The 2021 Carnegie Summit brings together practitioners, researchers, thought leaders, policymakers, and others to share how they are using continuous improvement approaches and capturing the power of networks. Keynote speakers with diverse perspectives and deep expertise inspired and challenged attendees to ask probing questions about improvement in education. Read on to learn more about the improvers and innovators who are presenting at this year’s Summit.
April 19–28, 2021
Anthony S. Bryk
Former President & Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching×
Anthony S. Bryk is currently a Senior Fellow for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Prior to becoming a Senior Fellow, Bryk had served as the Foundation’s ninth president from 2008 to 2020 where he led work on transforming educational research and development. He is one of America’s most noted educational researchers. His 1993 book, Catholic Schools and the Common Good, is a classic in the sociology of education. His deep interest in bringing scholarship to bear on improving schooling is reflected in his later volumes, Trust in Schools (2002) and Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago (2010). In his most recent publications Learning to Improve (2015), and Improvement in Action (2020), Bryk argues improvement science combined with the power of networks offers the field a new approach to reach ever increasing educational aspirations. Bryk holds a B.S. from Boston College and an Ed.D. from Harvard University.
President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching×
Timothy Knowles is the tenth president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Prior to joining Carnegie, he founded and served as managing partner of The Academy Group, a new enterprise designed to prepare young people from under-resourced communities to own and operate successful companies, reduce economic disparities, and serve as a human capital engine (built on a sustainable business model) to unlock human potential at scale. Previously, Knowles was the Pritzker Director of the University of Chicago Urban Labs. He also established, directed, and served as Chairman of the Urban Education Institute and as the John Dewey Clinical Professor of Education. He has started a wide range of social sector organizations, is a nationally recognized speaker, and has received multiple honors and awards. Knowles holds a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College.
K-12 Education Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation×
Bob Hughes, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Director for K-12 Education in the United States Program, oversees the work to ensure that we prepare all students for success in college and career.
Before joining the foundation, Bob was president of New Visions for Public Schools, a New York City school network of 70 district schools serving approximately 45,000 students. During his tenure, New Visions created 99 district and seven charter public schools, provided mentoring services to hundreds of new principals, developed school-based certification programs for teachers and principals, secondary curricula now accessed by thousands of teachers, and data management tools to streamline school operations and track student progress toward graduation and college. Bob has also led or been involved in individual and class action litigation in special education and state school finance. He started his career providing legal representation to homeless parents and students in the New York City public school system and worked extensively with community organizers around education issues.
Prior board affiliations include the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Advocates for Children of New York, Fund for Teachers, and Projects in Education, the nonprofit publisher of Education Week.
Anna Deavere Smith
Playwright, actor, and educator×
Playwright, actor, and educator, Anna Deavere Smith uses her singular brand of theatre to explore issues of community, character, and diversity in America. The MacArthur Foundation honored Smith with the “Genius” Fellowship for creating “a new form of theatre — a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.”
Best known for crafting more than 15 one-woman shows drawn from hundreds of interviews, Smith turns these conversations into scripts and transforms herself onstage into an astonishing number of characters. In her speaking events, Smith discusses the many “complex identities of America,” and interweaves her discussions with portrayals of people she has interviewed to illustrate the diversity of emotions and points of view on controversial issues.
Her most recent play, Notes from the Field, looks at the School-to-Prison Pipeline and injustice and inequality in low-income communities. Winner of an Obie Award and the 2017 Nortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show, Notes from the Field was named one of the Top 10 Plays of the year by Time magazine.
Currently, Smith appears on ABC’s hit series Black-ish and the ABC legal drama For the People. She is probably most recognizable as the hospital administrator on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and the National Security Advisor on NBC’s The West Wing.
Co-Director, Research and Evaluation, Portland Metro STEM Partnership×
Dr. Jerian Abel is the Co-Director of the Portland Metro STEM Partnership (PMSP), responsible for research and evaluation. PMSP is a regional Collective Impact collaboration focused on improving STEM Education P-20 for marginalized or underrepresented youth. One initiative is focused on supporting schools seeking to become STEM-focused through a two-year planning and capacity building process. Prior to joining PMSP, Dr. Abel worked for 16 years at Education Northwest, a regional education laboratory, holding a variety of management and coordinator positions on federal, state, and district grants and contracts. Projects ranged from providing training and technical assistance to nonprofits and grantmaking institutions implementing Collective Impact, developing online courses & facilitating online communities of practice; conducting research and evaluation projects on school reform; and working directly with schools and districts to support school improvement processes. As a former high school physics teacher, she continues to miss working directly with youth.
Virginia (Ginger) Adams Simon
Data and Improvement Coach, Educator Quality Center, California State University, Office of the Chancellor×
Dr. Ginger Adams Simon is Educator Preparation Data and Improvement Coach for Educator Quality Center. Adams Simon has extensive experience in K-12 school reform, specializing in educator quality and continuous improvement. Prior to joining EdQ in 2018, Adams Simon was Director of Professional Capital for CORE Districts and Senior Associate for FourPoint Education Partners, LLC where she facilitated networks of educators in building consensus and creating systems for continuous improvement. As EdQ Data and Improvement Coach, she works to help both individual CSU educator preparation programs as well as networks of CSU campus leaders to use data available through the EdQ DataView Dashboard and other sources, helping them to reach their program improvement goals. Adams Simon holds both a master’s and doctoral degrees in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.
Director of Network Partnerships, Lead by Learning, Mills College (CA)×
Jennifer is the Director of Network Partnerships at Lead by Learning, where she works to leverage the transformative power of learning. Jennifer directs the Lead by Learning certificate program and spearheads partnerships with school and district leaders to develop professional learning cultures that support curiosity, connection, and continuous improvement. Previously, Jennifer worked as a high school English teacher, counselor, mentor, and coach. Throughout these experiences, Jennifer has been driven by a desire to create equitable access to educational opportunities and has used classroom-based inquiry to work toward this aim. Jennifer received her B.A. in English and her M.A. in Education from UC Berkeley.
Chief Academic Officer, Dinuba Unified School District
Robin Avelar La Salle
Founder and CEO, Orenda Education×
Dr. Robin Avelar La Salle is founder and CEO of Orenda Education, a professional education and technical assistance organization. For more than 20 years, Robin and the Orenda team have been thought partners for districts and schools aspiring to transform their systems and practices to raise student achievement. An equity warrior and advocate for justice within the educational system, her mission is to change the odds for all students for whom the current system of instruction is simply not working – predominantly Latino, African American, and students from under-resourced families. Robin received her Ph.D. in education from Stanford University, and during her career has held the roles of teacher, principal, district administrator, researcher, and university professor. She is the author of many articles and books on education equity, including her latest work Shattering Inequities: Real World Wisdom for School and District Leaders, written in partnership with Dr. Ruth S. Johnson.
Curriculum Coordinator for Science, Sonoma County Office of Education×
Anna Babarinde is the Curriculum Coordinator for Science at the Sonoma County Office of Education where she focuses on NGSS, STEAM, and 21st Century learning. Anna is a leader in the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards at both the state and local level. She also works on integrating disciplines in the context of STEAM and pairing 21st Century learning tools with content to make their use in the classroom sustainable. Anna is a member of the Maker Educator Collective and has facilitated national maker bootcamps. Prior to working at the county level, Anna taught high school science for ten years. Anna earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California, San Diego and an Master of Arts in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. She was a keynote speaker at NASA Langley’s Centennial Celebration, the Pittsburgh FAB Institute, and the 2018 CSU Better Together conference.
Director, Program Design and Development, Partners in School Innovation×
Amanda is committed to an equitable, rigorous, and joyful education for all children. In 2006, after receiving her B.A. in Political Science and Hispanic Studies from Vassar College, she worked as a bilingual classroom teacher at P.S. 102 in East Harlem, New York and earned her Master’s in Bilingual Education from Fordham University. Most recently, Amanda served as the Program Officer of Aboriginal Initiatives at Right To Play International – a humanitarian organization that promotes sport as a tool for developing essential life-skills in children and youth – in Toronto, Ontario. Along with the Deputy Director of Education and Training, Amanda launched a youth leadership and life skills program in the remote north of Ontario. She built strategic partnerships at multiple levels in order to implement a culturally relevant, impactful and sustainable program that is being replicated in communities throughout the province. Amanda is thrilled to return to California (her home state) and to be a part of the Partners team in San Jose. In her free time, Amanda can be found running, lap swimming, cooking, snowboarding, and traveling around the country to visit her friends and family.
Faculty/Program Leader, Humboldt State University×
Heather Ballinger has been a lecturer and supervisor in the School of Education at Humboldt State University since 2010, specializing in the preparation and development of K-12 teachers of History/Social Science. She is currently enrolled in the University of California, Davis CANDEL Educational Leadership program, completing her Ed.D.
Assistant Director of Differentiated Assistance and District Support, Santa Clara County Office of Education
Director, Implementation and Partnerships, Colorado Education Initiative
Network Leader, Teaching Matters×
Jacobē Bell is the NSI Network Leader for Teaching Matters. With over a decade of experience as a National Board Certified Teacher, Instructional Coach, Network Administrator, and consultant in both the public and charter sectors, Jacobē’s practice is centered on building equity for all students. She is a graduate of Stanford University, holds a master’s in urban education from Mercy College, and is a current doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Principal Advisor, Improvement Science Consulting; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Dean of Arts & Innovation, Episcopal High School×
Dr. Jay Berckley, Ed.D., is a research-based practitioner, learning leader, and executive consultant who has clients in the fields of software development, business entrepreneurship, executive administration, social media and network marketing, and in the areas of education, government, and non-profit organizations. Jay coaches leaders beyond their current circumstances and towards extraordinary success! Dr. Berckley mentors top performers with remarkable results, turning innovative ideas into dynamic realities and passion into possibilities. In his role as Dean of Arts & Innovation at Episcopal High School, located in Houston, Texas, Jay is a passionate educator, dedicated toward making systemic improvements in how we define, cultivate, and advance education in America. Jay, his lovely wife, and three beautiful daughters live in Houston, Texas.
Executive Director of Information and Analytics, Tulsa Public Schools×
As Executive Director of Information and Analytics, Sean’s work helps Tulsa Public Schools realize its vision of utilizing data as a strategic asset to improve student outcomes while also supporting district staff to leverage modern tools and applications to better serve students. This currently includes designing cross-departmental data meetings, reporting publicly on the district’s progress toward goals, developing and supporting technology applications, and leading strategic improvement efforts for the larger Information Technology team. Before transitioning to the district office in 2013, Sean taught high-school history in Tulsa Public Schools while serving as a Teach For America corps member. Sean is an alumnus of the Harvard Strategic Data Project fellowship and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Tulsa. He previously earned a Bachelor of Arts in History with English and Music minors from Texas A&M University and is a diehard Aggie football fan.
Senior Fellow, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation×
Al Bertani is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He also serves as a senior advisor with the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago and a senior advisor with LEAP Innovations at 1871 in Chicago. His work focuses on designs for professional learning; 21st century personalized learning models; leadership and organization development; and innovation and improvement for large-scale change. Al spent the last third of his career working on urban school reform in support of the Chicago Public Schools, having served as: senior researcher for the Urban School Leadership Program with University of Illinois at Chicago; chief officer for professional development with Chicago Public Schools; senior executive director for Chicago Leadership Academies for Supporting Success with the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association; and co-director of School and Leadership Development with the Center for School Improvement at the University of Chicago.
Senior Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation×
Manuelito joined the Carnegie Foundation as an associate in networked improvement science in 2016. He comes to the Foundation from Stanford University, where he served as senior researcher at the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. Manuelito seeks to bridge research, practice, and policy by studying the implementation and influence of educational reforms on students’ learning and development—particularly those from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds. Manuelito’s research has been presented in community forums and professional conferences, and published in academic journals, policy briefs, and edited volumes. He holds a doctorate in education policy from the University of California, Davis.
Director of Collaborative Improvement, StriveTogether×
As director of collaborative improvement, Heidi Black builds the capability of local leaders and practitioners across the country to improve outcomes for children and youth through data-driven decision making and community voice. Heidi developed a unique improvement science approach combining tools and techniques from continuous improvement, design thinking, Results Counts™ and racial equity. While at StriveTogether, she has supported more than 30 communities in applying StriveTogether’s improvement strategies toward key outcomes including kindergarten readiness, third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment. Heidi’s work for StriveTogether was recognized as a 2018 Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement by the Carnegie Foundation.
Director of Curriculum and Learning, School District of Menomonee Falls×
Casey Blochowiak serves as the Director of Curriculum and Learning for the School District of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Casey has served as a high school social studies teacher, literacy specialist, associate principal, elementary principal, and high school principal. She believes in the capacity of all teachers to make a difference in the lives of students. Casey holds a B.A. from Marquette University, a master’s degree in literacy from Concordia University-Wisconsin and is completing her doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Her research interest is the value of improvement science to education, with a specific focus on positive deviance mythology.
Director of Improvement Advising, Shift
Improvement Specialist, WestEd×
Erica Boas is an improvement specialist with WestEd. Prior to this role, Erica worked with the Santa Clara County Office of Education Differentiated Assistance and District Support team. While there, she served as project lead and lead author for the Ways 2 Equity Playbook. For over 20 years she has worked in the education sphere, as a K-5 ELD teacher, Reading Specialist, mentor teacher, qualitative researcher, and teacher educator. Erica holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Education, Social and Cultural Studies from UC Berkeley.
Founder and CEO, Improving Education×
Jarrod founded Improving Education out of a desire to improve early childhood literacy and create a new approach to educational reform that empowers teachers, schools, and communities to make change. He has extensive experience as a teacher and leader in Baltimore City Public Schools, and has served on multiple state and national commissions focused on a variety of educational initiatives. Jarrod has spent years studying and refining practices of Improvement Science in education and is at the forefront nationally in using this methodology to improve student outcomes and educational systems. Improving Education is a first-of-its-kind improvement community focused on improving early literacy through a Networked Improvement Community structure.
Assistant Professor, University of Indianapolis×
Kathryn Boucher is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and the Associate Director of the Strain Honors College at the University of Indianapolis. Dr. Boucher received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Kentucky and her Ph.D. in social psychology from Indiana University. Dr. Boucher explores stereotypes and other forms of bias and their effects on students’ learning, performance, and experiences. In her research, she pinpoints cues in the classroom that signal stereotypic expectations or belonging uncertainty and tests strategies that mitigate these concerns and lead to more equitable outcomes for students. In her intervention work with the College Transition Collaborative, she works to scale and disseminate insights from this research with other educators and institutions and to incorporate them into her teaching and mentoring.
Improvement Specialist, WestEd×
Alicia Bowman is an Improvement Specialist at WestEd for Quality Schools and Districts, where she provides technical assistance and coaching support around transformational leadership and systems improvement. Alicia has over 20 years of experience working in K-12 schools, as both a practitioner and coach, applying continuous improvement for equity, Her K-12 roles have included teacher, principal, principal supervisor, and district office administrator. She is also an experienced equity coach and facilitators, with experience leading and supporting on-the-ground equity improvement efforts in schools and school districts.
Vice President, Networks & Content Design, Learning Forward
Researcher, American Institutes for Research×
Dominique Bradley is a Researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and partnership facilitator for the Regional Education Lab Midwest. She currently serves as a Partnership Facilitator for the Midwest Career Readiness Research Alliance and Project Lead for the Minnesota Alternative Learning Centers Networked Improvement Community in the Regional Education Lab Midwest. Bradley also serves as the qualitative lead on several evaluations of the Community Schools Initiative as well as researcher and Project Director on federally and privately funded grants. Bradley has over 11 years experience in education research and project management. Her areas of expertise are in improvement science, teacher retention, frameworks for implementation evaluation and program evaluation, research practice partnerships, and youth development. Bradley holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Southern Oregon University, a master’s degree in sociology, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Director of Children's & Youth Education, Wesley-Rankin Community×
Natalie Breen is a dedicated, nonprofit professional and has worked with the West Dallas community since 2013. She is extremely passionate about bridging gaps in education and mental health access. Breen is currently pursuing her Master’s of Social Work through Columbia University and plans to practice at the clinical level. As Director of Children’s & Youth Education at Wesley-Rankin Community Center, Breen oversees programming for West Dallas students and the strategic planning of the department. In this role, she also serves as a Certified Academic Language Practitioner (CALP) through ALTA, providing multisensory structured language intervention for students with dyslexia and related disorders. Breen participated in the continuous improvement model through a design project for the STEM community school. She is currently implementing continuous improvement within a professional learning community (PLC) of other West Dallas nonprofits and schools.
Educational Specialist, Decker Middle School, Pomona Unified School District×
Kristi has been an elementary special education teacher for the last 20 years as well as helping run intervention. She has also been a member of the PBIS team for the last 6 years and the coach for 2 years. As a member of school leadership and the MTSS team she realizes how important equity, social emotional learning, and building relationships with students are to create an environment for all students to be successful.
Senior Director of Educational Supports, StriveTogether×
Cheryl Broadnax is Senior Director of Educational Supports at StriveTogether, where she leads efforts to support K-12 systems to achieve better, more equitable results. Before coming to StriveTogether, Cheryl was an assistant superintendent for Cincinnati Public Schools. Cheryl led efforts to improve literacy outcomes by partnering with community and health care agencies to bring the principles of quality improvement to education. She received the Women of Influence Award in 2015 for her contributions. Prior to leading at the district level, Cheryl served as principal leading the school to Ohio Department of Education’s excellent rating for 2009-2010 and the highest state rating, excellent with distinction, in 2011-2012. These results earned her the Cincinnatus Association’s 2013 James N. Jacobs Award for Outstanding Leadership. Cheryl earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Tennessee, a master’s from the College of Mount St. Joseph.
Elaine Farber Budish
Director, UPD Consulting×
Elaine has been with UPD since 2010, during which she has led the development and roll-out of continuous improvement processes with State Departments of Education and school districts across the country. Elaine led a project that brought four Florida districts (Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Lake and Volusia) together as part of a collaborative network to improve implementation of standards-aligned instruction. She has supported the Memphis, TN, Omaha, NE, and Syracuse, NY school districts to bring district leadership, principals, and central office staff together to set goals, identify the highest leverage work to reach their goals and then implement regular data-driven, continuous improvement practices. Previously, Elaine designed, facilitated and managed nine cross-district networks in Rhode Island to accelerate the implementation of the state’s Race to the Top initiatives. She also led the replication of this model in Illinois, under the umbrella of the US Department of Education’s Reform Support Network. Elaine holds a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Brown University and a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
Teaching Teacher Specialist and History Teacher, Lorbeer Middle School, Pomona Unified School District×
Christie is currently working in her tenth year of teaching history at Lorbeer Middle School in Diamond Bar, California. In addition to teaching history, Christie is also a Teacher Teaching Specialist where she works with groups of students, and to provide training for staff on how to best support our most at-risk populations. Christie is also the PBIS Coach and is a member of the team currently launching Lorbeer’s MTSS pilot.
Researcher, American Institutes for Research×
Susan Burkhauser, Ph.D., is a researcher at AIR and serves as research liaison for the Midwest Career Readiness Research Alliance. In this capacity, she partners with state-level and district-level leadership in Minnesota to increase the region’s capacity to access, conduct, and interpret career readiness research and use this research in state-level and local-level decision-making. She also supports quantitative and qualitative efforts for several Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded projects focused on improving equity and access in higher education. Previously, she was the associate director of institutional research at Loyola Marymount University, where she provided leadership and support in the use of data for decision making and planning. She also has served as an assistant policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, where she participated in numerous education-related research studies. She earned her doctorate in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.
Mathematics Instructional Coach, Pocahontas County Schools×
Joanna Burt-Kinderman has been a math teacher and teacher of math teachers for nearly twenty years. She has taught middle, high school and community college math, as well as pre-service teachers in math education coursework. In her role as the district math coach for Pocahontas County Schools in rural WV, Joanna has assisted a K-12 math department to become one of the very best in the state. Joanna is a project lead and developer of NSF Noyce-funded Mountaineer Mathematics Master Teachers (M3T), a network improvement community of teacher-leaders across WV. Joanna is also a founding design member and Student Agency Lead of the FIRST2 Network, an initiative to broaden participation of rural first-generation college students in STEM. Joanna has been named a “Leader to Learn From” for 2019 by the editorial board of Education Week and she is serving on the Member and Affiliate Relations Committee for NCTM (2019-2022).
Director, Education Partnerships, Orenda Education
Events Manager, Network for College Success, The University of Chicago×
Evelyn Camarillo is the Events Manager with the Network for College Success. Prior to joining NCS, Evelyn was living overseas in England. She received her Master’s in Medieval History from the University of Leicester in 2013. Evelyn obtained her Bachelor’s in European History with a minor in Art History as well as certification in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Dominican University in 2006.
Executive Director, Marshall Street at Summit×
Adam Carter is the executive director of Marshall Street Initiatives, the program development division of Summit Public Schools. Marshall works with school networks across the country to support model design, continuous improvement, and teacher and leader training. Adam led the design of Summit’s model and educator pathways programs. Today, tens of thousands of families and hundreds of public schools have embraced the Summit model. Adam was a teacher in Argentina and Indonesia, where he founded the Innovative Schools Programme, a NGO program advancing school improvement in West Java. He was a founding teacher at Summit Preparatory Charter School, where he received California’s New Outstanding Teacher Award. Previously, he taught in district schools in California. Adam holds degrees from Stanford University and Presbyterian College.
Vice President, Implementation, Colorado Education Initiative×
Alex Carter joined the CEI team in 2016. Alex leads the field implementation team to support districts, schools, and educators in their work to accelerate educational improvement and innovation across Colorado. Before joining CEI, Alex enjoyed an exciting twenty-year career as a public school educator. Alex served as the superintendent of schools for Montezuma-Cortez School District in Southwest Colorado. Before that, he was the principal of Telluride High School, a principal and assistant principal in two high schools in Northern Virginia, and taught history as a high school teacher. In 2003, Alex’s work as a classroom teacher was recognized with a National Milken Educator Award. Originally from Woodbridge, Virginia, Alex holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Walden University, a master’s degree in public school administration from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, and a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from James Madison University.
