The KMT is responsible to facilitate the structured dialogue process. Its role is only to facilitate and not to interfere with the content of the complex issue. Only you, the stakeholders, generate and evaluate content.

Our role is to create an environment where you don't have to take notes; you don't have to worry about logistics; you only focus on your ideas and thinking.

The members of your Knowledge Management Team (KMT) are
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Aleco Christakis
Gayle Underwood
Marilyn Shewan
Jim Mishler
Carol Phelps

Aleco Christakis has 35 years experience in developing and testing methods for engaging stakeholders in productive and authentic dialogue for the practice of participative democracy. He is the author of over 100 papers on stakeholder participation, most recently the book How People Harness their Collective Wisdom and Power to Create the Future (2006). He is a co-founder of the Club of Rome, and past President (2002) of the International Society for the Systems Sciences ( He is member of the Board of the Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), and an Advisor to AIO's Ambassadors leadership program dedicated to training and engaging tribal indigenous leaders from the USA and internationally. He is also a member of the Board of the Futures World Center located in Cyprus. He earned a PhD in theoretical nuclear physics from Princeton and Yale Universities.

Gayle Underwood
During Gayle Minnick-Underwood’s 15 years of experience in Education she has focused on helping students with special needs to use technology to be able to communicate and to participate more fully in school. She has worked as a Speech and Language Pathologist with students who have Severe and Multiple Impairments, as an Assistive Technology Coordinator with students who have special needs and most recently as the Technology Integration Consultant for the Allegan Area Education Service Agency (AAESA) in Allegan, Michigan. Gayle has consulted in schools all over Michigan and around the world including Kuwait where she worked with the staff at the Khalifa School in Kuwait City to help them implement Assistive Technology with their students.

Recently, through her involvement with the Michigan’s Integrated Technology Supports (MITS) initiative in the Universal Design for Learning approach for Michigan’s schools, her work expanded in learning the theory and practice of the science of Structured Dialogic Design (SDD). She has teamed with Dr. Alexander N. Christakis, one of the founders of SDD, to create a Virtual Structured Dialogic Design Process that has been helping groups of stakeholders from different walks of life to come to consensus regarding complex issues. This process is particularly suitable for listening concurrently to the authentic voices of such relevant stakeholders as parents, teachers, administrators, consultants, as well as students with special needs in a group setting for the purpose of designing effective learning and teaching strategies for all students.

Gayle is responsible for designing and implementing virtual SDD platforms for such challenging issues as building peace and contributing to the reunification of the Turkish and Greek communities in the
island of Cyprus. Recently she collaborated with the Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) and the Advancement of Maori Opportunity (AMO) in designing a virtual Indigenous Leaders Interactive System (ILIS) that will become a critical tool in enhancing the interaction and communication among indigenous people at the global scale all over the planet.

Jim Mishler
Jim has been involved in public education for 35 years, first as a general education 5th grade teacher then as a special education teacher. In 1978 Jim joined the Mecosta Osceola Intermediate School Distrist (MOISD) as a a special education teacher. His first job was to develop (from the ground up) a school program inside a residential facility (Eagle Village) for delinquent males. The curriculum and delivery system designed at Eagle Village has consistently produced double digit grade score gains in reading an math. For the next 22 years he led that program during which time he moved from teacher to teacher consultant to supervisor status. While at the Eagle Village he was fortunate enough publish a manual on how to teach expressive writing and present at numerous state and national level conferences. Presentation topics included discipline and theraputic interventions, student assessment and curriculum design.

In 2000 Jim moved up to the position of Director of Special Education for the entire MOISD, directing a staff of 175+ professionals and paraprofessionals and managing a $14 million budget. During his time as director he led the MOISD to being one of the first districts in the state to implement an online special education data system completly changing the paradigm of how paperwork is managed. On June 24, 2008 Jim will step down as director joining the ranks of those retiring from public education. Real retirment will not happen as Jim is planning to resume his pursuit of full Faculty Status with the William Glasser Institute for Choice Theory and Reality Therapy an organization his has been involved with since 1975. In addition to the WGI pursuits Jim will be pursuing other consulting opportunites to avoid falling victim to his wife's "honey do list". Neither of those events will interfere with becoming more involved with his granddaughter.

Marilyn Shewan
Marilyn is a Speech-Language pathologist for the Mecosta-Osceola ISD in Big Rapids, MI. Her teaching certification in Deaf Education and Speech Pathology has led her in a 19 year career in Indiana and Michigan and included teaching deaf students in a classroom setting, providing speech therapy in the public schools, for adults in a workshop setting and for severely multiply impaired students in a center based program. Her current position involves providing assistive technology services to students in our 5 local districts and maintaining a lending library and small computer lab.
Professionally, Marilyn is part of the Region 1 Assistive Technology Consortium, which provides networking and training in the area of assistive technology for northern Michigan. In 2007 she had the distinct privilege of being stakeholder in “Developing a Learning Community for Universal Design for Learning (LCUDL) in Michigan Schools”. Having been through this process in person, she is truly excited to be part of this team as we venture into the virtual realm with this process.
Marilyn enjoys her family: a husband who loves to travel, 4 children who are almost out of the nest and a dog and cat, and the tucked in feeling of cold Michigan winters that allow her to relax in in front of a fire with her knitting or a good book.

Carol Phelps
Carol is the principal at Evart Elementary School located in beautiful Evart, Michigan. She started her teaching career at Evart Junior-Senior High School in 1995 teaching English and French. After six years of teaching Carol became the assistant principal/Title I coordinator for a year and will be starting her seventh year as principal in the fall of 2008. This is her first experience with Universal Design.
Carol's free time is spent with her husband and their four sons.