Meet the Team!

Don Soifer

Don Soifer

Chief Executive Officer

Don Soifer is Chief Executive Officer of the National Microschooling Center, America’s comprehensive resource center, movement-builder and authority for the most exciting new education movement in a generation. He co-created and co-directed the Southern Nevada Urban Micro Academy, the nation’s first public–private partnership microschool
with the City of North Las Vegas, delivering unprecedented academic growth with a previously underserved population of families under pandemic operating conditions.

See Don's full bio!
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Ashley Soifer

Chief Innovation Officer

Ashley Soifer is the Chief Innovation Officer of the National Microschooling Center, where she leads direct microschool supports, the development of new programs, and parent and leader outreach. Ashley guides the Center’s movement-building work with parents, educators and community members, including helping organizations and individuals launch microschools that live up to the potential of their diversified visions.

See Ashley's full bio!
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Kathryn Kret

Director of Microschool Leadership Development and Supports

In addition to being an experienced microschool guide, Kathryn is the founder of her educational consulting business the PEACE School Project. Kathryn has spent the past 14 years in education working in a variety of settings and capacities. Most recently through the PEACE School Project Kathryn has been able to share her passion of yoga and mindfulness with students and staff. Certified as a Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher and Mindfulness Educator, she has been able to empower resilient, confident and happy humans one breath at a time. Kathryn is over the moon about becoming a member of the National Micrschooling Center family. She is here to educate, share and advocate for educational choice and freedom!

See Kathryn's full bio!
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Daniel Suhr

Senior Fellow, Legal Affairs

Daniel R. Suhr is a senior legal fellow for the National Microschools Center, where he provides legal advice and insights to parents, pod leaders, and policy-makers bringing innovation to education. As part of his broader legal practice, he frequently represents parents, schools, and allies of education reform in administrative proceedings and courts nationwide. Whether dealing with a local government bureaucrat or the United States Supreme Court, Suhr combines legal excellence with a comprehensive strategy integrating media outreach, coalition partners, and grassroots engagement. 

See Daniel's full bio!
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Lizette Valles

California Field Coordinator/
Spanish Speaking Field Coordinator

Lizette Valles, M.Ed., is the founder of Ellemercito Academy, a Los Angeles-based microschool, with a focus on project/experiential-based learning. Her mission is to nurture students who think critically, develop a growth mindset, and demonstrate profound empathy. She is passionate about reimagining education and bringing awareness to out-of-system school models such as the fast-growing small school movement.

Lizette Valles tiene su Maestría en Educación y es la fundadora de Compass Educators: un centro de servicios educativos holísticos y Ellemercito Academy, una microescuela con sede en Los Ángeles que se centra en el aprendizaje experiencial y basado en la comunidad. Su misión es formar estudiantes que piensen críticamente, desarrollen una mentalidad de crecimiento y demuestren empatía. Se dedica a reinventar la educación e implementar enfoques basados en ayudar estudiantes que han experimentado algún tipo de trauma. Pone en práctica modelos escolares fuera del sistema, como el movimiento de escuelas pequeñas de rápido crecimiento, y brindar orientación a las familias que buscan entornos de aprendizaje personalizados que sirvan mejor a sus hijos.

See Lizette's full bio!
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Oscar Valles

California Field Coordinator/
Spanish Speaking Field Coordinator

Oscar Valles’s teaching career spans over a decade serving primarily as a K-12 teacher, coach, and athletic director. He follows an experiential and relational teaching model knowing full well that connection precedes instruction. He is a former English Language Learner (ELL) teacher and loves to encourage and mentor students to continue striving for excellence even in the midst of difficulties especially when acclimating to a new culture/school environment. 

La carrera docente de Oscar Valles abarca más de una década y se desempeñó principalmente como maestro, entrenador y director atlético de K-12. Sigue un modelo de enseñanza experiencial y relacional sabiendo muy bien que la conexión precede a la instrucción. Él es un ex maestro de estudiantes de inglés (ELL) y le encanta alentar y orientar a los estudiantes para que continúen esforzándose por alcanzar la excelencia incluso en medio de dificultades, especialmente cuando se adaptan a una nueva cultura/entorno escolar.

See Oscar's full bio!
Michael Parsons

Michael Parsons

West Virginia Field Coordinator

Michael Parsons is the founder of Vandalia Community School in Charleston, West Virginia. Vandalia Community School is a learner-led microschool focused on hands-on and autonomous learning. Vandalia currently serves students from grades one through eight and plans to serve students through grade twelve. 

See Michael's full bio!
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Jill Haskins

Indiana Field Coordinator

Jill Haskins is the Executive Director and a classroom teacher at Streams of Hope Christian Academy in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Streams of Hope is a microschool that focuses on individualized instruction and self-driven, independent learning. Streams of Hope serves students in grades one through twelve in mixed grade classrooms with flexible enrollment options. 

See Jill's full bio!
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Dominque Burgess

North Carolina Field Coordinator

Dominque Burgess is a visionary educator and the driving force behind Burbrella Learning Academy Inc, a 501(c)(3) microschool network that is redefining education through its innovative approach. With 14 years of experience in the field of education, Dominique has dedicated her career to transforming the educational landscape by infusing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), nature, project-based learning, and play-based methodologies into non-traditional learning environments. 

See Dominque's full bio!
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Stephanie Harper

Mississippi Field Coordinator

Dr. Stephanie Harper is an enduring educator who taught in private and public school systems. For over 26 years, she has had professional experiences in education, including being a national board-certified teacher, instructional coach, Dean of Instruction, and founder of Harper Educational Consulting, LLC and Harper Learning Academy, Inc. She has participated in many educational transformation projects focusing on improving struggling schools. She also facilitates many academic conferences sharing various research-based instructional strategies with educators across the United States.

See Stephanie's full bio!
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Darla Baquedano

Partnership Microschooling Field Coordinator

Darla's 25-year educational journey began as a classroom teacher and evolved into coaching as a master teacher, serving n leadership roles as an Assistant Principal, and Principal of PK-8 schools in Phoenix, AZ. Currently, Darla serves as the Director of Education Services for Spark Community Schools. Fluent in Spanish with specialized endorsements in bilingual/multicultural education and early childhood literacy, her lifelong dedication to education began when, on her first day of kindergarten, she declared her ambition to become a teacher—a dream she relentlessly pursued. Holding a Master’s in Education Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University, her expertise is a fusion of passion and formal training in specialized fields.

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