Principal, Carver & Company; Senior Fellow, Strategy and Business Development, Carnegie Foundation×
Penny Carver, M. Ed., is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and an independent consultant working with a select group of not-for-profit organizations including Virginia Mason Institute and the Institute for Healthcare Optimization. Previously she was senior vice president at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), responsible for IHI’s business and business strategy, including new initiatives, programs, and services. She was responsible for the design and start-up of IHI’s Breakthrough Series Collaboratives, Breakthrough Series Guides, and Breakthrough Series College; IHI’s website, IHI.org; professional development programs; the National, International and Asia Pacific Forum events; IHI’s international strategy; and the IHI Open School for Health Professions.
As senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation, Penny is responsible for leading the development and execution of the Foundation’s strategy to advance the performance of educational systems by accelerating their capacity to improve.
Senior Director, National Equity Project×
Victor Cary has worked in education for over 40 years, starting as a high school teacher in Richmond, CA. As Senior Director at the National Equity Project, he leads the development of an equity-centered coaching and leadership model, and currently facilitates Leading in C.A.O.S. (Complex, Adaptive, Oppressive Systems) with educators and communities across the country, particularly collective action initiatives. Prior to joining the National Equity Project, Victor served as Director of the California Alliance for Mathematics and Science (CAMS) Initiative – a statewide initiative aligning secondary and post-secondary institutions around mathematics. He also served as Director for Regional Center and School Support in the national office of the Coalition for Essential Schools. He received his B.A. and Teaching Secondary Credential from UC Berkeley, and M.A. in Education from Stanford University.
Director of Outlier Research and Evaluation, UChicago Stem Education; Research Associate Professor, The University of Chicago×
Jeanne Century is the Director of Outlier Research & Evaluation at UChicago STEM Education and a Research Associate Professor at the University of Chicago. Century has spent the majority of her thirty-two-year career working in and with urban schools and large urban school districts. She has done curriculum development, professional development, technical assistance and strategic planning with teachers, school and district administrators, organizational leaders and state leaders across the country. Century has conducted evaluations of wide-ranging programs for learners of all ages in both in-school and out-of-school settings. While her research efforts have included the impact of inquiry science instruction, STEM Schools, and computer science education, her primary area of interest is measurement of implementation, spread and sustainability of innovations. Century and her colleagues at Outlier have developed frameworks for conducting implementation research that they have applied in numerous settings, primarily through research-practice partnerships.
Associate, Managing Director, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation×
Melissa is an associate managing director for networked improvement science at the Carnegie Foundation. Before joining Carnegie, Melissa worked as a senior consultant at Education First, supporting states, districts, foundations, and advocacy organizations to improve teacher and student support models, college readiness efforts, and to make grantmaking more effective.
Prior to Education First, Melissa served as a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led investments in classroom- and curriculum-embedded assessment in literacy and mathematics throughout the United States. At the Gates Foundation, she also managed network implementation of teacher supports investments and led specific strategic and programmatic work to support English language learners. Earlier, Melissa spent time working in youth development across Northern California and with local districts. She has served as the legislative analyst for the San Francisco Unified School District and as a consultant for the Long Beach Unified School District. She also worked as a researcher for Harvard University on various high school reform studies. Earlier in her career, Melissa served several years at the U.S. Department of Education in the Under Secretary Office’s Planning and Evaluation Service, developing and managing federal policy initiatives and the research and evaluation of federal programs.
Melissa earned a doctorate in education from Harvard University, a master’s in public affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas, and a bachelor’s from Whittier College.
Consultant, Independent Consultant for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Marshall Street×
Sarah Chandler is an education consultant supporting leaders of school systems, nonprofits and education organizations to maximize their impact, specializing in strategy, implementation, and talent. Sarah has served as Vice President of Talent and Strategy and a board member at Equitas Academy, a network of charter schools in Los Angeles, and as a director at The Broad Center, where she spearheaded the organization’s transformation to become an accredited master’s degree-granting institution. Sarah has also served as a management consultant with Boston Consulting Group and has an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Sarah is currently serving as a project manager for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Networked Improvement Community, an initiative that supports 10 public school systems with the aim of making dramatic gains for Black and Latinx and low-income students with disabilities. This community is collectively serving more than 75,000 students across the country.
Communications Associate, American Institutes for Research×
Laura Checovich is a Communications Associate at American Institutes for Research (AIR) based in Minneapolis, MN. She manages communications for the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest and the College Completion Network at American Institutes for Research. Skilled in bridging the gap between research and practice, Checovich links training, coaching, and technical support projects and engagement efforts. She has extensive experience working with local and state education agencies as a strategic thought partner. She is practiced in implementation science, facilitation, and change management and has worked with more than 20 states on strategic policymaking. Checovich holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland-College Park and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
VTmtss Program Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Education×
As a first-generation college student from inner-city Boston, Caitlin’s own background inspired her to study the sociological aspects of education at McGill University, particularly any factors that influence inequitable outcomes. After serving as a City Year Corps Member in a Boston elementary school, Caitlin obtained an M.A in Urban Education Policy from Brown University. She then returned to her native Massachusetts to teach high school math at Phoenix Charter Academy in Lawrence. Caitlin still supports some of her former students when they reach out and credits the strong relationships she was able to build to that school’s commitment to implementing restorative practice initiatives during her time there. Caitlin recently moved to Vermont and now acts as a VTmtss Program Coordinator with the VT Agency of Education. She is able to apply valuable knowledge from her past toward supporting VT school leadership teams in their efforts to improve school systems for providing equitable opportunities to all students.
Instructional Director, Prince George's County Public Schools
Chief of Improvement, School Networks, CORE Districts×
Juli Coleman has worked in public education for 27 years, which has spanned across K-12, regular and special education. She began her career as an elementary teacher in the Menifee Union School District. Juli moved to the Oceanside Unified School District and worked in a variety of roles and schools. She was a Resource Specialist at an elementary school, Teacher on Special Assignment at a middle school, and a Coordinator at the high school. She has worked at the San Diego County Office of Education as an Executive Leadership Coach for the past 7 years, where she has worked closely with districts through out the County helping to plan their improvement efforts. She also serves as the regional lead for Imperial, San Diego, and Orange County for the statewide regional system of support (RSDSS) that provides assistance to Title I funded schools. Juli has her Master of Special Education, Doctorate in Educational Leadership, and recently completed the Institute of Healthcare Improvement coaching program. She lives in Carlsbad with her husband and they have six kids, a dog and one cat.
Adjunct Faculty, California State University, Fullerton
Erin O. Crosby
Director of Women's Empowerment and Racial Justice, YWCA Greenwich×
As Director of Women’s Empowerment and Racial Justice for YWCA Greenwich, Erin O. Crosby leads community education, direct programming, policy advocacy, and systemic change initiatives on gender and race. She most recently served as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University (SMU). In this role, she built the relationships, infrastructure, and capacity for equitable, community-centered collaboration to power and sustain a collective impact partnership between nonprofits, PK-12 schools, and a university. In 2018, Erin began co-leading the community development design team for a public-private partnership to co-create and open a PK-8 STEM school in an historically marginalized community in Dallas. Erin holds a master’s degree in print journalism from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in English from SMU. She is pursuing a doctoral degree in PK-12 educational leadership at SMU.
Director of Educational Support Services, Washington Unified School District×
Derek is in his fourth year as Director of Educational Support Services where he oversees multiple programs including special education, migrant, homeless and foster youth, and attendance. Derek has served multiple roles in education including high school English teacher, soccer coach, counselor, director of curriculum and instruction, director of categorical projects, and high school principal. Derek obtained his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from UCLA, teaching and counseling credentials from Fresno State as well as his master’s in educational administration. Prior to entering the field of education Derek was a gardener. This year marks his 30th year in education.
Senior Director, Coalition of Urban Serving Universities×
Dr. Jennifer Danek is the Senior Director for the Urban Universities for HEALTH Learning Collaborative where she provides leadership for the National Program Office and guides the development of partnerships. Over the past 7 years, she has worked with urban university presidents to develop and implement the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) national agenda. She led the development of a programmatic and policy framework for USU’s Health Initiative focusing on improving the health workforce to reduce health disparities in cities. She has a long-standing interest in medical education, and has authored two popular books to assist students to be successful and to develop themselves holistically in the process of becoming physicians. Dr. Danek continues to serve as an attending physician at the University of Washington Northwest Hospital, and is board certified in internal medicine. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and completed residency training at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Assistant Superintendent, Central Unified School District×
Ketti Davis serves the Central staff and community by creating, providing and supporting high-quality teaching & learning opportunities for teachers, administrators, and support staff as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. Mrs. Davis first joined the Central family as a teacher in 1992. In her almost 28 years in education, Mrs. Davis has supported student learning as a teacher, instructional coach, technology trainer, grant writer, and administrator of assessment and technology. For 5 years, she served as a school principal in Sanger Unified at which time she facilitated a school’s academic goals that helped one school exit program implement and another to gain Distinguished School Status. Mrs. Davis was born and raised in San Jose, California. However, she has called the Central Valley her home for 30 years. She received her teaching credential from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from California State University, Fresno and her administrative credential from Fresno Pacific University. Her graduate studies focused on adult learning theory and the practices and research associated with creating effective professional learning opportunities for adults in the educational organization. She was recently named ACSA’s Curriculum and Instructional Administrator of the Year for Region IX. She is married to a middle-school educator and loves to spend any free time she has with her two children, watching sports, reading or traveling.
Improvement Facilitator, JY Joyner Elementary School
Associate, Networked Improvement Science; Director, Post Baccalaureate Fellowship Program, Carnegie Foundation×
Patrice Dawkins-Jackson is an associate in networked improvement science. She joined the Foundation in 2017 as a networked improvement fellow. Most recently, Patrice was an instructional leader, learner, and assistant principal at Sandy Springs Charter Middle School in Georgia. There, she used her knowledge of design-thinking to help impact professional development, engagement, and instructional practices there.
Prior to joining Carnegie, Patrice had worked as an educator in Fulton County Schools for 12 years. During that time, she served two terms as a U.S. Department of Education Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellow, where she worked on recruitment and support of teachers of color in partnership with TEACH.org, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. Her passion for teacher leadership was further ignited when she joined Teach to Lead, an initiative convened by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, ASCD, and the U.S. Department of Education, whose mission is to advance student outcomes by expanding opportunities for teacher leadership.
Patrice earned her certified associates in project management as well as a bachelor of science in early childhood education from the University of Central Florida. She went on to receive a masters in education in early childhood education also at the University of Central Florida, with specializations in home-school-community and educational leadership with aspirations of pursuing her doctorate and opening her own school.
Educator, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Kayon DePina has been an Educator in the Baltimore Public School Systems for five years and counting. During this time, she has served in many capacities, lead PreK teacher at Curtis Bay Elementary/Middle School, content specialist for Teach for America, and Early Childhood Coach for Baltimore City Public Schools. She has a true passion for education, peers she works alongside and the scholars she is privileged to teach and learn from. She is the author of “The Metaphorical Moon” and the founder of Kayon Kreates Learning Spaces where she is focused on creating intentional learning spaces at home and on the go. She earned her Bachelor of Science degrees in Counseling Psychology and Business Management, from Washington Adventist University, her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Johns Hopkins University and is currently pursuing her EDD in Educational Leadership from Capella University as she believes there is always room to learn.
Academic Response Team Specialist, Bronx Borough Central Office, New York City Department of Education
President and CEO, Schools That Lead×
Dana is President and CEO of Schools That Lead, Inc. She also teaches courses at Wilmington University on the use of improvement science in schools to students pursuing their doctorates in educational leadership. Previously Dana led school development efforts at a state-wide education non-profit in North Carolina and worked as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, central services director, and superintendent in states throughout the country. Dana has an EdD from Teachers College, Columbia University, a master’s from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s from Old Dominion University.
District Literacy Instruction and Design Coach, Tahoe Truckee Unified School Disrict×
As the district literacy and design coach, Sydney supports the literacy system for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and works with the instructional coaches and literacy intervention teachers in each school. She believes in building capacity in educators to support all students on their journey toward success. Throughout 35 years in the educational field, she has served as a teacher, reading specialist, professor of student teachers, and district academic coach. She is currently serving on a team to help develop the California state literacy plan. She holds a master’s in curriculum and instruction and has earned awards including the Linda Brown Fellows Award and Placer County Teacher Who Makes a Difference. She is a Professional Certified Coach recognized by the International Coaching Federation. She has provided executive coaching in both the private and educational industry as well as presented many workshops on Coaching Skills, Brain Research, and Positive Language.
Executive Director, Marcus Foster Education Institute×
Alicia has served as the Executive Director of the Marcus Foster Education Institute (MFEI) for 10 years. In that time, the organization has redirected its mission to center equity in a systems change frame, reflecting the 21st century version of the vision of the organization’s founder, Dr. Marcus Foster-the first African American superintendent of schools in Oakland. Alicia joined MFEI after working as a Program Office with The California Endowment and built and managed a portfolio that prioritized K-16 strategies to increase the diversity of the health professions. Her career spans three decades of lifting up the importance of multidisciplinary systemic change strategies in public health and education to achieve social justice. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Microbiology from the University of California, San Diego and a MPH from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Improvement Advisor, Independent Consultant×
Christina J. Dixon is an advisor, consultant and coach partnering with education leaders to transform their organizations through continuous improvement. She currently collaborates with the Improvement Collective, WestEd, the University of Pittsburgh, Studer Education, A+ Schools and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where she recently served as an associate for networked improvement science.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Christina provided coaching and professional development to leaders of education, healthcare, and non-profit organizations seeking to use systems principles to better meet the needs of the people they serve. She co-founded True North Institute, where she co-created a model for using Toyota Production System principles to improve student achievement, and was a principal of Value Capture, LLC, where she consulted with healthcare systems to accelerate their transformation to achieve safety, quality, and financial goals. She holds a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.Ed. from Bank Street College of Education, and an Ed.D. in Education Leadership from the University of Virginia.
Director, Improvement Science, WestEd
Director of Educational Services, Galt Joint Union High School District
President, New Visions for Public Schools×
Mark Dunetz began his career as an educator teaching English as a second language and social studies in New York City public schools. He first worked at New Visions for Public Schools in 2006 supporting the implementation of a certification program for aspiring school administrators. Dr. Dunetz served as the founding principal of the Academy for Careers in Television and Film from 2008 until 2013. In 2013 he returned to New Visions as Vice President for School Support and Operations. In 2016, he was selected as the president of New Visions. Dr. Dunetz holds a B.A. in U.S. History from the University of California, Santa Cruz; an M.A. in Teaching Speakers of Other Languages from New York University; and a Ph.D. in Urban Education with a concentration in education policy from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He sits on the boards of the New York City Charter School Center and The Research Alliance for New York City Schools.
Associate Professor, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University; Founder and Chief Product Officer, Forgeworks×
Matthew Easterday is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. He received his Ph.D. in 2010 from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a fellow in the Institute for Educational Science’s Program for Interdisciplinary Educational Research and a Siebel Scholar. He is a Northwestern Center for Civic Engagement Faculty Fellow, a Searle Center for Teaching Excellence Fellow, and winner of the 2015 Ver Steeg Graduate Advising Award. His research focuses on technology for the new civics – producing scientifically supported educational technology to create informed and engaged citizens who can solve the serious policy problems facing our society. Training such citizens requires us to understand how competent citizens analyze policy, communicate issues, and organize to make change. It also requires us to design more effective educational technology that can teach the knowledge, skills and dispositions citizens need.
Executive Leadership Coach, Comprehensive Support and Improvement, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools×
Jennifer Enns is an Executive Leadership Coach for the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools (FCSS) for districts with CSI eligible schools. An educator for 24 years, Jennifer has served as an English teacher and as a middle school and high school site leader. Jennifer strives to serve with passion, purpose, and joy, and asking, “What brings us joy in our work?” empowers people in the improvement process. Jennifer is currently working on her doctorate in educational leadership though Fresno State, and her dissertation examines the role of purpose, authenticity, and identity in teacher well-being.
Improvement Advisor, Marshall Street×
A seasoned education administrator, Paula brings two decades of experience in program management, teaching, and administration to her work as an Improvement Advisor at Marshall. Most recently, she supported school improvement teams at the Utah Education Policy Center and was a Title I Coordinator in the Salt Lake City School District. She holds a MEd in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Utah State University. Outside of work, Paula is passionate about community advocacy and service.
Executive Consultant, Content Lead, South County SELPA, ED&D×
Ryan Estrellado is an Executive Consultant at the South County SELPA, where he helps SELPAs build equitable systems for students with disabilities. He helps educators use practical data analysis to improve their students’ experience. Ryan is a Strategic Data Project Fellow, a program of the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. He enjoys writing both code and words and is a co-author of the book Data Science in Education Using R.
Director, Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement, University of Maryland College Park×
Dr. Segun Eubanks is a Professor of Practice and Director of the Center for Education Innovation and Improvement at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) where he works to bring together the shared expertise of research and practice to develop leadership, improve schools, and advance equity. Dr. Eubanks also served as the Chair of the Board of Education for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) and worked in various leadership roles at the National Education Association, including as Director of Professional Educator Support and for 11 years as the Director of Teacher Quality.
Principal, Lorbeer Middle School, Pomona Unified School District×
Krista has served as a public educator for the last 22 years. She was an elementary classroom teacher for nine years before she transitioned into leadership roles, serving most recently as a principal for the last eleven years. Spanning three different districts and eight school sites, her experience as a principal leader at both elementary and secondary schools is extensive. She is currently in the process of completing her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at San Diego State University where she is studying how gratitude is used and conceptualized as a principal leadership practice. Recognizing that principals have the second greatest impact on student achievement, her passion for supporting and coaching the adults in the school, who then directly impact the students, drives her work.
Paola Deliz Felix Encarnacion
National Network for School Improvement Leader, City Year×
Paola Deliz Félix Encarnación is dedicated and driven to ensure educational equity for young people. Born in Puerto Rico, she attended Milwaukee Public Schools, graduating first in her class. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) where she earned a dual degree in Spanish and community education and engagement. In 2017, she completed her master’s degree in nonprofit management and organizational communication from Northeastern University. She served two years as an AmeriCorps member for City Year and later continued on as a staff member to support incoming Americorps Members. In 2015, she was honored as one of UWM’s Graduate of the Last Decade for her work in the Milwaukee community and her commitment to supporting Latinos in Higher Education. Most recently Félix Encarnación helped launch the City Year Network for School Improvement in Milwaukee and is currently supporting the work across the country as National Network for School Improvement Leader for City Year.
Academic Response Team Specialist, Bronx Borough Central Office, New York City Department of Education
Superintendent, Corning Union Elementary School District
G. Bryan Fleming
NSI Associate Director, BARR Center×
G. Bryan Fleming is a tireless advocate for children, families and educators and has more than 30 years of classroom, school and district leadership experience in numerous school settings. In his current role, Bryan co-leads BARR’s five-year Network for School Improvement (NSI) project. Bryan serves as a highly regarded practitioner and consultant in the K-12 and non-profit sectors, and he has honed a unique blend of education and research acumen developed over his years as an educator, school administrator and community leader. Bryan’s practice has included enrollment management, data analytics, family engagement and community outreach, psychometric and assessment strategy and coordinating action research in partnership with the University of Minnesota.
Chief Learning Officer, Schools That Lead×
Sofi Frankowski is the Chief Learning Officer for Schools That Lead, where she works with teacher leaders and principals from more than 50 K-13 public schools in North Carolina using Improvement Science to advance student outcomes. She has taught elementary, middle school and high school students in Connecticut, Washington DC, Japan, California and North Carolina. Her leadership has been shaped by a belief in the power of adult collaboration and a commitment to equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. A National Board Certified teacher, Frankowski holds a bachelor’s in public policy studies from Duke University and a master’s in education from Stanford University.
Vice President, Bank Street Education Center×
Tracy Fray-Oliver is the Vice President of the Bank Street Education Center. In this role, she leads the division of the college that is committed to disrupting inequity through systems-level change by working closely with partners to design better educational learning experiences for everyone. Through large scale instructional improvement engagements, the Education Center brings Bank Street’s deep expertise in adult learning and child development to districts, other school management and support organizations across the country. Tracy began her career in education after graduating from John Jay College of Criminal Justice as a middle school math teacher. After earning her master’s degree in Mathematics Education from Brooklyn College, she transitioned into the role of a math coach and instructional specialist. Inspired by her work at the school level, Tracy continued her commitment to curriculum and instruction at New York City Department of Education’s district office where she served first as the Director of Mathematics Curriculum and the Common Core Fellows Program to support the city’s transition to the Common Core Standards and then as the Senior Director of STEM, playing a major role in defining the city’s approach to STEM instruction. Tracy has also led multiple project teams with organizations that impact children and educators across the country.
Tia Freelove Kirk
Program Coordinator, The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities×
Tia Freelove Kirk is the Assistant Director, STEM Education & Center for Public University Transformation (CPUT). Her chief responsibilities center on managing APLU National Science Foundation grants focused on STEM education reform, including SEMINAL: a national network of over 100 math faculty at 24 institutions working to sustain success in the implementation of active learning in undergraduate mathematics classes.
Tia also manages the APLU Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success “Evidence Improvement” cluster. Here she directs the collaborative efforts of campus leaders and subject-matter experts at seven member institutions to increase student success in the entry year.
Tia has 10 years of experience building effective organizational strategies and engaged networks. She previously served as Program Director for Advocacy Engagement at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s national advocacy office in Washington, DC and Regional Field Director for Organizing for America in New Mexico. In these roles, she led advocacy engagement efforts to uphold voting rights, end violence against women, protect and improve healthcare, address the root causes of forced migration, and pursue environmental justice.
Tia holds a M.A. in government from New Mexico State University and a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies (with an emphasis in human rights) from University of Iowa. During her graduate studies, she instructed NMSU’s introductory political science course and served as president of the graduate student council. Tia also holds a Certificate in Project Management from Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies.
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University×
Kim Frumin is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she earned her doctorate in Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice. Her research interests encompass online teacher professional learning, design-based research-practice partnerships, and collaborative curriculum development. She is co-editor of Teacher Learning in the Digital Age: Online Professional Development in STEM Education (Harvard Education Press, 2016), and was named a National Science Foundation CADRE Fellow in 2018. Her research has been published in the International Journal of Science Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, Urban Education, and Review of Research in Education. Previously, Frumin was a founding director of the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Innovation (NYCiZone).
