to schools. All services are funded through Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Upstate PDRC’s mission is to design and deliver high quality professional development that meets the direct learning needs of school educators including; school leaders, teachers and support staff. We also aim to support the community surrounding the school including parents and caregivers. Our ultimate goal is to improve the learning opportunities and experiences for students through our work, academically, socially and emotionally. The Upstate PDRC supports schools through building their knowledge and skills in research-based practices and systems change for school improvement. Professional development is differentiated based on individual needs and is planned and conducted in close collaboration with our partners and key stakeholders.
All of our services and products are needs driven and our work is continually guided by our “Why.”
Our “Why” is embedded in everything we do, it represents our philosophical approach to our work.
The figure below illustrates visually our “Why.” An organization’s “Why” is its Purpose—it is the reason
the organization exists. Often organizations focus more on their “How” and their “What.” The “How” is
the organization’s approach to their service or product delivery. The “What” are the services and/or
products that the organization provides or produces. Based on Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle philosophy,
MI has adopted the practice of starting first with our “Why.” Starting with our “Why” ensures that e
verything we do, our “How” and our “What” flows from our core purpose—our mission—why we exist.
The Upstate PDRC works collaboratively with two other PDRCs; The Long Island PDRC at Catapult Learning and the NYC PDRC at Fordham University. Together the three NYS PDRCs provide a comprehensive and coordinated set of professional development services, products and resources to support schools. The Upstate PDRC relies upon collaboration and guidance from key stakeholders including schools, the CAC (Commissioners Advisory Council) and the NYSED’s SORIS. We will work very closely with these groups to:
cultivate a deep understanding of needs and unique characteristics;
build trusting relationships that are based in partnership and collaboration;
employ principles of adult learning to engage and make meaning;
employs culturally respectful approach to service delivery and
provides accessible and flexible PD/TA delivery options (in-person and web-based).
Our Center is funded through Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A of ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) as amended by ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act). We know and understand that these Title II and IV dollars belong to the Religious and Independent schools we serve throughout NYS and we will do our best to facilitate access to the services that these dollars support. Our five year contract is held by Measurement Incorporated, a leader in the field of assessment, research, technology and professional development. ()
 Adopted from Simon Sinek’s Start with Why (https://startwithwhy.com).
Who We Are
KELLY VALMORE, M. A.
Mrs. Valmore is a highly experienced project director with over 20 years of experience in the area of managing and evaluating technical assistance and professional development programs across schools, districts and agencies throughout New York State. As Senior Staff Developer at Measurement Incorporated (MI) and the Director of the NYSED Religious and Independent Schools Upstate Professional Development Resource Center (PDRC) (for all regions north of Long Island and NYC), Kelly is responsible for managing, designing, and implementing professional development and technical assistance for Religious and Independent schools across the State. Kelly’s specific skills sets supporting her project management include, facilitation, needs assessments, survey development, data collection and analysis, qualitative work, the design and deliver of PD/TA, use of technology to deliver and enhance learning and evaluation and program evaluation. Personally, Kelly has deep ties to independent education with both of her son’s attending a Waldorf school in upstate NY.
REBECCA SHEA, M.Ed.
Senior Professional Development Specialist
Ms. Shea brings over 22 years of experience with comprehensive knowledge of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and school improvement to her work. Ms. Shea is responsible for designing, implementing, and supporting embedded professional development for the Professional Development Resource Center (PDRC) for Rest of State (ROS) through the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools (SORIS). Ms. Shea has facilitated professional development for well over 16 years in multiple capacities and to various audiences at the school, district, regional, and state levels in areas such as leadership, instructional and curriculum design, supporting ENLs, data-driven instruction, and pre-service teaching with the goal to strengthen educators’ knowledge, innovation, and research-based practices. Additionally, Ms. Shea has utilized multi-media technology to design and deliver online courses through synchronous and asynchronous modalities. Prior to MI, Ms. Shea has served in roles as a teacher, instructional coach, and administrator where she has led collaborative efforts to support all students reaching mastery through a standard based state curriculum. Throughout the years Ms. Shea has worked with professional learning communities, data-driven instructional planning teams, literacy frameworks, both academic and behavioral intervention supports, and programs for second language learners, with extensive experience of Dual Language One Way and Two Way programs. Ms. Shea is currently a doctoral student and has conducted research in understanding ways leaders and teachers engage in culturally responsive practices, school improvement, and supporting pre-service teachers. Ms. Shea holds certifications in the areas of teaching, master reading teacher, cognitive coaching, and school and district administration.
DIANA STRAUT, Ph. D.
Senior Professional Development Specialist
Diana Scarselletta Straut, Ph.D. brings over 30 years of experience to her work as a Professional Development Specialist with Measurement Incorporated.
Dr. Straut’s work is guided by an unwavering commitment to inclusive practices, supporting partnerships to ensure that all students have full access to meaningful academic and social experiences.
She brings a variety of perspectives to this work, drawn from her time as a classroom teacher, college professor, school board member and organizational change consultant. Dr. Straut balances years of practical field experience with a deep knowledge of education research, instructional best practices, organizational change, inclusive education, and federal and state educational policy.
Dr. Straut has held faculty positions at Syracuse University and the College of St. Rose (adjunct) and for several years was an organizational change consultant for Cornell University (School of Industrial and Labor Relations) She holds a Ph.D from Cornell University and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi (International Honor Society in Education).
GINA KARP, M.Ed.
Senior Professional Development Specialist
Gina Gutierrez Karp brings 30 years of experience to her work as a classroom teacher, school leader and independent school board member. Drawing from training and experience in both public and private schools, Gina has a deep understanding of classroom practice and organizational development at both the local and state levels. Gina has served as a consultant to developing schools, working with teachers, administrators and board members to strengthen alignment with both AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America) and NYSAIS (New York State Association of Independent Schools) accreditation requirements. Gina has served as a member of a AWSNA/NYSAIS dual accreditation team, offering 15 years of independent school classroom experience and leadership to develop sustainable, mission-based schools that align with a standards-based state curriculum. As a former parent, teacher and board member of an independent school in upstate New York, Gina is deeply committed to supporting the professional development of religious and independent school teachers and leaders.
Facilitator of Online Learning, Research Assistant
Christina Limson-Harvey has been working in education since 2008. She has served in both public and independent schools, teaching middle and high school Academic Skills, English Skills, Language Arts, and Research Methodology. She also brings years of administrative experience in an upstate NY independent school, as well as a wealth of experience in online learning tools and technologies. As a current teacher in an independent school, Christina focuses on the strengths of using online tools in our ever-changing educational system.
As the Project Assistant for the NYSED's SORIS PDRC, Dawn is responsible for helping to plan and coordinate professional development events, and providing day to day operational support. Her support tasks include maintaining correspondence with key stakeholders, assisting with the implementation of professional development and resource offerings to the field, and collecting evaluation data as part of the Center’s continuous improvement process. Dawn is committed to providing the highest level of professional support. Her recent prior experience includes working on several statewide systems of professional development and support in the areas of special education, mental health, social emotional learning, and early literacy. She is well versed in delivering and managing learning opportunities through virtual platforms. Prior to her work at MI she worked in the area of appeals processing and account review for the New York State of Health (NYSOH) – New York State’s response to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
· M.B.A. University at Albany, State University of New York
· B.S. Management, Russell Sage College
Where We Serve
UPSTATE PDRC MAP
Below is a link the Upstate PDRC Map where you can view each independent and religious school in New York State by county.