With the challenges and opportunities that states, districts and the federal government face, this commentary from the Hechinger Report provides some guidance about how communities can come together to meet the needs of their students while making more effective use of resources and building the local economy.
With the challenges and opportunities that states, districts and the federal government face, this commentary from the Hechinger Report, by C&J Chairman Christopher Cross and Say Yes President Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, provides useful guidance on how communities can come together to meet the needs of their students while making more effective use of resources and building the local economy.
C&J Chairman Christopher Cross was named 2016 Distinguished Senior Fellow by the Education Commission of the States. Read ECS’s press release here.
The L.A. Times reports on C&J’s work with Los Angeles County’s Office of Education’s Division of Special Education in L.A. County Report on Special Education Sees ‘Crisis’.
Read the L.A. Times article here.
Jean-Claude Brizard, a noted educator with experience as the district leader in Chicago and Rochester and as an educator and administrator in the New York City Department of Education, joins Cross & Joftus as a partner and vice president. Current partners Christopher Cross, Scott Joftus, Sharon Deich, and Monica Rosen are pleased to join with Mr. Brizard in further expanding the firm’s broad expertise.
In addition to helping Cross & Joftus serve existing clients, such as Omaha Public Schools and the District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), Mr. Brizard will be managing two practice areas—one devoted to helping local and state leaders transform under-performing school systems and another focused on education-to-career policies and practices at the local and state levels.
Mr. Brizard spent the 2013 calendar year as an advisor to the leadership of College Board developing the organization’s career-readiness initiative. This engagement culminated in a strategic plan for integrating career readiness into the College Board’s mission and a special supplement that was published as part of the 45th edition of the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. He is the former Chief Executive of Chicago Public Schools. Prior to his appointment in Chicago, he was Superintendent of Schools for the Rochester (NY) School District.
Under Mr. Brizard’s leadership, both the Chicago Public Schools and the Rochester City School District saw substantial improvements in student performance. He introduced a comprehensive change agenda across the Chicago Public Schools, including closing a significant budget gap of more than $1.3 billion over two fiscal years while preserving core reforms and investing in classrooms. He developed a new framework for teaching, and the system saw record increases in student achievement, graduation rates, and on college-readiness benchmarks. He created a Blueprint for reform that will continue to serve as roadmap for years to come.
Mr. Brizard’s experience also includes a 21-year career as an educator and administrator with the New York City Department of Education, finishing his tenure as a Regional Superintendent, supervising more than 100 schools in the Borough of Brooklyn. He is a National Trustee of the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, board member of Teach for America DC Region and New Voices Strategies (VIVA Teachers – a teacher voice organization), and founding board chair of Anseye Pou Ayiti (Teach for Haiti). In addition, Mr. Brizard is a Fellow of the Broad Center, a Fellow of the Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellowship, and a member of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network.
A licensed commercial pilot, Mr. Brizard credits his parents—both of whom were educators—with inspiring him to pursue a career in education.
“We are thrilled that Jean-Claude is joining Cross & Joftus,” said chairman Christopher Cross. “Aside from his unmatched experience and knowledge of the field, Jean-Claude is a highly principled, incredibly engaging leader who believes that public schools can and must educate all children if our country is going to be successful. Cross & Joftus and our clients will benefit greatly from his skills, perspective, and thoughtfulness.”
Cross & Joftus—devoted to helping public education leaders achieve outstanding results—recently celebrated its eleventh anniversary. Current practice areas include school and district improvement, educational leadership, talent management, strategic planning, school finance, community schools, and education policy.
Christopher T. Cross
Christopher T. Cross is chairman of the education policy consulting firm Cross & Joftus, where he contributes his considerable strategic planning, policy analysis, and development skills. Cross also serves as a distinguished senior fellow with the Education Commission of the States and is a consultant to the Broad Foundation. Previously, he was a senior fellow with the Center for Education Policy.