Co-Leader, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning×
Michael Fullan, O.C., is the Global Leadership Director, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning and a worldwide authority on educational reform with a mandate of helping to achieve the moral purpose of all children learning. A former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto, Michael advises policymakers and local leaders around the world to provide leadership in education. Michael received the Order of Canada in December 2012. He holds honorary doctorates from several universities in North America and abroad.
Executive Director, Compass Academy×
Marcia Fulton has worked in education for 24 years as teacher, instructional coach, director of curriculum and instruction, and as the Principal of a K-8 Charter school in Denver. She sees the power of a collaborative learning environment as being critical for both student and adult learning. In this environment, students are taught how to learn – not just what to learn. As a former Principal, and now as the Executive Director of Compass Academy, she would describe herself as one who leads with her heart and with her mind. Fulton believes that teaching and learning is a human endeavor. In her own words, “it is when we know and trust each other that relationships are formed and learning can happen. It is through intentional decisions about how we experience learning that we engage and become inspired to be all that we can be”.
Associate Professor, Segal Design Institute, Northwestern University; Founder and Strategist, Forgeworks×
Dr. Elizabeth Gerber works at the intersection of design, human computer interaction, and management science to understand and design the future of work. Liz is the Co-Director of the newly launched Center for Human Computer Interaction + Design, Co-Director of the Design Research Council, and Faculty Founder of Design for America, winner of Cooper Hewitt’s Institutional Achievement Award. Dr. Gerber co-directs Northwestern’s interdisciplinary Delta Lab whose mission is to design technology-based systems to support learning and collaboration. Dr. Gerber has received awards for her work from the National Science Foundation, Joyce, MacArthur, Mozilla, and Watson Foundations, Microsoft, and Adobe. Dr. Gerber earned her Ph.D. in Management Science and Engineering and M.S. in Product Design at Stanford University.
Academic Response Team Specialist, Bronx Borough Central Office, New York City Department of Education
Chief of Staff, New Visions for Public Schools×
Nikki Giunta is the Chief of Staff and Project Manager of the organization’s Gates Network for School Improvement grant. She joined New Visions in 2013 and is responsible for supporting cross organizational project management, developing and refining the organization’s continuous improvement strategy, training coaches in implementing the strategy with schools and overseeing the scaling of our New Visions Data Portal. Prior to working at New Visions, Nikki was a kindergarten teacher in Alexandria, Virginia. Nikki holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Virginia and a second master’s degree in Education in measurement, evaluation, statistics and assessment from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Superintendent, School District of Menomonee Falls (WI)×
Corey Golla is presently serving in his third year as superintendent in the School District of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Prior to this he served two years as director of curriculum and four years as principal of Menomonee Falls High School. Throughout this time, he has been a lead learner as the team worked to apply the principles of improvement in the education setting. Corey began as a classroom teacher and now has over 25 years of experience in education in a myriad of roles. Corey earned a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership from Marian College and his Superintendents certification through Concordia University. He is presently working toward his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In addition to his work as a middle and high school educator, Corey also served on a site team as an Examiner for the Baldridge Performance Excellence Award and is a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma. He has also completed training in Project Management and the Kepner Tregoe Decision Analysis framework. Corey’s passion and drive are combining his experience in leading change with his knowledge of Improvement Science to change outcomes for all students.
Executive Leadership Coach, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools×
Dr. Heather Gomez works as an Executive Leadership Coach on the Differentiated Assistance team with Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, supporting various districts to eliminate inequities using improvement science. Prior to joining the county office, Heather served as a site and district administrator, overseeing some of the most vulnerable and at-promised students in the county. She earned a doctorate in organizational leadership from Brandman University and a master’s in educational leadership from Fresno State. Before moving to Fresno, Heather worked with San Diego Unified supporting students at risk of being expelled for violent offenses, and as an AmeriCorps counselor with students on juvenile probation. In San Diego, she earned a MSW from San Diego State University, and bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies from University of San Diego.
Professor of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation×
Louis Gomez is Professor of Education (and of Information Studies) at the University of California, Los Angeles. Gomez has served since 2008 as a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where he leads the Network Development work. Beginning in 2009, he held the Helen S. Faison Chair in Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was also director of the Center for Urban Education and a senior scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center. From 2001 to 2008, he held a number of faculty appointments at Northwestern University, including the Aon Chair in the Learning Sciences at the School of Education and Social Policy. Prior to joining academia, he spent 14 years working in cognitive science and person–computer systems and interactions at Bell Laboratories, Bell Communications Research Inc. and Bellcore. His research interests have encompassed the application of computing and networking technology to teaching and learning, applied cognitive science, human–computer interactions and other areas. Gomez received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1974 and a doctorate in cognitive psychology from UC Berkeley in 1979.
Founder and Principal Consultant, Gonzalez Consulting
Laureate Professor, University of Newcastle×
Jenny Gore is the Director of the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre at the University of Newcastle, a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford, and recently elected Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. In November 2017, she was named University of Newcastle’s first female Laureate Professor and first Laureate in the humanities and social sciences. Jenny has won more than $23.6 million in research funding, including 10 grants awarded by the Australian Research Council and a recent $200k grant from the NSW Department of Education to examine the effects of ‘learning from home’ on students and teachers during COVID-19. Jenny’s grant from the Paul Ramsay Foundation, worth $16.4 million over five years (2018-2022), is enabling a major program of research on building capacity for quality teaching in Australian schools. Widely published and cited, Jenny’s research centers on quality and equity, teacher development, pedagogical reform, and enhancing student outcomes. In 2020, Jenny and her team launched the Quality Teaching Academy at the University of Newcastle.
Director of Community Collaboration and Evaluation, Southern Methodist University×
Dana Gray is the Director of Community Collaboration and Evaluation at the Budd Center in Simmons School of Education at Southern Methodist University. She is responsible building relationships, infrastructure and capacity for equitable, community-centered collaboration within The School Zone. Her work focuses on engaging nonprofit partners through professional learning communities to meet shared mission, vision and goals to change outcomes for the students in an urban, marginalized community. She is responsible for data analysis, and visualization for The Budd Center and engaging School Zone partners in data-based conversations using a racial equity lens. As a co-lead for the design of the West Dallas STEM School (WDSS), she is charged with creating systems and structures needed to integrate wraparound service providers within this community school. She is also co-designing professional learning systems for the WDSS for educators and wraparound service providers, as well as identifying tools/systems for collaboration, research and evaluation.
Superintendent Emeritus, School District of Menomonee Falls; Senior Director of Thought Leadership, Studer Education×
Patricia Greco serves as the Senior Director for Thought Leadership with Studer Education℠. Pat dedicated her life to education serving 38 years in Wisconsin public schools; 15 as a superintendent. Greco is a champion of organizational excellence. She is skilled in building system, leader, and team capacity for Evidence Based Leadership. Greco is internationally published and extensively trained in systems thinking, organizational learning, and continuous improvement processes. Her work has been published by the Carnegie Foundation, Time Magazine, USA Today, Education Week, AASA, ASQ among many others. Her efforts, and those of her Menomonee Falls Colleagues, received the Carnegie Foundation Spotlight Organization Award and the Top Work Award Place for Large Businesses. Geco received the WI Public Policy Forum Lifetime Achievement Award, the Dr. Mike Kneale Distinguished Leader Award, AASA WI Superintendent of the Year, WASCD Educational Influence Award, and WI Manufactures & Commerce Educator of the Year Award.
Testing and Improvement Analyst, Alexandria City Public Schools×
Angela Green is a veteran educator with over 25 years of experience in her field. She currently serves as a Testing and Improvement Analyst in the Department of Accountability and Research with Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS). Prior to her role in the accountability department, Angela was an elementary data coach and interventionist. Angela is a National Board Certified teacher with 19 years of experience teaching grades pre-k through fourth. Angela earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a master’s degree in educational leadership from George Mason University. She is an active member of the Alexandria community and serves on the board of several organizations. In her free time, she enjoys taking long walks with her husband, two daughters, and her five-year-old Frenchie.
Elementary & Secondary Education Program Coordinator, Humboldt State University×
Sarah Green grew up in Humboldt County, attended HSU graduating with a degree in Business Administration in 2016, and has worked at HSU for two years. She enjoys helping students navigate the university system, as well as getting creative on how to improve upon department policies and recruitment. In her free time, she takes delight in spending time in the great outdoors of Humboldt with her husband, daughter and dog.
Educator, Arlington Public Schools×
J. Michael Griffin, Ed.D., is an English learner educator at Wakefield High School in Arlington Public School, and has expertise developing professional development and curriculum to support English learner students and at-risk youth. Dr. Griffin is also an active community leader who chairs the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families. He is a combat veteran with eight years of active military experience. In between active combat duty, he taught computing, business, and English language in Ankara, Turkey. This led to a career in education, with teaching certifications in computer science and business, English learners, and educational administration. Dr. Griffin was an educator and assistant principal in Puerto Rico for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools. Most recently, he developed a program and curriculum to support students at risk of dropping out of high school called Project GLAD (Grades, Long-term Learners’ Needs, Attendance, and Discipline).
Director of Research, PERTS (Project for Education Research That Scales), Stanford University×
Sarah Gripshover has worked for over 10 years at the intersection between educational research and practice and is currently the Director of Research at the Project for Educational Research that Scales (PERTS). Dr. Gripshover completed her doctorate at Stanford University where she pioneered a developmental science-informed method for teaching young children the science of nutrition. In 2014, Dr. Gripshover joined PERTS to contribute to its mission of empowering educators to create engaging and equitable learning environments where all students can thrive. Her current work is to translate evidence from the psychological sciences into programs and materials that education practitioners can use; develop large-scale research and development infrastructure and partnerships to test the impact of new education practices on students’ experiences and outcomes; and create practitioner-, industry-, and researcher-facing communications to disseminate the learning from these efforts.
Associate Director, Utah Education Policy Center, University of Utah×
Dr. Cori Groth is the Associate Director of the Utah Educational Policy Center at the University of Utah where she is involved in educational research and school improvement at both the preK-12 and higher education levels. Her UEPC work involves the planning and coordinating of policy analyses and program evaluations on educational issues in both preK-12 and higher education, as well as establishing and maintaining relationships with local and state educational leaders in preK-12 and higher education, legislative leadership, and local and state community-based groups who focus on educational issues. In addition, she works closely with local schools and districts to support their school improvement efforts. She also serves as an adjunct associate professor, teaching courses in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy.
Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation×
Alicia Grunow is an educational improvement expert, specializing in how to apply the science of improvement to help teams, organizations, and networks reach their improvement goals. Alicia started her career as a bilingual teacher in Denver Public Schools and then in New York City, working to improve outcomes for students that speak a language other than English. Through this work she discovered a passion for redesigning systems to better meet the needs of students. She pursued a specialization in improvement science and has spent the past seven years adapting these methodologies for education at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where she coauthored the seminal book on the topic—Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better.
Alicia remains senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation and recently co-founded the Improvement Collective, a partnership dedicated to helping organizations to build their improvement capacity in order to solve important problems in education and the broader social sector. She holds a BA in psychology from Reed College, an Improvement Advisor certificate from the Institute from Healthcare Improvement, and a master’s degree in economics and PhD in education from Stanford University.
Research Assistant, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania×
Sarah Gudenkauf is a doctoral candidate in educational leadership and a Research Assistant at Catalyst. In addition, she is an independent consultant who supports organizations with academic and improvement initiatives. Sarah has worked in school systems at the school and district level as a curriculum director, a science coordinator, assistant principal, and middle and high school science teacher.
Principal Research Scientist, Plus Alpha Research & Consulting, LLC×
Adam Hall is a Principal Research Scientist at PARC. He has 22 years of experience in educational research, technical assistance, and public policy. Adam has worked with foundations, federal offices, states, districts, schools, and business leaders to assess, evaluate, and improve student achievement and systems designed to support positive lifelong student outcomes. Mr. Hall has visited over 400 classrooms throughout the United States while conducting research for programs, projects, and funders as diverse as NPD, NSF, i3, Gates, North Carolina’s Race to the Top, Smaller Learning Communities, Early College High Schools, School Improvement Grants, and Teaching American History grants. He has also provided research and technical assistance to four IES-funded RELs. Adam holds a master’s from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and recently completed post-graduate work at Harvard in analytics.
Former Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation×
Mike Hanson is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He is the former superintendent of the third largest urban school district in California, and co-founder and inaugural president of CORE, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve student achievement by fostering highly productive, meaningful collaboration and learning between California’s largest school districts. Mike currently serves on the Board of Valley Children’s Healthcare System where he chairs the compensation committee.
Prior to his 12-year tenure as superintendent, Mike served in many roles as a public educator in both New York and California, including deputy superintendent, high school principal, social science teacher and coach.
His work has focused on teacher, school and district improvement through building capacity in others, systems knowledge, formalized collaborative relationships and improved governance. His work in continuous improvement focuses on issues of equity and access. Areas of demonstrated expertise are improved student achievement, improved behavior of students, increased diversity of high-quality human capital, and leadership development. His interests include strategic creation and use of data systems as well as supports for public school employees. Mike is a California native who lives in Sacramento with his wife, Julie. They laugh constantly with their three children.
Associate Professor, School of Education, University of Newcastle (Australia)
Staff Associate, Office of Enrollment, Choice, and Transfers, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Terrence Harris has been with Baltimore City Public Schools since 2011. His primary tasks within the Office of Enrollment, Choice, and Transfers include data management, alternate options assignments, and coordination of services for non-English speaking families. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, Terrence began his career as a teacher and coach at the Calhoun School in 2001. Upon being accepted into the New York Teaching Fellows Program in 2007, he taught Special Education in the South Bronx and Harlem. He has been repeatedly invited by both Teach for America and the New York Independent School Teaching Institute to serve as an instructor and mentor for student teachers. Love then brought Terrence to Maryland, where he now resides with his wife and three children. Terrence’s transition into administration has afforded him the opportunity to serve families in a myriad of ways, both inside and outside of the office.
Partner Success Manager, Collaborative Technology, Carnegie Foundation×
Susan Haynes is the partner success manager for the Carnegie Foundation’s collaborative technology team. She provides product development support, partnership management, and technical assistance for various products and platforms developed by Carnegie for faculty and community partners. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2016, she worked as a legal and policy assistant in the Silicon Valley’s tech sector, specializing in print and digital copyrights. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University, where she specialized in creative writing and Shakespearean studies.
Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation×
LaRena is an associate in the networked improvement science group. She joined the Foundation in 2018 as a networked improvement science fellow. Most recently, LaRena was Senior Manager of Content and Instruction at Actively Learn, an online literacy platform. Her work focused on creating instructional resources and delivering professional development to teachers and administrators emphasizing evidence-based practices for critical reading, formative assessment, and scaffolding.
LaRena started her career at American Institutes for Research and worked on numerous projects investigating factors that led to success in high-performing, high-need schools. Inspired by the dedicated teachers she met through this work, LaRena spent the next several years teaching in San Jose, CA and Brookline, MA where she enjoyed designing project-based units that supported the needs of diverse learners. As a teacher leader, LaRena facilitated grade-level teams in data analysis and developed intervention plans to support ELLs and struggling students. She also served as an instructional technology coach where she helped teachers throughout her district effectively utilize digital tools in their classrooms.
LaRena earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy and a master’s degree in education from Stanford University.
Sue Ann Heatherly
Senior Education Officer, Green Bank Observatory×
Sue Ann Heatherly is the senior education officer at the Green Bank Observatory and directs the educational programs there. Heatherly started her career as a science teacher in rural West Virginia and in 1989 she was hired by the Green Bank Observatory to build an education and outreach program. Since then she has led many programs and projects focusing on astronomy education and STEM experiences including professional development programs for teachers, residential programs for youth, and opportunities for teachers and students to work together with professional scientists to conduct astronomical research using data collected by the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope. She is lead principal investigator in an NSF funded project to create a statewide Alliance aimed at improving the success of students studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields at higher education institutions in West Virginia.
Director, Strategy and Continuous Improvement, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Dr. Sarah Heaton leads the district’s strategy for improvement and manages partnerships to support the district’s Blueprint for Success. In this capacity, she was instrumental in the design and implementation of the district’s NSI, our continued funding efforts, and is leading efforts to scale improvement work to the district office.
Erin Hellman Ashoka
Associate Director of NSI Implementation and Data, Bank Street Education Center×
As the Associate Director of NSI Implementation and Data at the Bank Street Education Center, Erin leads the data & evaluation strategy for Yonkers & Brooklyn South Networks for School Improvement, supports in the planning and implementation of our network strategy, and works closely with network implementation coaches to develop and implement school team coaching. She is also responsible for monitoring progress towards project goals and developing reports to facilitate internal reflection and communicate progress to district and Foundation partners. She also has experience managing the data collection strategy on K-12 math project partnerships with the New York City Department of Education. Prior to her work at Bank Street, Erin taught middle school math in Phoenix, AZ where she engaged in continuous improvement work with her middle school teaching team. Erin holds a B.A. in Sociology from Wake Forest University and an M.A. in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University.
President, Partner to Improve×
Dr. Henrick, President of Partner to Improve, is an education researcher, evaluator, professional development provider, speaker, and author. Dr. Henrick is a professional development facilitator for the Research+Practice Collaboratory and has facilitated over seven National Science Foundation CSforALL workshops, supporting teams of researchers and education practitioners to develop high functioning research-practice partnerships aimed at ensuring that all students in the United States have access to high quality computer science education. Dr. Henrick has facilitated sessions for the Education Leadership Institute at Union University, focused on developing school leaders’ capacities to use continuous improvement methodologies and view improvement as an organizational issue that requires improvement across multiple layers of a system. Dr. Henrick has also served as faculty for the Governor’s Academy for School Leadership at Vanderbilt University, leading sessions on parental engagement, improving instruction at scale, and improvement science. Dr. Henrick also provides school improvement consulting services, and most recently has consulted with The Webb School, a private boarding college preparatory school in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. She also conducted an ½ day seminar for high school principals in Denmark on system-wide instructional improvement and was the invited speaker for a professional development retreat for over 150 teachers from the Silkeborg high school, the largest high school in Denmark.
Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation×
Darryl Hill is a senior program officer for measurement, learning and evaluation at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, he held roles in several school districts around the country, including as assistant superintendent of school accountability and governance for the Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, GA; and director of performance strategy and analytics for the Wake County Public School System in Raleigh, NC. He has a doctorate in Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice from Harvard University and degrees in business, education, and psychology from Florida A&M University.
Senior Fellow, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation×
“Dr. Randy Hitz is a Carnegie Foundation senior fellow providing leadership and direction for the Foundation’s higher education field building agenda.
He is dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University. His higher education administrative experience spans three decades and also includes dean positions at the University of Hawaii and Montana State University. Before becoming a dean, he served in the Oregon Department of Education as the early childhood education specialist and helped to create Oregon’s state prekindergarten program. His teaching experience ranges from preschool and kindergarten to graduate education.
Dr. Hitz has published over 60 professional articles on topics related to educational policy and curriculum. He has served on a wide variety of state and national boards and committees, including the teacher licensing boards of Montana and Hawaii, the Board of Directors of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the Board of the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education where he served a term as chair. He chaired the Unit Accreditation Board for NCATE and the Accreditation Council for the Council for Accreditation of Education Professionals (CAEP). He also served on the board of CAEP and currently serves on the Council for Educator Advancement formed by Oregon’s Governor, Kate Brown. Dr. Hitz has a Ph.D., master’s degree, and baccalaureate degree from Indiana State University.”
Directing Improvement Partner, Partners in School Innovation×
Cynthia leads implementation at Partners in School Innovation. She joined Partners in 2012 as a School Improvement Partner, supporting school and district leaders to transform their systems with an equity lens and grounded in cycles of inquiry. Since that time, Cynthia also played a lead role in designing Partners internal learning systems that prepare and support the staff. Prior to joining Partners, Cynthia taught elementary school in South San Jose. She holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from San Jose State University.
Graduate Student, Harvard University×
Rebecca Horwitz-Willis is a 4th year Ph.D. student at Harvard University. Influenced by her former work as an educator and lawyer, Rebecca’s research falls at the intersection of the history of American schooling, critical theories of race, and the political development of American education. She is particularly interested in how history can be used to inform present-day reform efforts. Her current work interrogates the socio-legal history of school discipline, with a particular focus on the relationship between school discipline policies and school integration. Rebecca’s work has been published in the Review of Research in Education and presented at the American Research in Education Association and Law and Society conferences.
Senior Fellow, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation×
“David Imig, PhD, is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and a Professor of the Practice in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. He teaches courses in teacher education policy and practice, school and teacher leadership. A founder of the Carnegie Project on Education Doctorate (CPED), a national organization of some 85 graduate schools of education, he is co-leading an effort at Maryland to transform doctoral education to focus on “expectations, outcomes and achievements” of four professional cohorts of EdD students in large metropolitan school districts in areas surrounding the campus.
Prior to coming to College Park in 2006, Imig was the president and chief executive officer for the Washington, DC-based American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) for twenty-five years. He was awarded emeritus status upon his retirement from AACTE. Imig has also served as chair of the NCATE executive committee, the National Policy Board for Educational Administration and the Forum for Education Organization Leaders, as well as the National Society for the Study of Education. He has conducted program reviews and served on numerous college and university advisory committees in the US and abroad. He holds a lifetime achievement award from the UK-based Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET).”
Research Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center, University of Pittsburgh×
Jennifer Iriti is a Research Scientist and Director of the Evaluation for Learning Group and Co-Director of the Partners for Network Improvement at the University of Pittsburgh leads strategy, research and evaluation initiatives for PK-20 education improvement efforts. Her team infuses field knowledge with practitioner expertise to support policymakers and practitioners in real-time decision-making. Most recently, she has focused on programs that support broadening participation postsecondary access and success, such as her work as external evaluator for the Pittsburgh Promise and as Co-PI for an NSF INCLUDES Alliance grant in which she and her team are designing a networked improvement community of precollege STEM programs to increase STEM college access and success for Black and brown students. She holds a doctoral degree in developmental and educational psychology and a certificate in interdisciplinary policy and evaluation from the University of Pittsburgh.
Executive Consultant, Content Lead, South County SELPA, ED&D×
Marcus Jackson is an Executive Consultant with South County SELPA’s Equity and Disproportionality Project. He supports districts with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and school culture. He has served as a school psychologist in K-12 comprehensive and alternative settings. Marcus was a principal at alternative and comprehensive school sites.
