Waters Foundation and Systems Thinking Group
Director of Operations
Romy Banks oversees the organization’s daily operations, as well as collaborates with fellow Leadership team members on essential long-term projects. Prior to joining the organization, Romy worked in the nonprofit sector where she acquired extensive experience in program and event management, sales and marketing, fundraising and fiscal management—all work that Romy continues in her current position. Once introduced to systems thinking, Romy immediately saw the positive impact that the habits and tools could have on her work and beyond. Romy is active on several education committees and volunteers regularly in local schools.
As a leader, author and innovator in the fields of systems thinking and organizational learning, Tracy Benson, Ed.D. brings extensive practitioner experience to her organization’s education and corporate work. As an educator, she has taught at elementary and secondary levels and has been a school principal and district level instructional coach and evaluator. In addition to K-12 experience, Tracy has served as an adjunct professor in both undergraduate and graduate university programs for teachers and administrators. She has been a contributing author to several books and most recently is co-author of the Habit-forming Guide to Becoming a Systems Thinker.
Tracy leads a national team of exceptional educators who skillfully make systems thinking concepts and tools accessible to real-world, practical applications. From the classroom to the boardroom, her capacity building and coaching sessions engage, motivate and inspire people wanting to make positive differences in their thinking, learning and leading.
Director of Educational Technology
Anne LaVigne, M.Ed. has over 25 years experience working within a variety of PK-12 educational settings. For most of this time, she has focused on building the capacity of educators and students to use systems thinking and dynamic modeling. Anne facilitates professional learning experiences, nationally and internationally, working to empower adults and students as they implement systems thinking skills in the classroom and beyond. She helps design and facilitate in-person and virtual learning environments, including group mapping processes, online learning modules and simulations that integrate a variety of modalities to engage individuals with diverse learning styles.
Anne serves on the school board for a local charter school. In addition, she works with the Creative Learning Exchange to design and co-author curriculum resources, including several books. The most recent book, Model Mysteries – An Exploration of Vampires, Zombies, and Other Fantastic Scenarios to Make the World a Better Place, is designed to help students and their teachers build simple and fun system dynamics models at their own pace.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Alexis Littlejohns manages marketing and a variety of communication activities from initial planning stages to implementation. She brings over half a decade of public relations, marketing, advertising, writing and account management experience from agencies in both the U.S. and U.K. A firm believer in the power of education, Alexis holds Master of Arts degrees in Philosophy and Creative Writing, both from the University of London.
Chief Learning Officer
Sheri Marlin, M.Ed. writes, speaks and collaborates with others to apply systems thinking in real-world contexts. She has taught preschool through graduate school and has worked as a building principal and district curriculum specialist. Sheri finds tremendous satisfaction in facilitating teams of people as they develop shared vision and achieve desired results. By providing resources and sparking curiosity, Sheri keeps learning at the center of everything she does. She believes that when people understand and apply the tools and habits of systems thinking, they are more likely to engage in meaningful, life-long learning and innovation. Sheri is co-author of the Habit-forming Guide to Becoming a Systems Thinker.
Facilitator and Coach
Mary Quinnan, M.Ed. builds on her experience as former Director of Elementary/K-8 Leadership for Tucson Unified School District to facilitate and coach district and school leaders, including teachers, in the tools and strategies of systems thinking and deeper learning. Mary has an extensive administrative background working with schools in improvement in high minority, high poverty communities to ensure equity and access to quality, research-based best practices. She believes that building professional capacity in the application of systems thinking with educational leaders, and addressing the cultural impact of our work, allows the education system to foster an engaging, effective, student-centered learning environment for every child.
Waters Foundation Systems Thinking in Education
Mary Scheetz, M.Ed. has over 40 years experience as an innovative teacher, administrator, project director and consultant. As a middle school principal, she created the first Waters Foundation K-12 Systems Thinking in Education site project, and from 1989 to 2007, as Director of Waters Foundation projects, Mary facilitated national expansion of the Waters Foundation’s K-12 work.
Mary has presented systems thinking work in numerous national and international education conferences and facilitated related workshops. As an assistant superintendent, she implemented strategies for the integration of systems thinking in school improvement and into classroom instruction across the district. Mary also developed the inaugural Systems Thinking Institute, involving participants from multiple school districts and universities in the hosting region. Her years of work with systems thinking in education are rooted in Mary’s belief that all students are capable of the deeper critical thinking levels that systems thinking habits and tools produce and her desire to see all students have access to systems thinking.
Joan Yates spent the first 15 years of her educational career teaching middle level English and mathematics and serving as a middle school administrator. Since then, Joan has been devoted to bringing the concepts and strategies of systems thinking to young people by building the capacity of the adults who work with them. For 17 years, she did that by serving as Director of the Systems Thinking Project in Tucson, Arizona’s Catalina Foothills School District. Now she facilitates professional development and follow-up coaching sessions nationally and internationally, believing that systems thinking provides powerful habits and visual tools that can enhance everyone’s critical thinking and questioning skills. Joan also derives great pleasure from working closely with many of the Waters Foundation Associates, assisting them throughout their certification process and continuing as a resource to them once they become facilitators.