Ryan Gallagher is a Project Director within the Center for Research on Equity & Innovation at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. He coaches improvement science projects within HTH K-12 schools, co-facilitates a networked improvement community focused on college, career and civic readiness, and directs the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Early Implementation Initiative at High Tech High. Ryan has taught middle and high school within the HTH system since 2004, and co-designed and facilitated HTH’s first MOOC on Deeper Learning. Ryan holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Philosophy from UC San Diego and was a member of the first graduating cohort of students in the HTH GSE where he is now a faculty member. He is a proud Ryan member of the Distinguished Educators Panel at the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center and is featured in Kathleen Cushman’s recent book The Motivation Equation!
The 2021 Carnegie Summit brought 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 presented at this year’s Summit.
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.
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.
CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Sonja Brookins Santelises is the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools. Previously, she served as the vice president for K-12 policy and practice at The Education Trust, providing strategic direction for the organization’s K-12 research, practice, and policy work. Before joining The Education Trust, Sonja was the chief academic officer for Baltimore City Public Schools. Sonja came to Baltimore City Schools from Boston, where she served as assistant superintendent for pilot schools and assistant superintendent for teaching and learning/professional development.
Sonja began her career in education as director of professional development and teacher placement with Teach for America, New York, followed by stints at a year-round school in Brooklyn where she was a founder, teacher, and curriculum specialist. She holds a bachelor of arts from Brown University, a master of arts in education administration from Columbia University, and a doctor of education in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard.
Robert H. Hughes
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.
Virginia (Ginger) Adams Simon
Data and Improvement Coach, Educator Quality Center, California State University, Office of the Chancellor×
Ginger Adams Simon is Educator Preparation Data and Improvement Coach for Educator Quality Center. She has extensive experience in K12 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 and 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 degree and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.
Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District×
Jorge A. Aguilar became the twenty-eighth Superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District on July 1, 2017. He leads the thirteenth largest school district in California with 42,231 students, more than 4,700 employees and a budget of more than $640 million. Aguilar was selected Superintendent by the Board of Education because of his proven track record using data to improve student outcomes.
Prior to serving as Superintendent, Mr. Aguilar was the Associate Superintendent for Equity and Access at Fresno Unified School District. In his career, Superintendent Aguilar has also served as an Associate Vice Chancellor for Educational and Community Partnerships and Special Assistant to the Chancellor at the University of California, Merced; as a Spanish teacher at South Gate High School; and a legislative fellow in the State Capitol.
A son of farm workers who grew up in the central valley, Superintendent Aguilar is a product of the migrant education program. He spent his early childhood migrating back and forth between Parlier, California and the state of Michoacán, Mexico. He graduated from Parlier High School and was accepted into the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish and Portuguese. He spent his junior university year abroad at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Mr. Aguilar also earned his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles after graduating from college.
Director of Network Partnerships, Lead by Learning, Mills College (CA)×
Jennifer Ahn is the Director of Network Partnerships at Lead by Learning, where she works to leverage the transformative power of learning. She 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, Ahn worked as a high school English teacher, counselor, mentor, and coach. Throughout these experiences, she has been driven by a desire to create equitable access to educational opportunities and has used classroom-based inquiry to work toward this aim. Ahn received a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Education from UC Berkeley.
Associate Professor, University of California Irvine×
Dr. June Ahn is an Associate Professor of Learning Sciences and Research-Practice Partnerships at UC Irvine (UCI) School of Education. His core research interest is understanding how technology and information can enhance the way we learn and deliver education. He partners with local organizations, after-school programs, and schools to design new learning environments. The goal of this design-based research is to explore how we might broaden participation and create more equitable learning pathways for learners. He is also interested in designing and studying the impact of new technologies, to solve problems within Research Practice Partnership and Networked Improvement Community settings. His projects are varied ranging from creating social media tools for young learners to share science and alternate reality games for scientific inquiry, to creating AI chatbots for college mentoring and data visualization systems for K-12 teachers to improve their instruction.
Fellow, Thomas C. Giordano Middle School, New York City Department of Education
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Denver×
Erin Anderson is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Denver. She is the program lead and primary investigator of a state turnaround grant. She facilitates professional learning for leadership teams that integrates liberatory design and improvement science into school improvement work. This Design Improvement program is co-constructed and delivered in partnership with Denver Public Schools. She is also a member of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLEAD) Steering Committee. She worked in public middle and high schools in Virginia and New York City, including alternative schools, which initiated her interest in how to make schools equitable and inclusive spaces for students historically marginalized in the education system. Her research focuses on planning, leading, and implementing continuous school improvement.
Coordinator, Office of Professional Learning, Chesterfield County Public Schools
Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, Napa Valley Unified School District
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 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), STEAM, and 21st-century learning. Anna is a leader in the implementation of the NGSS 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 10 years. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s degree in Education from UC Berkeley.
Director, Program Design and Development, Partners in School Innovation×
Amanda Bachelor serves as Director of Program Design and Development at Partners in School Innovation and is committed to an equitable, rigorous, and joyful education for all children. She began her career as a bilingual classroom teacher at P.S. 102 in East Harlem, NY. Most recently, Bachelor 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. Bachelor collaborated in launching 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. She received a B.A. in Political Science and Hispanic Studies from Vassar College and an M.S.T. in Bilingual Education from Fordham University.
Senior Inquiry Learning Manager, Boston Public Schools
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 and social science. She is currently working toward an Ed.D. in the CANDEL Educational Leadership program at University of California, Davis.
6th Grade Mathematics & Science Teacher, Mann UCLA Community School×
Devika Banerjee is a passionate 6th grade teacher at Mann UCLA Community School. She has been there for four years, teaching math, science and art! Banerjee is originally from Philadelphia, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters of Education from UCLA. She is committed to culturally relevant instruction in the classroom, embracing the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and learning styles of her students. Banerjee strives to promote high-quality learning as a fundamental right and to empower students in recognizing their potentials.
Coordinator, UIC Ed.D. Program in Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois Chicago×
Cynthia K. Barron is the coordinator of the UIC Ed.D. Program in Urban Education Leadership, where she has served as clinical faculty and leadership coach for ten years. She co-leads the full-year residency course for aspiring principals, and coordinates and teaches courses in the UIC superintendent endorsement strand of the Ed.D. Program. Barron has more than forty years’ experience in education, of which thirty-five were in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) as a teacher, athletic coach, counselor, assistant principal, principal, truancy & dropout prevention coordinator, Area Instruction Officer, and Interim Chief Officer for High Schools. She has received school leadership awards at elementary and high school levels. As Area Instructional Officer, Cynthia supervised and developed 40+ high school principals. During a seven-year period, schools under her supervision improved school performance on a wide range of measures. Cynthia completed her baccalaureate degree at George Williams College, her master’s degree at Chicago State University, and her Ph.D. at Loyola University of Chicago.
Director of Educational Services, Mendota Unified School District
Assistant Director of Differentiated Assistance and District Support, Santa Clara County Office of Education
Associate Professor, School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia×
Michelle M. Beavers joined the faculty at the University of Virginia in the Fall of 2018 after having served Chesterfield County Public Schools as Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator of Professional Development. Her work in Chesterfield has served as a bridge to the continued partnership through iLead. She is most passionate about the application of theory to practice demonstrated through improvement efforts in her classes. After effectively moving two courses, LEAD I & LEAD II, through the curriculum review process, she now collaborates with district and university partners in the teaching of improvement science and implementation of practices through field-based application initiatives in collaborative teaching environments. Michelle is passionate about shaping the course of learning for students in the Administration & Supervision program and allowing their passions to drive their work grounded in equity and continuous improvement. Her research interests include job-embedded sustained adult learning and development, emotional intelligence, and continuous improvement for student learning.
Director, Implementation and Partnerships, Colorado Education Initiative
Network Leader, Teaching Matters×
Jacobē Bell is the Network for School Improvement 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 holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a M.S. in Urban Education from Mercy College. Bell 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 is the Dean of Arts & Innovation at Episcopal High School in Houston. He 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 nonprofit organizations. Berckley earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Michigan and an Ed.D. from the University of Melbourne.
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 Advisor, Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching×
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 for StriveTogether, 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. She developed a unique improvement science approach that combines tools and techniques from the areas of 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, 3rd-grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, and postsecondary enrollment. Black’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, she 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 English Language Development teacher, reading specialist, mentor teacher, qualitative researcher, and teacher educator. Boas holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Education, Social, and Cultural Studies from UC Berkeley.
Founder and CEO, Improving Education×
Jarrod Bolte is the Founder of Improving Education, a nonprofit working with schools and districts to improve educational outcomes through the use of improvement science. He has led efforts in Baltimore City Public Schools to improve early literacy, increase teacher quality and retention, and develop curriculum for PreK–12 classrooms that supported the shifts to the Common Core. He is a former teacher, school-based administrator, Director of Teacher Development, and Executive Director of Teaching and Learning. He has served on multiple state and national commissions focused on a variety of educational initiatives. He also served as Baltimore Team Lead for the BTEN improvement initiative with the Carnegie Foundation and has been using improvement science in a variety of contexts in the nonprofit education sector. Bolte received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Teaching from Ball State University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Loyola University Maryland.
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. She 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. Boucher received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Indiana University.
Improvement Specialist, WestEd×
Alicia Bowman is an Improvement Specialist for Quality Schools and Districts at WestEd, where she provides technical assistance and coaching support around transformational leadership and systems improvement. She has over 20 years of experience working in K–12 schools, as both a practitioner and coach, in applying continuous improvement for equity, Her K–12 roles have included teacher, principal, principal supervisor, and district office administrator. Bowman is also an experienced equity coach and facilitator, with experience leading and supporting on-the-ground equity improvement efforts in schools and school districts.
Vice President, Networks & Content Design, Learning Forward×
Michelle strategizes and manages the implementation of innovative networks and communities of practice, advancing and scaling knowledge and practices in the field and supporting districts and schools committed to professional development redesign. She also contributes to the strategies and learning designs for Learning Forward’s major learning events and consulting curricula.
Researcher, American Institutes for Research×
Dominique Bradley is a Researcher at the American Institutes for Research, 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. She also serves as the qualitative lead on several evaluations of the Community Schools Initiative and as Researcher and Project Director on federally and privately funded grants. Bradley has over 11 years of 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. holds a B.A. in Sociology from Southern Oregon University, an M.A. in Sociology, and a Ph.D. 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×
Kristina Brewer has been an Elementary Special Education Teacher and has helped run intervention for the past 20 years. She has also been a member of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports team for the past six years and a coach for two years. As a member of school leadership and the MTSS team, she focuses on equity, social-emotional learning, and building relationships with students to create an environment in which all students can 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, she was the Assistant Superintendent for Cincinnati Public Schools where she 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 this work. Prior to leading at the district level, Cheryl served as principal, leading the school to an Ohio Department of Education excellent rating for 2009–10 and the highest state rating, excellent with distinction, in 2011–12. These results earned her the Cincinnatus Association’s 2013 James N. Jacobs Award for Outstanding Leadership. Broadnax earned B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree 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 Budner is currently in her 10th year of teaching history at Lorbeer Middle School in Diamond Bar, CA. In addition to teaching history, she is a Teacher Teaching Specialist who works with groups of students and provides training for staff on how to best support the most at-risk populations. Budner 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 a B.A. in European History with a minor in Art History and certification in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Dominican University and a Master’s degree in Medieval History from the University of Leicester.
Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of the Ed.D. Program in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vanderbilt University×
Marisa Cannata is an Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of the Ed.D. Program in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University and director of the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools. Dr. Cannata’s research focuses on the organizational and social conditions of teachers’ work, including teacher hiring and policy, school choice, and implementation of school reform. Dr. Cannata has experience overseeing both large longitudinal surveys and qualitative research projects. She is the co-author of Steps to Schoolwide Success: Systemic Practices for Connecting Social-Emotional and Academic Learning, and co-editor of School Choice and School Improvement, both published by Harvard Education Press. She has also published in American Education Research Journal, Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Education Finance and Policy, Educational Administration Quarterly, The Elementary School Journal, and Teachers College Record. Dr. Cannata has a Ph.D. in Educational Policy from Michigan State University.
Associate Professor, Portland State University×
Susan Carlile has over 50 years of experience in K-12 education as a teacher, middle and high school principal, and director of curriculum and Instruction for a large, suburban school district near Portland, Oregon. As an associate professor and program lead for the Educational Leadership and Policy Program, she has facilitated the leadership development of over 600 school leaders, received 18 grants for her work, and presented and published in state, national and international forums of leadership, including collaborating with change leadership researchers, Anthony Bryk, Louis Gomez, and Paul LeMahieu, Improvement Science experts. Susan has a B.A. in English and Fine Arts from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction and leadership certification from the University of Oregon, and graduate work in education at the University of Washington and Harvard University. Most recently, her work has focused on examining the issues facing women in leadership positions and strategies for navigating the workplace to ensure gender, racial, ethnic, linguistic, and socio-economic equity in education.