Robert J. Jagers
Vice President of Research, CASEL×
Robert J. Jagers is CASEL’s vice president of research. Prior to joining CASEL, he was a faculty member in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan, a Co-PI of the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context (CSBYC), and the founding director of Wolverine Pathways, a university-sponsored diversity pipeline program for qualified secondary school students. Among his various CASEL duties, Dr. Jagers is leading work with partner districts to explore how social and emotional learning can be leveraged to promote equitable learning environments and equitable developmental outcomes for students from historically underserved groups. He has a particular interest in participatory approaches to SEL research and practice and their implications for the civic development of children and youth.
Senior Inquiry Facilitator, Data Inquiry Team, Boston Public Schools
Director of Assessment for Learning, Boston Public Schools×
Sarah Jay is the Director of Assessment for Learning for the Boston Public Schools. She supports the creation of a balanced and comprehensive anti-racist assessment system and the development of assessment policy. Additionally, she coaches school leaders on the use of formative data in cycles of inquiry. Prior to joining BPS, Jay taught Spanish in both public and private school settings and served in a variety of leadership roles. Jay holds a B.A. in English and Spanish Literature from Swarthmore College, an M.A. in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Teachers College at Columbia University.
Executive Director, BARR Center×
Angela Jerabek is the Founder and Executive Director of BARR Center®, a nationally recognized non-profit organization that builds strong K-12 school communities that support student success by improving school culture, school climate and educator effectiveness. Jerabek began her career in education as a licensed K-12 teacher, and a secondary school counselor in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is an author, speaker and education innovator whose expertise lies in school improvement, equity, youth development, mental health and using data and evidence in schools. As the executive director of the BARR Center, Jerabek provides thought leadership and operational oversight.
In virtually every geographical location, the implementation of BARR has resulted in a statistically significant reduction in failure rates by an average of 34.5%, after just one year of implementation. Tested and validated by the American Institute for Research (AIR), BARR stands alone as the most consistently proven secondary school improvement model in the country.
Equity Leadership Consultant, Shift×
Tanya Johnson is a strategic impact consultant stewarding organization through a process of moving from a vision into action with a deep commitment to transforming inequitable systems. She founded Impact Strategy Group, Inc. in 2020 to help organizations translate desired outcomes into social impact by design. Before this, Johnson served as Vice President of Program Design, leading Turnaround for Children’s programmatic strategy to develop tools that enabled educators to address the impact of adversity on learning and development. Johnson has experience working with notable visionaries to build equitable environments for young and adult learners throughout her career. She served as an Education Consultant for Authentic Education under the leadership of Dr. Grant Wiggins, co-author of Understanding by Design (UbD). In that capacity, she developed an adult curriculum and delivered an innovative professional development workshop series with a strong focus on backward-mapping for clear and measurable results.
Program Associate, Raise Your Hand Texas×
Niesha Jones joined Raise Your Hand Texas in June 2020 as a Program Associate working with the Raising Texas Teacher initiative. She works with leading, university-based teacher preparation programs across the state. Niesha has a BBA in International Business from Stephen F. Austin State University and an MEd. in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has a 14-year career in education working in K12 as a high school Spanish teacher and Assistant Principal and in higher ed as a University Field Supervisor. Her desire is to be an advocate for the academic success of EVERY child and she believes that begins with the expert in the classroom, the Teacher. Students’ lasting memories of grade school are of the connections they had with their best friends and favorite teachers.
Instructional Leadership Partner, New York City Department of Education×
Imani Jones-Ratcliffe is an Instructional Leadership Partner and member of the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) Chancellor’s central team responsible for building instructional and adaptive leadership capacities in district and school leaders. In her role, Imani also helps schools engage students in equitable educational opportunities in blended learning and remote environments. Additionally, Imani provides consultation and thought partnership for various superintendent teams in order to promote Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education. In her former Senior Director role with the NYCDOE, she led and coached teams to build their capacity to eliminate racial achievement disparities through school improvement. Furthermore, Imani is proud to be an Executive Director of The Culture and Leadership League (The CALL), an organization that works with leaders, teams and organizations looking to build culture, leadership and learning that increases racial equity. Her mission is to provide the strategies to disrupt, dismantle, and eradicate systems of inequity.
Continuous Improvement Coach, Spartanburg School District 6×
Amanda Justice currently serves as a Continuous Improvement Coach in Spartanburg District Six at Jesse S. Bobo and Lone Oak Elementary Schools. With 15 years of experience in education, she began her teaching career at JSBES. She taught first grade for eight years and four-year-old kindergarten for four years prior to serving as Continuous Improvement Coach. Mrs. Justice has served in the role of Continuous Improvement Coach for 3 years, working with the Spartanburg Academic Movement. In 2015, she completed her Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from Southern Wesleyan University.
Director of Data and Continuous Improvement, Network for College Success, The University of Chicago×
Quinton Keith is the Director of Data and Continuous Improvement with the Network for College Success. At the intersection of research and practice, Quinton helps school administrators focus on data collection, analysis, and dissemination to support strategic evaluation, decision making, and school improvement. As a Network Data Strategist, he provides data coaching and support to a Professional Learning Community of Data Technicians comprising 15 Chicago Public High Schools. Prior to joining NCS, Quinton worked for a human services organization in North Carolina to help those who are least able to help themselves. Quinton, a native of North Carolina, received his Master’s Degree from North Carolina Central University and Bachelors of Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. His current work has led him to become certified by the Leadership and Learning Center in “Decision Making for Results and Data Teams.”
Director of Program Sustainability and Growth, California Education Partners×
Over his 25 years in public education, Steven Kellner has served as a classroom teacher, site and district administrator and superintendent. Throughout his career, he has worked to close achievement gaps and open doors for first generation college students in both California and Illinois. Under Kellner’s leadership, the West Sonoma Union High School District was recognized as one of the top 100 districts in California. As superintendent, Kellner used an innovative community partnership to launch a design-thinking based middle school for students in underserved rural communities. He has presented nationally on topics ranging from new teacher mentoring and best practices in teacher evaluation to creating a sustainable interdisciplinary STEM model at the high school level and effectively implementing instructional technology. Kellner earned his doctorate in educational administration and supervision from Loyola University Chicago where he researched the impact of superintendent leadership on student achievement.
Carnegie National Faculty, Carnegie Foundation×
Edit Khachatryan is an improvement facilitator and advisor supporting teams through school and instructional improvement utilizing improvement science tools and processes. Her current research includes developing an improvement coaching framework. Edit was most recently an associate at the Carnegie Foundation, supporting organizations to initiate networked improvement communities (NICs).
Edit started her career as a high school teacher, and cares deeply about strengthening the teaching profession and ensuring that educators have the collaboration time, necessary supports and resources, and authentic professional development opportunities. The desire to understand how to do this well led her out of the classroom to engage in federal policy at the U.S. Department of Education as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow, and then to earn her doctorate at Stanford University. Edit’s research has included feedback on teaching from classroom observations, teacher professional development, and teacher and district leadership development. In order to make improvements on any problem in education, Edit believes that we must invest in accessing and utilizing both research and practitioner expertise. Edit is a researcher, a practitioner, and an improver.
Project Director, Center for Public Research and Leadership, Columbia University×
Ayeola Kinlaw is a Project Director at CPRL. She provides research, organizational strategy and development, and philanthropic advising services to non-profit organizations and foundations. At CPRL, she has developed strategic plans and measurement frameworks, designed and conducted a formative evaluation of improvement networks, and facilitated trainings on Evolutionary Learning. Prior to launching her consulting practice, Kinlaw served as a Senior Program Officer at the Wallace Foundation focused on school and district leadership and was the founding director of the 100Kin10 Funders Collaborative where she supported the strategic philanthropy of more than 34 national, regional, and corporate funders. Kinlaw has a B.A. from Duke University and an Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education, Pajaro Valley Unified School District×
Kasey Klappenback serves as the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) where he oversees sixteen Elementary Schools as well as two K-8 sites. In addition, he supervises Special Services along with Early Childhood Education programs. Prior to joining PVUSD, Kasey held the positions of principal, assistant principal, literacy coach, and teacher for 21 years in the Santa Ana Unified School District in Southern California.
Partner, Strategic Initiatives, Catalyst:Ed×
Rachel passionately believes that public schools should be a path to success for every student. For over 20 years she has worked to achieve equitable outcomes in schools and school systems as a District Administrator in Highline Public Schools, a Vice President for Code.org leading professional learning efforts, a Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and as a Board Chair for Ada Developers Academy. Rachel has also worked in Seattle, Chicago, and Boston public schools. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School.
Senior Fellow, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation×
Dr. Uma Raman Kotagal currently serves as the Executive Lead for Community and Population Health at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center and Professor of Pediatrics Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Cincinnati. A neonatologist and Health Services Researcher by training, Dr Kotagal previously served as Senior Vice President for Quality Safety, and Transformation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Executive Director of the James .M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence. Dr. Kotagal has been a pioneer in the application of System Science to improve outcomes in health care delivery across the world with the goal of dramatically changing medical and quality of life outcomes, patient and family experience, and value Dr. Kotagal directed the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pursuing Perfection initiative at Cincinnati Children’s. As a result of Dr. Kotagal’s endeavors, Cincinnati Children’s has received several prestigious national and international awards for their efforts to transform health care delivery. Dr. Kotagal is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, serves on the Board of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and Chairs the Quality Improvement Committee of the Children’s Hospital association. She has served on the Advisory Committee of the Toronto Patient Safety Center, and as Associate Editor of BMJ Quality and Safety. Dr. Kotagal is a member of the Institute of Medicine and is a recipient of the Prestigious Daniel Drake medal from the UC college of Medicine, Dr. Kotagal holds a MS in Epidemiology from Harvard University-School of Public Health, and an MBBS and a Bachelors of Medicine, Surgery from Grant Medical College in Mumbai, India.
Associate Professor, Education Leadership, Policy, Governance, and Innovation, University of Calgary×
Dr. Eugene G. Kowch is an Associate Professor in the Leadership, Policy and Governance area at the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. His research program focuses on developing human and organizational and leadership and innovation capabilities in concert with policy so that innovative teaching and learning in the information age is fun, sustainable and robust. In his first career as a petroleum engineer, he held progressive positions in multinational energy companies, culminating in senior corporate development leadership. Obtaining undergraduate and graduate education, he realized the vast potential of computing and technologies for a new generation of teachers and education systems engaging AI and digital learning as a practicing teacher, school principal and Deputy Superintendent. As a leadership professor, Dr. Kowch’ s research program and graduate students conceptualize and develop ideas, processes and policies to support higher education, K-12 and industry systemic change.
Senior Engagement Manager, WestEd×
Kelsey Krausen, Ph.D., is a Senior Engagement Manager with the Resource Planning and Implementation team at WestEd. Her areas of expertise include accountability systems, education finance, and systems improvement. Krausen has worked on a range of a research projects including research on early implementation of California’s Statewide System of Support, research on North Carolina’s school finance system, and an investigation of continuous improvement practices in California school districts.
Director of Research and Organizational Excellence Coach, Studer Education×
Julie Kunselman is a leader coach and the research and development leader with Studer Education where she coaches and supports executive leaders in data-driven approaches to improving organizational performance and outcomes.
Julie has two decades of higher education experience as a professor and administrator. She began her career in education as a high school math teacher with Teach For America and as an adjunct math instructor in Kentucky’s Community and Technical College System. Julie began her tenure at the University of West Florida as an assistant and then associate professor and associate dean. At Northern Kentucky University, Julie served as a department chair where she oversaw 28 full-time faculty and 1,200 majors across five academic programs, including an accredited graduate program and a university-wide undergraduate program.
As a coach and research and development leader at Studer Education, Julie coaches and supports executive leaders in higher education and public organizations on ways to improve, align and measure performance for system-wide improvement.
Mathematics Teacher, Instructional Coach, Mann UCLA Community School×
Sunanda Kushon has almost 20 years of education experience. She currently teaches math and physics to secondary students at Mann UCLA Community School. She serves as an instructional coach and lead for the math teachers who are committed to developing a strong program for all of their students. Ms. Kushon also has experience teaching and advising graduate students as part of the UCLA Teacher Education Program. She has a strong passion for promoting academic success, critical thinking, and social justice for urban youth so they will be college and work ready.
Consultant, XQ Institute; Principal, Kelefors Consulting; Former Director of Equity Initiatives, The Education Trust–West
Improvement Specialist, Tulare County Office of Education
Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Janise Lane has been deeply engaged and passionate about literacy her entire professional career. Janise started her teaching career in elementary grades, focused primarily in grade 1. Faced with the challenge of supporting struggling readers led her to New Zealand, where she spent two summers studying early literacy strategies used in the public education system there. Sharing the knowledge and experience she gained in New Zealand with her colleagues unlocked a new love for professional learning. She spent time teaching alternate certification literacy courses at the Urban Teacher Education Center at University of Maryland Baltimore County, as well as working with a publishing company as a national consultant for literacy. Lane then joined a non-profit with the mission of supporting Baltimore City Public Schools, coaching school leaders and teachers around literacy curriculum, best practices, and assessments. Baltimore City Public Schools hired Lane in 2010 as a leader in the district’s school support networks. In this role, she used her deep knowledge of literacy and professional learning to support district staff assigned to provide direct academic support to schools. Beginning in 2012, Lane became the director of literacy; in this role, she led the district’s transition to the new Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards for Literacy. Since 2015, Lane has served City Schools as the executive director of teaching and learning. In this role, she supervises all core content areas, as well as the areas of early learning, differentiated learning, and instructional technology. She has also led the district’s re-designed professional learning strategy for the district and school-based leadership, which began this year. She has also been a key driver in the work around literacy coaching and improvement science over the past two years.
Associate Director of Educator Engagement, The Education Trust–West×
As the Associate Director of Educator Engagement, Mayra Lara works closely with County Offices of Education, school districts, schools, and educators helping shape meaningful policies and practices which will have lasting, positive impacts on students. She also leads ETW’s Equitable Access and Success work with specific focus on underrepresented students of color, low-income students and emergent bilingual students. This specific area of her work marries personal experience with a professional passion embedded in a desire to see young people having a humanizing educational experience. Lara holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Social and Cultural Analysis of Education from California State University Long Beach. Lara also holds a doctoral degree in educational leadership for social justice from Loyola Marymount University where her research focused on young women of color’s experiences as they navigated the sexual politics of education.
Principal, Fort Plain Junior-Senior High School
Principal, Alder Creek Middle School, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District×
Hien Nguyen Larson’s educational preparation includes a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from University of Nevada, Reno and a bachelor’s degree from UC Davis. As an educator with 28 years of experience she has served as a teacher and a site administrator. Hien’s experience as an immigrant and a second language learner give her a vast understanding of the whole child, learning, and leadership. She earned awards including Linda Brown Fellows Award and Placer County and Region Principal of the Year. Her school was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School by the state of California and nationally as A School to Watch: National Forum for Middle Grade Forum. Her decisions will always be under the filter of what is best for students. Hien is committed to providing challenging and engaging learning opportunities for her students to thrive in college, career, and life.
Director of Strategy and Implementation, Bank Street Education Center×Matty Lau is a Director of Strategy and Implementation at the Bank Street Education Center. She has been in the field of education for over two decades, as a 6-12 science and mathematics teacher, STEM curriculum developer, researcher, teacher educator, a continuous improvement coach, and hub member of a network for continuous improvement focused on increasing and retaining the number of high-quality math and science teachers in US schools. She is passionate about advocating for teachers, striving towards equitable education, and creating space for asking good questions.
Lead Teacher/Improvement Advisor, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Koren Stukes-Lawson serves as a Lead Teacher and an Improvement Advisor for Baltimore City Public Schools. She began learning about Improvement Science two school years prior. While learning about Improvement Science, Koren served as an Improvement Representative for her district. This school year, she serves as an Improvement Advisor helping other teachers from the district implement the work of Improvement Science. Koren has been employed with Baltimore City Public Schools for twenty years. During her tenure with the school system, she has worn many hats. Koren has been a classroom teacher for fourteen years before becoming a Lead Teacher. While teaching, Koren wrote curriculum for Literacy and the Gifted and Advance Learners. She has spent summers working at the district office assisting with the Summer Learning Programs or in the Human Capital Office assisting with new hires for the upcoming school year. Koren holds a master’s degree in reading from Towson University.
Principal, Estrellita Continuation High School, Galt Joint Union High School District
Executive Director, Leadership for School Improvement, New York City Department of Education×
Julie Leopold leads the Continuous Learning team at the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). The team supports a network of schools focused on the needs of multilingual learners, working to build the capacity of adults across the system to identify problems, iteratively develop new approaches, measure impact, and develop sustainable improvement. The team focuses on the how of school improvement by providing broad support through resources and professional learning opportunities while also providing deep support through direct coaching in schools. Julie believes in empowering teachers as professionals to accelerate progress toward racial equity. Julie led the development of instructional policy during the NYC’s transition to the Common Core and its new teacher development and evaluation system. Prior to joining NYCDOE’s Central Office, Julie led a parenting project in England, managed change projects for a university, and led and taught in the Bronx.
Learning Director, Dinuba Unified School District
Associate Professor, School of Education, Indiana University×
Chad Lochmiler is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington (Seattle) in 2010 with a specialization in leadership, policy, and organizations. His research focuses on issues related to K-12 educational leadership and policy. In particular, Lochmiller examines how leaders develop capacity to implement changes in teaching and learning in light of increasing expectations for school and district performance. Thus, his research considers the politics of human and fiscal resource investment in school systems; strategies to develop to human capital in schools, such as coaching and professional learning; and continuous improvement processes, including Networked Improvement Science. Lochmiller currently serve as the Coordinator for both the Educational Leadership Program and the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.
Continuous Improvement Coordinator–Literacy, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Melissa Loftus is the Continuous Improvement Coordinator in the Literacy Office of Baltimore City Schools where she leads the Baltimore Secondary Literacy Improvement Community. Prior to this role, she has been an Educational Specialist in Secondary Literacy in Baltimore City Public Schools. Loftus spent the majority of her career as a middle and high school English teacher in Baltimore. In addition, Loftus served as a Literacy Academic Content Liaison with City Schools for several years. She has also held positions as an Instructional Facilitator, Adjunct Instructor, and Advisor with Johns Hopkins University. Melissa holds a B.A. in English and Education from Bucknell University and an M.Ed in Education with a Reading Specialist certification from Johns Hopkins University.
Instructional Leadership Partner, New York City Department of Education×
Betty Lugo is a former NYC principal and leader for equity working fearlessly to eliminate opportunity and achievement gaps for Black and Latino students throughout the country and the Dominican Republic. She is currently an Instructional Leadership Partner responsible for building instructional and adaptive leadership capacities that help schools engage students in equitable educational opportunities in blended and remote learning environments across the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE). In her former role with the NYCDOE, she helped start, coach, and lead a team that worked to eliminate achievement disparities along the lines of race. Betty collaborates with organizations to provide strategies to disrupt, dismantle, and eradicate systems of inequity, while simultaneously building the capacity of leaders and teams to advance equity. Betty is also the proud founder and Executive Director of Latinas & Líderes, a nonprofit that seeks to empower and inspire girls from under-resourced communities to become leaders.
Executive Director of Professional Development, Yonkers Public Schools×
Dr. Christopher Macaluso, an Assistant Superintendent in the Yonkers Public Schools’ Division of Equity and Access – Curriculum, Instruction, School Supervision, is committed to rigorous teaching and learning for every student in urban public education settings. Dr. Macaluso leads professional development initiatives for all district employees and works to create conditions for adults to uncover, discuss, develop action plans, and execute changes in professional practice in a safe space while using data cycles to monitor implementation. His work is driven by a vision for instruction that involves well-planned teacher and administrator actions, student engagement, and meaningful tasks for students, teachers and administrators centered around the instructional core. Dr. Macaluso uses systems-thinking strategies to leverage performance appraisal plans for teachers, school administrators and district administrative supports. This includes the outcomes of various district, state and grant plans that support and guide the organization. His 20-year career includes roles as a middle/high school mathematics teacher, a peer instructional coach, principal, Director of Mathematics and Executive Director of Professional Development.
Research Assistant, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania×
Megan MacDonald is a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. She works with Catalyst @ Penn GSE to coordinate and conduct research on several different inquiry networks focused on continuous improvement. Prior to starting at Penn, Megan led the team responsible for recruitment and selection in the Office of Talent at the School District of Philadelphia. She has also worked as a recruiter for Teach For America and as a middle school special education teacher and coordinator in Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, NY.
President, Madrigal Research×
Veronica Hankerson Madrigal is an experienced qualitative researcher specializing in education policy research. Veronica began her career working in DC Public Schools as a teacher and district staff member. Most recently, she was a senior analyst at Education First Consulting. She has also provided policy research and analysis for SRI Education and DC’s Deputy Mayor for Education. Her research experience runs the gamut from conducting classroom observations and interviews for evaluations of large-scale U.S. Department of Education grants including i3 and SEED; to producing literature reviews, case studies and landscape scans for philanthropic foundations; to leading analysis of results from a National Science Foundation-funded research project for dissemination in peer-reviewed publications. Veronica graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Literature. She also holds an M.A. in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Teaching from American University.
Director, National Equity Project×
Tom Malarkey has worked with the National Equity Project since 1996 and specializes in equity-centered inquiry practice with teachers, teams, and whole schools. He is a lead developer of Partnerships for Learning services. For the last twenty-five years, he has focused his work on urban schools, teachers, and students. He has taught high school English and first grade, and was the director of the Summerbridge Program in San Francisco, an academic empowerment program for middle school students. Tom holds an M.A. in international development education from Stanford University and is currently earning his Ph.D. in Education at UC Berkeley, focusing on the dynamics of collaborative teacher inquiry and its relationship to equity and urban school change.
Principal, Truckee High School, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District×
Logan Mallonee is the principal of Truckee High School; a 9-12 comprehensive public high school. Logan’s educational background includes teaching in the San Francisco Unified School District, teaching English Language Arts for Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, and serving as an academic coach at the middle and high school level. She has been a professor of student teachers at the University of San Francisco and an administrator at the high school level for nine years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature, a master’s degree in teaching, a teaching and an administrative credential all from the University of San Francisco. Mallonee believes that students are the focus of all decisions. She is passionate about offering opportunities for all types of scholars at the high school level including reading at grade level, CTE courses, and caring relationships with adults on campus.
