One Page Bio

A professional educator since 1973, Jo Seidel has been with aha! Process since 2006. She has served in key leadership roles in K-12 related to school improvement, curriculum writing/research, classroom teaching, K–12 program design/development and instruction for gifted/talented. She has been engaged in providing leadership and team coaching on processes to accelerate school improvement, cognitive growth and student learning. For Jo, breaking down learning boundaries for all economically diverse students and working to ensure all students reach their potential is vital.

Jo provides training and consulting on the following:

  • A Framework for Understanding Poverty
  • Research-Based Strategies
  • Removing the Mask: Identifying and Serving Gifted Students from Poverty
  • Emotional Poverty
  • 9 Systemic Processes
  • Improving Reading and Writing Achievement of Your Under-Resource Elementary/Secondary Students
  • Early Childhood Vocabulary and Readiness

Jo’s Credentials


  • Elementary Administration and Supervision License, Ball State University
  • Gifted/Talented Endorsement, Purdue Gifted Education Resource Institute
  • Master of Arts, Ball State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Education, minor in early childhood education, Purdue University

Work History

  • Consultant for aha! Process from 2006 – present
  • Consultant and Master Coach for SMART Learning Systems from 2004 – present
  • Trainer for Brain Research Through Mind Matters (Dr. Pat Wolfe) 2008 – present
  • Director of Curriculum, Assessment, Research, and Professional Development
  • Director of Instructional Technology/Networking and Gifted/Talented
  • Director of Gifted/Talented and Fine Arts
  • Director of Gifted and Talented
  • Gifted/Talented Coordinator K–12
  • Pullout and Self-Contained Gifted/Talented Teacher K–8
  • Classroom Teacher

Webinars and Blogs:

  • Webinar co-presented with the assistant superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan Schools, Wisconsin, on Engaging Teachers in Change to Improve Achievement and Close Gaps,” 2010
  • Webinar on “Taking a Deep Dive into Response to Intervention, the S.M.A.R.T. Way!” 2011
  • Blog for business community, “Pursuing the Preferred Customer: Strategic Focus Is Key when Developing a Great Target Filter to Capture a Large Client,” 2011
  • Three-part blog on gifted students from poverty and ways to develop appropriate curricula and learning experiences to accelerate achievement, 2012

Jo’s aha! moment

I first met Ruby Payne approximately 23 years ago when she came to my school district as an administrator. She shared her research and insights as to the impact of poverty on student achievement as well as tools for working with students and families. What I came to understand through that experience is that limited resources can touch any of us and have major impact on our ability to plan and direct the course of our lives. I began to understand students and families who don’t live perfectly ordered lives and spend their time just trying to work through daily challenges. It continues to be both an honor and privilege to work with educators and communities to ensure all students, regardless of their economic situation, realize their potential.

Jo’s passions? 

I began my passion for learning, thinking and creative problem–solving and the ways to nurture these abilities in students, and especially gifted students, at Purdue University during my time with the Gifted Education and Creative Thinking Institute. During my teaching experiences, I led several teams to win International Creative Problem­–Solving Competitions, helped students from diverse backgrounds to reach high levels of thinking and learning, and promoted a growth mindset that turned ‘I can’t ‘ into ‘I can’t YET’ for successful implementation. I truly believe we can impact the lives of people living in poverty through the work of Ruby Payne and give the world’s people skills and insight to build a new, brighter future story.

Jo’s best training 

My favorite moments during workshops occur whenever someone says: “I’ve never realized all that my students deal with on a daily basis. It all comes down to the resources we each possess. Now I am committed to putting these things into practice and building on the strengths and the resources students possess. I feel that I am seeing my students for the first time.” My most rewarding moments come when a participant shares a personal story about ways the training is impacting them deeply because I realize Ruby’s significant work is touching their hearts and minds.

What does Jo do for fun?!

I’ve always loved to learn and am fascinated with how students think and problem solve. I grow orchids, and I enjoy working in the yard, hiking/walking on trails, and reading. I also never turn down a chance to go sailing!

What are people saying about Jo?

“The presenter was absolutely delightful, informative, and entertaining. This was time well spent, and I always appreciate that rarity on an in-service day! She made us realize that we truly can make a difference in our students’ lives.”

“Wow! Thank you! The speaker was awesome and very engaging!”

“Thank you, Jo. Excellent presentation! We can change lives! This was the best in-service I’ve ever been to!”

“As a school counselor, I will definitely use what I learned in dealing with students and families. It gave me a new perspective on how to approach and meet with parents of students in generational poverty. Excellent presentation, just wish we would have had even more time! Jo was GREAT!”

“I don’t think that I’ll ever view my students from impoverished backgrounds in the same way again. What an eye-opener this presentation has been! Very, very well presented and totally relevant and worthwhile!”

“Presenter was captivating, real, and incredibly knowledgeable. She kept the audience engaged.”

“The impression your workshop made on our staff in the Bronx, New York, continues days later. Many told us that they had not experienced such a powerful presentation in 20 years of teaching. From your dynamic and engaging delivery to your passion for and thorough knowledge of the work, this session was the perfect vehicle to heighten our awareness and refocus our team. As a result of the professional development you provided, our students were greeted with a renewed sensitivity and respect as they returned to school.”

“Jo, thank you so much for coming to speak to us here in Bishop. You’ve taught me a great deal about how to better understand my students. I’ve even learned a lot about my own family. This has been a very valuable time!”

“It was great! Thank you for challenging our preconceived concepts! The presenter is very attuned to audience needs.”