About The Together Group

Get to know Maia, meet the incredible team behind The Together Group, and learn more about why teacher organization and time management is so meaningful to us.

The Together Team

Maia Heyck-Merlin

Founder

Maia Heyck-Merlin has twenty years of experience juggling high-volume roles in results-oriented organizations. For the past 2 decades, she has dedicated her life to supporting teachers, school leaders, central offices, and nonprofits to prioritize, plan ahead, and execute efficiently – while maintaining flexibility, empathy, and humor. Her four publications have helped hundreds of educators, school leaders, operations team members and nonprofit staffers across the country. 

Prior to founding The Together Group, she served as Chief Talent Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Achievement First. Previously, she worked at Teach For America in a variety of capacities, including Executive Director and Institute Director. Maia began as a corps member in South Louisiana where she taught fourth grade and was named Teacher of the Year at Delmont Elementary and selected as a Fulbright Memorial Fund recipient, and then was a founding fifth grade teacher at Children’s Charter School.

Maia holds a B.A. in Child Development from Tufts University, and she is a proud graduate of a rural Maine public school system. Maia currently resides in the Washington, DC, area with her partner, their four medium-sized children, four unruly cats, and a lot of house plants. In her spare time, she finds joy in leading the local Girl Scout Troop, being a lazy triathlete, and vegan-ish cooking with as few pots and pans as possible.

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Maia Heyck-Merlin

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Kendra Rowe Salas

Senior Director, Operations

Kendra holds a BA in psychology from Winthrop University and an MA in international peace and conflict resolution from American University. She’s taught English in Guatemala, worked in various university settings, and directed the children’s programs for the Washington, DC metro area’s largest hunger relief organization.

Kendra currently lives outside of Nashville, TN with her husband, two children, and family dog, where she enjoys gardening, reading, and perusing Pinterest for project ideas. She helps The Together Group with project management, coaching, and overall logistics. Kendra’s favorite Together Tool is the Weekly Worksheet to keep everything on track.

Kendra Rowe Salas

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Ana Gutierrez-Dooley

Director, Design and Participant Experience

Ana has spent her career working in the field of education with a focus on effective process and quality outcomes. She holds a B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College and an M. Ed. from the University of St. Thomas. Over 20 years, three states, and one very old car she has led as a classroom teacher with Houston Independent Schools; as a Deputy Institute Director, Institute Director, and Managing Director with Teach For America; and a Principal, Academic and Assessment Coordinator, and Special Projects Coordinator with charter schools in the Greater Sacramento region.

Ana lives in the Sacramento area with her engineer husband, their resident tween, two cats, and a tank full of fish and shrimp (a fish tank for which she takes no responsibility). In her free time, she enjoys trying new recipes she finds on the internet, reading chapter books appropriate for young children with her daughter, and finding creative ways to connect with family and friends near and far. Ana’s favorite Together Tool is the Later List; it helps keep her mental energy focused on the present.

Ana Gutierrez-Dooley

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Lauren Fryer-Lewis

Manager, Public Sessions and Operations

Lauren supports all things related to The Together Group’s public sessions, as well as managing communications and other operations tasks. She is a former middle school teacher and administrator, and spent several years working at the central office of a large school district. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Duke University and a M.A. in Minority and Urban Education from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Lauren lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, two children, and dog. In her free time she enjoys reading, crafting, and watching Duke basketball. Lauren’s favorite Together Tool is the Weekly Worksheet to make sure she has a roadmap for the week ahead.

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Lauren Fryer-Lewis

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Maggie Sorby

Manager, Editorial Operations

Maggie manages the operations behind The Together Group’s publications, including The Together Teacher and The Together Project Manager. She began her career as a Teach For America corps member and has worked in various educational settings in the Los Angeles and Philadelphia regions. Maggie holds a B.A. in International/Global Studies from Elon University and is currently pursuing her M.S. Ed in International Educational Development at the University of Pennsylvania.

She lives in the Philadelphia area, where she enjoys hiking and camping with her husband and two children, reading, and digging around in her sometimes-thriving vegetable garden. Maggie’s favorite Together Tool is the Comprehensive Calendar, which helps her balance everything from her kid’s soccer practice to major work deadlines to “reading blocks” for grad school.

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Maggie Sorby

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Cornelius Arther

Coordinator, Course Operations

Cornelius has aligned his life path in service to underserved children in the South for over sixteen years. During college, he worked closely with first, second, and third graders by mentoring students, as well as coaching and training staff. In addition to working directly with students and volunteers, he served as the Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, and Interim President of the executive board for an afterschool program.