Senior Associate, Managing Director, Collaborative Technology, Carnegie Foundation×
Jojo Manai is a senior associate managing director for collaborative technology at the Carnegie Foundation. He leads the technical team to provide Foundation-wide support for a variety of technology, including the development and administration of an information infrastructure for the Carnegie Foundation’s Design, Development & Improvement Research work, as well as the development of technology solutions for a wide range of collaboration tools to facilitate the work of Carnegie’s programs. Before coming to the Carnegie Foundation, Jojo was a search technical lead & project manager at Yahoo! where he supported rich results direct display, query pattern mining, intent analysis and impact prediction. He holds degrees in computer science and information technology from the Faculté des Sciences Economiques et de Gestion – Sfax University. In the summer of 2005 he was awarded The UC Davis Citations for Excellence and Achievement Award, as an acknowledgment of his achievements and quality of work at the University of California Davis.
Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Director of District to District Program, California Education Partners×
JoDee Marcellin, Ed.D., grew up in the Bay Area and moved to Fresno to attend California State University, Fresno in 1986, where she completed her undergraduate and graduate studies. Marcellin’s 18 year educational career in Sanger Unified School District afforded her experiences in all levels of K-12 from high school science teacher to site and district leadership. It was her own struggles as a student that has acted as a driving force to improve instruction and educational systems that better meet students’ needs, especially those unsupported by the current structures. During Marcellin’s K-12 tenure, she built a multifaceted background that provided her a unique opportunity to join the California Education Partner team. The innovation, drive, and passion to facilitate success for all students held by Ed Partners matches her own and allows her to expand and deepen the amazing work she was blessed to be involved in Sanger to a larger scale throughout California.
Computer Science Instructional Specialist, Broward County Public Schools×
Annmargareth Salyer Marousky is a Computer Science Instructional Specialist for Broward County Public Schools, a Florida Atlantic University alum with over 20 years of teaching experience, and a facilitator for Everglades Literacy Foundation and Code.org. She works in the district’s Applied Learning department focusing on STEM, Computer Science, and environmental initiatives in K-12 education. She participated in the National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM + Computing Partnership Exploratory Integration grant, renamed “Time4CS” (NSF Grant # 1542842), and currently works on the Hewlett Foundation “Outlier-Broward County Public Schools Research Practice Partnership: Diffusion of Deeper Learning” grant. Prior positions include private, charter, and public educational systems as a STEM Teacher, Science Coach, 5th–8th grade classroom teacher, and leadership teams. She has written curriculum for the school district, Science4Us.com, and NSF grants, and provides professional development to teachers in elementary curriculum, STEM, environmental concerns, and blended technology.
Coordinator of Early Literacy, Pajaro Valley Unified School District×
Nicole Marsh is in the position of Coordinator of Early Literacy for Pajaro Valley Unified School District. Marsh is a long-time educator with a wealth of experience. Since 2013, she has served as Academic Coordinator at Bradley Elementary where she initially served as a Reading Intervention/English Language Services teacher. She has a profound working knowledge of the PVUSD EL Master Plan, reading proficiency goals, and understands the importance of data-driven instruction and assessment while continuing to be critical to the implementation of SIPPS, an accelerative foundational literacy skills instructional program. Marsh previously served as the Director of Education for Youth NOW Student Center, Teacher Mentor/8th Grade Language Arts Teacher at Monte Vista Christian, 7th Grade Teacher at Mission Hills Middle and 7th Grade Language Arts and Spanish Teacher at Green Valley Christian School. She also has a wide breadth of experience in elementary education serving as a 5th/6th grade teacher at Natural Bridges as well as 4th/5th grade at Bridlemile Elementary in Portland, OR. Marsh was an Instructional Designer at Granite Construction Company. She has a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language, a master’s degree in education along with teaching and administrative services credentials.
Developmental Evaluator, Partners in School Innovation×
Sarah May is a Developmental Evaluator at Partners in School Innovation, a nonprofit that supports educators in becoming change agents by building their capacity to transform their schools. She joined Partners in School Innovation in 2020 eager to embrace the tools of evaluation in service of disrupting inequity in our education system. Her previous work included analyzing data about elementary school recess and supporting program staff to make timely, data-informed programmatic adjustments as they implemented play-based school climate initiatives. Sarah received a B.A. in Psychology from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and later earned an M.S. in Social Administration from the Mandel School at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. It was her grounding in social work that catalyzed her passion for systemic solutions that ensure all students can thrive regardless of background.
Senior Director, Network for School Improvement (Tulsa), City Year×
After graduating from UMass Amherst in 2011, Hollis began her City Year career as an AmeriCorps Member at City Year Boston. After her AmeriCorps service, Hollis moved to Tulsa serving as the Operations Manager in the start-up of City Year Tulsa. In July 2015, she became Chief of Staff and over those 6.5 years, helped grow the site from 2 schools and 20 AmeriCorps members to 10 schools and 82 AmeriCorps Members. In March 2020, Hollis began her journey as Sr. Director, Network for School Improvement leading a network of 5 – eventually 10 –Tulsa Public Schools. While initiating a new program amid a pandemic is not ideal, the existing positive relationships between City Year, Hollis, and these schools have paved the way for a strong start. Hollis is actively engaged in the community through grassroots organizing and in her spare time, spends time with her dog or practicing yoga.
University Ombuds, Special Assistant to the President, Director of Indigenous Initiatives, Florida Gulf Coast University
Associate Partner, Catalyst:Ed×
As an Associate Partner at Catalyst:Ed, Rohini manages the K12 portfolio on the Strategic Initiatives team. That includes working with improvement networks to build capacity, expanding the expert network to better serve organizations, and building the Catalyst:Ed community. Prior to joining Catalyst:Ed, Rohini was a management consultant for 12 years. She worked with a variety of education organizations, including improvement networks, to establish and maintain continuous improvement practices, develop and implement strategic plans, initiate and sustain strong data governance processes among other areas of work. In 2009, Rohini was a member of the Education Pioneer fellowship in Boston, MA. Rohini earned her master’s degree in public policy from the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the George Washington University.
Associate Dean, Research and Innovation and Partnerships, College of Education, University of Maryland×
Margaret J. McLaughlin, Ph.D. serves as Associate Dean for Research and Innovation and Partnerships in the College of Education, University of Maryland, College Park. She holds degrees from the University of Denver, University of Northern Colorado and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Her area of scholarship is K-12 policies and children with disabilities. She has published extensively on issues related to curriculum access, standards, high stakes assessment and the inclusion of students with disabilities including 9 books, 29 chapters, 49 peer reviewed journal articles; numerous papers, monographs and other publications related to standards, assessment and accountability and students with disabilities. She has served as PI or Co-PI on 14 major research/training grants totaling over $13 million primarily from US Department of Education. She has consulted with numerous state and local agencies, and international organizations, including World Bank, InterAmerica Bank, USAID in almost every state and over 50 local districts and 7 countries on issues related to policies for including students with disabilities in public schools and higher education. She served as Executive Director of the J.P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation and consulted with the Foundation on international initiatives. In addition to serving on numerous advisory and technical work groups she has served on the following committees of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences: Member, Committee on NAEP Accommodations and Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners, Board of Testing and Assessment; Member, Committee on the Disproportionate Representation of Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Member, Technical Panel on Special Education Funding, National Research Council; Co-Chair, Committee on Goals 2000 and the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. She currently directs a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) for school system leaders that is grounded in Improvement Sciences and school improvement offered to cohorts of administrators.
Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation×
Kelly is an associate in the evidence and analytics group. She joined the Foundation in 2018 as a networked improvement science fellow. Prior to joining Carnegie, Kelly was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, where she worked on the COHERE Project which investigates school districts’ efforts to create alignment and continuity in math instruction for Pre K-3 grades and the influence these initiatives have on students’ math learning. Kelly is particularly interested in the design and implementation of system-level reforms that promote continuous improvement of instruction and school quality. Using qualitative research methods, Kelly explored the effects of school accountability policies and networked school support structures.
Kelly earned a Ph.D. in education administration and policy from the University of Michigan. She also has a masters in education administration, leadership and technology from NYU and a masters in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She worked as a high school English teacher at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, a teacher-educator at the University of Michigan, School of Education in Ann Arbor, and a business consultant at Arthur Anderson in Detroit and Chicago.
Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University×
Jal Mehta is a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research explores the role of different forms of knowledge in tackling major social and political problems, particularly problems of human improvement. He has also written extensively on what it would take to improve American education, with a particular focus on the professionalization of teaching. Jal is the author of The Allure of Order: High Hopes, Dashed Expectations and the Troubled Quest to Remake American Schooling (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013) and the co-editor of The Futures of School Reform (Cambridge: Harvard Education Press, 2012). He is currently working on two projects: In Search of Deeper Learning, a contemporary study of schools, systems, and nations that are seeking to produce ambitious instruction; and The Chastened Dream, a history of the effort to link social science with social policy to achieve social progress. He is co-editor of the Learning Deeply blog at Education Week, and in 2014 was the top-ranked junior faculty scholar in the Rick Hess Education Week rankings. He is also the winner of the Morningstar Teaching Award at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He was recently awarded a Radcliffe Fellowship and will be on sabbatical for the 2016-17 academic year.
Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships, New Teacher Center×
Jesse Melgares is the Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships with the New Teacher Center. He brings a myriad of experiences working with students as a teacher, school administrator, and central office director. He specializes in developing strategic plans that align systems to improve student learning, develop teacher practice, and leadership actions. At the heart of Jesse’s work is his belief that school systems exist to support learning for all students, including English Learners and Students with Disabilities; Everything systems do should contribute to strengthening the instructional cycle and the interaction between teachers, students, and high quality content.
Director of Improvement, CORE Districts×
Amanda Meyer (she/her) is a designer, facilitator, coach, and improvement advisor who builds educators’ capacity to leverage continuous improvement in service of high-quality learning experiences and outcomes for all students. Amanda is a cisgender, middle-class, able-bodied, white woman who interrogates her own privilege and positionality as she integrates improvement science, human-centered design, and an equity consciousness in her practice. In her work at CORE Districts, Amanda contributes to the strategic design, management, and facilitation of the Breakthrough Success Community, a 9th grade on-track improvement network. Prior to joining CORE, Amanda spent four years at the Carnegie Foundation, where she created improvement science learning experiences, including the EdX online course, “Improvement Science in Education,” taken by thousands of learners around the world. She began her career teaching high school English in San Antonio, and currently resides in Oakland with humility and reverence for its rich traditions in arts and activism.
Vice President, School Design & Improvement, City Year×
Ryan Mick is the Vice President of School Design and Improvement at City Year. In this capacity, he directs City Year’s School Design Division, which supports innovation and school redesign to meet the needs of the most at-risk students. Ryan provides leadership to design, identify and scale innovations that will support improvements in City Year’s network of 350 schools in areas of highest concentrated inter-generational poverty and supports national dialogue about how to ensure educational innovation meets the needs of all learners.
Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation×
Vivian Mihalakis is a Senior Program Officer with the K-12 team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Vivian’s current work is focused on supporting networks of schools to use continuous improvement methods to improve outcomes for Black, Latino, and low-income students. Prior to joining the foundation, Vivian led the English language arts team at the Institute for Learning (IFL) at the University of Pittsburgh where her work focused on ensuring that all students, particularly those who have been underserved, have access to ambitious and engaging instruction that prepares them for college and careers. During her tenure at IFL, Vivian partnered with public school districts across the country to provide professional learning and coaching for teachers, coaches, and administrators; she also designed ELA curriculum and performance assessments. Vivian began her career as a high school English language arts teacher. She holds a Ph.D. in English Education from the University of Pittsburgh.
Assistant Professor, Humboldt State University×
Libbi Miller has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education since 2017. She earned her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Northern Arizona University. Her research interests include classroom dialogue, democratic education, asset-oriented pedagogies, educational technology and literacy instruction. Before entering higher education, Libbi taught secondary English/Language Arts and reading.
Director of Title I Programs and School Improvement, Alexandria City Public Schools×
Natalie Mitchell serves as the Director of Title I Programs and School Improvement for Alexandria City Public Schools in Alexandria, VA. She came to this role in 2010 after serving as a Federal Grants Reform Analyst in DC’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (DC’s state education agency). She has spent her entire professional career in PK-12 education, primarily in public and public charter schools. She is passionate about policy and practice issues of equity and access in education, particularly in the context of race, class, and gender. She holds a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from Howard University and is currently earning an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management at Harvard University.
Director of Research and Continuous Improvement, Network for College Success, The University of Chicago×
Eliza Moeller is the Director of Research and Continuous Improvement with the Network for College Success as well as a Research Analyst at the UChicago Consortium. In an ongoing effort to make research live in schools, Eliza works with NCS data strategists and Consortium researchers to bridge the gap between research and practice by creating individual school reports on important research-based indicators, like freshman On-Track and college match; supporting school leaders’ and practitioners’ professional learning; and helping people at all levels of the school system learn how to incorporate data-driven decision making into their practice. Prior to her work on at NCS, Eliza directed qualitative analysis for the Consortium’s postsecondary studies. Eliza is an author on several Consortium research reports, including Potholes on the Road to College. She received her BA from the University of Wisconsin and an MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.
Rachel H. Monarrez
Assistant Superintendent, San Bernardino City Unified School District×
Rachel H. Monárrez, Ph.D., believes in the possibility of every child, and this approach guides her daily interactions as the Assistant Superintendent of Continuous Improvement for San Bernardino City Unified School District. Rounding out her twenty-seventh year of education, Dr. Monárrez spent almost two decades educating students in Pomona Unified School District as a classroom teacher, professional developer and instructional leader. In 2004, Dr. Monárrez earned the title of National Board Certification Teacher, English as a New Language. With a vast knowledge for academic excellence, professional development and collaborative practices, Dr. Monárrez served as principal of two schools, Director of English Learner Programs and Special Education and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services before joining San Bernardino City Unified School District. Dr. Monárrez works endlessly to foster a culture of equity, academic excellence and high expectations for all learners. Working collaboratively with all stakeholders, she supports an environment of innovation and high expectations.
Director of Language Arts and History/Social Studies, K–12, Pajaro Valley Unified School District×
Claudia Monjaras has been the Director of Language Arts and History/Social Studies, K-12, since 2018. She joined the Pajaro Valley Unified School District in 2001. Over the course of her career with Pajaro Valley Unified School District, she was a classroom teacher before serving as an Academic Coordinator, Assistant Principal, After School Coordinator, as well as, Principal of Hall District Elementary School, prior to joining the Curriculum and Instruction department. Claudia earned her administrative credential and master’s in educational leadership from San Jose State University. She holds a bachelor’s in psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Multi-Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Monterey Bay.
Technology and Engineering Program Administrator, Portland Public Schools; Project Coordinator, Portland Metro STEM PartnershIp
Director of Communications, Shift×
Erin has always been driven by the belief that something better is possible. Erin came to Shift in 2018, bringing a passion for inclusive design and decision making from her work in marketing and years of experience as a patient advocate. At the core of Erin’s work is a desire to cultivate empathetic environment that foster inclusion and fuel our capacity of change. She believes that the most powerful innovation comes from learning across difference. Erin ensures that everyone who deserves to be at the table has a seat held for them and communicates the importance of this collaborative approach to environment. Erin calls Hershey, PA home where she lives with her husband and their 5 kids(!!!). She’s an avid reader, a connoisseur of bubbly water and Tootsie-Pops, and a total crime-show junkie
Program Manager, Marcus Foster Education Institute×
Arianna is the Program Manager at MFEI. Since 2012 she has spearheaded the organization’s major initiatives and its use of continuous improvement in local, regional and statewide engagements to systemically shift conditions and opportunities for students of color in education. Her management of the East Bay College Access Network from 2012-2016 resulted in an over 40% increase in public financial aid application completion rates in the Oakland Unified School District. She also serves on the advisory board of the Oakland-based Girls and Women of Color Collaborative, and was a 2018-19 Local Policy Fellow with the Women’s Foundation of California’s Women’s Policy Institute. Arianna earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Vassar College and Master of Arts from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education.
Director, John T. Wardlaw Institute for Continuous Improvement, Spartanburg Academic Movement×
Mendy serves as Director of the John T. Wardlaw Institute for Continuous Improvement, launched in 2018. The Institute trains local educators and leaders of nonprofits and agencies in Spartanburg County supporting children, to embed CI strategies into their operations. Mendy, a long-time Spartanburg County resident, also leads STEM career outreach programs with the Society of Plastics Engineers. Mendy earned both her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Master of Business Administration from Clemson University. She holds certifications in Project Management and New Product Development. Mendy worked in industry over 20 years prior to coming to SAM and was previously employed as Executive Director of New Business Development as well Director of Process Engineering and Product Development for Sealed Air Corporation.
Director of Continuous Improvement, Marshall Street×
Kyle has worked with Summit, and now Marshall Street, for over a decade as a founding math teacher at Everest Public High School, an instructional coach, and program/project manager. He has taught abroad in Indonesia and Ecuador, holds a Master’s in Education from Stanford University, and is a National Board Certified Teacher and Math for America Master Teacher Fellow. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, and being with friends and family.
Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation×
Vanessa Murrieta is a program officer on the K-12 team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she makes investments that aim to improve outcomes for students with disabilities who are Black, Latino, or impacted by poverty. Prior to this role, her work at the foundation focused on teacher leadership that supports standards-aligned instruction. Vanessa started her career as a secondary special education teacher in traditional and charter public schools in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in Global & International Studies, Sociology, and a minor in Applied Psychology from UC Santa Barbara and her M.A. in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University.
Co-Founder, Community Design Partners×
Kari Nelsestuen is the Co-founder of Community Design Partners, an organization that helps organizations make lasting change within their communities. Her approach combines mindsets and tools from improvement science, design thinking, and human-centered design to tackle complex problems in real time. Kari has coached school leaders through the Stanford d.school School Retool program, helped intermediary organizations strengthen their improvement supports, and even co-authored some swell toolkits for improvement coaches. Kari spent over 15 years in the field of research and evaluation; learning how to ask great questions, synthesize information, and closely examine implementation. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College and has worked on projects from sea (Alaska) to shining sea (New York) and many places in between.
Executive Director, Change Inc.×
Jody Nelson, Ed.D., LMFT, is the Executive Director of Change Inc., a community-based social service agency with three main service areas: 1) GAP School, an alternative high school serving “opportunity youth” ages 16-24 leading to a high school diploma and an industry-recognized certificate in construction, health or IT – the student population includes a large percentage of immigrants and refugees, 2) the Community School Collaborative – providing school-based mental health services in 25 schools in the Twin Cities and 3) the Change Institute providing supervision, training and consultation in the areas of mental health and urban education. Nelson has served as Department Chair for the MA MFT and DMFT programs at Argosy University and currently teaches in the MA MFT program at St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis. She has trained school staff and clinicians locally and nationally in trauma-informed practices.
Director of Technology and Assessment, School District of Menomonee Falls (WI)×
Jeff Nennig is presently serving as the Director of Technology and Assessment in the School District of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Prior to this he served similar roles in other districts in Texas and Wisconsin. Jeff is a believer and promoter of using the principles of improvement in the education setting. Jeff has worked in public schools since 1982. Jeff began as a special education and computer classroom teacher before moving into administration in 1987. Jeff earned a Master of Science in Instructional Technology, along with certifications as a technology coordinator, principal, and superintendent. Jeff also served on multiple site teams as an Examiner for the Baldridge Performance Excellence Award and is a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. He has also completed training in Project Management and the Kepner Tregoe Decision Analysis framework. Jeff firmly believe that all students can learn and create a successful life for themselves.
Partner and Senior Consultant, Community At Work×
Nelli has been a practicing systems change consultant since the year 2000. She joined Community At Work in 2013. She is much sought after for her skillful approach to the diagnosis, design and facilitation of multi-stakeholder collaboration.
For nine years, Nelli was an internal consultant with the Australian Federal Government. After managing and facilitating national stakeholder engagement campaigns for the Australian Taxation Office, Nelli was promoted to the Australian Public Service Commission, as the director of the entire Consultancy and Innovation unit. In that capacity she and her staff provided policy and organization development consulting to all federal public service agencies. Ultimately, she founded the highly-regarded private-sector consulting firm, Gestalt Enterprises, where her clients included the High Court of Australia (that country’s Supreme Court), Santos Energy, Australian Agency For International Development, Australian National University, South Australian Department of Social Inclusion, University of South Australia and more. She has also served on the board of directors of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) and she was the regional director of the IAF Oceania region.
Since joining Community At Work in 2013, Nelli has facilitated and consulted with a large portfolio of clients on many aspects of multi-stakeholder collaboration, including: Wikimedia Foundation, Genentech, Google, The Russell Family Foundation, The SCAN Foundation, Tides, Aktana, University of California Office of the President, First 5 San Francisco, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, DPR Construction, Civil Service College of Singapore, University of Oregon School of Law, Advent, University of Tokyo Global Health Leadership Institute, Canopy, City and County of San Francisco, University of California at San Francisco, Institute for Sustainable Energy and Economics at University of Illinois, The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Watershed Asia, International Livestock Research Institute, Flexera-Appollo Consortium, Jack London Improvement District, University of Montana Western, San Francisco Department of Public Health, and more.
Director of District Partnerships, Literacy Design Collaborative×
Dwight Nolt is the Director of District Leadership at Literacy Design Collaboratives. Dwight holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English education from Millersville University, Principal Certification in Educational Leadership from Penn State University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, Dwight holds a Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility from the University of Pennsylvania. His experiences as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, and school district central office administrator have led to expertise in curriculum development and evaluation, professional development of teachers and administrators, and innovative teacher practices
Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation×
Jon Norman is an associate managing director for evidence and analytics at the Carnegie Foundation. In this role, he supports networked improvement communities through analytics, developmental evaluation, and improvement research.
Jon comes to Carnegie from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago where he was a researcher on projects designed to improve the well-being of vulnerable youth. He previously worked at JBS International and Abt Associates on evaluations and research related to education, health, and human services. His prior projects include evaluating school-based health centers’ effect on student well-being in Chicago, providing expertise in research design to the Corporation for National and Community Service, and investigating barriers to providing increased mental health services to youth. Jon also previously held faculty positions in the departments of sociology at DePaul University and Loyola University Chicago.
