Dr. Bill Cope — President

Bill Cope, Ph.D, has led Common Ground Publishing since 1984. He is a research professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. He is a former First Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in the Australian Federal Government. His academic research and writing crosses a number of disciplines, including history, education and sociology; and examines themes as varied as immigration, workplace change and literacy learning. For more information, please visit

Karim Gherab-Martín  Director of Spain, Portugal and Latin America

Karim Gherab-Martín has completed a Master of Science (theoretical physics) and a Ph.D. (philosophy of science and technology) with Highest Honors from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, with further specialization at Harvard University (2 years) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1 year). He also has worked as an ICT consultant in Spain and Latin America for several years, and written strategic reports on digital libraries for the Government of Madrid. Karim manages Common Ground’s Spanish and Portuguese operations, and leads market development activities for Common Ground’s conferences, journals and books in Spain, Portugal and Latin America.


Emily E. Kasak — Conference Producer

Emily E. Kasak is a long-time member of our Common Ground conferences team. She has an Associate’s Degree in Science from Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, USA and studied Arts Management at the Liverpool Institute of the Performing Arts in Liverpool, UK. Throughout her studies and travels, Emily has organized events around music, the arts, politics, and advocacy. Emily’s involvement in events planning began in 2004, in her work with local and national congressional campaigns. She also worked for four years as the organizer of an advocacy initiative for a national educational coalition and assisted with the coordination of their annual conference in Washington, DC. More recently, Emily’s focus has shifted towards work in the arts and entertainment. Her involvement as a freelance manager/administrator for independent music and arts organizations has allowed her to work with artists directly, at industry conferences, and international arts festivals.

Izabel Szary  Conference Producer

Izabel Szary holds a Master’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a minor in Museum Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She received a BA from North Carolina State University in Anthropology with a minor in Biology focusing in Genetics. During her academic career she has lived abroad in Panajachel, Guatemala and Cuzco, Peru. Additionally, she has traveled to Australia as Student Ambassador with People to People. During her graduate career she assisted in the organization of several International conferences and teacher workshops. Since graduating she has maintained close ties to the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the U of I.

Monica Hillison — Conference Producer

Rachael Arcario — Conference Producer

Originally from Orlando, Florida, Rachael Arcario holds bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Business with a minor in Communication from Florida State University. Throughout her undergraduate career she worked each summer as an intern at a local law firm where she assisted in organizing large scale trade shows and events. During the school year she worked for the Florida State University Foundation as a Student Caller, raising awareness and funds for different departments at Florida State and organizing alumni events. Before starting at Common Ground Publishing in 2010, Rachael worked for Accenture and the My Florida Market Place Project to streamline interactions between local businesses and the state government.

Homer (Tony) Stavely — Conference Host

Tony Stavely serves as on-site Host at selected conferences and participates in special projects within the Conference Department. He is Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Keene State College in New Hampshire, USA. He has a PhD from Princeton University and a BA from DePauw University. After training in animal learning and behavior, he shifted his attention to personality and social psychology and the history of psychology. His interests and activities have included environmental psychology, the educational uses of computers, technology and society, and issues of diversity and multiculturalism.

Program Development

Kimberly D. Kendall  Program Development

Originally from Newark, Delaware, Kimberly Kendall earned her BA from the University of Delaware in Marketing and Graphic Arts. She earned her M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Education Policy at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and completed a post-doc position as Director of Research Opportunities in the College of Education, UIUC. During her tenure at the University, Kim developed and implemented an international internship program responsible for placing students in social, educational, and business organizations.

Jessica Wienhold-Brokish  Program Development

Jessica Wienhold-Brokish holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Studies from the Ohio State University and a Doctorate in Comparative and World Literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a focus on Russian, German, Croatian, and British literature. Her interests include post-communist literature, women’s literature, autobiography, and wartime literature.


Jamie Burns  Managing Editor

Jamie Burns coordinates content development and marketing for Common Ground Publishing’s publications. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and World Literature from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA and a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has worked as a literature teacher, ESL instructor, translator, interpreter, and grant writer. She speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

Communications and Marketing

Abigail Manekin — Communications and Marketing Coordinator

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Abigail inherited her love of learning and travel from her family. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Dramatic Arts with a minor in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the UNC Honors Program in London. Abigail has organized and participated in theatrical performances, workshops, readings, and other events in venues all over the country, including Hartford, Baltimore, San Diego, and New York City. She is currently a resident of Champaign and remains active in local theater.


Jason Berg  Education Account Executive 

Jason Berg has spent the last decade on the sales and marketing side of educational technology and publishing. He works directly with instructors at educational institutions worldwide to leverage and incorporate technology at the course or institutional level. Whether working with authors and educational publishers on high level visuals designed to increase subject level understanding or exploring the limits of student ability with Wolfram|Alpha and Mathematica Jason is acutely aware of technology resistance and focuses on creating strong internal support networks to increase and sustain usage over time.

Rita van Haren  Curriculum Resource Developer

Rita van Haren is a Curriculum Resource Developer at Common Ground. From 2004-2013, Rita worked closely with teachers in elementary, middle schools and high schools, focusing on improving the teaching of literacy and using technology across the curriculum. She has over 30 years experience in education, and holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education from the University of Wollongong (Australia), a Master of Education, focusing on student diversity from RMIT University (Australia), and a Master of Education in ‘New Learning’ from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.