From 1994 to 2002, Cross was president and chief executive officer of the Council for Basic Education (CBE). Before joining CBE, he served as director of the education initiative of The Business Roundtable and as assistant secretary for educational research and improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. Cross served as president of the Maryland State Board of Education from 1994 to 1997 and was a member from 1993 to 1997. He also was a member of the National Education Commission on Time and Learning.
He chaired the National Assessment of Title I Independent Review Panel on Evaluation for the U.S. Department of Education from 1995 to 2001 and the National Research Council Panel on Minority Representation in Special Education from 1997 to 2002. Cross also chaired the National Research Council panel on Early Childhood Mathematics. He served on the board of The New Teacher Project for 12 years , is a member of the board of the Center on the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Academies of Sciences and a commissioner of the senior division of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In 2002, Cross guided the negotiated rule-making process on Title I for the U.S. Department of Education.
In 2001, he completed a six-year term on the Board of International Comparative Studies in Education for the National Research Council. In addition, he chaired the National Council for Education and Humanities Development of The George Washington University from its inception in 2000 through 2002.
Cross has written extensively on education and other public policy areas and has been published in numerous professional journals and newspapers, including Education Week, Teachers College Record, Phi Delta Kappan, The College Board Review, The Washington Post, the Sacramento Bee, and the Los Angeles Times. He co-authored an article, “Systems, not Superheroes,” published in the winter 2008 edition of the American Association of School Administrators’ Journal of Scholarship and Practice.
The first edition of his book, Political Education: National Policy Comes of Age, was published in in 2003 by Teachers College Press (TCP), and the second edition, Political Education: Setting the Course for State and Federal Education Policy, was published by TCP in 2014. The new edition expands on the first, examining the people and events that shaped federal K-12 education policy from WWII to the Obama Administration and introducing new insights into the future of federal education policy. Cross is also the co-editor of Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education, published in 2002 by National Academies Press. He has lectured on American education issues in Japan, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates.
Cross holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Whittier College and a Master of Arts degree in government from California State University, Los Angeles.
Scott Joftus is president of the education policy consulting firm Cross & Joftus, LLC. Joftus brings important knowledge of evaluation and significant technical assistance experience. He was the primary developer and is now the director of The Learning Network, a partnership approach to school and school system improvement, which is being implemented statewide in Kansas. He is also the senior strategic advisor and technical assistance provider of the Race to the Top Technical Assistance Network, a $43 million initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help states implement major reforms and achieve dramatic improvements in student outcomes. Joftus also serves as an adjunct professor at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, where he teaches leadership, program evaluation, and education policy.
Previously, he served as the policy director for the Alliance for Excellent Education, where he helped develop the agenda for the newly created policy organization focused on ensuring all students graduate high school prepared for college. From 1998 to 2002, Joftus was director of policy, research, and evaluation for The McKenzie Group, an education policy consulting firm. In this position, he conducted numerous evaluations for and provided technical assistance to the U.S. Department of Education and states and school districts nationwide.
He also served as a senior associate at the Council for Basic Education and as a strategic planning consultant to the San Francisco-based think tank Public Policy Institute of California. In addition, he was an elementary school teacher as a member of the first-ever corps of Teach for America.
Joftus earned his bachelor’s degree in public policy from Duke University, a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley, and a doctorate in education policy and leadership from The George Washington University.
Sharon Deich is vice president of the education policy consulting firm Cross & Joftus, where she focuses on education financing issues and change management. She is also an expert in coupling after-school programming and traditional education reforms to improve student achievement. At Cross & Joftus, Deich directs a series of projects that include providing technical assistance to nine cities that are working to build citywide after school systems; conducting financial analyses for school districts looking to reallocate resources toward priority areas; and assisting non-profits with strategic planning. Her work builds on two decades of experience in the nonprofit sector that includes research, policy analysis, and technical assistance. She works with federal agencies, state government leaders, city officials, foundation initiative leaders, and non-profit organizations on issues related to early care, K-12 education, after-school programming, and related education reform efforts.
