© 2015  - 2019 by Ed Leadership SIMS (ELS)

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Our Team


Ed Leadership SIMS strives to partner with schools and university programs and build understanding and communication around education leadership training.  Our team members lead the industry in experiences and partnerships to deliver effective professional development.

Ken Spero

Ken Spero is CEO of Ed Leadership SIMs, LLC, a new venture established in partnership with the Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn GSE). ELS’ core objective is to use the concepts of Experience Design to build knowledge, skills, and decision-making capacity in large numbers of educational leaders through the use of computer based simulation. In his role, Ken continues his work in Experience Design to help leaders shift the focus from ‘what’ they think to ‘how’ they think, utilizing a Systems Thinking and Judgment/Consequence approach to improve strategic thinking, decision making and performance.

Michael Johanek,
Director, PELS Program

Dr. Johanek is a Senior Fellow at the Graduate School of Education (GSE), University of Pennsylvania, where he is also Director of the Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership; Co-Director of the Inter-American Educational Leadership Network; founding Director of the Penn Educational Leadership Simulations (PELS) Program; and affiliated faculty for the International Educational Development Program. He teaches as Profesor Invitado Internacional at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.



Michael Poisel
Director, PCI Ventures

Since joining the University of Pennsylvania in 2009, Michael has been building entrepreneurial programs for the university. He currently manages PCI Ventures, which includes UPSTARTAppitUP, and UPadvisors.


In the past four years, UPSTART has initiated over 100 company projects of which many are now operating businesses.

Chad Checketts
Principal, Humentum

Chad Checketts is one of the principals of Humentum Corporation and has focused his career on driving measurable results by enhancing organizational alignment.  This focus on the twin disciplines of measurement and alignment has enabled him to produce improvement wherever he has applied his skills. 


Chad has worked in the organization development and training field for more than 25 years and has consulted with and designed / delivered programs for Fortune 500 companies at all levels of organization responsibility on a wide-ranging list of topics.  He works with teams and individuals to measurably improve performance and associated bottom-line productivity. His experience both inside large corporations and as an entrepreneur working with them gives him a unique and valuable perspective.

Eric Bernstein
Associate Director, PELS

Eric Bernstein is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education and the Associate Director of the Penn Educational Leadership Simulation (PELS) Program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.


Dr. Bernstein’s simulation research focuses on capturing the experiences of school leaders around problems of practice for the creation of scalable Peer-to-Peer Professional Development (P2P-PD) for practitioners. His other research and writing focuses on the schooling experiences of students from historically marginalized groups, qualitative methods of research in education, and the quality of teaching and learning in professional dental education.

Kathy Walter
Sales and Marketing, Nsoma

Kathy Walter is responsible for conceiving and delivering innovative solutions that support the instructional and educational agendas of school districts and edTech companies through her company, Nsoma. She recently served as the Executive Director, Product Strategy & Innovation at the NYC Department of Education and prior to that as Director, Product Development at a start-up online learning solution.


Kathy has a BA in Applied Math from Union College, an MBA From NYU’s Stern School of Business, and a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Kathy has been an ESL Educator at Northeastern University and Cambridge Learning Center; an ESL curriculum consultant with the YearUp program in Boston; and a program developer for several teaching projects in Uganda.