Jon earned his Ph.D. in sociology and M.S. in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds a B.A. in public policy from Brown University.
Elementary Principal, Pomona Unified School District×
Rebecca has served as a public educator for the last 21 years. She was an elementary classroom teacher, academic coach, and teacher specialist before becoming a principal. She is currently in the process of completing her doctoral degree in educational leadership at San Diego State University where she is studying how leaders disrupt deficit thinking. As an advocate for equity, she realizes that equitable leadership practices must be infused with emotional intelligence and courage to provide rigorous opportunities for all children.
Director of State & Federal Programs, Mendota Unified School District×
Jose M. Ochoa is Director of State and Federal Programs for the Mendota Unified School District and has been serving the district in different capacities for more than 20 years. Ochoa’s continued commitment to the district is driven by the fact that he grew up in the community. Having a deeper understanding of the community and its students has allowed him to grow within the district and provide more meaningful services. In his current role, he oversees the development and implementation of the district’s LCAP and all Categorical Programs. His leadership focuses on ensuring equity, access, and opportunities for every student.
Margaret Terry Orr
Professor, Fordham University×
Margaret Terry Orr, Ph.D. is a professor at Fordham University and Ed.D. program director and chair in the Division of Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy. She has researched and published widely on the effectiveness of leadership preparation approaches and school and district reform initiatives. She developed a valid and reliable performance assessment system for principal licensure in Massachusetts and published the five-year results with her co-author Liz Hollingworth. She contributed to the development of the US 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders. She is past, served as Division A-Vice President of the American Educational Research Association, and received the Edwin M. Bridges Award for Significant Contributions to the Preparation and Development of School Leaders (UCEA, 2015). Her current research focuses on developing inquiry-oriented educational leaders to more effectively address intractable problems in schools and other educating institutions using equity-focused improvement science principles.
Leader Coach, Studer Education×
KK Owen is a leader coach with Studer Education. Previously, she was the Director of Professional Learning for Escambia County School District (FL). KK served as project leader for reforming teacher and leader evaluations under Race To the Top; supervised principal and teacher leader training for federal, state, and district initiatives; worked with the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve teacher and principal quality; and worked on collaborations with the Teachers Union Reform Network and the National Education Association. KK was a classroom teacher in general and special education, spent 15 years as a school principal, and was a finalist for Florida Principal of the Year. KK earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of West Florida, and a B.A. in Elementary and Exceptional Student Education from Louisiana State University.
Vice President, Translational Research, Start Early×
Debra Pacchiano is VP of Translational Research at the Ounce of Prevention Fund. She is an educational psychologist and applied researcher interested in understanding and improving leader and practitioner well-being and performance in early childhood intervention, care and education settings. She takes a collaborative approach using research-practice-policy partnerships to ensure her work is directly relevant to practice and policy decisions. Debra brings substantive expertise in early childhood teaching and learning, instructional leadership, job-embedded professional development, and measurement development of organizational climate and conditions to her improvement work and applied research. Debra has held positions as a research analyst and special education administrator in a large, public school system; co-directed local, state, and federal capacity-building grants; and developed tools rooted in implementation and improvement sciences for early childhood professionals. Debra holds a Ph.D. from Indiana University in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education.
Chief Accountability Officer, Department of Accountability and Research, Alexandria City Public Schools
School Improvement and Data Specialist, School District of Philadelphia×
Katie Pak, Ed.D., is a School Improvement and Data Specialist with the School District of Philadelphia. Prior to this role, she was a doctoral candidate and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in the Educational Leadership program. She additionally teaches graduate coursework and professional development workshops on qualitative research methods, educational leadership, and equity-oriented school transformation. Pak started her career as a special education teacher in Washington, D.C.
Executive Director, Connecticut RISE
Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation×
Dr. Simone Palmer is an associate in the networked improvement science group. She joined the Foundation in 2018 as a networked improvement science fellow. Prior to joining the Foundation, Simone served as the Science and Technology Specialist for the Rhode Island Department of Education. Simone had a career as a pediatrician before entering the field of education. She taught secondary science for 8 years before completing a principal training program through the University of Denver where she also earned a masters in educational leadership. Simone returned to her native Rhode Island to complete an urban turnaround leader program through the New York City Leadership Academy. She then served as STEM director for South Kingstown School District before working at the state level.
Simone holds a bachelors in biology and an M.D from Brown University.
Principal, Watertown, Connecticut High School×
Janet P. Parlato, Ed.D., is currently the principal of Watertown High School, where she has also served as assistant superintendent and interim superintendent. This is Dr. Parlato’s 28th year of professional practice in education, with the first twenty years of her career at Berlin High School as a teacher and administrator. Dr. Parlato earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Connecticut, and her doctorate in educational and organizational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Parlato’s interests include student-centered instruction, school belonging, teacher leadership, and the development of school culture driven by relational trust.
Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Senior Director, Cohort Programs, UnboundEd×
Josh Parker’s mission in education and life is to “help people and solve problems.” Throughout his career, he has achieved both goals. He has served students and teachers within the Baltimore/Washington D.C. corridor as an ELA Instructional Coach, Language Arts Department Chair, Secondary Language Arts teacher, professor and compliance specialist. He now serves teachers, administrators and educational leaders throughout the country as the Director of Programs and Engagement at Unbound Ed. Parker, a Teaching Channel Laureate and Education Week writer, was also a Lowell Milken Unsung Hero (2017), N.E.A. Global Fellow (2013) and Maryland Teacher of the year (2012). He lives with his wife of over a decade, Tiffany and their two children, Laila and Joshua.
Senior Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation×
Emma Parkerson is a senior associate in networked improvement science, building the capability of network leaders to design, launch, and sustain collective efforts to improve persistent challenges in the education sector. Emma joined the Foundation in 2017 after a decade working alongside Board-certified teachers at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Emma believes deeply in the wisdom of crowds and has a passion for convening teachers, leaders, policy makers, and researchers for collective action.
Emma’s networked improvement journey began in 2013 with a four-month residency at Carnegie to launch the National Board’s Network to Transform Teaching (NT3). She directed NT3 for four years, bringing together over 50 districts seeking to build coherence across teachers’ careers by strengthening the structures, policies, and programs that support teachers’ development toward expert practice. Prior to NT3, Emma led multiple design efforts to create professional learning tools by teachers, for teachers.
Emma is currently pursuing a M.S. in Organization Development at Pepperdine University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University and professional certification in project management (PMP).
Lauren Perez Pietruszka
Freshman Success Coach, Network for College Success×
Lauren Perez Pietruszka is a Freshman Success Coach with the Network for College Success. Her career began as a Freshman AVID and literacy teacher in Chicago Public Schools, where she implemented curriculum that celebrated students’ identities and advocated for equitable access to postsecondary paths. She supported teachers as Course Team Lead, CHAMPS Coach, and Freshman Grade Level Lead, to transform the Freshman experience. Prior to joining NCS in 2018, she coached pre-service teachers, primarily first-generation college students, across Illinois as Director of Academic and Social Emotional Supports at the Golden Apple Foundation. With 10 years of educational experience, students’ voices and needs continue to be at the core of her work. Lauren earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at Illinois Wesleyan University with concentrations in education and psychology. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English with a literacy endorsement from National Louis University.
Principal, Eugenio Maria de Hostos MicroSociety School, Yonkers Public Schools×
Elda Perez-Mejia has been the principal of the Eugenio Maria de Hostos MicroSociety School in Yonkers, New York since 2008. For 27 years, she has held positions as a bilingual teacher, as a Title VII facilitator and Reading First bilingual literacy coach for early childhood and as an assistant director of the Language Acquisition Department. In her current role, Perez-Mejia successfully implemented a school-wide MicroSociety International program now recognized as a model in the United States. She turned around a New York State Focus school under review, improving students’ scores in both reading and math and implementing Thinking Maps to drive an instructional focus on understanding student thinking. She believes strongly in implementing a shared vision via a shared leadership model that encourages teachers to become instructional leaders within their own grade levels and content areas. Perez-Mejia grew up within the community she now serves, and brings compassion and a relentless commitment to meeting the unique social-emotional and academic needs of her students and their families. Through her participation in new initiatives and reform models that focus on school improvement including the Yonkers Public School Network for School Improvement, Perez-Mejia has been able to move students to better performance on state exams by improving teacher learning and skills.
Associate Professor, Drake University×
Dr. Randal Peters is an Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Drake University. Prior to coming to Drake, he was a high school teacher, coach, and counselor. He then served as a building principal, associate superintendent, and as an instructor at Seattle University. In his faculty role at Drake, he teaches community engagement, systems thinking/continual improvement, and management classes, while researching school wellness models and assessment and grading reform. He has served on the Boards of Iowa ASCD and the Iowa Child Welfare Advisory Commission, and as Higher Education Chair on the state’s Competency-Based Education Collaborative.
Fellow, London School of Economics×
Amelia currently teaches Social Policy at the London School of Economics, and in September 2021 will start on the faculty of the London Interdisciplinary School, a brand-new institution offering an undergraduate program based around complex global challenges. Amelia has studied a wide range of issues related to the adaptation of education systems to emerging and future conditions. Prior to her Ph.D., she worked for Innovation Unit, a non-profit consultancy working on transformation in education, health, and social services, and as an intervention teacher in the UK. Her work has been published in both academic and practitioner books and journals and she is the co-author of Thrive: The Purpose of Schools in a Changing World (Cambridge University Press). She holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Program Evaluation and a master’s degree in Human Development and Psychology, both from Harvard University.
Coordinator of School Improvement, Alexandria City Public Schools×
Farah Nichols Peterson currently serves as the Coordinator of School Improvement in Alexandria City Public Schools in Alexandria, Virginia. In this role, she supports Title I schools with compliance requirements, advises administrators for school improvement initiatives, and leads a team of educators in revising and implementing the school division’s Multi-Tiered System of Support guidance and expectations. As the system administrator for a universal screening assessment, Peterson established a collaborative team of educators who developed guidance documents and professional learning modules for division-wide implementation. Peterson has vast educational experience as a teacher and instructional coach in multiple settings in Alexandria and Detroit, Michigan. Throughout her career, Peterson has operationalized systems, structures, and processes to advance equitable access to resources and opportunities for marginalized students. She enjoys family outings, traveling, and spontaneous living room dance parties with her wonderful husband and their two active daughters in her free time.
Undergraduate Biochemistry Major, West Virginia University
Executive Leadership Coach, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools×
Abby has purposed her career around re-imaging the educational system in a way that gives voice and opportunity to the marginalized. An experienced educator of over 20 years, she has helped pioneer and develop personalized learning programs throughout the country that reflect her innovative style and cause necessary disruption to existing systems. In her new role, she supports California’s System of Support and works closely with districts to improve system effectiveness using improvement science methodology. Although she has held many roles from principal, regional director and executive leadership coach, her favorite title has always been teacher.
Education Manager/Interim Director of Operations, The Institue for Human and Social Development×
Jennifer Pifeleti is Director of Education and Operations at the Institute for Human and Social Development in California where she oversees operations and quality of early childhood programs and services. She works closely with the Executive Director and management team to meet the agency’s goals as outlined in the Head Start grant and strategic plan of the agency, including overseeing professional development, coaching, and representing IHSD on various local bodies such as the Child Care Partnership Council, the San Mateo Long Term Recovery Initiative, and implementation of the Big Lift grant. Jennifer holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from San Francisco State University, is a certified CLASS and PITC trainer, and is a fellow of the UCLA Head Start Management Program. She also occasionally teaches courses as an adjunct professor in Early Childhood Education for San Francisco State University.
Assistant Principal, West Early College, Denver Public Schools
Program Associate, Lead by Learning, Mills College (CA)×
Nina Portugal is passionate about students, equity, and adaptive teaching. She spent 9 years in the classroom teaching high school, and the last 7 in Oakland Unified School District focusing on English Language Development, Strategic Reading, English and Ethnic Studies education. Currently, Portugal is a Program Associate with Lead by Learning and facilitates collaborative inquiry for teachers and leaders around the Bay Area. Nina received her B.A. in English from the University of Southern California and her M.A. in Education from Loyola Marymount University.
Principal, School District of Menomonee Falls×
Tina Posnanski has served as the administrative leader of Valley View Elementary School in the School District of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin for the past eight years. Valley View School educates approximately 360 third through fifth grade students and has received the School of Distinction Gold Level award for reading, math and behavior. Tina earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1996 in the field of Learning Disabilities, and holds a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University in 2002.
Postsecondary Coach, Network for College Success at The University of Chicago×
Kate Pressler is a Postsecondary Coach with the Network for College Success at the University of Chicago. In her role, she collaborates with Chicago Public School counselors, coaches, and teams to incorporate adolescent development into postsecondary efforts by helping them to create equitable school cultures that develop students’ integrated identities and agency, in order to build their capacity to make informed choices for life after high school. After making the move to Chicago in 2008, Kate joined Umoja Student Development Corporation, where she truly found her passion for supporting all students with pursuing and achieving their postsecondary goals. Prior to joining NCS, Kate served as the Chicago Public Schools MTSS District Manager, where she was supporting schools, networks, and central office teams with developing and implementing the systems and structures to ensure ALL students had equitable access to high-quality instruction and the necessary academic and social-emotional supports to be successful.
Lead Postsecondary Coach, Network for College Success at the University of Chicago×
Regina Pretekin is the Lead Postsecondary Coach with the Network for College Success. Through coaching and facilitation of cross-school professional learning, Regina provides critical supports to school leaders who oversee counseling departments and postsecondary leadership teams. Regina coaches Chicago Public Schools counselors to build the capacity of school leaders to understand adolescent development as it relates to improving postsecondary outcomes. In her work as a postsecondary coach, Regina helps to support school wide college going cultures in schools that supports integrated identity and agency. Regina hopes to impact how students see themselves and build their capacity to make informed choices. At NCS, coaches seek to examine issues of practice through an equity and research informed lens. Regina earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and social behavior in 2003 from University of California, Irvine, and earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology from University of Southern California.
Manager of Network Learning, Connecticut RISE Network×
Sam Purdy oversees cross-district collaboration and learning for the Connecticut RISE Network. RISE represents a partnership among nine Connecticut public school districts focusing on supporting strong 9th grade transitions and college and career readiness and success for high school graduates. Key components of RISE’s work with its partners include data-informed reflection on practice and the intentional sharing of challenges and successes across schools. To this end, Sam leads a small team whose thoughtfully-planned meetings, convenings, and working groups engage hundreds of Connecticut high school educators every year. Before joining the RISE team in 2017, Sam was a middle school teacher, department leader, and grade team leader, and also worked as a teacher coach with Ensena por Argentina in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a graduate of Yale University and earned a Master of Education in School Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he was a recipient of the Urban Scholars fellowship.
Superintendent, Yonkers Public Schools×
Dr. Edwin M. Quezada is the Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in New York State. Under his tutelage in 2017, 2018 and 2019, Yonkers achieved the highest on-time graduation rate, 86%, of New York State’s Big 5 city school districts. With 30 years as an educator, he is locally and nationally known for his passion for quality teaching and learning, his compassion for children and families and his pride in his humble beginnings. Personified by animated dialogue, perpetual motion and thoughtful, collegial research, Dr. Quezada moves the agenda of public education through compassionate distributive leadership – always engaging the team. Equity and access to academic, social-emotional and cultural opportunities for every child is a moral imperative that drives Dr. Quezada’s work; bookended by his implementation of Yonkers’ chapter of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative that has received significant national accolades and his administrative appointments. He has held positions as a school counselor, human relations facilitator, principal, Deputy Superintendent and adjunct professor.
Co-Founder and Global Director, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning×
Joanne leads the capacity building component of the global partnership including professional learning and digital resources. She consults internationally in the field of whole system change, capacity building, leadership and professional learning. She has led the design of strategic whole system change projects at global, national and district levels in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean and United States. Joanne has provided leadership at all levels of the education system as; Superintendent; Principal; Implementation Advisor on education reform to the Ontario Ministry of Education; and Director of Continuing Education at the University of Toronto. Her extensive experience as a consultant, presenter, author and innovative leader combine with her passion for improving learning for all children and give her a unique perspective on influencing positive change.
Director of Continuous Improvement, San Bernardino City Unified School District
Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
Daniel Rees Lewis
Assistant Research Professor, Segal Design Institute, Northwestern University; Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer, Forgeworks×
Daniel Rees Lewis is an Assistant Research Professor at the Delta Lab in the Segal Institute of Design at Northwestern University. In his research, he uses design-based research to create and study pedagogies, technologies, and organizations to promote more effective teaching and learning of real-world problem-solving. In his current work, he focuses on pedagogies and technologies for teaching improvement science and lesson study processes to help K-12 teachers improve their teaching practices. His other research and design areas of focus include coaching pedagogies and online feedback. He has worked as a designer and educator in Vietnam, France, Poland, the US, and his native UK.
Executive Director, National Institute for Student Success, Georgia State University×
Timothy Renick is the founding Executive Director of the National Institute for Student Success and Professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University. At Georgia State, he has served as Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, Director of the Honors Program and Senior Vice President. Between 2008-2020, he directed the student success efforts of the university, overseeing a 62% improvement in graduation rates and the elimination of all achievement gaps based on students’ race, ethnicity or income level. For six consecutive years, Georgia State has graduated more African American students with bachelor’s degrees than any other not-for-profit college or university in the nation. Dr. Renick has testified on strategies for helping university students succeed before the U.S. Senate and has twice been invited to speak at the White House. His work has been covered by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, and CNN and cited by former President Barack Obama. He was named one of the Most Innovative People in Higher Education by Washington Monthly, was the recipient of the Award for National Leadership in Student Success Innovation and was awarded the 2018 McGraw Prize in Higher Education. He has served as principal investigator for more than $30 million in research grants focused on promoting better and more equitable outcomes for college students. A summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, Dr. Renick holds his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University.
Director of Grants and Special Projects, Tulsa Public Schools×
Caitlin Richard is the Director of Grants and Special Projects at Tulsa Public Schools (TPS), where she supports the district’s multi-year strategic budgeting process and the school-level planning process. She coordinates cross-functional network support teams to provide planning and implementation support to school leaders through data-informed continuous improvement cycles. Prior to working at TPS, she was an Associate at Education Resource Strategies, where she provided strategic resource use support and coaching to large, urban districts across the country. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Brown University.
Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives, BARR Center×
Ritter has 28 years of experience in education with a specialized background in systems thinking, leadership development, instructional design, professional development, and working with diverse student populations. She has held a number of roles as an educator that range from a secondary classroom teacher to assistant superintendent of schools. In her most recent role as Chief Academic Officer, Christina led and oversaw strategic initiatives for the following departments: Department of Academics, Department of Specialized Instruction, Department of Innovation and the Department of Student Programs. Currently, she is a doctoral student at Texas Tech University.
At BARR, Ritter works to ensure the model is implemented with fidelity and helps assess and improve the performance of the coaches and trainers.
Executive Consultant, Content Lead, South County SELPA, ED&D×
Olivia Rivera is an Executive Consultant, Content Lead for the San Diego South County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) and the Equity, Disproportionality & Design (ED&D) project. Through the California System of Support, the ED&D project team collaborates and consults with SELPA’s across CA to address disproportionality issues.
Chief Strategy Officer, Be A Leader Foundation×
Karla is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Be A Leader Foundation. In her current role, she is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s operational, strategic and business plans while maintaining fiscal viability through understanding the short and long-term financial and human resource needs of the foundation. With over 12 years of experience in the world of postsecondary access, she has helped launch and manage a series of programs and led the development and execution of various fundraising and development strategies. In 2015, Karla earned a master’s in public administration from the New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. During her time at NYU served as a Policy Fellow for the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics in Washington, D.C. Karla completed her undergraduate degree at Arizona State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Global Business and Marketing in 2006.
Superintendent of Schools, Pajaro Valley Unified School District×
Dr. Michelle Rodriguez is a Superintendent of Schools in Pajaro Valley Unified School District is an inspired leader of uncommon ability engaging the educational community in an authentic and intentional transformation process to support efforts that value innovation, affirm student strengths and capacity, increase rigor, and inspire joy to prepare all students to be college and career ready. Dr. Rodriguez has been dedicated to students in urban and rural, low socio-economic districts for over 28 years with a focus on vulnerable student populations. She embraces the powerful, long-term responsibility of improving the lives of students, families and an educational community. Due to the implementation of many new innovative programs, she has been recognized for her excellence in leadership through the 2020 Community Health Trust Rather Award, 2019 United Way Community Hero Award, 2019 Broad Fellowship, and 2019 League of Innovative Schools Acceptance.
Assistant Adjunct Professor, UCLA School of Education and Information Studies×
Kristen Rohanna is a faculty member in the UCLA Educational Leadership Program and is the Director of Evaluation and Learning for the UCLA Partner School Network. Dr. Rohanna is a former Harvard Strategic Data Fellow and served as the Manager for Research & Evaluation at the San Jose Unified School District. Her research and practice focus on using evaluation and continuous improvement methods to effect sustainable change in education. Her soon-to-be-released book, Leading Change through Evaluation, is expected this summer and provides a case study of building improvement science capacity in schools.
Director, Utah Education Policy Center, University of Utah×
Andrea Rorrer is a Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Director of the Utah Education Policy Center at the University of Utah, and Associate Dean in the College of Education. Andrea’s expertise is school district and state leadership, policy, and educational change, particularly those changes aimed at increasing equity in student access and outcomes. Andrea teaches courses in the master’s and doctoral program on organizational change and educational politics and policy. Andrea received her master’s degree at the University of Virginia and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin. She has over 27 years of professional experience in education, including roles as a policy analyst and a research associate in Texas, and a school administrator and a classroom teacher in Virginia.
Her scholarship has been published in Educational Administration Quarterly, Theory into Practice, Educational Policy, the Journal of Educational Policy, Journal of Special Education Leadership, Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, Peabody Journal of Education, Journal of Research on Educational Leadership and Economics of Education Review, and the UCEA Review, among other publications and book chapters. She co-edited with Catherine Lugg the 2006 Politics of Education Yearbook, “Power, Education, and the Politics of Social Justice.” Her dissertation Leadership and Equity: From Reproduction to Reconstruction: An Institutional Analysis was awarded the American Education Research Association, Division A “Education Administration” 2001 Dissertation Award. She is the 2006 recipient of the Jack A. Culbertson Award, which is given annually by the University Council for Educational Administration for outstanding contributions to the field as a junior professor, and the 2008 College of Education at the University of Utah Research Award. In the past, she served as an associate editor for Educational Administration Quarterly, American Educational Research Journal-Social Institutional Analysis, and the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership and a co-features editor for the UCEA Review.