From 1997 to 2007, Deich served as an associate director for The Finance Project, where she authored numerous briefs and reports on the financing of human services programs and provided technical assistance and expert facilitation to organizations looking to scale up and sustain promising initiatives. During this period, she also served on numerous advisory boards, including one for a joint project of the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the National Conference of State Legislatures to expand extra learning opportunities as a way to improve student success.
Before joining The Finance Project, Deich spent 15 years researching and evaluating programs that support low-income children and families. Her prior experience includes work for the American Institutes for Research, where she worked closely with the Head Start Bureau to revise performance standards and the training and technical assistance system. She also spent six years working at the Urban Institute, where she was a contributing researcher and author for the National Child Care Study.
Deich earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from The State University of New York at Albany and earned her master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan.
Monica S. Rosen
Monica S. Rosen is a Partner and Vice President of Cross & Joftus and leads the firm’s human capital practice. Monica has a wide range of experience in human capital management, organization design, leadership development, principal recruitment and selection, and educator effectiveness. Monica directed the Chicago Public School’s efforts to improve the quality of principals across the district, spearheading the redesign of a principal screening process, launching a local and national principal recruitment effort, and supporting the strategic promotion, support, or removal of principals. She also established the Leadership Development and Support unit, where she oversaw the district’s Principal Induction program, and support for the district’s 26 Chief Area Officers. Prior to this role, Monica helped lead a redesign of the district’s Human Resources department, and then established and led the 65-staff member Employee Services team in HR. During her tenure in Employee Services, average transaction turn-around time improved from 8 weeks down to 3 days, call answer rates from 45% to 93%, and first call resolution from 45% to 75%.
Monica left the Chicago Public Schools at the end of the 2011 school year to expand her work in education and advise districts and organizations on HR redesign and educator effectiveness. Her clients have included Denver Public Schools, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Newark Public Schools, The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, The George W. Bush Institute, and Google, Inc. Prior to joining Chicago Public Schools, Monica worked in philanthropy and nonprofit management, serving as a grants administrator for the Tiger Foundation in New York City and then as Executive Director for Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a career development program for minority undergraduates and professionals. Monica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wesleyan University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. She is a recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, and a graduate of the Broad Residency in Urban Education.
Jean-Claude Brizard is a Partner and Vice President of the education policy consulting firm Cross & Joftus, where he leads the firm’s school and district transformation work with states and districts as well as the firm’s CTE and workforce development practice area. Brizard is a noted educator with experience as the district leader in Chicago and Rochester and as an educator and administrator in the New York City Department of Education.
Prior to joining the firm, Brizard was president of UpSpring Education Group, a network of highly experienced education practitioners and education sector leaders who partner with mid-sized, high-poverty districts to build transformational plans for reform, ensure the capacity to execute with excellence and help redefine the way that success is measured. Brizard spent the 2013 calendar year as an advisor to the leadership of College Board developing the organization’s career readiness initiative. This engagement culminated in a strategic plan for integrating career readiness into the College Board’s mission and a special supplement that was published as part of the 45th edition of the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.
Brizard is the former Chief Executive of Chicago Public Schools. Prior to his appointment in Chicago, he was Superintendent of Schools for the Rochester, NY School District. Under Brizard’s leadership, both the Chicago Public Schools and the Rochester City School District saw substantial improvements in student performance. Brizard introduced a comprehensive change agenda across the Chicago Public Schools, including closing a significant budget gap of more than $1.3B over two fiscal years while preserving core reforms and investing in classrooms. He developed a new framework for teaching, and the system saw record increases in student achievement and graduation rates and on college readiness benchmarks. He created a Blueprint for reform that will continue to serve as roadmap for years to come.
Brizard’s experience also includes a 21-year career as an educator and administrator with the NYC Department of Education. He served as a Regional Superintendent, supervising more than 100 schools in the Borough of Brooklyn, and he also served as the system’s Executive Director for secondary schools. Brizard is a Fellow of the Broad Center and of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network.
