• What teachers are saying about The Alexandria Plan...
  • “I went much deeper using Alexandria whereas the lessons I taught previously barely skimmed the surface.”
  • “You gave me the background knowledge I needed to teach the text studies correctly to my students.”

Project Team

Sheila Byrd Carmichael

Expert Advisor

Sheila is an education policy consultant who was the lead writer of the high school grades of the Wheatley Portfolio. She has helped dozens of states develop, review, and implement K-12 academic standards, curricula, and assessments. In 2000, Sheila launched the American Diploma Project, which established the college- and career-ready benchmarks used in over thirty states and which served as an important resource for the new CCSS-ELA. Sheila began her career by teaching high school English in public and private schools in Washington, D.C., Japan, and in an International Baccalaureate Programme in Europe.

Lorraine Griffith

Lead Writer, Grades K-4

Lorraine is one of the nation’s lead expert practitioners in the effective implementation of the CCSS-ELA in the classroom. She has spent the past two decades teaching at West Buncombe Elementary, a Title One school in Asheville, NC. Certified in K-6 Elementary Education, K-12 Reading, and Nationally Board Certified as Middle Childhood Generalist, Lorraine works tirelessly to create lessons for the ELA classroom that pull out deep understanding of the content while faithfully integrating Great Minds standards. She has spent the last two years working with K-4 students and teachers, teaching model lessons from the Wheatley Portfolio. Using carefully chosen books like Frog and Toad Are Friends (Lobel) and Pandora (Burleigh), she has seen an increased fervor and depth of learning in her students. Over the past number of years, Lorraine has co-authored several books that encourage children to voice the words of famous speeches, song lyrics, and poetry by dramatic readings and reader’s theatre.

Sarah Woodard

Program Manager, K-5

Sarah helps manage the Alexandria Plan and the Wheatley Portfolio, working closely with the consultants and teacher writers who develop the curriculum, the professional development team who share the work in the field, and the production team who help to bring it to market. She is deeply involved in driving decisions about how the content and design of Great Minds’s work can best meet the needs of classroom teachers. Before joining Great Minds, Sarah taught fourth grade in a Brooklyn, NY elementary school within the Uncommon Schools network. She began her teaching career in rural Arizona as part of Teach For America's Phoenix corps and continued at The Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon. Prior to teaching, Sarah spent two years as a client consultant and market research analyst for a division of the Nielsen Company. She holds a bachelor's degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's in elementary education from Arizona State University.

Rachel Rooney

Program Manager, 6-8

A newcomer to the staff, Rachel also helps to manage the Alexandria Plan and Wheatley Portfolio. She brings over fifteen years in the field of humanities education to Great Minds. Prior to joining the staff, she taught both English and history in California and Illinois middle and secondary classrooms and directed the Professional Development Programs for Teachers at the Newberry Library in Chicago. While at the Newberry, Rachel served as the project director for the 2010 NEH Picturing America School Collaboration Conference, and administered numerous local and national grant programs, including two U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History grants with Chicago Public Schools and two with nearby suburban consortia. She oversaw the development of the Newberry’s Digital Collections for the Classroom website and collaborated with peer education and cultural organizations including the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Chicago History Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago to provide programs and create classroom resources for K-12 teachers. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education and social policy - secondary social studies from Northwestern University.