Andrea continues to conduct research, policy analysis, and evaluations for and provides technical assistance and support to local schools and school districts, the Utah legislature, Utah State Office of Education, Utah System of Higher Education, and community organizations on educational issues. The UEPC is a founding partner in the Utah Data Alliance, which is the state’s longitudinal data system, and functions in the role of lead research entity with the Data Alliance. Andrea also serves on the governance committee for the Utah Data Alliance. In addition, Andrea is a co-director of the UCEA Center for the Evaluation of Leadership Preparation and Practice. The UCEA Center provides valid and reliable evaluation research tools, training materials, and strategies for leadership preparation program and practice improvement, including the INSPIRE-Leadership Surveys.
Andrea is a member of the University Council for Educational Administration, including previous roles on the Executive Committee and serving as UCEA President. She is looking forward to the opportunity to continue working with faculty, students, staff, and practitioners engaged with the ELP Department and College of Education. She is also previous interim-chair for the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy.
Executive Director Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, State Schools-Performance, Department of Education, Queensland, Australia×
Robyn is a curriculum specialist with extensive teaching, learning and assessment expertise. She leads a significant and diverse portfolio across Prep, primary and secondary year levels for students in Queensland. Robyn provides leadership in strategic curriculum policy and planning through the effective development and implementation of frameworks and systems that drive the State Schools improvement agenda. Her portfolio includes the Prep to Year 10 Australian Curriculum; Schools of the future STEM strategy; assessment and moderation; pedagogy; the Queensland Certificate of Education; Vocational Education and Training; Literacy and Numeracy; Early Years education; and Global Competence. Robyn is a highly experienced educator with a career spanning over 30 years. Prior to her current role as Executive Director she worked in curriculum design and development and is an experienced teacher and administrator in both the state and independent schooling sectors. Robyn represents the Queensland Department of Education on multiple state and national boards and committees – where her curriculum expertise influences state and national policy, and resource and curriculum development.
LaShawn Routé Chatmon
Executive Director, National Equity Project×
LaShawn Routé Chatmon is the founding Executive Director of the National Equity Project, leading the organization’s transition from the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools (BayCES). Under her leadership, the National Equity Project has catalyzed a movement to revitalize our country’s approach to racial equity in education. Prior to joining the National Equity Project, LaShawn served as a teacher and leader at Redwood Day School, Alameda, CA; The Wheeler School, Providence, RI; and Berkeley High School, Berkeley, CA.
LaShawn is a contributing author in the book Unfinished Business: Closing the Racial Achievement Gap in Schools and has presented at numerous education conferences and convenings across the country. She was a MetLife Teaching Fellow, a LeaderSpring ED Fellow, and a Pahara Fellow. LaShawn earned a B.A. in political science from University of California, Berkeley; a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University; and an Administrative Credential from California State University, Sacramento’s Urban Leadership Program. LaShawn is a California native and resides in Oakland, CA with her husband and their three sons.
Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation×
Jennifer Russell is an associate professor and department chair of learning sciences and policy in the School of Education, a research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh, and a senior fellow of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She received a Ph.D. in education policy and organizations from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research examines policy and other educational improvement initiatives through an organizational perspective. Her recent work examines two primary issues: (1) how schools create social and organizational structures that support reform; and (2) how inter-organizational collaborations and networks can be structured to support educational improvement. She is a former special education teacher in urban and rural settings and is committed to more equitable outcomes for all students.
Director of Mathematics Instruction and Learning, UCLA School of Education and Information Studies×
Theodore Sagun is the Director of Mathematics Instruction and Learning for UCLA’s Partner School Network. He also works with the UCLA Mathematics Project. He is interested in working alongside teachers to recognize the wealth of students’ ideas and students’ mathematical thinking.
Executive Coach and Former Superintendent, Alvord Unified; Former Assistant Superintendent, San Diego Unified, National Center for Urban School Transformation×
Dr. Sid Salazar is an executive coach with the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) at San Diego State University. Prior to joining NCUST, Dr. Salazar was the Superintendent in the Alvord Unified School District in Riverside County. While Superintendent in Alvord Unified and as the former Assistant Superintendent in San Diego Unified, he collaborated with Ed Trust West to conduct opportunity audits. These audits identified inequities that inhibited all students to access rigorous curriculum in preparation for post-secondary education. Dr. Salazar worked with internal and external stakeholders to develop a call to action which addressed these inequities and empowered them to act as agents of change. Dr. Salazar holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, master’s degrees in counseling and education administration, and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from San Diego State University.
Director, Washington Unified School District×
Alicia Sanborn is the Director of Preschool through 5th grade instruction and oversees two elementary school sites within Washington Unified. Prior to becoming a Director for Washington Unified, Alicia served as the District Testing Coordinator for state and local assessments. She taught elementary school as a Kindergarten and 3rd grade teacher for a total of 8 years. Alicia received her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration near the end of her time spent in the classroom. She then served as a Learning Director for Washington Union High School for 4 years prior to transitioning to her roles within the district office. Alicia holds her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. She is a proud mother of two children, ages 14 and 10.
Ph.D. Candidate, School of Education, University of California, Irvine×
Carlos Sandoval is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. His research currently focuses on the use of improvement in teacher preparation. His research also interrogates the practices of improvement work to unveil issues of equity and justice in how improvement work is enacted. Prior to his doctoral work, Carlos worked at the Carnegie Foundation, where he received training in the theory and application of improvement science tools and methods.
Chief of Staff, California Education Partners×
Laura Schwalm was privileged to begin her career as a student teacher in the Garden Grove Unified School District and end 41 years later in the same district, the last 14 of which were as superintendent. As a teacher and administrator at all levels of the system, masterful teachers taught her the importance of building caring relationships with students, establishing high expectations and the support necessary for students to meet those expectations. Skillful leaders taught her the importance of applying these same principles to leading schools, and later to leading a system of schools. Schwalm often found that the solutions to even the most complex problems came from those closest to the work. Working together, she watched educators, parents and students find and execute creative, practical solutions for challenging situations. It was simply a matter of giving them the time, space and structure necessary for the work.
Freshman Success Coach, Network for College Success×
Nishi Shah is a Freshman Success Coach with the Network for College Success. She joined the Network for College Success in 2018. Prior to this role, Shah taught secondary science in Chicago Public Schools for twelve years. During Shah’s role as an educator, she served as a freshman teacher lead, teacher collaborative team lead, as well as an instructional leadership team member. She was able to provide organizational leadership and support to all teachers working with freshmen to ensure student achievement goals were met. Shah believes students’ social, emotional, and academic needs should be at the center of creating an equitable school. Shah holds a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University, a master’s degree in educational leadership through the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an educational specialist degree with a principal endorsement from National Louis University.Olivia Rivera is an Executive Consultant, Content Lead for the San Diego South County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) and the Equity, Disproportionality & Design (ED&D) project. Through the California System of Support, the ED&D project team collaborates and consults with SELPA’s across CA to address disproportionality issues.
Deputy Superintendent, Tulsa Public Schools×
Paula R. Shannon joined the TPS team in 2015 as Chief of Staff and was named Deputy Superintendent in 2016. Paula serves as key support to the Superintendent in directing and leading the district’s overall strategic direction to reach its ambitious objectives and goals. She is the staff lead on implementing Destination Excellence and positioning TPS to be the nation’s leading 21st century school district. Paula’s career in public education spans 18 years and she started in the classroom as a bilingual Spanish fifth grade teacher through Teach for America. Paula spent a decade at Providence Public Schools as a teacher, literacy coach, executive director of curriculum, and chief academic officer. She served as Vice President of Teaching and Learning at Achievement First, a network of K-12 public charter schools serving communities in Brooklyn, Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford and Providence. Prior to moving to Tulsa, Paula held the role of Chief Academic Officer at the Syracuse City School District in New York. Paula is a native Texan and loves cowboy boots, college football and time outdoors with her husband, Bill.
Senior Research Scientist, BARR Center×
Anu Sharma is a Senior Research Scientist at the BARR Center. Anu was the original evaluator for the BARR model in 1999 and has been integral to testing its effectiveness over the past 20 years. Anu has nearly 30 years of experience in conducting evaluations through her employment at Search Institute, the Minnesota Institute of Public Health, and Education Development Center, Inc. She has also served as Co-Investigator for the Sibling Interaction and Behavior Study at the University of Minnesota’ Center for Twin and Family Research.
Director of Differentiated Assistance, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools×
As the Director of Differentiated Assistance for a county office, Dr. Annie Sharp helps districts build capacity for solving complex problems within their system. She comes alongside teams as they engage in continuous improvement work to help them move the needle towards more equitable student outcomes as measured by the CA Dashboard. She has coached over 13 improvement projects.
Annie has K-12 experience as a high school math and AVID teacher, high school Learning Director, elementary Principal and district Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. She earned her bachelor’s in liberal studies, master’s in administrative services and doctorate in organizational leadership. Her favorite job, however, is being a mom of two toddlers and she loves watching them both follow their curiosities and engage with the world around them.
Vivian Ann Shaver
Continuous Improvement Coach and Trainer, Spartanburg Academic Movement×
Vivian Ann Shaver supports SAM’s work through the John T. Wardlaw Institute for Continuous Improvement (CI) to embed CI practices in schools across Spartanburg County. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Emory & Henry College and master’s degree from the University of Tennessee. Throughout her career, Vivian Ann has used Six Sigma CI science in project management for Tyson Foods and Sealed Air Corporation. Vivian Ann has volunteered on School Improvement Councils and in PTO organizations, a direct impact of her mother’s influence as a 40-year veteran educator.
Director of Impact, TrueSchool×
Marguerite has ten years of experience as a teacher leader in Oakland and New Orleans. She holds a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Mills College. Her research focused on teacher professional development, specifically the connection between teacher-driven inquiry projects, teachers’ sense of efficacy, and the stories teachers tell about their work. She has co-led school improvement initiatives focused on supporting Emergent Bilingual students, school journalism, and civic engagement for students. She facilitated teacher-driven inquiry work at Mills Teacher Scholars, and as a coach for prospective and beginning teachers at Mills College, the University of California-Berkeley, Oakland Unified School District, and TeachNOLA (TNTP). Marguerite is also a Teacher Consultant with the National Writing Project.
Senior National School Partnerships Director, City Year×
Virgil Sheppard serves as the senior national school partnerships director for City Year where he is responsible for developing a partnership strategy that maximizes student and school outcomes. Additionally, Sheppard is responsible for co-leading City Year’s Belonging Engagement and Resiliency Action Community (BER) where he supports school teams in continuous improvement practices designed to improve belonging, engagement and resiliency for students while elevating student voice. A proud West Philadelphia native, Sheppard got his start in education while working for the School District of Philadelphia’s Behavioral Health Team, overseeing the Comprehensive Student Assistance Process for 40 schools, and serving as a middle school administrator for the second largest middle school in Philadelphia. During that time, Virgil lead the first Response to Instructional Intervention (RTII) pilot for the District, including identifying evidenced-based strategies, effective researched-based intervention programs, and providing technical assistance to school teams to ensure strong infrastructures for student support services were present.
Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation×
David is an associate in evidence and analytics. He joined the Foundation as a networked improvement fellow in 2017. He comes to the Foundation from Harvard University, where he worked as a researcher and educational consultant. Most recently, he worked for the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice (NCRPP), a project investigating how school and district leaders use research in their decision-making. David is particularly interested in helping educational leaders promote effective collaboration within their organizations and across broader improvement networks. He uses varied methods, including surveys, ethnography, and social network analysis, to understand the implementation and effects of such efforts. David’s work has been presented at national conferences and local district offices, and published in peer-reviewed journals and policy reports.
Research Associate, Partners for Network Improvement×
Jennifer Zoltners Sherer is a Research Associate at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh. She utilizes social science research methodologies to build capacity for improvement in education programs and organizations. As part of Partners for Network Improvement (PNI), she provides theory-grounded developmental evaluation support for networked improvement communities in education. PNI supports real-time design and implementation decisions, development and validation of powerful tools for NIC development, and contributes to growing the knowledge base of how NICs develop and mature. Prior to receiving her Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University, she was a teacher in Oregon.
Barbara Shreve, Associate, Networked Improvement Science; Director, Professional Education Offerings, Carnegie Foundation×
Barbara is an associate in networked improvement science as well as the director of professional education offerings. She joined Carnegie as a networked improvement fellow in 2017. She comes to the Foundation from Oakland Unified School District where, as a mathematics coordinator, she supported teacher professional learning and the development and implementation of middle and high school math curriculum and assessment in the transition to Common Core State Standards. Her work in Oakland also focused on building teacher leadership and collaborative communities focused on instructional practice. She is passionate about empowering teachers and improving students’ experiences and outcomes in math so that young people see themselves as powerful learners.
Prior to her work in Oakland, Barbara was a high school math teacher for 12 years in Bay Area schools. As part of a highly collaborative math department whose work was studied for its equity-oriented approach, she used Complex Instruction pedagogy to support students to learn and thrive in heterogeneous classrooms. She was also a contributing author and editor for a series of middle and high school math textbooks.
Barbara earned a bachelor’s degree from Williams College in mathematics and history. She also holds a master’s degree from Mills College, where she earned her teaching credential.
Senior Education Consultant, Teaching Matters×
Amber Smith is a Senior Educational Consultant for Teaching Matters with an expertise in middle school and high school focusing on literacy, social studies, and special education. She works with school communities in strengthening literacy programs, integrating literacy and inclusion in social studies, and building culturally responsive and sustaining mindsets and pedagogy. Prior to joining Teaching Matters, Amber served as a middle school and high school teacher in both Austin, Texas and New York City. Additionally, she served as a literacy coach, director of literacy, and as an assistant principal at a middle school in the Bronx. Amber obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M University, a Master of Science in Special Education from The City College of New York, and Master of Education in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Deputy Executive Director of Continuous Learning, New York City Department of Education×
Courtney Smith serves as the Deputy Executive Director of Continuous Learning for the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) where she supports the development of professional learning opportunities, resources, and coaching supports alongside an amazing team to help schools and Central teams across NYC engage in the how of school improvement in service of disrupting inequitable systems. With a shared focus on strengthening supports and outcomes for Black and Latinx Multilingual learner students in grades 6-8, Courtney and the CL team engage school communities in a networked improvement community in the Bronx. Prior to joining the NYCDOE as an instructional coach in 2012, Courtney worked in DC Public Schools as a 10th and 12th grade ELA teacher and curriculum writer. She holds an EdM in politics and education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, a MAT in secondary education from American University, and BAs in English and Spanish from Georgetown University.
Co-Founder, Community Design Partners×
Julie is a connector of educators, government leaders and community members, with the goal of shifting mindsets around improvement that are grounded in empathy and focused on systemic change. Julie works with organizations to build capacity for change from the inside out and believes that organizations can realize their goals when they build them with those they aim to serve. Julie has worked as a facilitator, advisor and coach to a diverse range of project including helping organizations implement equity frameworks, community-based school attendance solutions, educator effectiveness systems, and designing state educator networks around continuous improvement.
Principal Researcher, American Institutes for Research×
Toni M. Smith is a principal researcher at AIR where she directs research and development projects focused on mathematics instruction and teacher professional learning. Dr. Smith currently directs the development and experimental testing of a virtual coaching program designed to improve the alignment of teachers’ instruction to state standards funded by the U.S. Department of Education and co-directs two networked improvement communities in which high school math teachers use improvement science methods to improve their instruction, one funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the other by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Dr. Smith also serves as co-Principal Investigator on a U.S. Department of Education grant to develop and test an intervention that uses professional learning communities and individualized coaching to improve instruction through practice with feedback. Previously, Dr. Smith oversaw implementation of a math content-intensive PD program and led analyses of implementation data in a large-scale experimental study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education. She was also co-principal investigator for the development and pilot testing of an intervention that uses simulated classroom environments to provide opportunities for math teachers to practice using questioning and discussion techniques in their instruction, which was funded by the Charles and Lynn Shusterman Family Foundation. In her work, Dr. Smith draws upon prior experience as a high school math teacher and assistant professor of math education.
Senior Faculty Specialist, The University of Maryland×
Jean Snell, Ph.D., is a Senior Faculty Specialist for the Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement at the University of Maryland. Jean coordinates the Administrator 1 certification program, she teaches and advises doctoral students in the “School Systems Leadership” program, and she oversees district partnership initiatives for professional learning and school improvement for the Center. Dr. Snell launched her career in education as a high school English teacher, and then earned her doctorate from the University of Washington where she also trained as a principal. Jean has dedicated the last twenty years to helping to develop the next generation of school and teacher leaders, and to equipping them to lead continuous improvement and narrow the achievement gap in their schools and districts.
Director of Research Strategy and Policy, Center for Public Research and Leadership, Columbia University×
Meghan Snyder is a Director of Research Strategy and Policy at the Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) at Columbia University. Throughout her career, she has served youth and adult students as a teacher, curriculum designer, and program evaluator. At CPRL, she has conducted research on networks for school improvement and highly-mobile student populations. Meghan holds a B.A. from American University and a M.A. in sociology and education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Ami Patel Song
Mathematics Specialist, Yonkers Public Schools Network for School Improvement×
Ami Patel Song has a BBA from the University of Michigan in Finance and Organizational Behavior, an M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Mercy College, as a NYC Teaching Fellow, and an M.S. in Educational Leadership from the Principal’s Institute at Bank Street College as a Wallace Foundation Fellow. Since 2003, she has served as a 6-12th grade math teacher, coach, and policymaker, and now serves in a consultant role as a teacher coach, facilitator, and advisor to school districts on school improvement and equity-centered leadership. She currently serves as a math specialist to the Yonkers Public Schools Network for School Improvement in partnership with the Bank Street Education Center to improve student and teacher learning in middle-grades mathematics.
Teacher, Liberty Elementary, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Erika Stern is a 1st grade teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools. She has spent the last eleven years teaching early childhood. She is passionate about teaching early reading skills and meeting the needs of each individual student. She works closely with Improving Education to analyze data and make instructional plans for her class throughout the year. She received her Master’s in Early Childhood from Johns Hopkins University and she now works as an adjunct instructor for their Graduate Education Program. She loves helping new teachers enhance their instructional practices through the courses she teaches.
Evangeline D. Stefanakis
IIE Scholar and Media Kit Developer, 1952
Assistant Professor, Drake University×
Dr. Doug Stilwell served as a public school educator/leader for 35 years, holding the positions of teacher, principal, associate superintendent and superintendent. As superintendent of the Urbandale Community School District, Dr. Stilwell worked with his leadership team to create a learning organization focused on quality and continual improvement. Operationalizing the work of Dr. Peter Senge, Dr. W. Edward Deming, David Langford, and Jim Shipley through the Baldrige Excellence Framework, the district achieved its highest levels of student performance in nearly 20 years. In his current work as assistant professor of educational leadership at Drake University, Dr. Stilwell is working with his colleagues to transform principal preparation so that graduates are equipped to transform the schools they lead in order to inspire joy, achieve ever-improving results and meet the needs of students in an ever-changing world.
Organizational Psychologist and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University×
Rebecca Stilwell, Ph.D., is an organizational psychologist who consults with schools, districts, and other for- and non-profit organizations. Her work ranges from managing change, developing school culture, professional collaboration, leadership development, strategic planning, curriculum design as well as research and evaluation. She is dedicated to working collaboratively with stakeholders in organizations to co-create and implement comprehensive change plans for organizational development. She teaches Applied Research for Organizational Change, Practicum in Leading Organizational Change, Organizational Psychology and Understanding Behavioral Research at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to becoming an organizational psychologist, Rebecca taught in public, private, and international schools. Her current research focuses on leader behaviors that support effective change and approaches to change in education. Rebecca earned her Ph.D and M.A. in Social-Organizational Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University and her B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Research Associate, Learning Research & Development Center, University of Pittsburgh
Associate Vice President, Arizona State University×
Dr. Sylvia Symonds is the Associate Vice President for Educational Outreach and Student Services for Arizona State University. In this role, she oversees outreach efforts for Access ASU, whose mission is to increase the number of students prepared to enroll and succeed in higher education. In 2019-2020, Access ASU engaged with over 85,000 students and families. Symonds also serves as the Principal Investigator for several grants totaling over $17 million in funding, including ASU GEAR UP funded by the Department of Education, the Arizona Meta Network for School Improvement, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ask Benji funded by the Schmidt Futures Foundation. In all, Symonds has over 20 years of experience working on college access and student success. An Arizona native and a first-generation college student, Symonds received her undergraduate degree from ASU and a master’s degree from California State University Fullerton. Symonds recently completed her Ph.D. in Educational Policy & Evaluation from ASU.
Senior Research Associate, WestEd×
Sola Takahashi is a Senior Research Associate at WestEd, where she leads the work of integrating continuous improvement methods in the coaching, technical assistance, and research conducted by the Innovation Studies and Regional Educational Laboratory West teams. Sola is experienced in the use of improvement science methods and specializes in measurement and analytics that support continuous improvement efforts. She also has expertise in traditional research methods, including quasi-experimental design. Her areas of content interest include the teaching profession and educational equity. Sola was previously at the Carnegie Foundation, where she led the development of measures and analytic systems that support improvement efforts in schools. She also served as a public school teacher for several years. She received her EdD from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Associate Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation×
Brandee Tate is an Associate Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the K-12 Education team. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was the Manager of Data & Accountability for D.C. Public Schools where she led the analysis and strategic use of student achievement data across the district. Specifically, she was responsible for the reporting and analysis of accountability data including summative assessment (PARCC) results, adjusted cohort graduation rates, NAEP assessment scores, and data elements and metrics reported in the D.C. School Report Card (required under ESSA). Previously, Brandee was the Manager of Evaluation + Analysis at OneGoal, a college access organization that supports underserved high school students with enrolling, persisting and graduating from college. She also has experience in the postsecondary space having been a policy analyst for the University System of Georgia supporting policies centered on increasing the number of Georgia residents with postsecondary credentials. Brandee earned a master’s in public policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Princeton University.