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. He 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. Carter was a teacher in Argentina and Indonesia; in the latter, he founded the Innovative Schools Programme, an 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. Carter holds degrees from Stanford University and Presbyterian College.
Vice President, Implementation, Colorado Education Initiative×
Alex Carter joined the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) team in 2016 as Vice President of Implementation. He currently 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, Carter had a 20-year career as a public school educator. He served as the Superintendent of Schools for Montezuma-Cortez School District in Southwest Colorado, Principal of Telluride High School, a Principal and Assistant Principal in two high schools in Northern Virginia, and a high school history teacher. In 2003, Carter’s work as a classroom teacher was recognized with a National Milken Educator Award. Originally from Woodbridge, VA, Carter holds a B.A. in History and Secondary Education from James Madison University, am M.Ed. in Public School Administration from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Walden 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 AIR. 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. Laura holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an M.P.P. from the University of Maryland-College Park.
VTmtss Program Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Education×
Caitlin Chisholm is the VTmtss Program Coordinator at the Vermont Agency of Education where she supports school leadership teams in their efforts to improve school systems for providing equitable opportunities to all students. Previously, she taught high school mathematics at Phoenix Charter Academy in Lawrence, MA. Chisholm received a B.A. in Sociology from McGill University and an M.A in Urban Education Policy from Brown University.
Executive Director, Center for Public Research and Leadership×
Elizabeth Chu is the Executive Director of CPRL and a lecturer of law at Columbia Law School. At CPRL, her focus is on readying graduate students and clients to use Evolutionary Learning to enhance the education sector’s capacity to improve and serve all children, particularly those who are traditionally underserved. Before joining CPRL, Elizabeth was an Assistant Professor of Practice at Relay Graduate School of Education, where she taught general pedagogy courses, designed and managed internal data collection systems, and performed research on school discipline, teacher preparation, and social-emotional learning. Elizabeth began her work in education as a middle and high school English teacher in the South Bronx. Liz earned her PhD from Columbia University in educational policy. She also has an MS from Pace University in teaching secondary English and a BA from Yale University in English language arts and literature.
Frank A. Daniels Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill×
Cohen-Vogel is currently a co-principal investigator of the Early Learning Project at UNC-Chapel Hill, a $4 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences. In that project, she leads a team that is examining how policy coherence (or lack thereof) may mediate the effect of high quality PreK experiences on children’s later life outcomes.
Through 2015, Cohen-Vogel was co-principal investigator of the five-year, $13.5 million National Center for Research and Development on Scaling Up Effective Schools, a research-practice partnership between UNC, Vanderbilt University, Florida State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Education Development Center, and two of the nation’s largest school districts.
Through her work with the Center, Cohen-Vogel developed an interest and expertise in continuous improvement research. Today, she writes and speaks widely on the topic and the potential she believes it holds for system improvement.
Articles by Cohen-Vogel have been published in the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, the American Journal of Education, Teachers College Record, and Educational Administration Quarterly, among others.
Leading the Division of Education Policy and Politics (Division L), Cohen-Vogel is a Vice President of the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association. She has also served as President of the Politics of Education Association. She is on the editorial board of Educational Researcher.
Instructional Director, Prince George's County Public Schools×
Dr. Coleman earned a dual degree in economics and business from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s degree in secondary education from The George Washington University, and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Maryland College Park. Dr. Coleman has served the students of Prince George’s County Public Schools for the past 25 years. Dr. Coleman currently serves as an Instructional Director. In this role, he is responsible for supporting schools across the school district by providing direct coaching support to principals and articulating the school system’s mission, goals, accomplishments, needs, and strategies to area schools and communities. He has worked with schools serving students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Over the course of his career, Dr. Coleman has served as a high school teacher, assistant principal, and principal of three different schools: Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, Central High School, and Dr. Henry A. Wise High School. During his 14 years as a principal, Dr. Coleman was twice nominated for the Washington Post Principal of the Year Award.
Chief of Improvement, School Networks, CORE Districts×
Juli Coleman, Chief of Improvement, School Networks at CORE Districts, has worked in public education for 27 years. She began her career as an elementary teacher in the Menifee Union School District, then moved to the Oceanside Unified School District and worked as a Resource Specialist, a Teacher on Special Assignment, and a Coordinator. For the past seven years, she has worked at the San Diego County Office of Education as an Executive Leadership Coach, where she works closely with districts throughout the county in helping them 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 that provides assistance to Title I funded schools. Coleman earned an M.Ed. in Special Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, and recently completed the Institute of Healthcare Improvement coaching program.
Fellow, Thomas C. Giordano Middle School, New York City Department of Education
Founder and Principal Consultant, Benjamin Cooper Consulting LLC
Director of Educational Support Services, Washington Unified School District×
Derek Cruz 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 that of a high school English teacher, soccer coach, counselor, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Categorical Projects, and high school principal. Cruz obtained a B.A. in English Literature from UCLA, teaching and counseling credentials from Fresno State, and a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Fresno State. Prior to entering the field of education, Derek was a gardener. This year marks his 30th year in education.
President, High Tech High Graduate School of Education×
Ben joined High Tech High to teach physics as a founding faculty member in fall 2000. He has been a school director, chief operating officer, and chief academic officer for High Tech High and is now the president of the Graduate School of Education. As a student at Haverford College, Ben majored in physics and was credentialed in secondary physics and math, student teaching at Lower Merion High School outside Philadelphia. After graduation, he traveled to the Philippines and taught science and math at an international school in Manila. Upon his return to the U.S., he taught physics and AP physics at the Madeira School, a girls’ boarding school in suburban Washington, D.C. He then moved to California to coach basketball and to teach physics at Pomona and Pitzer Colleges. He earned an M.A. in Science Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of California, San Diego.
Alan J. Daly
Professor, University of California, San Diego×
Alan graduated from Clark University with a BA in Psychology, received a MS in Counseling from San Diego State University, and a MA and Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Educational Leadership and Organizations from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Over the last 15 years, Alan has held a wide variety of positions in public education ranging from classroom teacher to district psychologist to site administrator. In addition to his K-12 public education experience, Alan has most recently been the Program Director for the Center for Educational Leadership and Effective Schools at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he collaboratively supported the delivery of high quality services and research to 5 school districts focusing on the rigorous examination of strengths, building leadership capacity, and facilitating the potential of systems for transformation.
Alan has presented at the local, state, and national level around conflict mediation, the creation and maintenance of positive school cultures, and the impact of current accountability structures. As a licensed educational psychologist, he has also provided consultation to school districts working to build and sustain systemic leadership capacity, district reform, and implementation of adult and student conflict mediation systems. Alan’s research interests include social capital, the analysis of social networks, trust, educational policy, and the building of strengths-based systems of support.
Senior Strategic Advisor & Director of SEP Partnerships, Coalition of Urban Serving Universities×
Dr. Jennifer Danek is Senior Strategic Advisor at the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU). In this role, she works with university presidents and campus leaders to identify and scale solutions that increase student success and equity in STEM and health disciplines and that prepare graduates to meet the needs of urban communities. She currently serves as USU’s Director for the Student Experience Project (SEP), a network of researchers, national organizations and universities seeking to increase equity in college success outcomes by improving student experience. Dr. Danek has a long-standing commitment to education and has authored two popular books to assist students to be successful and to develop themselves holistically in the process of becoming physicians. She continues to serve as an attending physician at the University of Washington. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.
Professor, Department of Education Studies; Associate Dean, Division of Social Sciences, University of California, San Diego×
Amanda Datnow is a Professor in the Department of Education Studies and Associate Dean of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on educational reform and policy, particularly with regard to issues of equity and the professional lives of educators. Over the past decade, she has conducted numerous studies examining the use of data for instructional improvement, teacher collaboration, and leadership, as well as projects aimed at transformative educational change. She is also engaged in research-practice partnerships with local districts. Datnow’s work has been widely published in leading journals, and she is the author of eight books. Her most recent books are Professional Collaboration with Purpose: Teacher Learning for Equity and Excellence (2019) and Data Driven Leadership (2014), coauthored with Vicki Park. She serves on numerous journal editorial boards, as well as on boards and committees that promote equity and excellence in public education. She is deeply committed to impacting policy and practice and works with a variety of local, national, and international organizations to realize this goal.
Assistant Superintendent, Central Unified School District×
As Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Ketti Davis serves the Central Unified School District community by creating, providing, and supporting high-quality teaching and learning opportunities for teachers, administrators, and support staff. Davis first joined Central as a teacher in 1992. In her almost 28 years in education, Davis has supported student learning as a teacher, instructional coach, technology trainer, grant writer, and administrator of assessment and technology. For five years, she served as a school principal in Sanger Unified, at which time she facilitated a school’s academic goals that helped it to gain Distinguished School Status. Davis received a teaching credential from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from California State University, Fresno; and an administrative credential from Fresno Pacific University. She was recently named Association of California School Administrator’s Curriculum and Instructional Administrator of the Year for Region IX.
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.
Karlenys De Los Santos
6th Grade Math & Science Teacher, Eugenio Maria De Hostos MicroSociety School, Yonkers Public Schools×
Karlenys De Los Santos teaches 6th grade math and science at Eugenio Maria De Hostos MicroSociety School in Yonkers, NY. She received her associate’s degree in Liberal Arts and Social Science from Westchester Community College and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Urban and Multicultural Education from the College of Mount Saint Vincent. She started her career in Yonkers Public Schools as a substitute teacher and teaching assistant before becoming a classroom teacher. She recently received her certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Karlenys loves being part of the Hostos community because she has the opportunity to work on her craft as a teacher and has delved into developing her planning, delivery of instruction, and personal and professional growth. During her free time, Karlenys loves to take photos, exercise, and spend time with family.
Director, Bronx Academic Response Team, New York City Department of Education×
Kris DeFilippis is the Director of the Bronx Academic Response Team serving students represented in the nine public community school districts in the Bronx. Our team is designed to strategically interrupt and dismantle the root cause manifestations that yield inequitable environments for our students. Through improvement science we build new systems, approaches, and purposes for education in the schools we support.
Director, Learning Big Picture, Big Picture Learning×
As School Design Coach, Loren gets to combine his passion for interest-based learning with a mission to sustainably undo systems of oppression. Loren is an experienced administrator and educator who has worked with numerous schools and districts to develop context-sensitive strategies serving the interests of students, staff, families, and community. These strategies include: restorative practices, developing non-cognitive competencies, personalized learning plans, internship-based learning, project management, and ways to authentically increase student, staff, family, and community voice.
In 1999, Loren began his career as a middle school teacher in Los Angeles. While the experience was often magical, Loren found himself losing too many students to a poor education paradigm. In 2005, and as principal intern, Loren joined the founding team of Seattle’s Highline Big Picture High School. He committed to three months and found himself often emphatically criticizing Big Picture’s approach to learning. Loren kept asking: “How can we tolerate so much ambiguity? How will students learn the standards?” Lo and behold, after three months – and despite his reluctance to an uncomfortable teaching and learning design, Loren started witnessing profound changes in the ways students and staff, walked, talked, worked, and envisioned their futures. Leaving was no longer an option. Ten years later, Loren was principal of the school and had added a middle school to Highline’s campus.
Loren currently resides in Seattle and enjoys the ‘wonder and awe’ that his two daughters bring to the world. He holds Bachelor’s Degrees from Stanford University in Psychology and Political Science and an M.Ed. from the University of Washington in Education Leadership and Policy Studies.
Educator, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Kayon DePina has been an Educator for Baltimore City Public Schools for five years. During this time, she has served in many capacities, such as 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 is the author of The Metaphorical Moon and Founder of Kayon Kreates Learning Spaces, where she is focused on creating intentional learning spaces at home and on the go. She earned a B.S. degree in Counseling Psychology and Business Management from Washington Adventist University and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Johns Hopkins University DePina is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Capella University.
Academic Response Team Specialist, Bronx Borough Central Office, New York City Department of Education
President and CEO, Schools That Lead×
Dana Diesel 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, Diesel led school development efforts at a statewide education nonprofit in North Carolina and worked as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, central services director, and superintendent in states throughout the country. Diesel has a B.S. in Education from Old Dominion University, an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an Ed.D. Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia 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 Dixon 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. Dixon joined MFEI after working as a Program Officer 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. Dixon earned a B.A. in Microbiology from the University of California, San Diego and an M.P.H. from UCLA.
Improvement Advisor, Independent Consultant, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching×
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, she provided coaching and professional development to leaders of education, health care, and nonprofit 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 health care systems to accelerate their transformation to achieve safety, quality, and financial goals. Dixon 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
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 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. He received a Ph.D. 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.
