BARR Center’s Growth and Expansion Continues With Multiple New Hires

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MINNEAPOLISJuly 14, 2020 — BARR Center (Building Assets, Reducing Risks), a model that improves America’s education system with intentionally deepened relationships and a data-driven personalized and supportive approach, announces the addition of 12 new people to its team. Implemented in 170 schools across the U.S., BARR has now helped more than 100,000 students.

BARR’s mission is to create equitable schools where every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status, has access to high-quality education where adults know them, recognize their strengths, and help them succeed. BARR’s strengths-based model provides schools with a comprehensive approach to meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students.

“We are thrilled to welcome our new board member, Gail Toatley, and our new team members as we look forward to a long and successful future,” said Angela Jerabek, educator, founder, and executive director of BARR. “As the adoption of BARR continues to expand, we know we have hired the right individuals to help us further our mission.”

New additions to BARR include:

Board of Directors:

  • Gail Toatley (Minnesota): A retired educator with 40 years in the field of education, Gail earned a Bachelor of Arts in History, a Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Administration. Gail has served in numerous positions in South CarolinaTexasGeorgia, and Minnesota on both the secondary and elementary levels. She has been involved in diversity training as a student and as a leader. As one of the students who integrated the schools in her Southern hometown in the 1960s, Gail has a unique experience and a critical perspective on equity.


  • G. Bryan Fleming (Minnesota): Network for School Improvement (NSI) Associate Director. Bryan brings more than two decades of experience in education, research, and as a school administrator, having most previously served as a consultant for Minneapolis Public Schools. Fleming attended the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque), where he earned his undergraduate degree in Music Education. He received his Master of Arts in Education Administration from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and has pursued post-graduate studies at Harvard University in education leadership and policy. Bryan serves on several Twin Cities, Minn.-based nonprofit boards, and is chair of his local city planning commission.
  • Beth Heimer (Minnesota): Associate Director of Elementary Schools. Beth is a K-6 licensed educator with 25 years of experience in the classroom and administration. Beth graduated from Saint Benedict’s College with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and has a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Over the past year and a half, she has consulted on the development of the BARR elementary model.
  • Hallela Hinton-Williams (Minnesota/Iowa): Administrative Intern. A rising fourth-year student at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, Hallela is majoring in Spanish and Religious Studies. After graduation, she hopes to enter the education and nonprofit field in order to assist schools and communities in creating partnerships that support each aspect of students’ lives. Hallela hopes her role with BARR will teach her strategies to create more equitable schools, tools for organizational success, and nonprofit management.
  • Megan Reder Schopp (South Dakota): Research and Data Analyst. Megan is responsible for integrating BARR into the national education conversation through data and evaluation, writing publications, and delivering presentations based on analytic work with the BARR database and additional data sources. Megan received her Master of Science in Counseling from South Dakota State University and is currently a doctoral candidate in Educational Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.
  • Lisa Shepherd (Minnesota): Communications Manager. Lisa brings more than 15 years of communications and marketing experience in various industry sectors including education and is responsible for marketing, communications, and public relations for the BARR Center. Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications and Spanish from Miami University of Ohio.
  • Christina Ritter (Texas): Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives. Christina brings 28 years of experience in education and has an extensive background in systems thinking, leadership development, instructional design, and professional development design and implementation. Christina has vast experience in working with diverse student populations and creating a culture that supports, promotes and builds equity and access for all students. She is currently a doctoral student at Texas Tech University where she also received her Master of Education and a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry.

Coaches and Trainers:

  • Adrianna Bertoia (California): A former special education teacher with 11 years of experience, Adrianna has demonstrated success in curriculum development, instructional design, and learning and development. Adrianna has her Master of Education from Trinity University as well as her Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University of PA.
  • Anthony “Tony” Bland (New Jersey): From curriculum development, program management, training, and state leadership, Tony’s 20 years of professional experience has been all about applying operational and leadership competencies to solving challenges. Tony is affiliated with several boards and committees in and around Camden, New Jersey. Tony has his Master of Education from Temple University and his Bachelor of Arts from Monmouth University.
  • Brad Brubaker (Minnesota): With the majority of his career spent at BARR’s inaugural school, St. Louis Park High School in Minnesota, Brad has more than 30 years of education experience. Brad has been a part-time BARR Coach and Trainer since 2013 serving 20 schools. Brad received his Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies Education and History from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Master of Education from the University of Minnesota.
  • Tamiko Thomas (MinnesotaColorado): With more than 20 years of professional experience in human services and working in schools as a social worker, program manager, dean of students, assistant principal and educational consultant, Tamiko has a success record creating collaborative spaces that enhance school environments, promoting equity, leading diverse teams, and disaggregating achievement data to monitor and improve teaching and learning. She is currently a graduate student in Hamline University’s School of Business Ph.D. program and has a Master of Education from the University of St. Thomas as well as her Master of Social Work from the University of Minnesota.
  • Richard “Dick” Ungar (Minnesota): Spent the last 27 years in the Eastern Carver County School District, Minn., most recently as the principal of Chanhassen High School which is a BARR School in the Scale-Up Study. Dick has a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas as well as an Education Specialist Degree in K-12 Leadership. Dick was an art educator at North Elementary and Chaska Middle School before becoming a secondary administrator.

About BARR Center
BARR Center (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) aims to bring education into the 21st century with intentionally deepened relationships and a data-driven personalized and supportive approach. BARR aligns students, teachers, staff, and families with a unified culture of support so that, together, we can build strong schools and communities. For more information, visit,