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Our team

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Jordan Lippman, PhD

Founder of The TeamBuilders Group

(773) 339-6557

Jordan is an entrepreneur, thought leader, researcher and coach who founded The TeamBuilders Group. Dr. Lippman has lead The TeamBuilders Group through several pivots as it evolved from Interactive Story Adventures and ISA Learning, Inc., into the professional development and consulting organization it is today.

His award-winning research on learning has been published in books and journals such as Instructional Science. Jordan has been invited to present at educational summits around blended learning, curriculum integration, 21st Century Skills, maker education, and professional development.

Previously, Jordan co-founded Pittsburgh-Based EdTech startup Project Playground and he served on the strategic advisory board of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning. He is the Research Director of a national study of the instruction and assessment co collaboration in schools called Collaboration Nation, and he is on the board of the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference (TRETC).

Kenda Hammer

Lifelong innovator and educator rooted in child development

(412) 953-2031

Ms. Hammer is a master teacher and coach who has strong track record of creating, growing and sustaining humanistic educational programs. She joined TeamBuilders Group in August of 2017 as “Head Coach” to help develop and deliver innovative professional development and collaboration practices.

Since 2009, Kenda has served at the University of Pittsburgh as an adjunct faculty member, assigned both to course teaching and supervision of pre-service teachers in Early Childhood Education.

Prior to her current work, Ms. Hammer founded and directed the Family Literacy Center of the Fox Chapel Area School District in 2003. The community-based facility on Main Street in Sharpsburg operated for ten years (2003-2013) as a pioneering model that preceded the 2007 launch of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning and Remake Learning.

  • Foundational programming required endless hours of focused and strong leadership. As the teacher who planned and directed the program at the Family Literacy Center, Kenda worked as a creative thinker, facilitator, and specialist in early learning, child development, play, literacy, and technology. This framework included strong advocacy for children with related policy and collaborative professional development. The model was successfully and innovatively implemented with these goals:

  • To provide extended opportunities for children to think deeply, talk, read, play, engage, create with a focus on process over product and … connect firsthand experiences to guide learning and growth.

  • To create a model that advocates for emergent curriculum-based projects through teaching practices that support children’s learning, development, and pursuits–then to be collectively shared by families, professionals, administrators, and decision-makers…i.e. all stakeholders sharing alignment to learning standards.

  • To provide parents with skills and resources for children’s home carryover in reading, writing, and playing to promote oral language development and integrated content like science, math, technology, representation with “a hundred languages” and exploration of the outdoors. With added knowledge about how these supports create success, parents also enhance children’s capacity to enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Mary Claire Arena, M.A.

Literacy, early childhood education, and outreach for TeamBuilders Group

(716) 713-8599

Mary Claire is a master teacher and compassionate coach who leads the Educator Success team at The TeamBuilders Group. She is a certified Literacy Specialist and experienced early childhood educator. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Loyola University of Maryland, and a Masters Degree in Literacy from the University at Buffalo.

She spent 9 years in the classroom teaching Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. In addition, Mary Claire spent a year teaching ESL in Bangkok, Thailand. She moved to Pittsburgh in 2013, and joined The TeamBuilders Group shortly thereafter.

Kathryn Gauer

​Graphic Designer

Kathryn is an experienced graphic designer with an editor's eye. Her specialty is branding and print work, but if it's design-related, she's probably done it. Kathryn has been working with TeamBuilders since January 2018. She worked in corporate marketing for seven years before she began freelancing in 2013, and has worked with a variety of for-profit, non-profit and public sector clients.


Kathryn earned a Bachelor of Journalism, with an emphasis in Magazine Design, from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and lives in Kansas City, Mo., with her husband and six-year-old twins. 

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