KDAC Advisory Council

The Knowledge Development Advisory Council (KDAC)

The Knowledge Development Advisory Council (KDAC) is composed of new teachers, experienced teachers, teacher candidates, administrators, and faculty members who come together once a month to influence and plan the content being created by KDP to ensure that we are inspiring and equipping all teachers to thrive.

KDAC will ensure that we have input from diverse educators to guide the subject matter focus of KDP resources being developed for teacher candidates and PreK–12 teachers across America to set them up for success to deliver equitable education to all students. 

Diane Courington, PhD

KDAC Advisory Council Member

Annsley Frazier Thorton School of Education

Dr. Diane Courington is a former K-12 educator who loves advocating for students. She has transferred her skills into higher education as full-time faculty in the Annsley Frazier Thorton School of Education. In addition, she has delved into the world of consulting, working as an Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) ambassador for the ABE Kentucky team at Bellarmine and an ABE Community and STEM Partnership Liaison for the program office. Both roles allow her to support new and existing ABE program sites in developing partnerships to reach underrepresented populations. She also leverages community assets, local and regional, Black-led organizations and initiatives, and STEM partnerships to support and scale ABE. Dr. Courington received her Doctorate in Education and Social Change at Bellarmine University. Her research interests are Trauma-informed care, traumatic racial experiences, belonging and safe spaces for students of color in preschool-collegiate settings, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and diversity equity and inclusion (DEI).


Katie Gerdts, M. Ed.

KDAC Advisory Council Member

Bunche Montessori Early Childhood Center

Katie Gerdts is a 3-6 Montessori teacher who has taught at Bunche Montessori for eight years. She has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Indiana University, an AMS Early Childhood (2.5-6) credential from Seton Montessori Institute, and she graduated with her MEd in Montessori Integrative Learning from Union Institute & University/The Institute for Educational Studies (TIES) in summer of 2023. During undergrad, Katie served as the fundraising chair for the Rho Nu chapter of KDP. She has also been a part of KDP's Knowledge Development Advisory Council for the past three years. Katie is passionate about bridging theory to practice and supporting current and future classroom teachers. She enjoys reading, practicing yoga, weightlifting, biking, and going to concerts.


Mika C. Leck, PhD

KDAC Advisory Council Member

New Mexico State University

Dr. Mika C. Leck is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Multicultural Education in the School of Teacher Preparation, Administration, and Leadership at New Mexico State University. She earned her BA in International Business & Economics at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan; her Master of Science in Education with a focus on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Temple University, Tokyo campus; her second MA in Asian Studies at Sejong University in Seoul, South Korea, and completed her PhD in Curriculum & Instruction at New Mexico State University.
Her research interest includes promoting the inclusion of diverse experiences in education through personal storytelling, as her doctoral dissertation was an autoethnography of her lived experiences navigating the self in various social contexts as a transnational Japanese and American woman. She believes that looking at the self furthers the dialogue of social and cultural issues. Dr. Leck encourages personal storytelling in research and classrooms, for it acts as a platform for silenced, ignored, minoritized, oppressed, invisible, and erased voices and experiences to be accessed and heard.

Isabel Quiñones

KDAC Advisory Council Member

White Plains City School District

Isabel Quiñones is a fourth-year elementary special education teacher in New York. She went to Manhattan College and graduated in 2020 with her bachelor's and master's degrees in Childhood/Special Education with a concentration in mathematics. She is currently enrolled at SUNY New Paltz to receive her Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership (SBL/SDL). During her time at Manhattan College, she served as the President of the Mu Sigma chapter of KDP. She has also been a part of KDP's Knowledge Development Advisory Council for the past three years. She has been a recipient of the J. Jay Hostetler and Marie E. Grein Scholarship as well as teacher classroom grants. Isabel is very passionate about educational equity, which has led her to be a Designated Representative for the United Nations NGO Kappa Delta Pi. She is also an avid crafter! 

Khalil Roy, MA

KDAC Advisory Council Member

Louisiana School for the Agricultural Sciences (LaSAS)

Khalil Roy is an accomplished Career and Technical Educator in Central Louisiana, with a bachelor's degree in social sciences and a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governor’s University. Mr. Roy teaches 8th–12th grades in the Louisiana School for the Agricultural Sciences (LaSAS). 

Mr. Roy is actively involved in KDP as a member of the Knowledge Development Advisory Council (KDAC) to guide KDP national staff on relevant content and issues impacting teachers today. Mr. Roy has been a member of KDP for several years, joining as an alternative certification student when he changed his career to become an educator. He has attended and presented at multiple KDP Convos and serves as a KDP United Nations Representative. Mr. Roy has been recognized as a 2020 KALB Golden Apple Teacher; Stand for Children Fellow and Facilitator; three-time winner of the John W. Harris Educator of Excellence Award; National Beta Leadership Camp Counselor Award; Teacher of the Month multiple times in his district; and Teacher of the Year in 2024!

Mr. Roy’s passion for teaching is evident in his daily work as an educator. He is the founder of the Tiger College Club, which promotes college and military awareness at Marksville High School. He is a dedicated and passionate educator who focuses on shaping the future of scholars, advocating for productive education policies, and actively and tirelessly working to retain and recruit future teachers in the field of education.


Evonnia Smith, MAT

KDAC Advisory Council Member

Brooklyn Science and Engineering Academy 

Evonnia Smith is a science teacher who teaches students from grades 5 to 12 at the Brooklyn Science and Engineering Academy. She has been teaching for five years and holds a BA in Biology and Secondary Education and a Master of Teaching in Secondary Education from Brooklyn College. Evonnia is pursuing her Special Education degree at Relay Graduate School of Education and completing a micro-credential in Climate Change and curriculum development. She has been a member of KDP since 2021 and serves on KDP's Knowledge Development Advisory Council. She is also a board member of STANYS (Science Teachers Association of New York State) and have several STEM partnerships. She is extremely committed to instilling excellence in her teaching practice and ensuring every student has access to an engaging and intellectually stimulating learning experience. She believes in the power of continuous reflection and self-improvement to enhance student performance and development while cultivating a healthy and supportive learning environment. Outside of teaching, Evonnia enjoys dancing, hiking, going to the beach, and drawing.