Our Story


TESS is committed to the building of capacity within educational organizations for the purpose of improving the quality of instruction, the resiliency and continuity of support systems, and successful student mastery of the curriculum. 


TESS consultants have worked with schools across the country and can confirm the results of the research: Successful schools are focused on results, practices are aligned with intended outcomes, and leadership is valued and evident.

Randall Olson, Ed.D.
Gene Tavernetti, Ed.D.

Dr. Randall Olson served as a superintendent for twenty-five years. From his experience in the academic arena, he came to recognize that quality and effective teaching could only occur in an environment that makes intentional decisions. 

Successful academic and administrative practices must be embedded within the systems of the school. They then have a better chance of enduring to serve students more effectively through the years. The system must, therefore, be attuned to perpetuate best practices in budget, policy, training, and communication.

Frank Rodriguez, Ed.D.

Dr. Francisco Rodriguez is the President of RISE Educational Services.  Working with associate Dr. Gene Tavernetti from TESS Consulting Group, he has created the professional development courses offered by RISE-TESS.  


A former school and district administrator, Dr. Rodriguez, who entered the profession through Teach for America,  works with elementary and secondary teachers and administrators.  He has presented to and worked with more than 2,000 teachers in more than two dozen school districts in the last 5 years.  His ongoing goal is to further a common language around core instructional practices.


Janae Tovar

Dr. Gene Tavernetti has been involved in education for over thirty years. He has served a coach, teacher, counselor, administrator, and consultant. 

Dr. Tavernetti holds a core belief about children and adults: Given the right environment and proper support everyone can improve and succeed. This core belief has allowed Dr. Tavernetti to help his students, staffs, teachers, and administrators--with whom he now trains and coaches--to attain the levels of competence they desire.

Sherwin Low

Sherwin Low was a teacher, an administrator, and an instructional coach for over thirty-two years in Northern California before joining TESS nine years ago.  He has coached in school districts throughout Northern and Southern California, and worked effectively with teachers from kindergarten to high school. 


He firmly believes that effective classroom instruction is a result of teachers acquiring a working knowledge of the science of lesson delivery, and combining this knowledge with their own artistry and style.

Carin Contreras

Janae Tovar served as an ELD Specialist and English Learner Programs administrator before joining the TESS Consulting Group. Her passion for all students achieving at high levels, including English Learners, taught her that the key to student success is a rigorous learning environment which results from quality direct instruction.


Ms. Tovar has come to know the value of high expectations and of a shared vocabulary for effective instruction through her work with teachers and administrators at all levels. 


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Carin  Contreras joins the TESS team after 24 years of service in public education and with a passion for teaching and learning. Her roles in education have been varied:  Elementary Principal in Title One and non Title One schools, District Office Director of Instruction, Assessment and Intervention, Elementary and Middle School teacher and Visual and Performing Arts Department Chairperson. She has consulted with West Ed, ACSA and the California Arts Project.


An unwavering belief that the best staff development model is centered in instructional coaching is at the core of her drive to assist schools in achieving their goals for maximum student achievement.

Paula Sour

Paula Sour joins the TESS team following 26 years of educational service. Her roles have included middle school and high school teacher, coach and administrator. During her years as a site principal in Southern California she led two elementary schools to California distinguished school awards.


Her passion for improved student learning in a culture of high expectations drives her desire to work with school site teachers and leaders to achieve school improvement. She holds a core belief that a clearly communicated framework for lesson design and delivery of Focused Instruction is essential to student success.  She values instructional coaching as an essential staff development tool to maximize improved student achievement.