Our Team

Our Team

Steve Ventura

President, Lead PD Consultant

Steve Ventura is the president and lead consultant at Advanced Collaborative Solutions. He is a highly motivational and knowledgeable speaker who approaches high-stakes professional development armed with practical, research-based strategies. Steve is a former elementary and secondary teacher as well as both a school and district-level administrator. Steve has published multiple books and articles, and regularly presents and keynotes at major global education events.

Michelle Ventura

Vice President, PD Consultant

Michelle Ventura is the co-founder of Advanced Collaborative Solutions. After thirty years of classroom experience, Michelle brings a unique and sensible perspective to professional development. She is passionate about the teaching profession as well as a student advocate who firmly believes all kids can learn. Michelle creates engaging adult learning opportunities that provide participants with immediate possibilities to improve teacher practice. She credits her success to other educators and students increasing her own ability to learn and grow.

Elena Sammon

PD Consultant

Elena Sammon is a teacher, instructional coach, PLC coach, educational consultant, and a coach of coaches. In her current role, she is a member of the Teaching and Learning team in Liberty Hill ISD where she serves as the Secondary Curriculum Coordinator. In her short time in this role, she has led teams of teachers through the process of curriculum design and the creation of district-wide common assessments. Elena collaborates with campus principals and instructional coaches to design and facilitate powerful professional learning experiences that stretch and engage the educators they serve. Prior to joining the Liberty Hill ISD team, Elena served as a program manager, secondary literacy specialist, PLC coach, and a coach of coaches at Education Service Center Region 13. It is within this role that Elena gained extensive experience as a professional learning consultant and an instructional coach while serving 60 school districts and 22 charter schools. Elena received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio, and she has over 20 years of experience in education. She is the co-creator of Cards for Coaching PLC Edition, and her passions include research, collaborating and learning with fellow educators, and student empowerment.

Angela Buckingham

PD Consultant

Angela Buckingham is a teacher, instructional coach, literacy coach, PLC team coach, and a coach of coaches who has almost 20 years of experience exploring and researching how to improve student learning and collective teacher efficacy. She is the co-creator of Cards for Coaching, Cards for Coaching: PLC Edition, and Cards for Coaching: Equity Edition, as well as the R13Coach E-magazine. She loves to be creative, ask questions, and collaborate on possibilities. Angela hopes to empower others to reach their full potential by building capacity, resilience, and agency.

Laura Besser

PD Consultant

Laura Besser is a professional development consultant who provides learning services for educators. Laura is passionate about school improvement and has expertise in developing collaborative teams and building instructional capacity. She is a former principal, teacher, and instructional coach who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her work with educators. She believes in professional learning that prepares educators for implementation and sustainability. Laura is an author, golfer, mom, and an avid Denver Broncos fan.

Ashley Taplin

PD Consultant

Ashley Taplin is a secondary math specialist for a large public school district in Texas, as well as a coach’s wife and mom of 2 boys. She delivers PD seminars, works with schools to implement PLCs and instructional coaching practices, and collaborates with teachers to plan and incorporate both content-based and SEL strategies in their classroom. She presents nationally for the Bureau of Education and Research and has been published in Edutopia. Ashley loves empowering teachers to build on their strengths and helping students make connections to what they’re learning.

Katie Stoddard

Marketing & Communications Consultant

Katie Stoddard is a marketing expert in K-12 education. A former educator and classroom teacher, Katie holds her master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction. Katie spent 15+ years in educational publishing and professional development in content development and marketing roles, for companies such as Voyager Sopris Learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Corwin, and mindSpark Learning. Katie and her team support Advanced Collaborative Solutions with marketing, event management, editorial review, and more.

Advanced Collaborative Solutions works with multiple certified independent contractors for Achievement Teams training and implementation