Joseph A Aguerrebere
Joseph A Aguerrebere served for eight years as President and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in Arlington, Virginia. NBPTS is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to advance the quality of teaching and learning in schools. Prior to leading NBPTS, Dr. Aguerrebere was Deputy Director of the Education, Knowledge, and Religion unit of the Ford Foundation in New York. In addition to his management responsibilities, his grantmaking work focused on working with key national organizations in the development of human capital in education settings in the U.S. and abroad.
Born and raised in East Los Angeles, he attended the University of Southern California where he earned a bachelors degree in political science, and masters and doctorate degrees in educational administration. His professional career began as a high school teacher in Southern California. He ultimately worked in five diverse school systems serving as assistant principal, principal, and central office administrator in elementary, middle, and high school settings. He later served as a tenured full professor of educational administration at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Los Angeles where he prepared teachers and school leaders to work successfully in urban settings. While there, he was Director of the Future Teacher Institute and National Director of the Consortium for Minorities in Teaching Careers, a multi-state, multi-university collaborative funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
Shari Berland is an associate specializing in public education reform initiatives. Shari manages strategic planning, program evaluation, and policy analyses to support district redesign efforts throughout the US. While at the New York City Department of Education, Shari helped to create more than 250 new schools for underserved youth; in Chicago, Shari has worked with education accelerators and venture philanthropies such as LEAP Innovations, The Chicago Public Education Fund, and The Renaissance Schools Fund (New Schools for Chicago), managing projects ranging from the development of a local Breakthrough Schools cohort and a personalized learning program for high school students, to turnaround policy and school-based budgeting. Shari has also worked directly with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to establish and refine an RFP process to support the Renaissance 2010 initiative, and has participated in more than 70 new school review panels. Recent national clients include SchoolWorks, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, The Indiana Charter School Board, The Georgia State Charter School Commission, The New Jersey Department of Education, and the Raza Development Fund. Shari currently sits on the Local School Council of the Disney II Magnet School and on the Education Council of the Christopher House Elementary School, both in Chicago. Shari is also a founding board member of Pilot Light, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the integration of food and nutrition education into CPS curricula and policies.
Shari holds a BA in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1993) and an MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (2000).
Alicia Bolton is an associate with Cross & Joftus and the current Director of Career Education for D.C. Public Schools (DCPS). She leads the team responsible for overseeing DCPS’ 50+ career and technical education (CTE) programs, which span everything from engineering and computer science to culinary and mass media. As part of her role, Bolton devises and executes strategies to address issues such as teacher quality, curriculum, program awareness/marketing, operations, data, and budget to ensure that DCPS’ CTE programs are high-quality and that students are motivated to complete them, graduate from high school, enroll in postsecondary education and ultimately pursue a high-wage and high-growth career.
Prior to joining DCPS in 2015, Bolton was a Policy Advisor with the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Career Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE). In this capacity, she served as lead writer for Investing In America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education (the CTE Blueprint), which reflected the Obama Administration’s proposal to systematically elevate the quality of CTE programs through reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Additionally, Bolton represented ED in its collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to issue and award the Youth CareerConnect grants. Totaling $107 million, these grants brought together secondary, postsecondary, industry and workforce partners to create career-themed programs that prepare high school students for postsecondary education as well as high-wage, high growth jobs in fields such as health care and IT. Bolton secured her role with ED in 2011 through the Broad Residency, which is a two-year intensive leadership development program that places talented professionals into high-level managerial positions in school districts, charter management organizations, and federal/state departments of education across the United States.
Bolton holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Florida A&M University and is a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow with a master’s in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Tracy Breslin has dedicated her career to ensuring that all students – regardless of background – have access to a high-quality education that prepares them to succeed in school and life. Tracy has over seventeen years of experience in education and nonprofit management. Tracy has served as a talent management consultant since 2011, working with Denver Public Schools, Hawaii Department of Education, Hillsborough County Public Schools, New Jersey Department of Education, and Syracuse City School District. She spent two years working with Newark Public Schools (NPS) on talent management policy and strategy. As Interim Chief Talent Officer, she designed and led the district’s human capital reform agenda to ensure that there is an effective teacher in every classroom and leader in every school. She facilitated district-union negotiations leading to a breakthrough teacher contract, including one of the nation’s first comprehensive performance-based compensation systems, peer observers in evaluations, and school empowerment and flexibility. Tracy also led teams to redesign educator evaluation, develop and implement new teacher and principal selection processes, create a new Talent Division, and institute a school-based strategic staffing system to promote mutual matches based on principal autonomy and educator choice.
