Two Respected Educators Join Spalding Education Staff

To help with the ever-increasing workload and growth of the organization, Spalding has brought educators Sydna Zilm and McKenzie Hawkins on board. Both are highly trained and experienced in The Spalding Method.

PHOENIX - July 1, 2013 - Two well-respected Phoenix-area educators, Sydna Zilm and McKenzie Hawkins, officially join the Spalding Education International (SEI) staff today. Both are also Spalding Executive Trainers, Spalding Certified Teacher Instructors, members of the Spalding Curriculum Development Committee, and both have taught at highly ranked Spalding Accredited Schools.


Sydna Zilm

    McKenzie Hawkins

Sydna Zilm
Sydna is the new Professional Development Specialist, responsible for certifying candidates as tutors, teachers and instructors and providing further professional development opportunities for instructors. She will also be working with the already accredited schools and new school accreditations.

"I'm so excited to join the SEI staff and to be able to exponentially influence the lives of children, families and teachers all over the world with The Spalding Method," said Sydna.

Sydna holds a master's degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University and a bachelor's degree from Southern Utah University in Elementary Education and Early Childhood. She also has endorsements in special education, English as a second language, reading, and in gifted and talented. She began her teaching career in 1984 on Arizona's Navajo reservation, where she spent 19 years at two different schools. In 2003 she was hired by Chandler Traditional Academy - Liberty Campus. In the 2012-13 school year she taught at CTA's Humphrey Campus.

McKenzie Hawkins 
McKenzie's title is Outreach and Media Specialist and her focus will be new schools, follow up after courses, and making presentations to prospective schools. She's also SEI's liaison with its public relations agency.

"I look forward to supporting and working with Spalding schools and those schools interested in Spalding," said McKenzie. "I believe in The Spalding Method whole-heartedly and am thrilled to be a part of it as it grows."

She earned a Master of Arts in Multiple Subjects Education from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, with an Early Childhood emphasis, from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. McKenzie's additional training includes Structured English Immersion and English Language Development. In 2003 Alhambra Traditional School (ATS), hired her as a 5th grade educator - a role she filled for five years before becoming their Academic Coach. McKenzie's participated in numerous committees while at ATS, including the Collaborative Leadership Team, Alhambra Leadership Cohort, Curricular and Instructional Strategists Committee - Just in Time Assessments, Lesson Productions with Instructional Dialogues, and Math Lesson Production. In 2008 she received the Excellence in Education Award.

Both new hires will also assist with follow-up professional development for those who have completed Writing Road to Reading courses.

Experienced Spalding Educators 
"Sydna and McKenzie have a wonderful understanding of the role The Spalding Method plays in K-6 education," said SEI CEO Jim Sexton. "I have no doubt they will be fantastic representatives for Spalding and that their experience and expertise will help introduce our curriculum to more classrooms."

"SEI is looking forward to a new beginning with the addition of two new full-time staff members," added SEI Executive Director for Educational Services Janie Carnal. "Sydna and McKenzie's expertise as classroom teachers, coaches, Spalding instructors, and Executive Trainers will enhance the work of the Educational Services Department by adding new Spalding schools and Spalding Certified Teachers who are well-trained to meet the needs of all children."

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About Spalding Education International
Spalding Education International (SEI) is dedicated to teaching all students to spell, write and read. The organization was founded in 1986 by Romalda B. Spalding, author of "The Writing Road to Reading" - a comprehensive K-6 total language arts program that closely aligns with the Common Core Standards. In the Spalding Method, instruction is explicit, systematic, interactive, diagnostic and multi-sensory. SEI courses are accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) for its literacy instructional programs for teachers and Spalding teacher trainers. Classroom and resource room teachers, adult educators, as well as home educators in the United States, Canada, Australia, Central America, Europe, Singapore and Taiwan are currently using the Spalding Method. SEI is a nonprofit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) corporation based in Phoenix, Ariz. For more information, call 1-623-434-1204 or visit

Contact: Jim Sexton / 623-434-1204 /