Our Team

Premier Training at Your School!

Our Trainers

The Energy Bus for Schools Leadership Journey Chief Relationship Officers & Facilitators present relevant and motivational presentations and workshops that fascinate learners while engaging them in reflective, practical exercises that will enhance both their personal and professional lives.

Each Relationship Officer & Facilitator believes in building strong, supportive relationships to ensure each district, school, and team member has a positive learning experience.

Each Relationship Officer & Facilitator brings forth their own unique gifts, strengths, and stories to inspire and engage audiences around the world.

Request one of our Chief Relationship Officers or Facilitators for your next event!

I would say [the training is] definitely something every leader should participate in. It gave me hope and allowed me to remember my purpose.

Niki Spears

Co-Founder / Chief Energy Officer

Niki is a former school principal and now works as an educator and change leader.

She shares her passion and enthusiasm for creating positive school culture based on shared leadership – including students as young as 5 years of age. Niki is leading the charge to develop positive schools by sharing the importance of embracing a leadership mindset.

Niki has partnered with best-selling author, Jon Gordon and is touring around the country sharing how the success principles from Mr. Gordon’s book, The Energy Bus can reinforce positive leadership as we transform classrooms, schools and communities.

Niki resides in Houston, Texas with her husband and three beautiful girls.

Learn more about how Niki can help your school.

Donna Fontenot Headshot

Donna Fontenot

Deputy Chief Energy Officer

Donna has been in education for 32 years and has a passion for making a difference in the lives of others. She believes that establishing relationships and creating a positive culture creates success for students, staff, and families. Donna has worked as an educator and counselor, she recognizes the impact adults in our schools have on students’ academic and emotional success and in developing students’ leadership skills.

Donna is currently serving as a Director in Human Resources with Fort Bend ISD in Texas where she is responsible for overseeing teacher recruitment and creating a positive hiring experiences. Donna served as a school counselor at the elementary, middle, and high school levels for 12 years. Her mission in every role she assumes is to be a positive role model for students and adults.

Donna currently resides in Richmond, TX with her husband. She loves spending time with her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren.

Donna Brown Headshot

Donna Brown

Chief Relationship Officer/EB Facilitator

Donna is a professional coach covering the Sugar Land and Houston areas. She mentors beginning educators on the implementation of exceptional instruction, creative lessons, and developing a positive attitude in problem-solving. She is a dynamic professional who is dedicated to academic excellence, quality instruction, and a commitment to each relationship she encounters. Open communication and trust are the key components she promotes in her positive relationships!

Donna retired as an elementary principal with twenty-five years of experience in education and ten years of volunteering in her diverse community. She discovered her passion for painting seven years ago and each of her paintings is a message of energy and movement! She channels her vitality into dancing, traveling, music and the love of her family! Her enthusiasm and optimistic spirit are an inspiration to others. She is ready for YOU to jump on board The Energy Bus for Schools Leadership. Just say YES for the ride of a lifetime!

She currently resides in Sugar Land, Texas with her beautiful 88-year-old mother and talented daughter.

Windy Hodge Headshot

Windy Hodge

Chief Relationship Officer/EB Facilitator

Windy has been an educator for 19 years and has a true desire for creating positive school cultures for students, faculty, and families. She believes that building strong, positive relationships are the foundation of everything successful! She has experience as an award-winning educator in the elementary setting, instructional coach, and administrator in South Carolina public schools.

Windy is currently the principal of Clifdale Elementary School, a certified Energy Bus School, where she and her team have made a commitment to provide a safe, positive culture for their passengers. By doing so, their school has not only positively impacted the students of Clifdale Elementary, but also the families and surrounding communities!

Windy resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and two daughters. They love spending time with one another at various sporting events!

Nick Holtvluwer Headshot

Nick Holtvluwer

Chief Relationship Officer/EB Facilitator

After a short stint playing college football, Nick put his original degree in Communications to use in the television industry. With five years under his belt, he placed his television career on hold to return to his alma mater and obtain an Elementary Teaching certificate. Nick has now served in education for over 14 years as a 1st grade teacher, assistant principal, and administrator. Nick is currently the Principal of Mammoth Heights Elementary in Parker, Colorado.

Through creating a positive vision, Nick continues to love his passengers of dedicated teachers, staff and community members to make Mammoth Heights the most POSITIVE and ENERGETIC school in all of Douglas County! Whether it was on a Title I campus or at a high socioeconomic school, The Energy Bus and its principles have been instrumental in creating and sustaining positive climate and cultures under Nick’s leadership.

With experience in school districts in Florida, Michigan, and Colorado, Nick believes in stepping outside his comfort zone while fueling his ride as a husband, father, leader, and learner with positive energy. Nick and his wife have three young children who love to hike, attend sporting events, visit the zoo and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities that Colorado has to offer.

Dr. Jim Van Allan Headshot

Dr. Jim Van Allan

Chief Relationship Officer/EB Facilitator

Dr. Jim Van Allan is an accomplished speaker and trainer with clients across the country. He specializes in using a unique blend of audience-engagement and high-energy to make workshops and keynote speeches come alive.

Jim is a Certified Speaker with The Jon Gordon Companies and has been presenting curriculum and material on behalf of Jon Gordon for over 10 years. He has conducted presentations on all of Jon’s books but has a special place in his heart for The Energy Bus.

He is a Professor of Communication Studies with Keiser University where he teaches Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communication courses. Additionally, he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree in Communication Studies from Florida Atlantic University.

Jim recently earned his Ph.D. in Education Leadership where he analyzed the impact of The Energy Bus training on sustaining a positive school culture on a model school. He resides in Palm City, Florida, with his wife and two boys.

Steve Waigand

Steve Waigand

Chief Relationship Officer/EB Facilitator

Steve is the principal at Rock Port Elementary, recently recognized as a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School for Academic Excellence and 2016 Missouri Gold Star School. He credits

the school’s success to a talented staff who put just as much time and attention into the social and emotional learning needs of their students as the academic needs. It all starts with relationships!

Steve has a passion for building strong, positive relationships with students, staff, and families. It is the foundation of his experiences as a classroom teacher and administrator for 13 years at the elementary and secondary levels. He believes in a supportive environment that embraces a growth mindset where all students can and will experience success.

Steve resides in Rock Port, MO with his wife and two energetic boys. They enjoy spending time together with family, at various school events, watching sports and movies, and playing outdoors until the sun goes down.


Cindy Ward

Chief Relationship Officer/EB Facilitator

Chief Relationship Officer/Trainer for the Energy Bus for Schools Leadership Journey, Cindy Ward is an award-winning Master Teacher and enthusiastic Campus Administrator with over 20 years of experience in education. Cindy thrives in diverse settings: low-income schools, bilingual settings, and at-risk populations while generating high levels of student growth. Cindy’s life work addresses climate change in every educational setting (K-12) through building relationships with students, teachers, parents, and administrators to ensure a sound ecosystem of learning.

Cindy, a first generation college graduate, earned her Bachelors of Science from Texas A&M University in Interdisciplinary Studies and Masters of Education from Lamar University. Joining the Energy Bus for Schools Leadership Journey is a dream come true for her. Cindy ignites passengers with her optimism! She establishes and maintains positive, productive environments and proudly prepares for the ride ahead. Currently, a resident of Schertz, TX, she and her husband have raised 5 children and live only 8 minutes from their first grandchild!