Professor of Education, School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia×
David Eddy-Spicer is a professor of educational leadership in the Department of Leadership, Foundations and Social Policy at the Curry School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia. He designs and teaches courses and workshops on improvement science and continuous improvement to aspiring and advanced educational leaders in Virginia and nationally. At the University of Virginia, he leads UVA’s partnership with Chesterfield County Public Schools as part of the iLEAD initiative of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning (CFAT). As a member of the Carnegie National Faculty, he has been recognized by CFAT for contributions to expanding the teaching and learning of improvement science and continuous improvement. His research interests include continuous improvement and the adaptive integration of instructional innovation through partnerships between universities and school systems. He has expertise in program evaluation, case study research, and the design and evaluation of innovative professional learning environments internationally. He has authored or co-authored a wide range of major reports, book chapters, journal articles, and case studies on the diffusion of innovation, professional learning, and organizational change in the public sector.
Adviser, Confluence High School×
Isaak entered the teaching profession in 2014. He has worked in Alt Ed. for the duration of his teaching career, first at Chana High School, then helping to open Confluence High. Prior to teaching, Isaak worked for over a decade in humanitarian aid, working for Heifer International and ShelterBox USA. Isaak spent two years teaching as a US Peace Corps volunteer on the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has always gravitated toward improving the lives of underserved populations.
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 Comprehensive Support and Improvement eligible schools-eligible schools. An educator for 24 years, she 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. She believes that asking, “What brings us joy in our work?”” empowers people in the improvement process. Jennifer Enns is currently working on a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Fresno State. 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 Fairley, Principal at Lorbeer Middle School, has served as a public educator for the past 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 past 11 years. Spanning three different districts and eight school sites, her experience as a principal leader at both elementary and secondary schools is extensive. Recognizing that principals have the second greatest impact on student achievement, her focus on supporting and coaching the adults in the school, who then directly impact the students, drives her work. Fairley is currently completing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at San Diego State University. She is studying how gratitude is used and conceptualized as a principal leadership practice.
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×
- 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, he co-leads BARR’s 5-year Network for School Improvement (NSI) project. He serves as a practitioner and consultant in the K–12 and nonprofit 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. Fleming’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.
Curriculum and Instruction Leader, Madison Metropolitan Public School District
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.
Senior Research Fellow, School of Education, University of Newcastle (Australia)×
Leanne Fray is a senior research fellow at the University of Newcastle in the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre. A former teacher, Fray has extensive experience in qualitative and mixed methods research and has previously worked on research projects across such disciplines as health, education, and social science. Recently, Fray has been involved in several major research projects including the implementation of a randomized control trial evaluating the impact of Quality Teaching Rounds on student outcomes, and a longitudinal study aimed at understanding student education and career aspirations. Her research interests include improving student access and participation in higher education
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. Fray-Oliver began her career in education as a middle school mathematics teacher; later, she transitioned into the role of a mathematics coach and instructional specialist. She 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. Fray-Oliver earned a bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies at John Jay College and a master’s degree in Mathematics Teacher Education from City University of New York-Brooklyn College.
Tia Freelove Kirk
Assistant Director, Public University Transformation & STEM Education, The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities×
Tia has 10 years of experience building effective organizational strategies and engaged networks. As Assistant Director, Public University Transformation & STEM Education, she 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 also manages multiple APLU National Science Foundation grants focused on STEM education reform, including SEMINAL: a national network of over 120 math faculty at 24 institutions working to sustain success in the implementation of active learning in undergraduate mathematics classes. She holds a M.A. in government from New Mexico State University and a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from University of Iowa.
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 doctoral degree 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 coeditor 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 (NYC iZone).
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.
Fellow, The Angelo Patri Middle School, NYC Department of Education
Executive Director, Compass Academy×
Marcia Fulton is the Executive Director of Compass Academy in Denver. She has worked in education for 24 years as a teacher, instructional coach, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and 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, Marcia would describe herself as one who leads with her heart and with her mind. She believes that teaching and learning is are human endeavors. 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.”
Director of Continuous Improvement, High Tech High
Assistant Principal, Portland Public Schools×
Crystal Gassert is an Assistant Principal in Portland Public Schools. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology with an emphasis on child development and a Master’s Degree in elementary education. Her K-8 experience has spanned from suburban to inner-city education on both the east and west coasts. Crystal has been a teacher, instructional coach, and administrator leading professional learning communities and professional development on standards-based, data-driven instruction. When pursuing her Initial Administrative License with Portland State University, Crystal participated in the Chalkboard Partnership – Leading for Learning Program where she focused on Improvement Science in professional learning communities within Title 1 schools. She has continued her work with Improvement Science in her role as an Assistant Principal with Portland Public Schools. Crystal’s hope is to support teachers in building high trust with students as they engage in standards-based, data-driven instruction rooted in strong professional learning communities.
Associate Professor, Segal Design Institute, Northwestern University; Founder and Strategist, Forgeworks×
Elizabeth Gerber, Associate Professor at Northwestern University, works at the intersection of design, human computer interaction, and management science to understand and design the future of work. She is the Codirector of the newly launched Center for Human-Computer Interaction + Design, Codirector of the Design Research Council, and Faculty Founder of Design for America, winner of Cooper Hewitt’s Institutional Achievement Award. Gerber codirects Northwestern’s interdisciplinary Delta Lab, whose mission is to design technology-based systems to support learning and collaboration. She has received awards for her work from the National Science Foundation; Joyce, MacArthur, Mozilla, and Watson foundations; Microsoft; and Adobe. Gerber earned a Ph.D. in Management Science and Engineering and an M.S. in Product Design from Stanford University.
Academic Response Team Specialist, Bronx Borough Central Office, New York City Department of Education
Senior Associate, National Equity Project×
Heidi Gill has extensive experience coaching district level leaders, principals and teachers and leading professional development both site-based at schools and through leadership cohorts. She re-joined the National Equity Project staff in 2009, and is currently leading a national effort within our Leading for Equity through Redesign Network which supports districts to design innovative approaches for addressing their complex equity challenges. Heidi has over 20 years of K-8 teaching experience, including middle school math and science. She has also worked as a literacy consultant, and focused her Master’s work on teacher inquiry.
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, WI. Previously, 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. He began as a classroom teacher and now has over 25 years of experience in education in myriad roles. In addition to his work as a middle and high school educator, he has completed training in Project Management and the Kepner Tregoe Decision Analysis framework. Golla earned a B.S. in History and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, an M.S. in Educational Leadership from Marian College and a Superintendent Certification from Concordia University. He is presently working toward a doctoral degree at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Executive Leadership Coach, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools×
Heather Gomez works as an Executive Leadership Coach on the Differentiated Assistance team with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, supporting various districts to eliminate inequities using improvement science. Prior to joining the county office, she served as a site and district administrator, overseeing some of the most vulnerable and at-promise students in the county. Before moving to Fresno, Gomez 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. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies from University of San Diego, M.S.W from San Diego State University, a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Fresno State, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University.
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.
Managing Director, Education & Society Program, Aspen Institute×
Danielle Gonzales is the Managing Director for the Education & Society Program at the Aspen Institute. The Program works to inform, influence, and inspire education leaders across policy and practice to improve Pre-k-12 education, especially for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. In this role, she leads efforts to convene senior education leaders at all levels of education to tackle the most vexing issues in education, to develop and foster partnerships with a diverse range of education leaders, and to write and develop publications and resources associated with professional learning; social, emotional, and academic development; and educational equity.
Prior to this, Danielle was a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation working to advance the Foundation’s K-12 strategy in key states and developing the Foundation’s strategy for engaging faith communities in education reform. Danielle has over 15 years of experience in education philanthropy, policy and advocacy in both pre-k and K-12 education and at both the state and national level. She began her career teaching fourth grade in Brownsville, TX.
Founder and Principal Consultant, Gonzalez Consulting
Senior Legal and Policy Advisor, EducationCounsel LLC×
Dan Gordon formerly served the District of Columbia Public Schools as a senior advisor for school design; as deputy chief academic officer for college and career readiness, early childhood education, language acquisition, and out-of-school time programs; and as chief of staff to the chief academic officer. Previously, he was a lead English teacher at Columbia Heights Education Campus in Washington, D.C. He started his career as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Educational Opportunities Section, where he enforced federal education anti-discrimination statutes across the nation. Dan holds degrees from American University (MAT) and Harvard University (BA and JD) and is an alumnus of both AmeriCorps and the Broad Residency in Urban Education.
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 a 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. She 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 New South Wales Department of Education to examine the effects of “learning from home” on students and teachers during COVID-19. Her grant from the Paul Ramsay Foundation is enabling a major program of research on building capacity for quality teaching in Australian schools. Gore’s research centers on quality and equity, teacher development, pedagogical reform, and enhancing student outcomes. In 2020, she and her team launched the Quality Teaching Academy at the University of Newcastle.
State Lead for North Carolina, TrueSchool×
Lori is an academic program leader with over 20 years of accomplishment developing and leading effective strategies in educational growth, staff development, and success for diverse students. In her previous professional roles, Lori has held positions as an elementary school principal, an adjunct professor and an educational consultant. Lori is recognized and respected for her track record of proven success. She has an unyielding passion for education and is always seeking educational improvement opportunities that advance all students equitably. Lori’s organizational strengths lie in influencing positive direction and continuous improvement through strategic planning. Lori is a supportive and interactive leader who encourages cohesion, trust, and engagement among colleagues, students, parents, and community. Lori is currently finishing her Doctorate in Education and holds an Advanced Study Certificate in School Administration.
Director of Community Collaboration and Evaluation, Southern Methodist University×
Dana Gray is the Director of Community Collaboration and Evaluation at The Budd Center in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University. She is responsible for 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 and systems for collaboration, research, and evaluation.
Senior Consultant, UPD Consulting×
Jenni is a systems-level executive leader who has transformed programs and districts by strategically constructing and cultivating authentic partnerships at the organizational and individual level. She believes the intersection of standards-aligned instruction and equitable practices is the right of every student, the duty of every educator and her life’s mission. Before joining UPD, she lead a department of 14 middle and high school district office content specialists in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School district in Charlotte NC, the 17th largest district in the nation. In Wake County Public Schools in Raleigh, NC she advised school administrators and department chairs on curriculum and instruction of high school ELA.
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×
With over 25 years of experience in the education field, Angela Green currently serves as a Testing and Improvement Analyst in the Department of Accountability and Research with Alexandria City Public Schools. Prior to her role in the accountability department, she was an elementary data coach and interventionist. Green is a National Board Certified teacher with 19 years of experience teaching pre-k through 4th grade. She earned an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Administration from George Mason University.
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 is an English Learner Educator at Wakefield High School in Arlington Public Schools. He has expertise developing professional development and curriculum to support English learner students and at-risk youth, and he mv is also an active community leader who chairs the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families. Griffin is a combat veteran with eight years of active military experience who started his education career teaching computing, business, and English language in Ankara, Turkey between active combat duty deployments. 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)×
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.
Chief Learning Officer, High Tech High Graduate School of Education×
Janie has been part of the High Tech High community since HTH opened its doors in the fall of 2000. She taught middle and high school humanities at High Tech High and High Tech Middle, and was the Director of High Tech Middle from 2007-2014. In her current role as Chief Learning Officer, she supports directors and teachers across the High Tech High schools. Janie has a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Washington, Seattle.
Associate Director, Utah Education Policy Center, University of Utah×
Cori Groth is the Associate Director of the Utah Education Policy Center (UEPC) 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 in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy. She received an M.A. in Sociology from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from University of Utah.
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 Plus Alpha Research & Consulting. He has 22 years of experience in educational research, technical assistance, and public policy. Hall 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. He has visited over 400 classrooms throughout the United States while conducting research for diverse. programs, projects, and funders as diverse as the National Science Foundation, United States Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 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 Regional Education Laboratories. Hall holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and recently completed postgraduate work at Harvard University in Business Analytics.
Improvement Specialist, WestEd×
Christine Han is an Improvement Specialist at WestEd. She currently supports schools and K-12 districts in developing a continuous improvement approach to improving instruction and leadership. Prior to joining WestEd, Christine was a Program Officer at New Visions for Public Schools in New York City, working closely with the Department of Education to improve education outcomes for K-12 students. She is also a former educator who taught elementary, middle and high school in New York City and Los Angeles.
Former Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching×
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.
Senior Director, Education Grantmaking, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies Foundation×
Heather is a Senior Director for Education Grantmaking at Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. Heather leads a portfolio of investments that build a winning narrative about educational equity and advance policies that enable an education system that delivers excellence to all. Heather’s professional career has spanned classroom teaching, professional development, nonprofit management and empirical research. She served as the founding Executive Director of a research-practice partnership at George Washington University and held several senior management roles at Teach For America. Heather was most recently a Senior Program Officer in Education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Heather holds a master’s and doctoral degrees in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and completed her undergraduate studies in Journalism at Northwestern. She retains her love of rigorous research and artful writing. She serves on several nonprofit and charter school boards including the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Freedom Community Charter School.
