The EdVenture Group was founded in 2001 by a high school computer science and mathematics teacher, Dr. Lydotta Taylor. Recognizing the need for change, Dr. Taylor has managed over $20 million in federal, state, local, and private funding to provide innovative solutions to common K-12 education obstacles. Today, her team leads customer-specific educational programming for a variety of educational organizations nationwide.
PrESIDENT & CEO
Dr. Lydotta M. Taylor is the Founder, President, and CEO of The EdVenture Group, Inc. Beginning as a high school math teacher, Dr. Taylor has built a career through her passion to teach and lead others. An entrepreneur at heart, she founded The EdVenture Group, an educational consulting non-profit, in 2001. With her leadership and educational background, The EdVenture Group has implemented over 7,000 workshops for educators and impacted over 25,000 students. Today, The EdVenture Group are leaders in school culture, technology integration, and youth programming and have managed over $20 million in federal, state, and private funding.
Throughout her career, Dr. Taylor has committed herself to a mission of lifelong learning and growth. Her education career began as a high school math and computer science teacher, growing to serve as the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Monongalia County school system. Prior to founding The EdVenture Group, she served as Vice President for Workforce and Education at the West Virginia High Technology Consortium (WVHTC) Foundation. She completed the Advanced Management Program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Executive Education, and completed the Life Success Consulting and Coaching certification in 2009. She earned her Doctoral degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a specialization in STEM Professional Development from West Virginia University in 2011 and continues to seek opportunities to grow both professionally and personally.
Dr. Taylor is an active volunteer in the community and recently led the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties in a $1,570,000 campaign. She serves on numerous boards and provides mentorship to many organizations. Dr. Taylor continues to utilize her love for teaching and has taught at the collegiate level in Leadership Studies for the College of Arts & Science at WVU, the MBA, eMBA and MSIR programs at the College of Business & Economics at WVU. Recently, Dr. Taylor was recognized as the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus by Leadership West Virginia for her service and leadership throughout the state.
Dr. Taylor is many things – a leader, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a keynote speaker, a published author, a mother. At the foundation of these many roles and titles, Dr. Taylor remains one thing – a teacher. Today, the world is her classroom.
Dr. Meaghan Cochrane is a qualitative research methodologist and Education Researcher with The EdVenture Group. A West Virginia native, Dr. Cochrane attended Pleasants County Schools and West Virginia Wesleyan College prior to receiving her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Kansas State University. In addition to her doctoral degree, Dr. Cochrane holds a Master’s degree in Education Management, Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, Middle-level and Secondary Teaching Certification in English/Language Arts, Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research, Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning, and Professional Certification in Grant Writing and Grant Management. Her research interests include qualitative inquiry, K-12 rural education, rural community school planning and evaluation, rural youth development, place attachment and place-based pedagogy, homeless youth, social justice education, and contemplative arts-based approaches to education and research.
Dr. Cochrane’s established program of scholarship focuses on a broad vision of education and human development of the needs of the whole child supported by the community school educational model. Her primary research, situated in McDowell County, West Virginia, engages with issues of educational and economic inequity through the implementation of school-community partnerships in high need, rural schools. Dr. Cochrane has demonstrated this work in various scholarly arenas including the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI), and the Association of Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE). Dr. Cochrane’s pedagogy, scholarship, and service are centered in social justice initiatives and the promotion of educational equity for all students. Dr. Cochrane is very excited for the opportunity to showcase her passion for high quality research, innovative pedagogical strategies, and the promotion of educational equity in her work with The EdVenture Group.
Krystian is a 2020 West Virginia University graduate with a BS in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Business Communications. She started in the realm of helping others 8 years ago by creating her own 501c3 non-profit organization where she serves as President of, Shining S.C.A.R.S. beginning at the age of 15. Krystian is a published author of children's book, Shining Scars, which has been read by children in 23 countries across the world.
Through the past few years, Krystian has been able to co-author additional books, including The Better Business book and 10 Habits of Truly Optimistic People. She also focused on recognizing and promoting stories of kindness in her state of West Virginia as a Channel Kindness Reporting for Lady Gaga’s organization, Born This Way, on a national level. She was also a recipient of the WV State Journal Generation Next- Top 40 Under 40 in 2018. State pride is at the heart of every endeavor she has pursued, and she always aims to shine a positive light on the great people of West Virginia, now more than ever with joining of The EdVenture Group.
