SPEDCO Consulting Team Members

Jennifer Johnson Howell, Ed. D. , Director

Jennifer Johnson Howell, Ed. D. is the Chief Financial Officer at EdExponential, a worldwide educational reform consulting firm. She has 18 years of public education experience teaching across the lifespan, including early intervention for infants and toddlers, preschool through high school, and university. Dr. Howell has over 10 years of experience in educational leadership, including school director, Superintendent, and state level (i.e., Ministry of Education) responsibilities. Dr. Howell’s expertise is in the management and monitoring of educational data and finance systems, program analysis, school accountability, and low-incidence disabilities. In addition to an award-winning dissertation on the topic of effective literacy instruction for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, Dr. Howell has researched itinerant teaching, exemplary teaching practices, caseload sizes for teachers serving students with low-incidence disabilities, statewide assessment programs, and educational needs within the field of low-incidence disabilities. Dr. Howell completed the doctoral program at the University of Northern Colorado, and the M.Ed. in Special Education and B.A. in Linguistics both at the University of Utah.

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Marlies Burns, Ed.D., Business Manager

Marlies Burns, Ed.D., is the Chief Development Officer at edXponential (edX), a worldwide educational reform consulting firm. She has 17 years of public education experience in school choice settings, including teaching, coaching, advising, administration, and state-level administration. Dr. Burns has expertise in developing, planning, implementing, and evaluating schools of choice at the local and state level. As the former Executive Director for the Utah State Charter School Board, she has worked with associations and special interest groups, school leaders, and parents, creating effective educational communities among diverse constituencies and solving problems. Dr. Burns serves on the board of Odyssey Dance Theater. She earned a B.S. in Biology (Brigham Young University – Hawaii), M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Utah State University).

Deborah Spark, Coach

Deborah retired from Granite School District in 2012 after 20 years of service.  She has vast experience in Special Education where she has worked as a Teacher of self-contained students in Granite County, Special Education Director /Title l Supervisor in Wayne County, Program Specialist in Assessment and Monitoring with the Utah State Office of Education and as Associate Director in Granite School District. She is currently contracted by the Utah State Office of Education working in Compliance and Monitoring. In addition, she working with 3 Charter Schools and with her extensive knowledge in compliance, coaching and instructional needs, she has successfully implemented programmatic systems. Deborah earned her B.S. in Psychology and Child Development from Utah State University.




Janet Gibbs, Coach

Janet has worked in the Special Education field for 35 years. She was a classroom teacher, teacher leader, assistant coordinator for related services and an education specialist for Utah State Office of Education, Special Education Services. Her professional work experiences include supervising classroom teachers and school psychologists, providing education services at a mental health facility working with juvenile offenders, working with adult learners in both a correctional setting and adult education program. She has expertise in curriculum development, assessment and eligibility for Specific Learning Disabilities and English language learners, instructional interventions, Utah Core Standards, and response to intervention (RTI)/tiered system of support (MTSS). She has been responsible for developing technical assistant documents for Specific Learning Disabilities, Traumatic Brain Injury and tiered instruction in both mathematics and reading.  Janet is also trained in conducting appraisals for schools who access title one funds and implement programs for at risk students.  Janet has a B.S. from Weber State University, Master of Education from the University of Utah and her Administrators License from Idaho State University.


Glenn A. Dyke, Behavior Specialist BCBA

Glenn began working with children and adults with severe and mild/moderate disabilities in 1992.  He has been a Special Education teacher at the elementary and secondary levels, a behavior specialist for Davis school district, a District Coordinator for 40 highly specialized self-contained programs, an adjunct instructor for USU’s teacher preparation program, and a private consultant.  He currently provides technical assistance and behavioral support to school administrators and classroom teachers throughout Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming.  Glenn earned his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Utah, Masters of Education from the University of Utah, Special Education Teaching Certification and Administrative/Supervisory License from Utah State University. In addition, he is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a PBIS Coordinator for Utah and a SWIS Data Facilitator.


Patsy Milligan, Special Education Director

Patsy Milligan started her career in 1996 after graduating from Utah State University "USU" with a bachelors degree in special education and English. She worked for Davis School district for 19 years in various capacities including special education teacher, assistant principal, district teacher leader and district supervisor. During her time with Davis School District she earned her masters degree, at USU. She left Davis for a short stint with the Utah State Board of Education and is now loving being with SpedCo and back with teachers and students. Her passion is teaching teachers research based practices in instruction and behavior management in order to provide students with a valuable learning experience. Patsy's other passion is raising her four children, one of which has autism. Patsy currently serves on the Utah Council for Exceptional Children board and the Utah Parent Center Board.