Superintendent, Avondale Elementary School District×
Dr. Betsy Hargrove, Superintendent of the Avondale Elementary School District, engages in the continuous improvement by implementing and monitoring the achievement of district goals and mission for every child to grow as a thinker, problem solver and communicator to pursue a future without limits. Ensuring this mission is reached, Dr. Hargrove and her team actively seek opportunities to build relationships with community stakeholders, business people and civic leaders to make connections within the district and school sites. AESD has embedded continuous improvement in all systems throughout the organization. Layering high yield instructional practices, job embedded professional development, collaborative accountability and teacher and leader empowerment has had demonstrated success. This has resulted in AESD outperforming the state in growth in achievement four years in a row. Beyond the shared professional and academic accomplishments of the entire AESD community, Dr. Hargrove is most proud of her two daughters, Morgan and Clare.
Senior Advisor for Policy and Planning, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
Associate Professor, School of Education, University of Newcastle (Australia)
Staff Associate, Office of Enrollment, Choice, and Transfers, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Terrence Harris is a Staff Associate (Bilingual/ESOL) in the Office of Enrollment, Choice, and Transfers with the Baltimore City Public Schools. His primary tasks include data management, alternate options assignments, and coordination of services for non-English-speaking families. He 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. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College.
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 Hellmann Ashoka leads the data and evaluation strategy for Yonkers and Brooklyn South Networks for School Improvement, supports in the planning and implementation of the network strategy, and works closely with network implementation coaches to develop and implement school team coaching. She is also responsible for monitoring progress toward project goals and developing reports to facilitate internal reflection and communicate progress to district and foundation partners. She has experience managing the data collection strategy on K-–12 mathematics project partnerships with the New York City Department of Education. Prior to her work at Bank Street, Hellmann Ashoka taught middle school mathematics in Phoenix, AZ, where she engaged in continuous improvement work with her middle school teaching team. She 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 an Ed.D. in Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice and an M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University; and an M.Ed. in Business Education, an M.B.A. in Business Administration, and a B.S. in Psychology and Business Administration from Florida A&M University.
Improvement Research Specialist, WestEd
Dean Emeritus, Graduate School of Education, Portland State University; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching×
“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 Ho 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, she has also played a lead role in designing Partners internal learning systems that prepare and support the staff. Prior to joining Partners, she taught elementary school in South San Jose, CA. Ho earned 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.
Fellow, Mott Hall III, New York City Department of Education
Professor of Practice, College of Education, University of Maryland; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching×
“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 Evaluation for Learning Group. She is also Co-Director of the Partners for Network Improvement at the University of Pittsburgh, where she 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 in 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, under 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 B.S. in Psychology, Speech Communication from Frostburg State University and a Ph.D. 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. Jackson was a principal at alternative and comprehensive school sites.
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 nonprofit organization that builds strong and successful K–12 school communities by improving school culture, school climate, and educator effectiveness. She began her career in education as a licensed K–12 teacher and a secondary school counselor in Minneapolis, MN; now, 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 1 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.
Bryan M. Johnson
Director of Certificated Workforce Management, Los Angeles Unified School District
Equity Leadership Consultant, Shift×
Tanya Johnson is a Strategic Impact Consultant for Shift, where she stewards her 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, 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. She is also co-author of Understanding by Design (UbD). She earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Behavior Intervention Support Specialist, Chesterfield County Public Schools×
Blair Jonas is a Behavior Intervention Support Specialist with Chesterfield County Public Schools. A former special education teacher, Blair has been in the public school sector for over 15 years and is passionate about creating opportunities for all students to succeed and feel valued. When she is not spiking a volleyball on the court, she can be found working on a DIY project, gardening, or spending time with her husband and two children.
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 New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) Chancellor’s central team responsible for building instructional and adaptive leadership capacities in district and school leaders. In her role, Jones-Ratcliffe also helps schools engage students in equitable educational opportunities in blended learning and remote environments. Additionally, she 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, Jones-Ratcliffe 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 serves as a Continuous Improvement Coach in Spartanburg District 6 at Jesse S. Bobo and Lone Oak Elementary Schools (JSBES). She began her teaching career at JSBES where she taught 1st grade for eight years and kindergarten for four years prior to serving as a Continuous Improvement Coach. Justice has served in the role of Continuous Improvement Coach for three years with the Spartanburg Academic Movement. In 2015, she completed her M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from Southern Wesleyan University.
Director of Data and Continuous Improvement, Network for College Success, The University of Chicago×
Herumakhi Mutefnout is the Director of Data and Continuous Improvement with the Network for College Success. At the intersection of research and practice, Herumakhi 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, Herumakhi worked for a human services organization in North Carolina to help those who are least able to help themselves. Herumakhi , 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.
Founder and Principal Consultant, Sovoroom; Carnegie National Faculty, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching×
Edit Khachatryan is an improvement facilitator, researcher, and educator with a mission to create lasting educational improvements by facilitating and strengthening collaborative learning among educators. 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, then to earn her doctorate from Stanford University. Edit’s scholarly work has focused on feedback on teaching from classroom observations, teacher professional development, teacher and district leadership development, and improvement coaching. Most recently, Edit co-authored an article with Emma Parkerson on how to organize the social dimensions of school improvement in Kappan magazine.
In order to truly address educational disparities and ensure sustainable change for our most vulnerable students, Edit believes that we must invest in accessing and utilizing both research and practitioner expertise within our system. She recently founded Sovoroom, an organization committed to supporting continuous improvement through professional development, research, and strategy development. Edit holds a B.A. in sociology, two master’s degrees and teaching and administrative credentials from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and teacher education from Stanford University.
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 nonprofit 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, Ayeola served as a Senior Program Officer at the Wallace Foundation. Where she focused on school and district leadership. She was also 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 in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy and an Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education in Education Policy and Management.
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 16 elementary schools and two K–8 sites. In addition, he supervises special services along with early childhood education programs. Prior to joining PVUSD, he spent 21 years in the Santa Ana Unified School District in Southern California as a principal, assistant principal, literacy coach, and teacher.
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.
Co-Founder and Partner, EDGE Consulting; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching×
Jim Kohlmoos is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, co-founder and partner of EDGE Consulting LLC, and a senior advisor to the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships. With more than four decades of experience in education leadership, Kohlmoos supports new innovative approaches in policy development, organizational management, research and development, marketing, and evaluation. Prior to founding EDGE, Kohlmoos was executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education, a non-partisan non-profit membership association dedicated to serving and strengthening State Boards of Education. From 2001-2012, he was the president and CEO of Knowledge Alliance, a nonpartisan nonprofit trade association in Washington, D.C. dedicated to the effective use of research-based knowledge in education policy and practice. Prior to joining the Alliance, Kohlmoos was vice president of The Implementation Group. From 1993 to 2000 Kohlmoos served at the U.S. Department of Education as both deputy assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education and as senior adviser and special assistant. He also served on the presidential transition team in 1992. A graduate of Stanford University, Kohlmoos started his career in education with the U.S. Teacher Corps in Salinas, CA, and subsequently served two years in the U.S. Peace Corps in Malaysia as a professional development specialist.
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×
Eugene G. Kowch is an Associate Professor in the Education Leadership, Policy, Governance & Innovation area at the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. His research program focuses on developing human and organizational 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 worked in multinational energy companies, culminating in senior corporate development leadership. Kowch shifted his career to help a new generation of teachers and education systems utilize the vast potential of computing and technologies. As a leadership professor, his research program and graduate students conceptualize and develop ideas, processes, and policies to support higher education, K-–12, and industry systemic change. Kowch earned a Ph.D. in Education Administration from the University of Saskatchewan.
Senior Engagement Manager, WestEd×
Kelsey Krausen 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. She 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. Krausen earned an M.P.A. from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in Education Policy and School Organization from the University of California at Davis.
Director of Research and Organizational Excellence Coach, Studer Education×
Julie Kunselman, Director of Research and Organizational Excellence Coach at Studer Education, coaches and supports executive leaders in data-driven approaches to improving organizational performance and outcomes. She has two decades of higher education experience as a professor and administrator. She began her career in education as a high school mathematics teacher with Teach For America and as an adjunct mathematics instructor in Kentucky’s Community and Technical College System. Kunselman began her tenure at the University of West Florida as an Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor and Associate Dean. Later at Northern Kentucky University, Kunselman served as a Department Chair. She earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Gannon University and an M.P.A. in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Urban and Public Affairs from University of Louisville.
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, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning at Baltimore City Public Schools, started her teaching career in elementary grades, focused primarily in grade 1. Faced with the challenge of supporting struggling readers, she spent two summers in New Zealand studying early literacy strategies used in its public education system. Back in the U.S., she taught alternative certification literacy courses at the Urban Teacher Education Center at University of Maryland Baltimore County and then moved on to coach school leaders and teachers around literacy curriculum, best practices, and assessments before beginning her time at Baltimore City Public Schools as a leader in the district’s school support networks. She went on to become the Director of Literacy before landing in her current role as the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning in 2015. In this role, she supervises all core content areas, as well as the areas of early learning, differentiated learning, and instructional technology.
Associate Director of Educator Engagement, The Education Trust–West×
As the Associate Director of Educator Engagement for EdTrust-West, Mayra Lara works closely with County Offices of Education, school districts, schools, and educators, helping shape meaningful policies and practices that will have lasting, positive impacts on students. She also leads the Equitable Access and Success work, with specific focus on underrepresented students of color, students from low-income families, and emergent bilingual students. 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 and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Social also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University, where her research focused on the experiences of young women of color navigating 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 is the Principal of Alder Creek Middle School in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. As an educator with 28 years of experience, she has served as a teacher and a site administrator. She has earned multiple awards, including the 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 was named a national School to Watch® by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. Larson holds a B.S. in Human Development, Family Studies, and Related Services from the University of California at Davis and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Improvement Advisor, Strategic Operations Lead, Marshall Street×
A veteran Special Educator, Stephanie brings her classroom expertise to her work every day as an Improvement Advisor at Marshall. Previously, she served as a K-5 Resource Specialist and Lead Teacher for the Special Education team in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, where she was also a Board-appointed voting member of the Community Advisory Committee. Before that, Stephanie worked as a Tier III Interventionist at Aspire Public Schools. Outside of work, Stephanie is passionately involved with the Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, most recently serving as Membership Advisor.
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 mathematics and science teachers in U.S. schools. She focuses on advocating for teachers, striving toward equitable education, and creating space for asking good questions. Lau earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland.
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 in which she helps other teachers implement the work of improvement science. Previously, she served as an Improvement Representative for the district while learning about improvement science. She has been employed with Baltimore City Public Schools for 20 years. During her tenure with the school system, she served a classroom teacher and, later, a Lead Teacher. She also wrote curricula for literacy and gifted and advanced learners. She has spent summers working at the district office assisting with summer learning programs or in the Human Capital Office assisting with new hires for the upcoming school year. Lawson holds an M.Ed. in Reading Education from Towson University.
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Administration, & Policy, Fordham Graduate School of Education×
Elizabeth Leisy Stosich is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Administration, & Policy at Fordham Graduate School of Education. Dr. Stosich draws on perspectives in education, organizational theory, and sociology to understand how organizational and social contexts influence the relationship between policy and the practice of leaders and teachers in public schools. She aims to identify how state, district, school, and teacher leaders can improve the equity and quality of educational opportunities for all students, with particular attention to historically underserved children. Her research interests include education policy, assessment and accountability, school and district leadership, school improvement, and teachers’ professional learning.
Director of Program Planning, Continuous Learning, New York City Department of Education×
Laurel LeFebvre serves as the Director of Program Planning of the Continuous Learning team at the NYC Department of Education (NYC DOE), where she coaches schools and supports the program and project planning work of the team. Continuous Learning supports a network of schools with a shared focus on disrupting inequitable systems and strengthening supports and outcomes for Black and Latinx multilingual learner students in grades 6–8. 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. Prior to joining Continuous Learning, Laurel worked in support of adult learning throughout the NYC DOE and taught English as a Second Language in China. She holds a B.A. in Chinese History from Columbia University.
Senior Vice President of Programs, Carnegie Foundation×
Paul LeMahieu is the senior vice president of the Carnegie Foundation, where he manages all of its programs. Previously at Carnegie, he directed the work of the Carnegie Hub, which supports the networks the Foundation convenes to engage problems of education practice in the field.
LeMahieu came to Carnegie from the National Writing Project (NWP) at the University of California, Berkeley where he was director of research and evaluation. He has also served as superintendent of education for the state of Hawaiʻi, the only state in the nation that is a single unitary school district with operating and capital budgets totaling over $1.8 billion. He has held top educational research and policy positions for the state of Delaware and in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s from Harvard University and a bachelor’s from Yale College.