MANAGER OF INNOVATION
Amber Ravenscroft is the Manager of Innovation for The EdVenture Group. With an eye for design, Amber began her career at the organization as a marketing intern. She quickly found her passion in K-12 educational programming and today brings entrepreneurship education and STEM innovation to the forefront of The EdVenture Group’s professional offerings.
Amber serves as the Program Manager for the nationally-recognized America’s Entrepreneurial Schools and Colleges initiative in partnership with The National Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education (EntreEd), a program that has impacted over 50,000 Appalachian students with support from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Amber led The EdVenture Group to be one of only 29 internationally-awarded Google RISE organizations for the CS EdVenture program in 2016, and was a featured breakout speaker that the 2018 National Title I Conference in Philadelphia, PA, where she spoke of the organization’s work on female students in STEM and Computer Science. Today, she manages a portfolio of education initiatives focused on K-12 education innovation.
Amber earned her B.S. in Strategic Communications from West Virginia University in 2015 and her M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2019. With a skill for finding, framing, and solving problems in the education sector, Amber's passion for K-12 innovation has led to over $4 million in grant funding and impacted thousands of students and teachers across Appalachia and the country.
Denise Workman is a Program Manager and Family Engagement Specialist with The EdVenture Group. She brings to this position her experience as a K-12 teacher and gifted education specialist, an education leader, and a student and family advocate.
Denise has always tried to tackle educational challenges in West Virginia by providing meaningful solutions. For many years, she worked in southern West Virginia to identify very-able students whose intellectual gifts were often masked by poverty and underexposure. She worked to teach and support the students while they developed tools to deal with the social-emotional, economic, and cultural obstacles to achievement. She continued this work at the state level by serving as President of West Virginia Association for the Gifted and Talented. Denise also helped fill a gap in public education by forming the West Virginia Coding Club with two other colleagues. The opportunity allowed students without access to coding and computer science in the school to be trained in an extracurricular cohort of other self-motivated students. She began her work connecting schools and families to community resources while working at the West Virginia Department of Education as a Program Development Coordinator helping rollout Communities In Schools in the state.
Because Denise believes in the power of the village, she has worked in many endeavors to strengthen the community and state. This commitment includes leadership roles with The Junior League of Charleston and being a member of the 2016 class of Leadership West Virginia. She is past president of WVU Alumni Boone County Chapter and remains an alumni leader with the WVU Alumni Association and a volunteer for Old Gold, New Blue. She is on the Board of Directors for Girls Scouts of the Black Diamond Council and a member of West Virginia Women Moving Forward’s education subcommittee.
Denise completed her BS in K-8 Education at West Virginia State University and her MA in Special Education for the Gifted at West Virginia University. Committed to continuous learning, she is currently working on a Graduate Certificate in Leadership Studies at WVU.
SENIOR PROGRAM MANAGER
Jennifer Wotring, SHRM-CP, began her career and project development experience over 20 years ago when she played a lead role in the design and implementation of the Internet Fraud Complaint Center. Through strong management and oversite, this project later developed into a joint partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the FBI. Jennifer served in a supervisory role where she trained, guided and lead a group of 15 analysts, while also serving as the liaison between the NW3C and FBI. Shortly after joining The EdVenture Group in 2006, Jennifer was able to bridge her two passions of criminal justice and education by developing an internet safety training CD for school administrators and staff.
Jennifer is a skilled presenter with over 14 years of experience developing and delivering educational programming and professional development to students, staff, and administrators, including the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Preston County’s After School Explorers Staff and numerous other clients. In her current position she excels at providing event planning and logistics facilitation to a variety of educational clients including REL Appalachia, EntreEd, and partners of the ARC-POWER funded CODE grant. Jennifer has previously served as the Director of Lemonade Day West Virginia.
Jennifer holds a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. Dedicated to personal and professional growth, she is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Monongalia and a 2012 graduate of Leadership West Virginia. In 2015, Jennifer became a SHRM-Certified Professional and now provides HR oversite to the leadership and staff at The EdVenture Group. Jennifer currently serves on the United Way of Mon and Preston Counties Citizens’ Review Committee and Women United initiative.