"Alison, thank you so much for yesterday's professional development session on using data to drive literacy instruction. I learned a great deal and hope I can implement this way of promoting reading education at my school"
— Debra E. Naysee, Deira International School, 2014

"I am a third grade teacher 30 miles outside of Chicago. I literally just watched your video on Got History (12:00am std) as I am preparing to teach my students about The American Revolution. I was reminded of the magnitude of how social studies can remain engaging. Thanks for the refresher!"
— Third Grade Teacher, 2010

"I met Kevin in Dubai at a workshop on education and social media. I had recently published my first children's book "My Letter to President Barack Obama" and we discussed different ways to incorporate my book into classrooms. I asked if he could create curricula for my book. I was very impressed with his work and professionalism. He did a fantastic job! Kevin is creative, energetic, original and very generous with his ideas and time."
— Author, 2009

"I am glad I had the opportunity to work with each of you at the schools in Beirut and Saida. I believe we as a team helped each school with their journey to be better and to do more for their students. And I feel I had a chance to learn a good deal during the visits. Finally, it was enjoyable to work and have fun with you during our long days together. This all adds up to a memorable experience in Lebanon."
— AdvancED QAR,
Chairperson 2010


Kevin Simpson, Managing Director

Kevin Simpson is from Flint, Michigan and has been in the education field since 1998. He has taught, consulted and/or collaborated in parochial, public, charter, and international schools located in the states (Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Minnesota, Washington, D.C., Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island), Laos, Dominica, Venezuela, Thailand, Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai, Kuwait, China, Colombia, South Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Jordan, Italy, Nigeria, and Lebanon. Simpson has also served as a countywide elementary social studies curriculum teacher, preschool to twelfth grade curriculum coordinator, and schoolbased elementary math specialist. He was a National Consultant with the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative, which provided effective, research-based practices to educators across the country. Kevin has both a Bachelor's degree in education and a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Michigan State University.

Alison Burrows, Managing Director

Alison Burrows is from New York City and has been in the field of education since 2004. She has taught in both public and private schools in New York City, Scarsdale NY, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE.) She has furthered her studies by obtaining a certificate in the practice of Montessori education for the lower elementary school classroom. In addition, Alison is a member of the Columbia University Reading and Writing Program where she attends summer courses every year to learn best practices in the teaching of literacy.

Currently, Alison works as an education consultant across the UAE. She trains teachers at private schools in all aspects of teaching literacy. She is also the co-founder of The MENA Common Core Conference, an annual professional development conference for American curriculum schools in the MENA region. Alison is also the co-founder of Edcamp Dubai and Edcamp Abu Dhabi. In 2012, Alison was selected to be the Regional Ambassador in the Middle East for She has partnered with The Emirates Festival of Literature and TESOL Arabia to promote the importance of literacy and has lectured at these organization’s events.

The Super Sprowtz,, is Alison’s latest endeavor. The Super Sprowtz educates children about the importance of making healthy choices and prioritizing wellness in their lives. At present she is rewriting the Super Sprowtz school curriculum for Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade. In addition, she is bringing the Super Sprowtz Nutrition education program to the Middle East and North Africa region. Alison has a Bachelor's degree in Development Psychology from Bard College and a Master's degree in Education from New York University.

KDSL Advisory Council

Dr. Mary S. Thormann has over 30 years of experience as an educator, teacher trainer, university professor and administrator, and education consultant. She has designed, developed, and directed new programs from early childhood to higher education. In addition to her work in the U.S., she has provided technical assistance as a specialist in areas such as basic education, curriculum, assessment, program evaluation, and professional development in India, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Ghana, Bangladesh, Nepal, Kazakhstan, China, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Nigeria. Clients include USAID, the ADB, UNESCO, UNDP, JICA, the World Bank, the U.S. Department of Education, especially the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), international schools, and the private sector.

Dr. Johnnie Gordon has 32 years of experience as an educator, administrator, assistant superintendent, university professor, teacher trainer, and education consultant. She has provided leadership for a wide array of curriculum areas at all levels of education and designed, implemented, and assessed a plethora of education programs. Gordon has worked in Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. She currently serves as an adjunct professor and education consultant in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Alister J. Aranha resides and works in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. His education includes two Bachelors Degrees from Michigan State University as well as an MBA from University of Massachusetts in Boston.

In his role prior to the current in Commercial Management & Business Development, Alister was appointed to a leadership position in the power generation sector and reported to the Managing Director of Cummins for the EMEA region. This work was a two-fold scope that revolved around project management as well as business development encompassing areas within strategy, corporate communication and unit leadership.

In review of Alister's current role as Commercial Manager for a group of companies here in Dubai, his duties include public relations and commercial control, operating P&L responsibilities as well as managing an asset base of approximately 25 million dollars. In addition to his current experiences, Alister has managed and grown in leadership competence within a variety of industries abroad and in Dubai including higher education, non-profit health, and media as well as the airline and construction industries.

The intricacies of Alister's overall work experience and education have covered a variety of areas such as project management, financial management, brand/market development, advertising and public relations, general management, legal, strategic business development as well as the growth of human capital.


Jesse Burkett, Technology Consultant

Carson Carroll, Graphics Design Consultant

Abigail Swetz, Education Researcher and Consultant

KDSL Interns (where they are and where they studied)

Hanny Mulugeta
Wellington International School

Nachiket Agrawal
Emirates International School

Ysabel Dela Rosa
Emirates International School

Ankhi Thakurta
New York University Abu Dhabi
Swarthmore College

Ben Hoeflinger
Estimator at ServiceMaster of High Point and Build Rite Construction in North Carolina.
The University of Michigan - Flint.

Emily Blackshire
Ashoka Innovators for the Public
Clemson University

Angel Pumila
General Manager/ Executive Vice President of NOLA Roof Systems, Inc.
Cappella University - New Orleans, LA

KDSL Associate Collaborators (USA)

Reem Labib, Global Education, Special Education, and Leadership

Denise Lewis, STEM

Caroline Mwendwa-Baker, Literacy

Gargi Thakurta, Literacy

Tracey Smith, Mathematics

Lenny Compton, Mathematics, Science, and Leadership

Toya Jones, Mathematics

Brittany Beal, Mathematics

Lori Wilen, Mathematics

Abner Oakes, Leadership, School Culture, and Common Core

KDSL Associate Collaborators (Middle East)

Fatma Trabelsi, Arabic, Second Language Training

Reem Labib, Global Education, Special Education, and Leadership

Daniel Baker, Science

Patricia Mezu, Early Childhood