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.
Senior Director of Content Development, Bank Street Education Center×
Tarima Levine, the Senior Director of Content Development at the Bank Street Education Center, is responsible for overseeing, researching, and designing high-quality professional learning content aligned to the Bank Street approach to improve district-wide systems and instructional practices. In her role on the YPS NSI and BKS NSI teams, she is responsible for developing and building network capacity around core content including continuous improvement processes, equity-oriented systems and instruction, and high-quality developmentally meaningful practice. Tarima has developed and overseen professional learning creation across a wide range of the Education Center’s school system partnerships including the NY Network, Newark Public Schools, the New York City Department of Education, Providence Public Schools, New Haven Public Schools, and Cleveland Public Schools. Tarima holds a B.A. from Barnard College and M.S. Ed from Bank Street College of Education.
Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation×
Angel Li joined the Foundation as an associate in the evidence and analytics group in 2020. Prior to joining the Foundation, Li worked for Denver Public Schools (DPS) as an innovation and improvement specialist holding the position of analytics lead of the College Ready On Track Network for School Improvement. In her time with DPS, she leveraged her expertise in quantitative and qualitative research, as well as training in liberatory design and networked improvement science to support network initiation and progress monitoring. She is interested in studying how an equity X design X networked improvement model can be applied at the classroom, school, network, and district level.
Li earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Hong Kong. Reflecting the cross-disciplinary nature of her work, she holds publications in education, communication, psychology, and sociology.
Learning Director, Dinuba Unified School District
Senior Manager, Innovation & Improvement, Denver Public Schools×
Sandra Lochhead is a lifelong learner, mother and career educator. Currently, she oversees the Innovation & Improvement Team in Denver Public Schools. In partnership with schools and central departments, her team is building capacity in improvement science, supporting NICs and nurturing innovation to accelerate improvement on their most persistent problems to achieve the vision of students thriving by design. She is an experienced special education teacher, National Board-certified teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal and Director of Leader Development. As a school leader, her school received the Virginia Board of Education Competence to Excellence Award and the Virginia Board of Education Title I Distinguished School Recognition. She is currently completing her doctorate at Denver University and is a steering committee member on the Carnegie Foundation’s iLEAD Initiative. With 30 years of experience, Sandra is committed to achieving equity by continuously improving education to ensure all students achieve success.
Associate Professor, School of Education, Indiana University×
Chad Lochmiller is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Indiana University. 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 human capital in schools, such as coaching and professional learning; and continuous improvement processes, including networked improvement science. Lochmiller serves as the Coordinator for both the Educational Leadership Program and the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington (Seattle) with a specialization in leadership, policy, and organizations.
Continuous Improvement Coordinator–Literacy, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Melissa Loftus is the Continuous Improvement Coordinator in the Literacy Office of Baltimore City Schools; in this role, she leads the Baltimore Secondary Literacy Improvement Community. Previously, 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, she 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 New York City principal and leader for equity working to eliminate gaps in opportunity and achievement for Black and Latinx students throughout the United States 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 New York City 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. Lugo 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. She is also the proud founder and Executive Director of Latinas & Líderes, a nonprofit that seeks to empower girls from under-resourced communities and inspire them to become leaders.
Assistant Superintendent, Division of Equity and Access – Curriculum, Instruction, School Supervision, Yonkers Public Schools×
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. He 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. 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 school and high school mathematics teacher, peer instructional coach, principal, Director of Mathematics and Executive Director of Professional Development. Macaluso received a B.S. in Biochemistry from Manhattan College, an M.A. in Secondary Education and Teaching from City University of New York City College, and an Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University.
Research Assistant, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania×
Megan MacDonald is a Research Assistant and doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. 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, MacDonald 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, DC, and Brooklyn, NY. MacDonald holds a B.A. in Government and English from Georgetown University.
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, and a professor at the University of San Francisco. Her educational background includes teaching in the San Francisco Unified School District, teaching English Language Arts for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, and she served as an academic coach for middle and high school level students. 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, and teaching and an administrative credentials, all from the University of San Francisco. Mallonee Logan 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. Mallonee holds a B.A in English Literature and an M.A. in Teaching from the University of San Francisco.
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 in 1986 to attend California State University, Fresno, where she completed her undergraduate and graduate studies. JoDee’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. Her own struggles as a student acted as a driving force in her work to improve instruction and educational systems to better meet students’ needs, especially those unsupported by the current structures. During JoDee’s k–12 tenure, she built a multifaceted background that provided her a unique opportunity to join the California Education Partners team. Ed Partners’ innovation, drive, and passion to facilitate success for all students are a match for JoDee’s own—allowing her to expand and deepen the amazing work she was blessed to be involved in at Sanger to a larger scale throughout California. Marcellin received a B.S. in Physical Education, an M.P.H. in Public Health, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Fresno State.
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×
Hollis McAllister is the Senior Director of Network for School Improvement for City Year Tulsa. She began her working for City Year career as an AmeriCorps Member at City Year Boston. After her AmeriCorps service, Hollis moved to Tulsa, OK, where she then served as the Operations Manager at City Year Tulsa, and later became Chief of Staff. In her current position, she leads a network of 10—Tulsa Public Schools. McAllister holds a B.A. in Communication, Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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.
Senior Director of Humanities, Portland Public Schools×
Tania McKey is the Senior Director of Humanities in the Portland Public Schools. Tania leads the work articulating PPS’s vision for achieving a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum. This includes developing and implementing coherent, standards-based core curriculums for PK12 Language Arts and Social Sciences/Ethnic Studies. She also guides and supports Dual Language Instruction (DLI) and English Language Development (ELD). Prior to joining PPS, she was an assistant professor at Portland State University in Educational Administration. Tania earned her doctorate in administration, supervision and curriculum at Auburn University where she also worked as a graduate research/teaching assistant in the college of education and the office of diversity and multicultural affairs. Dr. McKey’s research interests include whole school sustainability/green schools, improvement science, and literacy.
Associate Dean, Research and Innovation and Partnerships, College of Education, University of Maryland×
Margaret J. McLaughlin serves as Associate Dean for Research and Innovation and Partnerships in the College of Education at the University of Maryland-College Park. 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. She has consulted with numerous state and local agencies, and international organizations and served as Executive Director of the J.P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. She has served on numerous advisory and technical work groups of the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences. She currently directs a Doctorate of Education program for school system leaders that is grounded in improvement sciences. She holds degrees from the University of Denver and the University of Northern Colorado, and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.
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.
Executive Leadership Coach, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools×
Angelina Amaro-McNamara has 23 years’ experience in the educational field. With her experience in the classroom, and administration K-12, she has applied her learning to public education as well as the private sector. After her work in public K-12 education, Angelina gained further experience when she was a national speaker for the Common Core Institute, Chicago, IL. Currently, Angelina is an Executive Leadership Coach in Fresno County. She has led a PLN through a grant with CCEE and CDE. Angelina also partners with districts in their journey of developing a framework to implement all the components and principles of MTSS. Angelina supports superintendents, administrators and teachers through school and district improvement by using Improvement Science tools and framework as a continuous improvement model.
Undergraduate Student, West Virginia University; Director, First2 Network×
Jordan Means, a first-generation college undergraduate student, is a sophomore at West Virginia University majoring in Immunology and Medical Microbiology. Jordan is from Elkview, a small town in West Virginia. She is a director for the First2 Network, and the WVU Club Vice President for First2. Along with being a director, she is an INBRE Research Intern, focusing on how specific transcription factors impact metastasis, or the spread of cancer. She is also looking at endosymbiotic bacteria and its effects on fungi. Outside of school, she loves traveling the world and learning about different cultures. Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Costa Rica, Peru, and Colombia are the countries she has visited. Jordan is also a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship, and hopes to study Public Health in South Africa. In the future, she plans on going to medical school and wants to participate in the Doctors Without Borders Program.
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. Mehta is currently working on two projects: a contemporary study of schools, systems, and nations that are seeking to produce ambitious instruction; and a history of the effort to link social science with social policy to achieve social progress. He is coeditor 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 was awarded the Morningstar Teaching Award at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is currently on a Radcliffe Fellowship. From Harvard University Mehta earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies, a master’s degree in Sociology, and a doctoral degree in Sociology and Social Policy.
Chief Program and Strategy Officer, Big Picture Learning×
Eva Mejia is the Chief Program & Strategy Officer at Big Picture Learning. In that capacity, she stewards strategic thinking and programs to maximize the impact that Big Picture can have on young people and the educators that serve them.
Always seeking to learn and improve life outcomes for disenfranchised communities, Dr. Mejia has served in many capacities across pre-K-16 systems. She began her career in direct services as a social worker and coordinator for parent engagement, mentorship, and tutoring programs. During this time, she developed her skills as a strengths-based social worker, bridging divides across systems and communities to support young people and their families.
Prior to joining Big Picture, Mejia developed her skills in networked improvement and adult development. Most recently, she served as the Director of Networked Improvement Science for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. At Carnegie, she oversaw efforts to solve some of the most pressing problems in education through the use of networked improvement communities. She also served as an Improvement Coach for the Data Wise Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and as an institutional effectiveness consultant helping community colleges and university teams use data to inform their student success programing.
Dr. Mejia holds an Education Leadership Doctorate (Ed.L.D.) from HGSE, as well as a B.A. in psychology, and an M.A. in sociology from Stanford University.
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 myriad experience in 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 his work is his belief that school systems exist to support learning for all students, including English learners and students with disabilities. Melgares received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and an M.A. in Education from Loyola Marymount.
Director of Improvement, CORE Districts×
Amanda Meyer 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 K12 team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her work is focused on supporting networks of secondary schools to use improvement methods to improve outcomes for students who are Black, Latino/a, and experiencing poverty. Prior to joining the foundation, Mihalakis was a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, where she led the English language arts curriculum and professional development teams. Her work has focused on partnering with public school districts across the country to ensure that students—especially those traditionally underserved due to race, income, and language—have access to ambitious and engaging instruction that prepares them for college and careers. Mihalakis began her career as a high school English teacher. She holds a Ph.D. in Instruction and Learning from the University of Pittsburgh.
Assistant Professor, Humboldt State University×
Libbi Miller has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education since 2017. 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. She earned a B.A. in English Communication from Fort Lewis College, an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Northern Arizona University.
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, and the principal of Hall District Elementary School, prior to joining the curriculum and instruction department. Monjaras earned her B.A. in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz; a Multi-Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Monterey Bay; and an administrative credential and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University.
Project Co-Director, CARPE Network, High Tech High Graduate School of Education×
Edgar Montes currently serves as the Project Co-Director of the CARPE College Access & Success Network within the Center for Research on Equity & Innovation at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. He works with a passionate group of college access and improvement science professionals to advance the college and career readiness and success of students in schools and districts throughout southern California.
Previously, Edgar served as the executive director of a California statewide initiative to scale up a multi-tiered system of support focused on advancing the academic, social-emotional, and behavioral development of the whole child through the Orange County Department of Education. Edgar also served as director of state and district partnerships for the College Board’s western regional office, director of college counseling at High Tech High Media Arts, and admission counselor at the University of San Diego
David Montes de Oca
Chief of Improvement, District Partnerships, CORE Districts×
David Montes de Oca has been working in education for twenty-five years, beginning as a teaching assistant, a teacher in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and later joining Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) as a teacher.
During his time with the district, David also worked as the School Design Lead for new incubating secondary schools in the OUSD’s New School Development Group. Following the redesign of over a dozen schools over two years, David was recruited to design and direct a new Office of Charter Schools for OUSD to better oversee its 32 charter schools in Oakland. This lead to his position as the Executive Director of Quality Community School Development, establishing School Quality Standards, a School Quality Review process and co-constructing a Balanced Scorecard. Simultaneously he worked as adjunct faculty at Cal State East Bay’s Educational Leader department and as a member of the Lead Team for the State University of New York’s School Quality Review process.
Upon his appointment to the position of OUSD’s Associate Superintendent of Quality, Accountability and Analytics, the district transitioned to using online data dashboards, district-wide Cycles of Inquiry, and renewing school transformation & turnaround processes. For the past three years David has worked as the Senior Deputy Chief of Continuous School Improvement. In this role, David oversaw the implementation of a School Performance Framework (SPF) designed to establish a tiered system of differentiated supports to achieve equitable outcomes across all Oakland schools. His division also oversaw the Office of Charter Schools; the District’s data-driven Continuous School Improvement processes, as well as the newly envisioned Call for Quality Schools process to assist school communities in transforming the District’s persistently underperforming schools.