Before becoming an independent consultant, Tracy worked at the New York City Department of Education. As the Executive Director of the Office of School Leadership, she led a team to recruit, select, train, and evaluate 1,600 principals and 3,500 assistant principals. Previously, as the Director of School Leadership, Tracy coordinated programs to train and support aspiring and current school leaders. Prior to joining the NYC DOE, Tracy led recruitment and admissions at New Leaders for New Schools, a national non-profit organization focused on attracting and preparing outstanding school leaders. She also led organizational strategy, fund development, and talent identification to support the organization’s expansion.
Tracy launched her career in public education by evaluating and designing Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs, working in after-school programs, and facilitating professional development for educators. Tracy has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University. She is a graduate of the Broad Residency in Urban Education.
Joyce Carter is a Kansas native with 35 years of public education experience as a teacher, consultant, and building principal in grades K-12. She earned a master’s degree in Special Education: Gifted and has both building and district leadership certification through Fort Hays State University. Her experiences include special education inclusion programs, vocational director, developing at-risk strategies for student success, and working to increase graduation rates. Joyce has a passion to reach all students through effective teaching techniques in the classroom. She recently retired after 17 years as principal and currently works with the Kansas Learning Network as a school implementation coach and district implementation coach.
Luz Cázares is a former deputy superintendent and educator with expertise in PK-12 leadership, finance and operations and a focus on closing the opportunity gap. Ms. Cázares has worked at the local and state levels for over 15 years in three states and has experience with a range of districts—from the large and diverse Chicago Public Schools to the small and suburban Pleasanton Unified School District. Throughout her career, she has educated a wide array of audiences with varying levels of knowledge – including Board members, union leadership, employees, parents and community members – on diverse and complex education and finance-related topics. Most recently, Ms. Cázares served as the Deputy Superintendent for the Pleasanton USD, bringing her leadership to the development of both strategic and accountability plans for the district. During her tenure, she chaired the committee established to advise the development of District’s accountability plan. Ms. Cázares’ education and training are in public policy with a focus on education reform. She applies systems-thinking to focus leaders and staff on improving performance through increased accountability, evidence-based initiatives and ongoing evaluations. Luz uses the Co-Active model to coach leaders and aspiring leaders to create a transformative change in the way people relate to and work with each other.
Ms. Cázares earned her BA from the University of Chicago and her Master in Public Policy from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. She is a Fellow of the Rappaport Institute of Greater Boston and serves on the Board of the Academy of Alameda Charter School and La Escuela Bilingue Internacional.
Yen Chau has approximately 10 years of experience examining social and education policies, programs, and strategies. She served as Deputy Project Coordinator for the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Early Childhood topic, the Research Team Leader for the National High School Center (NHSC), and the Quantitative Team Task Leader for the Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center (CSRQ). She has applied this knowledge of common problems with conducting research in developing several program evaluations for federal, state, and local programs.
Prior to joining Cross & Joftus, Dr. Chau was the Director of Research at the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), where she provided state board of education members with research-based technical assistance and aided them in the development of policies that support student learning and engagement. Also while at NASBE, she assisted in the development and implementation of Project PASS (Partnership for all Students’ Success), a program created in partnership with the U.S. Army aimed at preparing secondary students in becoming responsible and productive adults. She is committed to helping states, districts, schools, and communities develop competencies and capacity to prepare all youths for postsecondary success.
