Team » Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Deborah Dantzler Williams
Head of School
 
Deborah is founding Head of School at the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School. Prior to her current role, Deborah was Director of Strategic Partnerships at Center for Inspired Teaching and served on the faculty for the Center's Teacher Certification Program. She has taught at the elementary, secondary and university levels and directed teaching and learning in Washington area schools. A former principal, Deborah holds two degrees from Howard University, the Master of City Planning from the School of Architecture and Planning and a B.A. from the Honors Program. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Organization and Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, where Deborah was a Fellow in the inaugural cohort of the Leadership Academy of the Klingenstein Center. When she is not at school, Deborah especially enjoys trips to visit her grandson in New York City.
 
 
Kate Keplinger 
Chief Operating Officer
  
Kate has been working in education in Washington, DC for over 20 years. She received her DC teaching certification in secondary social studies and Masters in Teaching degree from American University. As the Chief Operating Officer at the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School, Kate oversees all aspects of school operations and serves as a part of the leadership team. Prior to joining the staff at the school, Kate was Deputy Director at Center for Inspired Teaching, where she was a partner to the Executive Director in determining strategic direction of the organization, including program expansion, financial management, and overall organizational growth. She also served as a regular facilitator and leader of Inspired Teaching’s work with teachers across the city. Prior to working at Inspired Teaching, she spent several years working as a legislative assistant for Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter after graduating from Kenyon College.
 
Neoka Smith
Principal, Grades Preschool-2
Neoka Smith first joined the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School community in 2014 as a Special Education Teacher, later transitioning to serve as 2nd Grade Master Teacher. In that role, Neoka applied her understanding of instruction, family engagement, and developmentally appropriate practice. Neoka graduated from Hampton University with B.A. and went on to the Resident Teacher Program in Maryland. She has served as a teacher for more than 20 years. Her experience has ranged from primary to adult education. This year, she will serve as the Primary School Principal for grades Preschool - 2nd grade. Neoka enjoys writing poetry, painting and spending time with her family.
 
Shannon Kane, EdD
Principal, Grades 3-6
 
Shannon began her career working in international development focusing on women and education before joining the inaugural cohort of DC Teaching Fellows. Since then, Shannon has spent time as a classroom teacher in traditional public and public charter schools in Washington DC. She also has worked as an instructional coach, curriculum writer, professional developer/consultant, teacher-researcher, and adjunct professor in both Washington DC and Philadelphia. She earned her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania and also holds Masters degrees in International Development and Elementary Education/TESOL. Her research interests include critical pedagogy, teacher resilience, and inquiry. Prior to formally joining ITDS in 2017, Shannon worked with the ITDS community while in the role of Director of Teacher Certification at Center for Inspired Teaching.
 
Seth Biderman
Principal, Grades 7-8
 
Seth, a graduate of Brown University (BA) and the University of New Mexico (MA and Ed.S), is an experienced educator and school administrator. Seth has taught in DC, as well as at Colegio Bolivar in Cali, Colombia and served as Professional Development Facilitator at Academy for the Love of Learning in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During his eight years at Monte del Sol Charter School in Santa Fe, Seth taught, served on the administrative team as Assistant Principal and Assistant Director of Mentorship and coached soccer. Steeped in progressive education, Seth began his journey as an educator during a semester of study at Bank Street College of Education. At Inspired Teaching Demonstration School, Seth leads our program for 7th and 8th graders.
 
Suriya Douglas
Chief of Culture, Equity, and Access
 
Suriya, a graduate of Princeton University (A.B.) and Trinity University (M.Ed.), is an experienced educator and school leader having worked in a variety of diverse communities with children from PK through 9th grade. Suriya came to Inspired Teaching Demonstration School from DCPS where she served as Principal, Assistant Principal, and Campus Leader. She brings a deep knowledge of arts integration, social-emotional learning, and Responsive Classroom along with a great passion for child-centered learning and family engagement.
 
 
"I love that everyone who works here makes what is best for children their priority."
 
-ITDS Teacher