Director of Quality and Analytics, School District of Menomonee Falls×
Suzy Thomas is the Director of Quality and Analytics for the School District of Menomonee Falls, WI and works with all district employees to support them in doing their best work for the children of Menomonee Falls. Suzy believes that focusing on people and developing the mindset and behaviors for improvement are key to establishing a culture of improvement. Suzy holds a B.A. in Mathematics Education from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in Mathematics from Marquette University, and a degree in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University.
Blueprint Literacy Coach, Baltimore City Public Schools×
James Thurman has served as a Blueprint Literacy Coach in Baltimore City Public Schools since 2018. James began his career teaching secondary Language Arts in Chicago Public Schools, before joining school administration in Illinois Unified District 46. James served as a school administrator in various capacities throughout the Chicagoland area for 5 years. James holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Southern Illinois University, a master’s degree in secondary education from National-Louis University, and a master’s in educational leadership from Concordia University. James is currently a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at Aurora University.James F. Woglom is an Associate Professor of Art Education at Humboldt State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, where he studied arts-based research methodologies and socially engaged practices. His co-authored graphic novel on social justice-oriented teacher education, On Mutant Pedagogies, was awarded the American Education Research Association’s Qualitative Research Group’s Outstanding Book Award and the Society of Professors of Education Book Award in 2017.
Director, Office of Enrollment, Choice, and Transfers, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Brandon L. Tilghman, MBA, M.Ed. is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and leverages his talents, knowledge, and time to assist and empower our next generation of leaders. He currently serves as the Director of Enrollment, Choice, and Transfers for the Baltimore City Public School System. In this capacity, he leads the operation and coordination of enrollment programs and services for approximately 79,000 students in 165 schools and programs. Brandon is responsible for providing leadership, vision, and advocacy to ensure that the children of Baltimore City have equitable access to safe and supportive learning environments. Brandon and his team are committed to positioning students for academic and social success; and ultimately, enabling them to lead and thrive in college, their career, and communities. Brandon is a proud alumnus of Hampton University, the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University, and the University of Baltimore.
Executive Leadership Coach, Comprehensive Support and Improvement, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools×
Elisa Torres-Barton is an Executive Leadership Coach for the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools (FCSS) for districts with CSI eligible schools. Prior to joining FCSS, Elisa’s 21 years in education has offered the opportunity to serve as secondary math teacher, instructional coach, site and district leader. Elisa strives to put “People first, and then the work…” and has found that the improvement work allows for humans to be at the core of change in very tangible ways. Elisa is a wife, and mother of three, and is currently working on her doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University.
Senior Fellow, Strategic Field Building, Carnegie Foundation×
Steve Tozer is professor emeritus and past university scholar in educational policy studies at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), where he was founding director of the UIC Center for Urban Education Leadership. Steve previously chaired the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; the Department of Educational Policy Studies at UIC; the Governor’s Council on Educator Quality in Illinois; and a State Legislative Task Force that resulted in a new state school leader certificate. His collaborations with colleagues from UIC and Chicago Public Schools were continuously funded for 18 years by the U.S. Department of Education and numerous foundations.
He is lead author of a textbook, School and Society, Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, 8th Edition (McGraw-Hill, 2020), and lead editor of The Handbook of Research in Social Foundations of Education (Routledge, 2011). Steve is a fellow of the George W. Bush Institute and currently works with Chicago Public Schools and other districts on research-practice partnerships for continuous improvement of school leadership.
Director, Education Resource Strategies×
Joseph is a Director at Education Resource Strategies (ERS) with nearly a decade of experience helping large urban school districts align their people, time and money with their improvement priorities. His work has focused on a wide range of strategic areas, from the redesign of school funding systems to master scheduling, and included partners such as Baltimore, Hartford, Fort Worth, and Oakland. Since the onset of the pandemic, Joseph has increasingly focused his work on helping district leaders use continuous improvement practices as a catalyst for whole-system transformation. This work builds off improvement science, while incorporating rigorous analysis and a deep knowledge of system resource use. Prior to joining ERS, Joseph worked with City Year Headquarters to help build strategic data infrastructure as part of a fellowship with Education Pioneers. He has an MBA from Babson College and a B.A. from Drew University in Psychology and Art.
School Support Associate, Utah Education Policy Center, University of Utah×
Magda Tsagaris, M.Ed is a school support associate with the UEPC Bridgeworks team working to support schools across the state of Utah to establish meaningful collaborative partnerships and implement data-driven practices to impact student achievement. Magda believes that strong schools are the key to healthy communities. As a proponent of community schools, Magda uses her knowledge of research and pedagogy to help school systems select and implement strategies that are matched to their unique needs. Over the years, she has taught at a variety of schools including both Title I and non-Title I public schools.
Director, English Language Arts, UnboundEd×
Sierah Tyson is the Director of ELA at UnboundEd where she leads the design and execution of professional learning experiences for the Cohort Programs, The UnboundEd Planning Process, Virtual Summits, and other partner work. In her most recent role as an ELA specialist, Sierah developed and revised professional development that supported educators with implementing equitable instructional practices and improving student outcomes. Previously, Sierah was a 10th grade English teacher at University Preparatory High School located in Detroit, Michigan. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and received her Master’s in Education from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Sierah also curated The Education Nomad project, where she traveled around the United States to capture best practices and amplify teacher voices via blog. Sierah proudly coordinates UnboundEd’s Woman of Color Affinity group and The Kindness Project, which both aim at empowerment, wellness, and unity.
Senior Program Associate, WestEd×
Amber Valdez, Ed.D., is a Senior Program Associate for the Improvement and Systems Planning practice areas at WestEd, where she provides technical assistance to state and local education agencies in areas of equity-driven systems transformation and continuous improvement. Amber is experienced in change management, leadership development, networked learning, and stakeholder engagement. She is passionate about racial justice and educational equity, and has interests in place-based change, people-centered design, transformative stakeholder engagement, and transformational leadership. Amber has worked as a nonprofit leader in education and philanthropy, and has consulted independently with education agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private consulting firms on systems change. She received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Mills College.
Elizabeth van Es
Professor, University of California, Irvine×
Elizabeth van Es is a learning scientist who studies teacher learning and the design and improvement of teacher preparation and professional development. Her research is primarily concerned with how to support teachers’ developing their noticing practices for ambitious, responsive, and rehumanizing instructional practice. Much of her work focuses on the use of video to help teachers learn to attend to the complexities of classroom interactions to advance this vision of teaching and learning. Her work is recognized for theorizing teacher noticing of student thinking. Her more recent research examines teacher noticing for equity, illuminating what and how teachers make sense of classroom interactions to develop more socially just, inclusive spaces. She is the co-founder of the UCI Teacher Academy, a form of research partnership to develop an ecosystem for teachers and school leaders to lead transformations in instructional practice.
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation×
“Ash Vasudeva is vice president of strategic initiatives, where he oversees the Carnegie Foundation’s policy and communications efforts to build the field’s capacity for improvement research and networked improvement communities.
Prior to joining Carnegie, Vasudeva was a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he focused on supporting school systems to implement college and career ready standards and strengthen educator effectiveness systems.
Previously, Vasudeva was co-executive director of Stanford University’s School Redesign Network, where he developed the LEADS network (Leadership for Equity and Accountability in Districts and Schools), which enabled superintendents and their cabinets to collaborate on systems-reforms with faculty from Stanford’s School of Education, School of Business, and School of Design (d. school).
Vasudeva taught science at Pasadena High School and entered the field through Teach for America. He received his bachelor of science degree from Carnegie Mellon University and his doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles.”
Improvement Analyst, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation×
Camila Velasquez is an improvement analyst with the Networked Improvement Science group. In this role, she participates in the design and implementation of improvement projects, the delivery of training resources, and the analysis of data for reports and publications.
She joined the Foundation in 2017 as a post-baccalaureate fellow with the networked improvement science group. Before coming to Carnegie, she was a Princeton in Latin America fellow in Mexico, where she supported the implementation of an alternative education model in rural schools nationwide. As a regional liaison, she provided technical assistance through coaching, evaluation, and professional development. Working closely with educators at all levels of the public school system fueled an interest in the organizational dynamics necessary for large-scale pedagogical transformation.
She holds an anthropology degree from Kenyon College.
Deeper Learning Coach, Envision Learning Partners
Executive Director, Literacy Design Collaborative×
Chad has worked in public education and public service for over 30 years, spinning LDC off from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s primary common core implementation strategy into a national edtech hub for innovation and school transformation to effectively deliver – and measure – rigorous instructional classroom practice. Prior to joining LDC, Chad served as Vice President at New Visions for Public Schools overseeing 75 New York City public schools. Chad also served as a Vice President at The Princeton Review, and several senior roles in the NYC Department of Education. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wharton School and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed coursework toward a doctorate in education leadership at New York University. Chad remains passionate about using user-centered technology and measurement as tools that inspire a teaching profession to continuously improve their skills for all students to access rigorous disciplinary content and lifelong success.
Founder and Executive Director, TrueSchool×
Amy has focused her career on the intersection of education and social entrepreneurship. As the first person in her family to graduate from college, Amy wanted to pay it forward. She joined a non-profit startup focused on improving retention and graduation rates for underrepresented college students across the United States. Amy then jumped headfirst into the unprecedented shifts in the New Orleans education system post-Hurricane Katrina, helping to launch the city’s first international high school and serving as a founding math teacher. Next, moving to rural South Africa, Amy collaborated with community leaders on the design and launch of locally-led small businesses to drive job creation and economic development. Through all of this, Amy realized the power, potential, and necessity of engaging the people on the ground to drive and lead change. In 2012, Amy left graduate school at Princeton University and, with $300 of venture capital investment from her piggy bank, founded TrueSchool. She quickly found her jam in tiny, mighty teams with big dreams and hasn’t looked back since. In addition to working in the U.S, Amy has engaged in education-related development work in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, and Liberia. Amy is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in anthropology and international affairs. She is an Unreasonable Fellow and, in 2015, was recognized as a Global Fellow and “one of the world’s best emerging social innovators” by Echoing Green.
Director of Mathematics, WestEd×
Kirk is the Director of Math Education Research and Evaluation at WestEd and a former high school math teacher. His research broadly focuses on understanding ways to improve math teaching and learning. In his spare time, Kirk enjoys hanging out with his family, playing basketball and trail running with his dogs (often while listening to a podcast).
Tracy Bettale Watterson
VTmtss Program Manager, Vermont Agency of Education×
Tracy Bettale Watterson has been an educator since 1986, serving children as a K-5 teacher, para-educator, interventionist, and K-8 math specialist in Missouri, Washington, and Virginia and has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia. Additionally, they have provided professional learning in Washington, Virginia, Vermont, and at national conferences. For the past eight years, she has worked at the Vermont Agency of Education as the Multi-tiered System of Supports Program Manager and Team Lead, SWIFT SEA Co-Coordinator, and Elementary Mathematics Assessment Coordinator. They are passionate about collective expertise, candid conversations, continuous improvement that leads to access, membership & inclusion for all students, especially those historically underserved. Watterson is a nationally certified program manager and graduate of the Vermont Leadership, Exploration and Development (LEAD) program.
CVNIC 2.0 Mathematics Director/Mathematics Curriculum Specialist, Tulare County Office of Education×
For the last five years, Kim has served as an improvement specialist and is currently the network director for the Central Valley Networked Improvement Community, a network of Tulare County schools and districts focused on improving math performance for grades 3-8. Webb has served as an educator in California’s Central Valley for over 24 years as a classroom teacher, curriculum coach, teacher leader, adjunct professor, and mathematics staff development & curriculum specialist. She has expertise in lesson study, facilitating professional learning for teachers and administrators to deepen their understanding of the California Mathematic Standards, and supporting districts to shift instruction to support all students in learning mathematics at high levels.
Educator, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Jenn Wendler’s 20 years’ experience in Baltimore City Public Schools has gone beyond the classroom to support not only students, but also educators in early childhood education. She has taken on leadership roles within her school as academic planning facilitator, literacy lead, school family council chair, instructional leadership team member and model teacher while carrying out her role as a classroom teacher. She has extended her experience to the district level by taking on roles as systemic professional developer, new teacher support lead and various roles with The New Teacher Project to build capacity in Baltimore City Schools. Last spring, Jenn was selected as an iFellow with Improving Education where she collaborated with nine other early childhood educators in Baltimore City to develop Learning in a Box at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This project provided hands on learning materials and standards based activities to early childhood students while learning from home during the pandemic. Jenn earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education as well as her Master’s degree in Elementary Education through Towson University. She also completed her Administrator I certification through the Aspiring Leaders program through Towson University. She most recently completed coursework in gifted and talented education to better support a wider range of abilities in the classroom and is currently completing coursework in LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) to better prepare students for reading and writing based on the science of reading.
Post Baccalaureate Fellow, Collaborative Technology, Carnegie Foundation×
Hannah joined the Foundation in 2019 as a post-baccalaureate fellow with the Collaborative Technology group. She received her B.A. in political science from Scripps College in Claremont, CA. Her research focused on the intersection of education policy, political power, and hegemony, ultimately completing her senior thesis on the rights of K-12 students to participate in political protest during school hours. In addition, Weissler interned at the American Association of University Women, the Office of U.S. Congressman Jamie Raskin, and D.C. Public Schools’ Compliance and Policy Division. She also taught English to unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Denmark at a Danish Red Cross center.
National Director of Program Delivery, City Year×
A public school student, teacher, principal, parent, and community organizer who knows that the schools we serve are of the cities they serve. Matt has founded schools and education non-profits in his native Baltimore, works on a team at City Year that supports many sites around the country, and is very excited to be a learner in this gathering.
Project Director, Innovation Studies, WestEd×
Melissa Eiler White is Project Director at WestEd, where she leads research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects focused on teachers and teaching. Over the last several years, her work has focused on supporting improvement of teacher preparation programs through formative evaluation and improvement science-based technical assistance. White has also led numerous research efforts for the Regional Educational Laboratory West (REL West) at WestEd. White received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. in Policy Analysis and Evaluation and a Ph.D. in Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education.
Director of School Improvement, Chesterfield County Public Schools
Associate Professor, Educational Policy and Leadership, University at Albany; Research and Development Director, NYKids×
Kristen Campbell Wilcox is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership, University at Albany, State University of New York and R&D Director for the research-practice partnership NYKids. Her research focuses on school and district affordances to close opportunity gaps among socioeconomically, linguistically, and culturally diverse learners in P-12 school settings. Wilcox’s teaching and research has been shaped by a series of studies conducted since 2005 investigating processes and practices in positive outlier schools. This research has informed the development of improvement science based tools and processes that guide leadership teams through a research-based, goal-setting process for defining problems and collecting and analyzing evidence to measure progress. This work addresses the development of systems for continuous improvement and focuses educators’ attention on culturally-responsive, equity-oriented pedagogies to prepare children and adolescents for secondary and post-secondary academic and non-academic demands.
Associate Professor, Southern Methodist University×
Annie Garrison Wilhelm is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Wilhelm is interested in job-embedded opportunities for teacher learning. She teaches mathematics education coursework and is always looking for opportunities to conduct improvement research in partnership with practitioners.
Program Manager, California Education Partners×
Amy Williams is a Program Manager at California Education Partners with 25 years of experience in education. Currently, she oversees the Early Literacy collaboration of 7 school districts. She has experience in a variety of roles in both special education and general education providing a wide lens and varied perspective to support all learners. Amy has experience in developing, implementing, and supporting district initiatives such as; Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Professional Learning Communities (PLC), and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
Teaching Associate Professor, West Virginia University×
Kathryn Williamson has served as Teaching Professor in the West Virginia University Department of Physics & Astronomy since January 2016, after working as the Public Education Specialist at the Green Bank Observatory from 2013-2016. Her doctorate in Physics Education Research is from Montana State University, and her bachelor’s degree in physics & astronomy is from the University of Georgia, where she grew up. In 2013, she founded the WV Science Public Outreach Team (SPOT), which trains college ambassadors to deliver interactive STEM presentations to K-12 audiences around the state, reaching approximately 4,000 students each year. Prof. Williamson’s current work focuses on building persistence of rural, first-generation college STEM majors through “The First 2 Network” (F2N), an NSF INCLUDES Alliance. She serves as co-chair on the Faculty-Student Engagement working group within the larger F2N Networked Improvement Community.
District Grant Writer, Pajaro Valley Unified School District×
Andrea Carlos Willy has been writing proposals and engaging in improvement science work at Pajaro Valley Unified School District for 4 years. She sits on numerous community non-profit boards where she is a powerful advocate for vulnerable populations, school district initiatives and equity. Andrea has worked in many facets of human and social services fields: human rights, bioethics education, ethnographic research consulting, non-clinical hospital management and K12 education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges.
Continuous Improvement Program Director, Baltimore City Public Schools×
As Baltimore City Public School’s Continuous Improvement (CI) Program Director, Amiee leads the development and implementation of CI projects throughout the district. In this capacity, she supports the design and scale of a sustainable districtwide improvement strategy, constructs systems and processes to successfully drive efforts of City Schools’ NSIs, and leads the creation of professional learning opportunities to build the continuous improvement capacity of district leaders and practitioners. She is a proud alumnus of American University, Johns Hopkins University, and Teachers College at Columbia University.
Adjunct Professor and Former Director, K12 Lab Network Stanford d.school
Superintendent, Belvidere School District 100×
Dr. Woestman is the superintendent of the Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 in Northern Illinois. He began his educator career as a High School English and ESL Teacher. Under Dr. Woestman’s leadership, Belvidere has twice been named a nationally certified Great Place to Work, and a nationally certified Marzano High-Reliability School District. Dr. Woestman believes all children are a vital part of the communities we live in and our future, and that we have an obligation to give them the best learning experiences we can offer.
Assistant Professor of Art Education, Program Leader of Elementary Education Credential Program, Humboldt State University×
James F. Woglom is an Associate Professor of Art Education at Humboldt State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, where he studied arts-based research methodologies and socially engaged practices. His co-authored graphic novel on social justice-oriented teacher education, On Mutant Pedagogies, was awarded the American Education Research Association’s Qualitative Research Group’s Outstanding Book Award and the Society of Professors of Education Book Award in 2017.
Director, Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, Aspen Institute×
Dr. Douglas E. Wood is Director of the Aspen Institute’s Criminal Justice Reform Program. From 2011-2018, he was a program officer at the Ford Foundation on the Youth Opportunity and Learning team and for nearly two years served as Acting Lead of the foundation’s global Higher Education for Social Justice initiative, managing grants in the U.S., Colombia, Peru, Chile, Southern Africa, Egypt and China. He also funded a myriad of programmatic grants focused on criminal justice reform at the national, state and local levels including investigative journalism, theater and documentary film. Prior to joining Ford, he was Executive Director and Chief Education Officer of the Tennessee State Board of Education, chair of the Basic Education Program Review Committee that oversees Tennessee’s $3.2 billion K-12 budget, a member of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, a gubernatorial appointee to the Education Commission of the States, a Fellow at the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, executive director and principal investigator of the National Academy for Excellent Teaching, Teachers College, Columbia University, and Associate Dean at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School.
Dr. Wood began his career as a public school teacher and while a graduate student at Harvard, worked as a consultant with the Urban Superintendent’s Program, the World Bank’s Office of East Asian Affairs, and taught at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Wood received the 2018 Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a board member of the Partnership for College Completion. Dr. Wood holds a B.A. degree in History from Wofford College, a master’s degree in English from Middlebury College, and a master’s and doctoral degree from Harvard University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and holds the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from Middlebury College.
Manager, STEM, Queensland Department of Education, Queensland, Australia×
Rose Wood leads the statewide implementation of Schools of the future STEM strategy for the Queensland Department of Education. She oversees a team that works extensively in strategic planning, analysis, development and evaluation of significant STEM initiatives to inform evidence-based best practice in STEM education for state school students across the state. She joined the department in 2016 and previously had 10 years experience teaching senior secondary science and mathematics before applying her expertise in STEM curriculum and pedagogy to statewide assessment for the Queensland Studies Authority. She has worked in education, research and equity contexts with students ranging from kindergarten through to tertiary phases of learning across government and non-government schooling systems. Rose has a B.S. from the University of Queensland and a graduate diploma in education from Australian Catholic University.
Research Scientist, University of North Carolina Greensboro×
Dr. Ryoko Yamaguchi has over 25 years of experience in K-12 education serving as both a practitioner and a researcher. Her unique expertise is in utilizing, explaining, and communicating research, data, and the junction of policy, practice, and research to a wide audience. She holds two teaching certifications in Special Education (Learning Disabilities and Social/Emotional Disturbance) and has taught K-12 students in public school and psychiatric settings, including a juvenile detention facility for sex offenders, for five years. Dr. Yamaguchi is trained as a quantitative social scientist, where she has spent over 20 years studying school improvement and equity, especially among linguistically and culturally diverse students in middle and high schools.
Director, Collective Change Lab×
Juanita was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. She received her law degree from Los Andes University and later immigrated to the United States for graduate work in philosophy at Boston College and study in the Japanese martial art Aikido.
Over the past two decades Juanita has supported public and private funders and social sector organizations in refocusing strategy and implementing change efforts. Her expertise in data-informed decision-making has helped many organizations increase their impact with communities, individuals, and families. Paramount to her work is to lead with deep empathy and commitment to addressing disparity and disproportionality in communities and systems.
Juanita has served as a social change consultant, focusing on supporting organizations such as, City Year and UTEC, Inc. She is currently a Director with the Collective Change Lab, a nonprofit seeking to increase the use of transformational change practices in mainstream social and environmental problem solving.
Founder and CEO, Shift×
Karen is the tireless and passionate founder of Shift. What motivates Karen is bringing together multiple stakeholders to learn from each other and mobilize their communities towards big, ambitious aims. Over the past two decades, her work has spanned content areas, and continents – addressing some of the most meaningful issues in our world. Karen built Shift to scale the power of improvement methods, to catalyze great and sustained impact, more than one person could do alone. She’s inspired every day by our team who is united in the belief that a better world is possible.
Karen lives in Seattle with her husband, two teenage children and dogs. She is an avid salsa and merengue dancer, both of which she learned by dancing with a broom while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica. Karen’s best days start with some morning yoga – her very best days will be when she can do a full handstand without leaning against a wall, which she can almost do!
Principal, JY Joyner Elementary School
Chancellor Emeritus, State University of New York