Naomi Chudowsky has more than two decades of experience in the field of educational testing and research. Prior to becoming a consultant, she was a study director for the Board on Testing and Assessment at the National Research Council. There she wrote a number of committee reports on topics ranging from advances in the cognitive sicences and the implications for designing better tests, to appropriate uses of value-added models. In the 1990s, she worked on President Clinton’s Voluntary National Testing Initiative at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to that, she was with the Connecticut State Department of Education where she coordinated development of the statewide high school test. Naomi has a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Stanford University.
Catherine Conrado is an experienced special educator and administrator. She began her career as a speech-language therapist in grades preschool through secondary with a population of diverse students representing the full spectrum of disabilities. She has experience in administrative and leadership roles in large urban districts, suburban, and small rural districts, in addition to State level service, consulting work and college-level instruction. Dr. Conrado has been the Chair of the California Advisory Commission on Special Education and served on the Charter School Workgroup at the California Department of Education. She is currently the special education director for the Sonoma County region and has budget responsibility for $50 million annually.
Amy Cox is an associate with Cross & Joftus. Cox conducts data analysis and contributes research and writing to a variety of projects related to school finance and program evaluation. This work includes the analysis of district finance data, student data, data from district human resources systems and data from formative and summative evaluations. She is also experienced at gathering and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data to inform the development and sustainability of expanded learning programs. Cox spearheaded C&J’s human resource modeling work in several districts, which included principal vacancy models for Denver Public Schools and Hillsborough County Public Schools and teacher and principal vacancy models for Syracuse City School District. She also develops and provides implementation training and support for financial projection and budget planning tools for non-profit and foundation clients, which have included Communities in Schools and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Cox holds a bachelor of arts with honors in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Nathan Cross is a senior associate with Cross & Joftus. From 2004-2011, Nathan was the senior program director of the new administrator program with the New Teacher Center’s school leadership division. As the director, he created and delivered the professional development activities for educational leaders across the nation, as well as directing the new administrator coaching program in the San Francisco Bay Area. In this capacity he directed the alternative clear administrative credential program in partnership with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). In addition, he was the senior program trainer for the center in the Coaching Leaders to Obtain Student Success (CLASS) program. CLASS trains educational leaders in the blended coaching model developed by Gary Bloom.
Nathan taught educational administration in the urban high school leadership cohort as an adjunct professor at San Jose State University. He has 26 years of experience as an assistant superintendent, superintendent /principal, and principal. Nathan has extensive training and experience in program development, collaborative decision-making, professional development design and delivery, leadership team building, meeting management, and interest-based bargaining. His academic credentials include an M.A. in educational a ministration from San Jose State University and an M.A. in curriculum and instruction from Michigan State University.
Tricia Pastor Cross
Tricia Pastor Cross has more than 25 years of administrative and teaching experience in public education, as well as in leading state funded, private and non-profit early care & education programs within the California counties of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara & Sonoma. Ms. Pastor Cross currently serves as Faculty and the Administrator for the Cabrillo College Early Childhood Education Department and Cabrillo Children’s Center Demonstration Lab School for infants, toddlers and preschool age children. Ms. Pastor Cross is deeply committed to leading and transforming high-quality early care and education workforce development programs. Ms. Pastor Cross has strengthened her depth of knowledge in early care and education by actively serving as a council member and district representative for numerous local committees and state-wide organizations. In addition, Ms. Pastor Cross successfully facilitated the development of the first Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Classrooms in Santa Cruz County, making her programs known by many. Throughout her career as a leader in early care and education and after school academic support programs for disadvantaged children and families, she has been closely involved with a wide variety of successful grant writing and advocacy projects leading to increased opportunities for the socio-economically and linguistically disadvantaged children and families.
Ms. Pastor Cross has a Masters in Educational Leadership and Administrative Services Credential from Chapman University, CLAD Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from Bethany College and a Bachelors Degree in Social Science with an emphasis on PK-3rd Grade Education from San Jose State University.