Cathy Quiroz Moore
Superintendent, Wake County Public School System (NC)×
Cathy Quiroz Moore became the Wake County Public School System’s 10th superintendent in May 2018. Moore leads the 16th largest school system in the nation, with more than 160,000 students and 19,000 employees. Moore, who was appointed in 2011 as the school system’s Deputy Superintendent for Academic Advancement, has dedicated her career to public education. In her role as Deputy Superintendent for Academic Advancement, she was responsible for school administration, academics, special education, student support services and student assignment. Prior to that role, she was an area superintendent, a high school principal, a high school assistant principal and high school teacher. She began her career as a high school French teacher in the Nash-Rocky Mount Public School System. Moore has a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature from North Carolina State University and a master of school administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Director of Communications, Shift×
Erin Moore brought to her position as the Director of Communications at Shift her experience in inclusive design and decision-making from her work in marketing and patient advocacy. At the core of Moore’s work is a desire to cultivate an empathetic environment that fosters inclusion and fuels our capacity of change. She believes that the most powerful innovation comes from learning across difference. She holds a B.S. in Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University.
Program Manager, Marcus Foster Education Institute×
Arianna Morales is the Program Manager at Marcus Foster Education Institute. 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 to 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. Morales earned her B.A. in International Studies from Vassar College and M.A. from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education.
Director of Continuous Improvement, Marshall Street×
Kyle Moyer has worked with Summit, and now Marshall Street, for over a decade as a Founding Mathematics Teacher at Everest Public High School, an Instructional Coach, and Program/Project Manager. He has taught abroad in Indonesia and Ecuador, and is a National Board Certified Teacher and Math for America Master Teacher Fellow. Moyer holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics from Northwestern University and an M.Ed. from Stanford University.
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, Latinx, or impacted by poverty. Prior to this role, her work at the foundation focused on teacher leadership that supports standards-aligned instruction. Murrieta started her career as a secondary special education teacher in traditional and charter public schools in Los Angeles. She received a B.A. in Global & International Studies, Sociology from UC Santa Barbara and an 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 in Wisconsin. Previously, he served similar roles in other districts in Texas and Wisconsin. He began working in public schools as a special education and computer classroom teacher before moving into administration. Nennig earned a B.S. in Special Education from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an M.S. in Instructional Technology from Cardinal Stritch University, along with certifications as a technology coordinator, principal, and superintendent. He also served on multiple site teams as an examiner for the Baldridge Performance Excellence Award and is a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.
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 Collaborative. 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. Nolt earned a B.A and M.Ed. 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, he holds a Superintendent Letter of Eligibility from the University of Pennsylvania.
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; he has been serving the district in different capacities for more than 20 years. 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.
Professor, Fordham University×
Margaret Terry Orr 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 5-year results with her co-author, Liz Hollingworth. She contributed to the development of the US 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders. Previously, she 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. 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. Orr received a B.A. in Sociology from Denison University, an M.Ed. and a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Managing Director, National Equity Project×
Kathleen has been working to support the healthy growth and development of young people and advance racial and social justice for over 25 years – as a teacher, social worker, coach, and non-profit leader. She joined the National Equity Project (then BayCES) in 1997 and currently serves as a Managing Director providing leadership for work in the Midwest Region and contributing to the design and facilitation of national networks of leaders focused on advancing equity. In all contexts, her focus is on creating humanizing spaces where young people and adults can learn, heal, and work together to create communities in which everyone belongs, contributes, and receives what they need to thrive. Her current work is focused on exploring the intersection systemic oppression, learning and development, and social emotional wellness in schools and communities.
Prior to joining the National Equity Project in 1997, Kathleen worked as a School Social Worker and Project Facilitator for the Comer School Development Program in the Chicago Public Schools where she led the development of school-community partnerships and facilitated multi-disciplinary teams responsible for meeting the academic and social emotional needs of children and families. Kathleen earned her undergraduate degree from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio and a Masters in Social Work from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She has tremendous gratitude for the courageous and inspiring leaders she supports across all sectors of public service and for the extraordinary team at NEP that she gets to call family. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two teenage daughters.
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 Vice President 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. Pacchiano 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. She 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. Pacchiano earned 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 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. Additionally, she teaches graduate coursework and professional development workshops on qualitative research methods, educational leadership, and equity-oriented school transformation. She started her career as a special education teacher in Washington, DC. Pak earned a B.A. in Political Science and Government from Georgetown University, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Policy and Leadership from American University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in the Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education Division from the University of Pennsylvania.
Executive Director, Connecticut RISE
Managing Partner and Co-Founder, EducationCounsel LLC×
Scott Palmer provides policy, legal, strategic planning, and advocacy services to education leaders across the country, including state/national policy counsel and federal advocacy before the White House, U.S. Department of Education, and Congress. He works on a wide range of major reforms, from designing K-12 policies that promote college and career readiness, to building comprehensive birth-to-five early learning systems, to promoting access and diversity in higher education. Palmer previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education and Attorney and Policy Advisor in the Clinton White House where he worked on the President’s Race Initiative on education and civil rights issues. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelor of Arts with honors from the University of Maryland.
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.
Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Senior Director, Cohort Programs, UnboundEd×
Josh Parker, Senior Director of Cohort Programs at UnboundEd, says his 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, DC, 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 UnboundEd. 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). Parker earned a B.A. in Sports Communication from Towson University and an M.A. in Leadership in Teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland University.
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).
Principal, Watertown, Connecticut High School×
Janet P. Parlato is currently the Principal of Watertown High School where she has also served as Assistant Superintendent and Interim Superintendent. This is her 28th year of professional practice in education, with the first 20 years of her career spent at as a teacher and administrator at Berlin High School in Connecticut. . Her interests include student-centered instruction, school belonging, teacher leadership, and the development of school culture driven by relational trust. Parlato earned a double Bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut and an Ed.D. in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.
Professor, University of Colorado Boulder×
William Penual designs and studies curriculum materials, assessments, and professional learning experiences for teachers in science. He works in partnership with school districts and state departments of education, and the research he conducts is in support of educational equity in three dimensions: (1) equitable implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards; (2) creating inclusive classroom cultures that attend to students’ affective experiences and where all students have authority for constructing knowledge together; and (3) connecting teaching to the interests, experiences, and identities of learners. He uses a wide range of research methods, including one my colleagues and he developed called design-based implementation research, to test what we design.
One line of his research focuses on how research-practice partnerships can support the production and use of evidence in educational decision making. As the Principal Investigator of the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice (NCRPP), a knowledge utilization center funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, he studies how school and district leaders use research. He has authored two books on research practice partnerships, Creating Research-Practice Partnerships in Education (Harvard Education Press, 2017), and Connecting Research and Practice for Educational Improvement (Routledge, 2018). He gives workshops regularly on how to build and sustain research-practice partnerships centered on promoting equity through inclusive, collaborative design processes and monitoring of equity of educational opportunity.
Early Childhood Practice Consultant, Start Early
Lauren Perez Pietruszka
Freshman Success Coach, Network for College Success×
Lauren Perez Pietruszka is a Freshman Success Coach with the Network for College Success (NCS). Her career began as a Freshman AVID and literacy teacher in the 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 who were primarily first-generation college students across Illinois as Director of Academic and Social Emotional Supports at the Golden Apple Foundation. After 10 years of educational experience, she continues to put students’ voices and needs continue to be at the core of her work. Lauren earned a B.A. in English at Illinois Wesleyan University with concentrations in education and psychology and an M.A. 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, NY, since 2008. For 27 years, she has held positions as a bilingual teacher, 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 schoolwide 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 mathematics 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. Through her participation in new initiatives and reform models that focus on school improvement, including the Yonkers Public School Network for School Improvement, she has been able to move students to better performance on state exams by improving teacher learning and skills. Perez-Mejia holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Pace University, an M.S. in Bilingual Education from Long Island University, and an M.A. in Supervision from Fordham University. She was Yonkers Public Schools Administrator of the Year 2013–14.
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 Peterson is a Fellow at the London School of Economics, where she currently teaches Social Policy. In September 2021, she will start on the faculty of the London Interdisciplinary School, a new institution offering an undergraduate program based on complex global challenges. Peterson has studied a wide range of issues related to the adaptation of education systems to emerging and future conditions. Previously, she worked for Innovation Unit, a nonprofit consultancy working on transformation in education, health, and social services, and as an intervention teacher in the United Kingdom. Her work has been published in both academic and practitioner books and journals, and she is the coauthor of Thrive: The Purpose of Schools in a Changing World. She holds an M.Ed. in Human Development and Psychology and a Ph.D. in Education Policy and ProgramEvaluation 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, VA. 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, Farah established a collaborative team of educators who developed guidance documents and professional learning modules for division-wide implementation. Farah has vast educational experience as a teacher and instructional coach in multiple settings in Alexandria and Detroit, MI. Throughout her career, Farah 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.
Executive Leadership Coach, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools×
Abigail Petropulos has focused her career on reimaging 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, Petropulos 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, including principal, regional director, and executive leadership coach, her favorite title has always been teacher.
Associate Professor, University of Michigan; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation×
Donald J. Peurach, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and an associate professor of educational policy, leadership, and innovation in the University of Michigan’s School of Education. His research examines large-scale, network-based educational improvement initiatives, focusing specifically on how these networks continuously learn and improve over time. Don is the author of Seeing Complexity in Public Education: Problems, Possibilities, and Success for All (2011, Oxford University Press) and co-author of Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better Schools (2014, University of Chicago Press). His most recent essay in Educational Researcher examines the development of system-level improvement and impact infrastructure to support network leadership.
Don is the lead developer of the Carnegie Foundation’s Network Leaders for Learning, a professional development and field-building effort aimed at advancing improvement science in practice and policy. He is also the developer of Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement, a U-M/Carnegie collaboration that uses massive open online courses on the edX platform to provide a comprehensive introduction to improvement science.
Education Manager/Interim Director of Operations, The Institue for Human and Social Development×
Jennifer Pifeleti is Education Manager/Interim Director of Operations at the Institute for Human and Social Development (IHSD) 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. Pifeleti 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 teaches courses as an Adjunct Professor in Early Childhood Education for San Francisco State University.
Assistant Principal, Denver West High School, 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 Schools 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, Pressler joined Umoja Student Development Corporation, and later Chicago Public Schools as an. MTSS District Manager, supporting schools, networks, and central office teams by developing and implementing the systems and structures.
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.
Deputy Chief of High Schools, Chicago Public Schools×
Having dedicated more than two decades to making a difference in the lives of students and families on the classroom, campus, and school system levels, Dr. Erick Pruitt considers it a true privilege and honor to serve students, educators, and communities in the Chicago Public Schools. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Erick served with pride for 7 years in the United States Marine Corps. It was from this experience that Dr. Pruitt developed his unwavering commitment to serving others, culminating in his decision to pursue his life’s calling as an educator. Over the next 22 years, Erick would serve as a classroom teacher, campus principal, and district leader responsible for the success of thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students across the city of Chicago. Dr. Pruitt then brought his talents to Houston, Texas in 2014, where he would ultimately lead district-wide transformation initiatives for all of its underperforming and underserved schools on the elementary and secondary levels. He returned to Chicago Public Schools in 2018, currently serving as Deputy Chief of High Schools for the entire district.
5th Grade Teacher, Falk Elementary School, Madison Metropolitan Public School District
Superintendent, Yonkers Public Schools×
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, Quezada moves the agenda of public education through compassionate distributive leadership in which he is always engaging with the team. Equity and access to academic, social-emotional, and cultural opportunities for every child drives Quezada’s work, such as his implementation of Yonkers’ chapter of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative—a program that addressed persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color to ensure that all young people can reach their full potential—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. Quezada earned an Ed.D. in Education from Walden University.
Co-Founder and Global Director, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning×
Joanne Quinn, Cofounder and Global Director of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning, 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 the United States. Quinn 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 combines with her passion for improving learning for all children and gives 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
Freshman Success Coach, University of Chicago, Network for College Success×
Joyce Randall is a Freshman Success Coach at the Network of College Success. Joyce has committed her career to education as the vehicle through which society is improved. She believes the aim of education is not the acquisition of facts and figures, but instead the honing of our natural ability to see what we have not seen or experienced – imagination. Imagination allows us to invent and progress. Further imagination develops empathy – we imagine who we would be, what we would think, if we were someone else, somewhere else at some other time. At the Network for College Success, Joyce coaches teacher leaders to develop dynamic and courageous teams. Teams that lovingly and responsibly take the risks necessary for to learn how to equitably support all 9th graders in earning a 3.0 GPA or better.
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 Design Institute at Northwestern University, as well as the Chief Research and Development Officer at ForgeWorks, which creates online communities to support learning movements. 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 U.S., and his native UK. Rees Lewis has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University.