Cornelius holds a B.A. in Human Resources Management and Real Estate Finance. Since 2011, he has held a variety of Operations roles, including Manager of Growth Development Partnership for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Director of Regional Operations across two states. He lives in northern Mississippi, and in his free time, he enjoys doing renovation projects on his home. Cornelius’ favorite Together Tool is Thought Catchers to help capture his thoughts or questions to address and revisit later.

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Cornelius Arther

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The Together Trainers

Chrystie Edwards

Trainer

Chrystie is a true “teaching nerd” whose career has been dedicated to supporting educationally underserved communities. Leveraging her previous experiences as a former high school science teacher, school leader, and district administrator – she is always looking for innovative ways to enhance professional development, support school leaders, and thought-partner with district-level administrators to improve outcomes for all students.

Chrystie is an LA native and a UCLA grad (go Bruins!) who relocated to Tennessee in 2015 with her husband and two children. When she isn’t nerding out about the teaching practice, Chrystie enjoys: learning about enneagrams, creating “Together Tools” for her kids, watching dog videos on Instagram, and shuttling her boys to their practices and sports games.

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Chrystie Edwards

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Briannon McLoughlin

Trainer

Briannon is the Director of Community and Internal Communications at Teach For Australia. She is a mission-driven nonprofit leader passionate about harnessing the people-power of communities and impact networks to address wicked system problems affecting students. Bri is a former high school English Language teacher, as well as a former small business owner and instructional leader. She credits her Together training (almost a decade ago!) for helping her to achieve and balance her ambitious life and work goals. Bri lives in Sydney, Australia – right near the beach – and never takes the sunrise for granted.

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Briannon McLoughlin

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Erica Beal

Trainer

Erica Beal is the Executive Director of School Leader Lab, a Washington DC-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting and developing the most important people in the world – school leaders. Her dream is that all leaders find joy and sustainability in their work through intentional relationships and gaining tools to strengthen their impact. 

Erica began her career as a TFA corps member, and after a decade as a teacher and school leader she joined School Leader Lab. Erica has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and a Master’s Degree from Columbia University. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her best friend (her husband), their three kids, and their little French bulldog, Charley. Erica is proud to be a member of the Together Team because she credits her ability to wear multiple hats with all that she learned as a participant seven years ago and continues to learn now as a facilitator.

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Erica Beal

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Tammie Holt

Trainer

Tammie has always been a teacher at heart – starting with her own middle school experience, when she became known for carrying countless bags everywhere she went! She originally hails from Miami, FL, but relocated to Charlotte, NC in 2006. "Together Tammie" relies heavily on her Together Tools to keep her busy life (as a central office administrator and single mom) aligned and harmonious.

Over the last 20 years, Tammie has worked in the schoolhouse, as well as in central office leadership. In these roles, Tammie has provided professional development and coaching to school staff, worked to improve instruction and student achievement, and advocated for equity in the schools she serves. Even amidst this important work, Tammie still aims to pause for other things that bring her joy: hearing her daughter laugh, Fall in the South, interior design, and a GREAT book. Always interested in a variety of topics, Tammie earned a BS in Psychology, an MS in Human Resource Management, and founded a local nonprofit, as well.

Tammie Holt

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two female teachers participate in a teacher organization workshop

Our History

The Together Group started as a scrappy side-hustle hobby in 2005, when founder Maia, a classroom teacher herself, began leading courses to help struggling teachers better manage their time, improve their organization skills, and overall keep their balance. After years of running courses, Maia cleared the decks to write The Together Teacher, and The Together Group officially graduated from side hustle to full-time focus.

For more than 15 years, Maia and the talented Together Team have led engaging, practical, and joyous courses to help people find their True Togetherness. After testing practices with teachers, over time Maia expanded her work to school leaders, operations staff, nonprofit organizations, and school district teams. Today, The Together Teacher has reached more than 50,000 copies sold, with The Together Leader right on its heels.

Our Purpose

The Together Group is a training, coaching, and consulting organization designed to help teachers and leaders unleash their potential in both their professional and personal lives. Given the unique nature of schools, districts, nonprofits, and mission-driven organizations, we provide practical and customized tools, habits, and mindsets to make the most of every minute. We train people to plan ahead, prioritize well, and protect their time for what matters the most.

course participants raise their arms during a teacher organization workshop