The Criterion Team

Dr. Dennis Coe

Dennis Coe has provided administrative support, training and troubleshooting for school boards throughout Alabama.  He can assist with evaluations of principals, assistant principals and administrative staff and is more than familiar with Alabama's evaluation system for administrators.  Dr. Coe can conduct training for administrators, and, in partnership with AASB, can do your whole board training as well.  Dr. Coe can plan and guide strategic planning as well as handle technology evaluations under the 21st century grant program.

Dr. Coe has been a classroom teacher, a coach, an administrator, a Superintendent, a Technology Director and, most recently, a director at the State Department of Education.

Dr. Frank Costanzo

As a former Superintendent and State Department of Education intervention team member, Dr. Costanzo understands the adminstrative challenges that school systems are sometimes faced with.  Dr. Costanzo has experience with evaluations, human resources, job descriptions and organizational restructuring, creative resource allocation and virtually all other facets of executive leadership for school boards.  He can assist with strategic planning to evaluating both personnel and school system operations to training to providing leadership and direction in the event of a Superintendent vacancy.  Dr. Costanzo can conduct training for administrators, and, in partnership with AASB, can do your whole board training as well.

Dr. Phil Hammonds

From heading one of the largest school systems in Alabama to starting a new school system from scratch, Dr. Hammonds has vast education experience and is recognized by his peers as someone who has a gift for building a positive school system culture.

He can provide hard-won advice on internal, intergovernmental, media, and public relations; crisis management; and school system separations and formations. He is also available to provide administrator evaluations, mentoring, customized training, needs assessments, guidance regarding school foundation formation, CSFO/Bookkeeper/Finance support, and litigation support/consultation.

Dr. Suzanne Freeman

Dr. Freeman has 31 years of

experience in public education in Alabama with fifteen years as a school

superintendent, including starting two new municipal schools systems as well as being instrumental in the creation of a third municipal school system. 

Dr. Freeman is known as an innovator in public education. In 2009, she was Alabama Superintendent of the Year and was a finalist for National Superintendent of the Year and the very next year received the Chiquita Marbury Technology Innovation Award from the Alabama State Department of Education. 

She has extensive experience and knowledge in curriculum development, effectively using technology to transform learning (including one-to-one iPad/laptops deployment), professional learning, increasing student engagement, and leadership development. She also has extensive experience training perspective and current school board members.

John Beasley


John Beasley is an experienced educator with 39 years in public education. He began his career in education in 1979 as an Agribusiness Teacher. Mr. Beasley served as Assistant Superintendent for Eufaula City Schools until his retirement and has also served as Interim Superintendent, Director of Human Resources, Director of Support Services, Career Tech Director, High School Assistant Principal, High School Principal, and Middle School Principal.

Mr. Beasley brings a wealth of expertise in all aspects of school administration, but especially in the area of human resource management. In particular, he can offer assistance with the practical implementation of the Alabama Students First Act, hiring processes, salary schedule analysis, Family Medical Leave Act, various Department of Labor Wage and Hour issues, job description development processes, as well as a myriad of other human resource and school administration solutions.

Dr. Barbara Mayer

Barbara Mayer most recently served as the Special Education director for the Hoover City School System but her experience and training runs deep and wide.  She has performed virtually every major role and task in the area of special education, federal programs, school counseling and Title III (EL).  

A true expert in the field, Dr. Mayer can assist with testing, evaluation, placement and programs for individual students, and can assist with oversight on a system level.  She can conduct training for administrators, staff and especially teachers on far ranging topics from discipline of students with disabilities (including seclusion and restraint), manifestation determinations, crisis intervention, proper record-keeping and IEP development to practical troubleshooting when dealing with children with unique needs.  Dr. Mayer can also assist with due process as a consultant or an expert for the district if needed.

The Finance Team

Kim McPherson, CPA

Kim McPherson has spent her career helping school boards and the State Department of Education in the area of school finance.  She has served as a Chief School Financial Officer (CSFO), State Examiner, expert witness and a member of the State Department's troubleshooting team for a number of years.  She has a knack for solving financial problems.  She knows the "tricks of the trade" for making sure that positions are properly coded and reported so as to capture appropriate funding.  She can help with training local and central office bookkeepers, solving problems, assisting systems without a current CSFO or while the CSFO is unavailable, assisting with central or local school budgeting, assessing financial health, audits and just about any other facet of school board fiscal operations. 

Mara Walls

Mara Walls has spent the last six years as a consultant to school boards in the area of finance as a member of the State Department of Education's intervention team.  She has extensive knowledge in coding, budgeting, preparing financial reports, financial forecasting, human resource development and management, and salary schdules.  Her background as a County and City CSFO for 12 years, a state auditor, and as a professional assistant to the Superintendent and principal in a local system gives her a unique perspective into a system's needs from both a management and employee perspective.  Team building and fostering collaboration are her strengths.  She has served and is a talented mentor for CSFO's and can help boards manage and leverage the local, state and federal funds relationship to better serve students.  She can assist with training local and central office bookkeepers, solving problems, assisting systems without a current CSFO or while the CSFO is unavailable, assisting with central or local school budgeting, assessing financial health, audits and just about any other facet of school board fiscal operations.

Marie Plowman

Marie Plowman is Criterion's payroll expert for local school boards.  She knows the payroll systems for boards of education like the back of her hand and spent many years troubleshooting payroll issues in local school boards for the State Department of Education.  Marie has a knack for teaching and training payroll staff is where she really shines.  Mistakes in payroll can be costly and they tend to compound.  A good system and proper training are imperative to payroll fidelity.  In this area, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure. Marie can help with training of payroll staff, audits, troubleshooting payroll and other financial problems, emergency assistance with payroll where staff is unavailable or having difficulty, year end close out and assistance with W-2's and other reporting obligations.

Pat Benefield