Kaitlyn Reilley is an Academic Response Team (ART) Specialist with the New York City Department of Education. As a member of the Bronx ART Specialist, Kaitlyn provides research-based tools, materials, and a customized learning experience to engage school stakeholders through the Improvement Science process, with the goal of promoting equitable and accessible instruction, accelerating student learning, and recognizing and addressing opportunity gaps which could lead to disproportionality within the larger school system and culture. Reilley partners with schools to engage in inquiry cycles to identify problems of practice that may sustain inequitable practices, and then works collaboratively to provide support and coaching in a manner that shifts mindsets, and builds capacity in ways that deepen partnerships with school communities. Reilley also serves as the Director of the Committee for Special Education and English Language Learners for the Science Teacher Association of New York State. Previously, Reilley taught middle and high school science in the Bronx. Reilley holds a B.S. in Neuroscience from Lafayette College, a M.S. in Science Education from Lehman College, a M.S. in Neuroscience and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a M.S. in Educational Leadership from Fordham University.
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. Since 2008, he has 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. He was the recipient of the Award for National Leadership in Student Success Innovation and 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. Renick earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an 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 multiyear 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.
W. Bradley Roberson
Assistant Superintendent, Oxford School District×
Over the past twenty years, W. Bradley Roberson has had the privilege to serve the Oxford School District as a mathematics teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal. He currently serve as the assistant superintendent and director of curriculum and will begin his tenure as Superintendent of Schools in 2021-22. He has always believed that all children can learn at high levels provided the necessary time to do so. Roberson holds fast that we can no longer allow time to be the constant in the learning equation while learning remains the variable. For an organization to improve, people must improve. Continuous improvement rests on the ability to shift attitudes and behaviors. Roberson has been a part of the continuous improvement journey with the Carnegie Foundation and iLEAD since 2017.
Chief Strategy Officer, Be A Leader Foundation×
Karla Robles is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Be A Leader Foundation in Phoenix, AZ. 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. Robles earned a B.S in Global Business and Marketing from Arizona State University and an M.P.A from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.
Dean, School of Education, University of Mississippi×
Dr. David Rock is currently Dean of the School of Education at the University of Mississippi. He received his B.S. in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University, M.A. in Mathematics Education from the University of Central Florida, and Ed. D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Mathematics Education) from the University of Central Florida. David has taught mathematics in Florida and Mississippi at the middle and high school levels. He has served as a professor and coordinator of Secondary Education at The University of Mississippi and the chair of the Department of Education at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. David also served as the Dean of the College of Education and Health Professions at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA. He has conducted educational workshops and seminars at local, state, and national conferences in which his goal is to increase interest and enthusiasm of the teaching and learning of mathematics. While his love is mathematics, his passion is the use of technology to enhance education. David has also published numerous articles and co-authored 15 books including Teaching Secondary Mathematics (2013) and Scratch Your Brain Where It Itches (2001, 2006, 2008). David also believes that he has learned a great deal about education from his family that includes four children and his wife Michelle who is a former elementary teacher.
David currently serves as the Chair-Elect and member of the board of directors for the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED) and member of the Carnegie Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLead) Network.
Superintendent of Schools, Pajaro Valley Unified School District×
Michelle Rodriguez is the Superintendent of Schools in Pajaro Valley Unified School District. She is an inspired leader, 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, rural, and low-socioeconomic districts for over 28 years with a focus on vulnerable student populations. She has been recognized for her 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. From the University of Southern California, Rodriguez holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies and Spanish, an M.A. in Elementary Reading and Literacy, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.
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. A former Harvard Strategic Data Fellow, she served as the Manager for Research & Evaluation at the San Jose Unified School District. Her research and practice are focused on using evaluation and continuous improvement methods to effect sustainable change in education. Her soon-to-be-released book, Leading Change through Evaluation, provides a case study of building improvement science capacity in schools. Rohanna holds a Ph.D. in Education from UCLA.
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. Rorrer’s expertise is in school district and state leadership, policy, and educational change, particularly those changes aimed at increasing equity in student access and outcomes. Rorrer teaches courses in the master’s and doctoral program on organizational change and educational politics and policy. She has over 27 years of professional experience in education, including roles as a policy analyst and a research associate in Texas and as a school administrator and a classroom teacher in Virginia. Rorrer is a member of the University Council for Educational Administration and has previously served on the Executive Committee and as UCEA President. She received an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Texas, Austin.
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 who led the organization’s transition from the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools (BayCES). Prior to joining the National Equity Project, LaShawn served as a teacher and leader at Redwood Day School in Alameda, CA; The Wheeler School in Providence, RI; and Berkeley High School in Berkeley, CA. Routé Chatmon was a MetLife Teaching Fellow, a LeaderSpring ED Fellow, and a Pahara Fellow. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from the UC Berkeley; an M.A.T. in Teaching from Brown University; and an administrative credential from the Sacramento’s Urban Leadership Program at California State University-Sacramento.
Professor and Chair, Educational Foundations, Organizations and Policy, 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. He earned a B.A. in Mathematics from California State University-Los Angeles, an M.A. in Education and Teaching Mathematics from Stanford University, and an Ed.D. in Teacher Education in Multicultural Societies from the University of Southern California.
Executive Coach, National Center for Urban School Transformation; Former Superintendent, Alvord Unified; Former Assistant Superintendent, San Diego Unified×
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 eight years. She then served as a Learning Director for Washington Union High School for four years prior to transitioning to her roles within the district office. Sanborn holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Administration.
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, and 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, Sandoval worked at the Carnegie Foundation, at which he received training in the theory and application of improvement science tools and methods. He received a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA.
Educational Specialist, Disciplinary Literacy, Fairfax County Public Schools×
Natasha Saunders has spent her career as a middle school teacher, instructional coach, and disciplinary literacy specialist. Currently, Natasha supports school based leaders, teachers, and central office staff in their use of improvement science as a methodology for continuous improvement and disciplinary literacy. She is also a doctoral candidate at George Washington University.
Chief of Staff, California Education Partners×
Laura Schwalm is Chief of Staff for California Education Partners. She began her career in the public school system as a student teacher in the Garden Grove Unified School District where she continued to work for 41 years, including the last 14 years as the superintendent. As a teacher and administrator at all levels of the system, she has learned from masterful teachers about 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.
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.
Associate Professor & Division Director, George Mason University
Senior Research Scientist, BARR Center×
Anu Sharma is a Senior Research Scientist at the BARR Center. She was the original evaluator for the BARR model in 1999 and has been integral to testing its effectiveness over the past 20 years. She 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. Sharma 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 works alongside teams as they engage in continuous improvement work to help them move the needle towards more equitable student outcomes, as measured by the California School Dashboard. She has coached over 13 improvement projects. Sharp has K–12 experience as a high school mathematics and AVID teacher; high school learning director; elementary school principal; and district director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. She earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies, an M.A. in Administrative Services, and Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership.
Vivian Ann Shaver
Continuous Improvement Coach and Trainer, Spartanburg Academic Movement×
Vivian Ann Shaver, a Continuous Improvement Trainer and Coach for Spartanburg Academic Movement, supports SAM’s work through the John T. Wardlaw Institute for Continuous Improvement to embed CI practices in schools across Spartanburg County. In her career, Shaver has used Six Sigma CI science in project management for Tyson Foods and Sealed Air Corporation. Shaver has volunteered on School Improvement Councils and PTO organizations. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Emory & Henry College and a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.
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 in which he supports school teams in continuous improvement practices designed to improve belonging, engagement, and resiliency for students while elevating student voice. Sheppard began his career 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, he led the first Response to Instructional Intervention pilot, including identifying evidence-based strategies, effective research-based intervention programs, and providing technical assistance to school teams to ensure that strong infrastructures for student support services were present. He received an M.Ed. from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.
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, along with development and validation of powerful tools for NIC development, and contributes to growing the knowledge base of how NICs develop and mature. Sherer earned a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan University, an M.A.T. in Math Science Education from Lewis and Clark University, and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University.
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.
Manager, Project Support Coach, Fairfax County Public Schools×
Claire Silva works as a project support coach for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), managing strategic plan project teams. Her work includes the design and implementation of innovation and improvement efforts tackling longstanding system-wide problems of practice. She supports the use of continuous improvement methodologies including agile project management, systems thinking, and improvement science. Claire provides data coaching to support the identification and collection of measures for reporting on scale and impact. She manages the HUB of a School Improvement & Innovation Plan Network Improvement Community (SIIP NIC) of 6 elementary schools aimed at shifting the school improvement process from static to dynamic using iterative cycles of improvement. She is a member of the George Mason University/FCPS iLEAD partnership.
Claire taught biology & oceanography for fourteen years in both high school classroom and online environments. As an instructional coach for Fairfax, she developed 41 collaborative teams within a high needs high school using data and coaching. As a data specialist, she developed a data literacy curriculum and provided system-wide professional development on using data to inform instructional decision making. Silva earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Rhode Island, and a masters in education administration & supervision from the University of Virginia
Senior Education Consultant, Teaching Matters×
Amber Smith is a Senior Educational Consultant for Teaching Matters. Her expertise is in middle school and high school, and she focuses 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 and sustaining culturally responsive mindsets and pedagogy. Prior to joining Teaching Matters, Smith served as a middle school and high school teacher in Austin, TX, and New York City. Additionally, she served as a literacy coach, director of literacy, and assistant principal at a middle school in the Bronx. an M.S. in special education from The City College of New York, and a M.Ed. in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Deputy Executive Director, Continuous Learning Team, New York City Department of Education×
Courtney Smith serves as the Deputy Executive Director of Continuous Learning (CL) 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 New York City 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, Smith 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, Smith worked in DC Public Schools as a 10th- and 12th-grade ELA teacher and curriculum writer. She holds B.A.s in English and Spanish from Georgetown University; an M.A.T. in Secondary Education from American University; and an M.Ed. in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia 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 American Institutes for Research, where she directs research and development projects focused on mathematics instruction and teacher professional learning. Smith currently directs the development and experimental testing of a virtual coaching program designed to improve the alignment of teachers’ instruction to state standards and codirects two networked improvement communities in which high school mathematics teachers use improvement science methods to improve their instruction. Smith also serves as Coprincipal 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. In her work, Smith draws upon prior experience as a high school mathematics teacher and assistant professor of mathematics education. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics from McDaniel College, an M.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the. University of Maryland.
Senior Faculty Specialist, The University of Maryland×
Jean Snell is a Senior Faculty Specialist for the Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement at the University of Maryland. She coordinates the Administrator 1 certification program, teaches and advises doctoral students in the School Systems Leadership program, and oversees district partnership initiatives for professional learning and school improvement for the Center. Snell launched her career in education as a high school English teacher, and she has dedicated the past 20 years to helping develop the next generation of school and teacher leaders and equipping them to lead continuous improvement in order to narrow the achievement gap in their schools and districts. Snell earned a B.A. in English from the University of Utah-Salt Lake City, an M.A. in Social Foundations from the University of Maryland-College Park, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington.
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 serves as a mathematics specialist to the Yonkers Public Schools Network for School Improvement in partnership with the Bank Street Education Center as part of their efforts to improve student and teacher learning in middle-grades mathematics. Since 2003, she has served as a grade 6–12 mathematics 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. Patel Song has a B.B.A. 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.
Vice President, National Program, and Program Director, Education, Carnegie Corporation of New York×
LaVerne Evans Srinivasan is the vice president of the Corporation’s National Program and the program director for Education. She oversees grantmaking and other activities aimed at engaging parents and communities, improving teaching and leadership for learning, advancing innovative learning environment designs, providing K–12 pathways to college and career success, and fostering integrated approaches to innovation and learning in the field of education.
Srinivasan has extensive experience with senior-level leadership roles in the areas of urban district change, nonprofit education reform, and educational technology. As deputy chancellor of the New York City Department of Education from 2003 to 2006, she directed and managed the long-term strategic planning of the Human Resources division and the Student Enrollment Planning and Operations division, and launched the Parent and Community Engagement division. She designed and implemented Project Home Run, a strategically redesigned and streamlined system for recruiting, hiring, and placing teachers and school principals that greatly increased the teacher talent available to high-needs schools, a program that has been replicated nationwide.
In 2006, Srinivasan became president of New Leaders for New Schools, where she led and managed day-to-day strategy and operations. In addition, she oversaw the organization’s growth and expansion into six new urban school systems, its launch and development of the Effective Practice Incentive Community (EPIC) awards program, and the doubling of its network of community and staff.
As president of Time to Know, an educational technology company, Srinivasan worked to provide teachers with a suite of integrated tools for curriculum planning, classroom management, and student assessment designed to foster deeper learning by students through writing, project work, problem-solving, and creative activities. She later cofounded FieroNow, a technology company created to equip education organizations with meaningful and actionable feedback from their stakeholders, as well as with the data needed to respond.
