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About Our Associates

Dr. Judith Zorfass has over a decade of experience in conceptualizing, designing, launching, managing, and evaluating Communities of Practice (CoPs). Her work with CoPs began during her 20+ years as an associate director and senior director of strategic planning at one of the nation's premier educational nonprofits, Education Development Center in Newton (EDC), MA.

Dr. Zorfass carried her experience with face-to-face and virtual CoPs forward when she joined the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) in 2006 as the manager of CoPs. There she managed the facilitators of seven virtual CoPs, each of which has a large number of member participants. Over the years at PEJE, she created an innovative model for CoPs that draws on theories of adult learning and takes advantage of today's information communication tools. She mentored the seven facilitators by guiding them to expand their capacity as community leaders through one-to-one coaching, an overarching “Meta” CoP, and multi-day retreats. She has helped the facilitators to design their monthly web-based conference calls and to make effective use of online discussions through Google Groups. The conference calls closely resembled well-designed webinars. In addition to including guest experts and panelists who are coached beforehand, they use PowerPoint slides, live notes, chat, and video to ensure that the experience is as engaging and interactive as possible for all participants.

In addition, Dr. Zorfass is currently collaborating with Dr. Naava Frank at Knowledge Communities as a consultant to guide diverse organizations, associations, and schools with the development and sustained success of CoPs.

Dr. Zorfass holds a doctorate from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has been a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences reaching educators and researchers focusing on public (e.g., ASCD, CEC, and NELMS) and Jewish Education (NRJE Conference). She is the author of one educational book published by ASCD, as well as the author and co-author of numerous published articles. Of specific note are the following recent articles related to her work with CoPs:

  • Zorfass, J. M., and Rivero, H. (2005). Collaboration is Key: How a Community of Practice Promotes Technology Integration. Journal of Special Education Technology, 20(3), Summer, p. 51-60.
  • Zorfass, J. (2007). How Communities of Practice can Benefit Jewish Day Schools. Jewish Educational Leadership. 6(1), Fall, p. 37-39.
  • Frank, N. and Zorfass, J. (2009). Communities of Practice: Overcoming Isolation and Supporting Growth. Contact: The Journal of the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, 11(2), Winter, p. 12-13.
Picture of Judy Zorfass.

D. Norma Szokolyai comes to Knowledge Communities with experience teaching, facilitating, and organizing large and small groups of people in a variety of professional settings.  An associate consultant at Knowledge Communities, she is also a member of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management and loves helping nonprofits, foundations, and individuals in their capacity building, communication, collaborative learning, and e-learning skills.

Norma has taught French and ESL/writing and has been a leader and then Program Director of the Global Works - France Program for the past six years. Norma served as Technology/Events Coordinator in the launching of the 2009 "Building Community" International Conference  at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and created an online Ning network for affiliates of the arts in education program. She was also an organizer for Americans for Informed Democracy and has worked with the UNESCO Chair in Comparative Studies in Human Rights.

Norma has a passion for facilitating intercultural dialogue, investigating language and communication, and exploring how people learn in community.  She also loves to use technology and arts-integrated/creative activities as tools to engage people and promote dialogue and understanding. Her special interests include community building, progressive education, language/culture education, writing, literacy, arts, human rights, and environmental issues and initiatives. Norma earned a M.Ed. from Harvard and an M.A. in French Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Connecticut .  Her undergraduate work focused on French and Human Rights.

Norma has worked for the Children's Cooperative Montessori School , The Boston Research and Healthcare Institute, National Arts and Learning Collaborative, International Education Systems, The French Ministry of Education, the University of Connecticut Modern Languages Department, Asfelmedia Language Insititute, and the University of Paris Sorbonne Medical School. She is co-director of the Cambridge Writers Workshop , and co-founder founder and Literary Arts Director of Sounds in Bloom and the Chagall Performance Art Collaborative . She hasn't owned a TV in several years and in her spare time, she participates in organic farming initiatives through her membership in Wwoof (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms).


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