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Dr. Kathleen King Thorius

Kathleen King Thorius, PhD
Associate Professor, Special Education
Indiana University, Indianapolis

Dr. Kathleen King Thorius is Associate Professor of Special Education and Urban Education Studies and Executive Director of the Great Lakes Equity Center and its Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center. Dr. Thorius is an internationally recognized expert in culturally responsive and sustaining education, special and inclusive education, equity considerations in multi-tiered systems of support, and race and disability equity-oriented professional development. Published extensively in practitioner and research outlets, including Harvard Educational Review, and the International Journal of Inclusive Education, Dr. Thorius was a school psychologist before earning her Ph.D. as a USDOE-funded doctoral fellow in an interdisciplinary program to prepare culturally responsive special education professors. During this time, she was professional learning coordinator for the National Center for Culturally Responsive Education Systems and the National Center for Urban School Improvement—and co-directed the Equity Alliance at Arizona State University. Dr. Thorius presents nationally and internationally on race, language, and dis/ability equity, and multi-tiered systems of support including culturally responsive school-wide discipline approaches. Her expertise undergirds past and current work with myriad US urban, rural, and suburban school districts and state departments of education.


Seena Skelton, PhD
Director of Operations
Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center

Dr. Skelton is Director of Operations of the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center.  As Director of Operations, she works in collaboration with the Center’s executive director to plan, direct, and manage projects and services offered to state and local education agencies throughout the Center’s thirteen-state region. Dr. Skelton has worked as an educational consultant for a regional special education resource center in southwest Ohio, a lead consultant for three state-wide school improvement initiatives funded by the Ohio Department of Education, and as an co- director of professional learning and technical assistance at the Equity Alliance at Arizona State University and assistant director of professional learning and technical assistance at the Great Lakes Equity Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.  She has garnered more than 15 years of experience working in the areas of systems change, school improvement, and educational equity. Dr. Skelton has been an adjunct professor at Northern Kentucky University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount Saint Joseph and IUPUI.  She has co-authored book chapters on implementing systemic change for improved student outcomes and regularly presents at numerous local, state, and national conferences on various topics related to promoting the success of historically marginalized students.


Tiffany Kyser, PhD
Associate Director of Engagement & Partnerships
Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center

Dr. Kyser is the Associate Director for Engagement and Partnerships at the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center (MAP Center) within the Great Lakes Equity Center. In this role, Dr. Kyser leads the coordination of publications, resources, and tools, as well as co-leads outreach and engagement work across the USDOE technical assistance and dissemination network. Dr. Kyser has over twelve years of experience in outreach education, K-12 teaching and administration, higher education administration, authorizing, and education policy. Her research and work are rooted in collaboration, design thinking, and change management. Prior to joining the MAP Center, Dr. Kyser served as a Language Arts Inclusion teacher, Governance & Leadership Analyst for the City of Indianapolis, and as Chief of Staff for Tindley Accelerated Schools. Dr. Kyser is an Indianapolis native and graduate of Culver Girls Academy of the Culver Academies. Her research and ideas around design thinking, education leadership, and education reform have been accepted by Design-Ed, the Indiana Urban Schools Association, International Conference on Urban Education, the Design Management Institute, the Academy for Educational Studies, and the Journal of Curriculum Theory. She has been fortunate to receive such awards as Indianapolis Business Journal's "Top 40 Under 40", Junior Achievement's "Indy's Best & Brightest," the Center for Leadership Development's Distinguished Achievement Award, Indiana University Alumni Magazine's "Top 30," and being named NCAA Indiana Woman of the Year. Dr. Kyser has received executive training at Harvard, Stanford, and Indiana Universities.