Srinivasan began her career at law firm Shearman and Sterling LLP. In 1993, she joined BMG Entertainment as senior director of Legal and Business Affairs, rising to senior vice president of Legal and Business Affairs, and general counsel worldwide. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She serves on the advisory boards of College Promise Campaign, Education Equity Lab, EdTech Evidence Exchange, Reach Higher, and Global Science of Learning for Education Network. She is also a Pahara Fellow.
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.
Assistant Professor, Drake University×
Doug Stilwell is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Drake University. He has served as a public school educator and leader for 35 years, holding the positions of teacher, principal, associate superintendent, and superintendent. As Superintendent of the Urbandale Community School District, Stilwell worked with his leadership team to create a learning organization focused on quality and continual improvement. Operationalizing the work of W. Edward Deming, David Langford, Peter Senge, and Jim Shipley through the Baldrige Excellence Framework, the district achieved its highest levels of student performance in nearly 20 years. In his current position, 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. He received his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration from Drake University.
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
Lead Coach, Continuous Learning Team, NYC Department of Education
Restorative Justice Educator, Madison Metropolitan Public School District
Lead Coach, Continuous Learning Team, New York City Department of Education
Associate Vice President, Arizona State University×
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. 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. Symonds has over 20 years of experience working on college access and student success. She received a master’s degree from California State University Fullerton and a 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.
Improvement Coach, High Tech High Graduate School of Education×
Dr. Sofía Tannenhaus is an Improvement Coach with the CARPE College Access Network at High Tech High’s Center for Research on Equity & Innovation. Motivated by her background, nearly all of Dr. Tannenhaus’ research has sought to improve educational outcomes for low-income Latino students. She has immersed herself in work with various organizations and institutions to provide better opportunities for students who grew up similar to her.
While attending K-12 Title I public schools in South San Diego County, Sofía witnessed many of her peers crossing the border each day from Tijuana into the U.S. Despite student, teacher, and administrator awareness of this common practice, this student population acted as a sleeping giant within the education system due to the sensitive nature of their transnational residency. For her dissertation, Sofía returned to her hometown to conduct a year-long qualitative study with cross-border students.
While her research projects have been meaningful, Dr. Tannenhaus sought to better understand the world of practice by becoming an educator. As a teacher, she designed meaningful learning experiences for students in their Spanish class at High Tech High. Education can be transformative for students when service learning is combined with high expectations and a rigorous curriculum – when it engages “the heart, the hands, and the mind,” as we say at High Tech High. This is what Sofía considers the purpose of education to be – that which challenges and inspires us while making our community a better place.
Dr. Tannenhaus holds a preliminary administrative credential and a clear single subject teaching credential in Spanish. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Education from UC Berkeley and her B.A. in Sociology from UC San Diego.
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 (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) results, adjusted cohort graduation rates, National Assessment of Educational Progress assessment scores, and data elements and metrics reported in the DC School Report Card (required under the Every Student Succeeds Act). Previously, she 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. Tate earned a B.A. in Sociology from Princeton University and an M.P.P. from UC Berkeley.
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.
Division Director, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College×
Nicole L. Thompson is the Division Director for the Division of Teacher Preparation in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Her academic career has focused on the transformation of teacher education with the goal of constructing preparation programs to better meet the needs of teachers, teacher candidates, PK-12 students, and the community in which they are situated. As a qualitative researcher, Thompson has three primary interests: teacher preparation transformation, American Indian education focusing on the professional preparation/support of teachers, and middle level teacher preparation. Her research interests incorporate honoring the voices of people who typically go unheard or unnoticed in the education world.
Blueprint Literacy Coach, Baltimore City Public Schools×
James Thurman has served as a Blueprint Literacy Coach in Baltimore City Public Schools since 2018. He began his career teaching secondary language arts in Chicago Public Schools before joining school administration in Illinois Unified District 46. He previously served as a school administrator in various capacities throughout the Chicago area for five years. Thurman holds a B.A. in English Literature from Southern Illinois University, an M.A.T. in Secondary Education from National Louis University, and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from Concordia University. Thurman is currently a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at Aurora University.
Director, Office of Enrollment, Choice, and Transfers, Baltimore City Public Schools×
Brandon L. Tilghman is a native of Baltimore, MD, 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. He 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. Tilghman 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 their communities. He earned a B.S. in Business Management and Finance from Hampton University, a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University, and an M.B.A. from 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 Comprehensive Support and Improvement-eligible schools. Prior to joining FCSS, she had 21 years of experience in education, including as a secondary mathematics teacher, instructional coach, and site and district leader. Torres-Barton has found that the improvement work allows for humans to be at the core of change in very tangible ways. She is currently working on her doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University.
Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois Chicago; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching×
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 Trawick-Smith 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 districts in Baltimore, Hartford, Fort Worth, and Oakland. Since the onset of the pandemic, Trawick-Smith 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, Trawick-Smith worked with City Year Headquarters to help build strategic data infrastructure as part of a fellowship with Education Pioneers. He has a B.A. in Psychology and Art from Drew University and an M.B.A. from Babson College.
School Support Associate, Utah Education Policy Center, University of Utah×
Magda Tsagaris, M.Ed., is a School Support Associate with the Utah Education Policy Center 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. Tsagaris believes that strong schools are the key to healthy communities. As a proponent of community schools, Tsagaris 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. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in Education from Southern Utah University.
Director, Educator Quality Center, California State University Office of the Chancellor×
Dr. Paul Tuss is director of the EdQ Center. The center develops and manages EdQ DataView, a data warehouse and dashboard reporting system designed to support a culture of data sharing and continuous improvement for CSU educator preparation. Dr. Tuss also coordinates the center’s statewide surveys of first-year CSU teaching graduates and their employment supervisors. He has held positions with the Sacramento County Office of Education, San Juan Unified School District, Westat, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Energy. He is a past president of the California Educational Research Association and an alumnus of the Strategic Data Project at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research.
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 is a Senior Program Associate for the Improvement and Systems Planning practice areas at WestEd. She provides technical assistance to state and local education agencies in areas of equity-driven systems transformation and continuous improvement. Experienced in change management, leadership development, networked learning, and stakeholder engagement, Valdez is passionate about racial justice and educational equity, and has interests in place-based change, people-centered design, transformative stakeholder engagement, and transformational leadership. She 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. Valdez holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Mills College (CA).
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. As a Professor at the University of California, Irvine, her research is primarily concerned with how to support teachers in 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, and 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. Van Es is the co-founder of the UCI Teacher Academy, a form of research partnership working 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.
Director of Mathematics, WestEd×
Kirk Walters is the Director of Mathematics at WestEd. A former high school mathematics teacher, his research broadly focuses on understanding ways to improve mathematics teaching and learning. Previously, Walters was a principal researcher at AIR whose research focused on understanding ways to improve K–12 mathematics teaching and learning. He holds a B.S.E. in Social Studies Education from John Brown University, an M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction from Chapman University, and a Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from the University of Maryland.
Tracy Bettale Watterson
VTmtss Program Manager, Vermont Agency of Education×
Tracy Bettale Watterson is a VTmtss Program Manager at the Vermont Agency of Education. She has been an educator since 1986, serving children as a K–5 teacher, paraeducator, interventionist, and K–8 mathematics specialist in Missouri, Washington, and Virginia. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Virginia. 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. Watterson is a nationally certified program manager and graduate of the Vermont Leadership, Exploration and Development (LEAD) program. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Washington University in Saint Louis and an M.A. in Mathematics Education from the University of Virginia.
CVNIC 2.0 Mathematics Director/Mathematics Curriculum Specialist, Tulare County Office of Education×
Kim Webb is currently the Network Director for the Central Valley Networked Improvement Community, a network of Tulare County schools and districts focused on improving mathematics 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 and curriculum specialist. She has expertise in lesson study, facilitating professional learning for teachers and administrators to deepen their understanding of the California Mathematics Standards, and supporting districts to shift instruction to support all students in learning mathematics at high levels.
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.
Educator, Baltimore City Public Schools×
During Jenn Wendler’s 20 years of experience in Baltimore City Public Schools, 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, as New Teacher Support Lead, and in various roles with The New Teacher Project to build capacity in Baltimore City Public Schools. Last spring, Wendler was selected as an iFellow with Improving Education, when 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. Wendler earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Towson University. She most recently completed coursework in gifted and talented education to better support a wider range of abilities in the classroom.
National Director of Program Delivery, City Year×
Matthew Wernsdorfer is the National Director of Program Delivery of City Year. Previously, he worked as a teacher and principal. Matt has founded schools and education nonprofits in Baltimore and works on a team at City Year that supports many sites around the country.
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 past 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 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×
Tinkhani Ushe White serves as the Director of School Improvement for Chesterfield County Public Schools in Virginia. A former high-school mathematics teacher, she has been in education for over 20 years having taught everything from 7th-grade mathematics to pre-calculus, mostly in schools considered “challenged”. Perhaps her most rewarding position was serving as a high school principal. Her main interests are in how continuous improvement and improvement science principles can support the work of equity, educational access, and opportunity. This has led to serving in an adjunct capacity at UVA, Virginia Tech, and Longwood University, with a focus on leadership development. Tinkhani is also a member of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLEAD) Steering Committee. When she is not spending time with her family, Tinkhani likes to dance, crochet, and participate in activities in her church.
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 at the University at Albany-State University of New York and the Research and Development 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 PreK–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. Wilcox earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University at Albany-State University of New York.
Associate Professor, Southern Methodist University×
Annie Garrison Wilhelm is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University. 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. Wilhelm holds B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from Santa Clara University, an M.A. in Mathematics from the University of Washington, and an M.Ed. and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership and Mathematics Education, respectively, from Vanderbilt University.
Program Manager, California Education Partners×
Amy Williams is a Program Manager at California Education Partners. With 25 years of experience in education, she currently oversees a seven-district California Language & Learning Innovation Collaborations focused on deepening their learning and improving student outcomes in early literacy. She has experience in both special education and general education, as well as in developing, implementing, and supporting district initiatives such as multi-tiered systems of support, professional learning communities, and Universal Design for Learning. Williams holds an M.Ed. from Fresno Pacific University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration from California State University, Fresno.
Teaching Associate Professor, West Virginia University×
Kathryn Williamson has served as Teaching Associate Professor in the West Virginia University Department of Physics and Astronomy since January 2016, after working as the Public Education Specialist at the Green Bank Observatory. In 2013, she founded the West Virginia Science Public Outreach Team that trains college ambassadors to deliver interactive STEM presentations to K–12 audiences around the state, reaching approximately 4,000 students each year. Williamson’s current work focuses on building persistence of rural, first-generation college STEM majors through The First2 Network (F2N), an NSF INCLUDES Alliance. She serves as cochair of the Faculty-Student Engagement working group within the larger F2N Networked Improvement Community. She received a B.S. in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Physics Education Research from Montana State University-Bozeman.
District Grant Writer, Pajaro Valley Unified School District×
Andrea Willy has been writing proposals and engaging in improvement science work at Pajaro Valley Unified School District for four years. She sits on numerous community nonprofit boards as an advocate for vulnerable populations, school district initiatives, and equity. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
Continuous Improvement Program Director, Baltimore City Public Schools×
As Baltimore City Public Schools’ Continuous Improvement Program Director, Amiee Winchester 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’ Networked Schools of Improvement, and leads the creation of professional learning opportunities to build the continuous improvement capacity of district leaders and practitioners. Winchester holds a B.A. in International Affairs from American University, an M.A. in Elementary Education and Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, and an. M.A. in Education Policy from Teachers College, 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. Woglom 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.
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.
Deputy Director, Freshman Success, Connecticut RISE Network×
Nichelle serves as the Deputy Director of Freshman Success at the RISE Network. Nichelle was an educator for nearly twenty years. She has worked in both public and charter schools, holding positions as an elementary school teacher, district school social worker, and a Dean of Student Services. Prior to working at RISE, Nichelle served as a middle school principal for six years. Nichelle holds a B.A. in psychology from Vassar College, a M.S.W. from Columbia University School of Social Work, and a Sixth Year degree and Intermediate Supervisory certificate from Central Connecticut State 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.
Assistant Principal, Thomas C. Giordano Middle School, New York City Department of Education
Founder and CEO, Shift×
Karen Zeribi is the Founder and CEO of Shift. Her work is focused on bringing together multiple stakeholders to learn from each other and mobilize their communities toward big, ambitious aims. Over the last 20 years, she has designed and implemented enduring improvement networks on a wide array of important topics that impact our society. She also has devoted time to teaching and coaching continuous improvement methods, designing and facilitating numerous courses ranging from basic to advanced skills, and virtual to in-person. Zeribi built Shift to scale the power of improvement methods—to catalyze and sustain impact. She earned a B.S. in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University and an M.H.S. from Johns Hopkins University.
Principal, JY Joyner Elementary School
Chancellor Emeritus, State University of New York