About Our TeamOur team is comprised of committed and enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about UDL and education, and are focused on providing the highest quality professional learning services available in PreK-12, higher education, and beyond.
UDL Implementation Specialist
Niel comes to CAST as a UDL Implementation Specialist, working with school-based teams to develop understanding around the UDL framework and customize their experience to their context.
As an educator for 20 years, Niel has worked in Special Education, Middle School Mathematics, and as an Instructional Coach. He is most passionate about Engaging all Learners and designing Learning Environments that reduce barriers for students.
M.Ed. in Reading, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT
C.A.G.S. in Educational Leadership, American International College, Springfield, MA
Kirk D. Behnke
Senior Director of Professional Learning
As Senior Director for Professional Learning, Kirk D. Behnke oversees the Professional Learning team in its design and delivery of high quality professional learning and technical assistance to national and international customers.
Previously he held the title of Director of Technical Assistance for the National Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Center at CAST, where he supported the delivery of universal, targeted, and intensive technical assistance and learning opportunities regarding accessible educational materials and accessible technologies within the United States and abroad. He also helped to implement Universal Design for Learning (UDL) through various state leadership network functions to support the use of assistive technology, accessible technology, accessible instructional materials, and educational technology in general.
Kirk has presented nationally and internationally on UDL, Assistive Technology (AT), accessible technology, and Web/App Tools for over 25 years. His passion is helping to facilitate excellence in learning for all.
Master’s in Education/Special Education, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Assistive Technology Professional Credential, Rehabilitation and Engineering Society of North America (RESNA)
Certificate in Assistive Technology Applications, University College of Dublin, Ireland
Operations and Marketing Coordinator
Alison Berg is the Operations and Marketing Coordinator for CAST Professional Learning and Publishing. She helps to organize logistics for online courses and institutes, manages marketing projects, and coordinates professional publishing operations. Alison enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.
B.A., Psychology, Suffolk University, Boston, MA
As an Implementation Specialist, Jennifer Dee supports educators in their use of Universal Design for Learning to provide the best learning experiences for a wide variety of students. Prior to joining CAST, she worked as a special education teacher in Louisiana, and is certified in special education and secondary math. Jennifer enjoys running, spending time with her niece, and watching the Boston Red Sox.
Ed.M., Mind, Brain, & Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
B.A., Human Services, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Professional Learning Associate
Ari Fleisher facilitates and manages CAST Institutes, and supports the Professional Learning team with operations and staffing. She has seen learning environments come alive in and out of classrooms through her work with curriculum, school climate and culture, and social-emotional learning. Ari believes that UDL can help to deepen students’ excitement about discovery, and is thrilled to be spreading the word of UDL to help set students (and educators) up for long-term success. Ari enjoys camping, biking and singing.
Ed. M., Prevention Science and Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
B.A., English Literature, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
As an Implementation Specialist, Heather Francis collaborates with educator teams to facilitate the application of UDL in the education field. With a background in educational neuroscience and special education, Heather is passionate about working with researchers and practitioners to create more inclusive learning environments for all students.
Heather enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling with her husband.
Ed.M., Mind, Brain, and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
B.A., Special Education; History and Literature, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
Director of Operations, Professional Learning and Publishing
As Director of Operations, Sherese Friberg oversees the following areas of CAST Professional Learning and Publishing: Data/analytics management, operations, and infrastructure management. She also co-leads Professional Learning and Publishing marketing efforts. In her spare time, Sherese enjoys reading novels, watching British comedy shows and cooking and traveling with her husband.
Ed.M., Education Policy and Management, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
B.A., History, Tufts University, Medford, MA
Senior Director of Publishing and Communications
David Gordon has led CAST’s communications and publishing efforts since 2004, including the development of numerous books, articles, videos, websites, and other media about Universal Design for Learning (UDL). David is also the Editorial Director of CAST Professional Publishing.
M.F.A., Emerson College, Boston, MA
B.A., Columbia University, New York, NY
Instructional Designer, Social Media & Communications Strategist
Mindy Johnson participates in the formative development and research of technology-based universally designed learning environments. She also provides knowledge and expertise in the use of web-based social media, collaborative tools and has a strong interest in gaming and gamification in educational contexts. Mindy also manages social media for the Professional Learning team and other groups at CAST.
Ed.M., Technology in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
B.A., Sociology, Minor in Education, William Smith College, Geneva, NY
Certified, K-12 special education and K-6 elementary education, North Carolina
Director of Implementation
As the Director of Implementation, Jennifer Levine oversees school, district, and state-wide implementation of UDL practices. She is passionate about teaching students in the margins and sees her role at CAST as an opportunity to support systemic changes to support these students.
Before joining the staff at CAST in 2016, Jennifer spent over 20 years working in urban education as a teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal. Her positive experiences with UDL in the classroom led her to her current position.
M.Ed., School Leadership, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
M.Ed., Adolescent Risk and Prevention, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Professional Learning Operations Coordinator
Leslie O’Callaghan aids the Professional Learning Team by supporting onsite and offsite workshops, conferences, and institutes. Additionally, Leslie supports the online component of CAST’s Professional Learning Products and Services, including online course administration, data management, and analytics. She is also responsible for updating CAST’s Professional Learning website. Leslie enjoys running, Yoga, the beach, and traveling.
B.A., Communications, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Curriculum and Design Specialist
Allison Posey participates in professional development, instructional design, and online course instruction at CAST. She also provides background in the application of neuroscience research to instructional practices. Her background in Mind, Brain, and Education as well as life sciences gives her an appreciation of the dynamic learning processes. She collaborates with teachers, researchers, and students with the goal of making complex topics accessible to all learners. Allison enjoys spending time with her two children and husband.
M.Ed., Mind, Brain, and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
B.S., Biology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Certificate of Fine Art, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Founder and Chief Education Officer
David Rose is a developmental neuropsychologist and educator whose primary focus is on the development of new technologies for learning. In 1984, Dr. Rose co-founded CAST, a not-for-profit research and development organization whose mission is to improve education for all learners, through innovative uses of modern multimedia technology and contemporary research in the cognitive neurosciences. That work has grown into a new field called Universal Design for Learning which now influences educational policy and practice throughout the United States and beyond. Dr. Rose has also taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for nearly three decades.
Ed.D., Human Development & Reading, Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
M.A., Teaching, Reed College, Portland, OR
B.A., Psychology, Harvard College, Cambridge, MA