Ray Daniels is an associate at Cross & Joftus. He was superintendent of Kansas City (Kansas) Public Schools from 1998 to 2004. While superintendent, he led the district’s implementation of First Things First and oversaw a remarkable increase in student achievement. For example, during his tenure, the percentage of students in the district scoring at or above proficiency on the state reading assessment increased 20 points, and the achievement gap between white and Hispanic students virtually evaporated. Prior to his tenure as superintendent, Daniels served first as the district’s director of personnel and later as its assistant superintendent for personnel services. He also served the district as a high school English teacher, a basketball and track coach, and an assistant principal. Daniels received his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Kansas and his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University.
Jo Lynne DeMary
Jo Lynne DeMary is an associate at Cross & Joftus. She is director of a newly established Center for School Improvement within the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has the distinction of being the first woman to serve as Virginia’s state superintendent, a position she held from 2000 to 2006. DeMary has more than 38 years of experience in public education. She has served as a teacher, an assistant principal, a principal, an elementary school supervisor, a director of special education, and an assistant superintendent of schools in Henrico County (Virginia) Public Schools before joining the state department of education as assistant superintendent of instruction.
Mary Ann Dewan
Mary Ann Dewan has 27 years of experience in PK-!2 education. Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Central Indiana Educational Service Center and Senior Associate with C&J. Prior roles include assistant superintendent, principal, director of special education, and university professor. Her areas of expertise include special education, leadership development, curriculum, instruction, strategic planning, program development, program evaluation, staff evaluation, and professional development. Recent experiences include the development of tools to evaluate and improve special education programs, delivery of common core training for teachers and administrators, and supporting district and state level leaders with change initiatives.
Mary Ann earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Marian College and completed endorsements in special education from Marian College and Butler University. She earned a Master’s degree and educational leadership certification from Butler University. She earned a Director of Special Education license from Ball State University. She earned a doctoral degree and superintendent’s license from Indiana State University.
Joseph F. Dominic
Joseph F. Dominic is an associate at Cross & Joftus. Formerly, he was program director for education at the Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he led new agendas for change in school leadership, teaching and learning, community partnerships for innovation, school choice, and applications of digital technology to improve learning. Active in state and local education policy circles, he has advised university presidents, district superintendents, and business and political leaders. He was a board member of the western Pennsylvania Grantmakers Association. He chaired the boards of the federally funded Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Laboratory and the national association of Grantmakers for Education. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette named him one of the region’s top five contributors to education progress, and Phi Delta Kappa selected him as lay leader in education. Earlier in his career, he was an award-winning teacher and, later, a fellow with the National Institute of Education, where he joined the management team that coordinated funding and oversight of the federal education research and development centers.
Alex Donahue is an associate at Cross & Joftus. He is a secondary-school transformation specialist who recently served as the founding director of college-readiness programs for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). Trained as a teacher and attorney, he has worked on both district-level strategic planning and policy as well as school-level management and reform. He previously served as a deputy to the assistant superintendent for high schools, an alternative high-school principal, and a teacher for DCPS, and as a teacher and curriculum developer for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Alex received his J.D. degree from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.
Jamie Ekatomatis has more than a decade of experience with nonprofit organizations and associations in Washington, DC. Prior to joining Cross & Joftus, she served as the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) Manager for the Institute for Educational Leadership, where she oversaw the 10-month in-service professional development program for emerging and mid-level leaders in education and related fields with over 7,000 alumni nationwide. Previously, she was a Senior Program Coordinator working on member education initiatives for the National Education Association.
Before entering the education field, Ekatomatis’ work with the National Women’s Law Center — and previously with the Children’s Defense Fund — centered on grassroots advocacy campaigns and leadership development programs dedicated to improving the lives of low-income women and children. Ekatomatis holds a bachelor of arts in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a master of arts in education policy studies from the George Washington University.
Joan Evans is an associate at Cross & Joftus. For 42 years, she has taught in and served as school site and central office administrator for the Los Angeles Unified School District. As director of standards-based education, she collaboratively developed and implemented Deming’s continuous improvement process with representatives from all constituent groups. Evans has provided training and published articles on how to systematically implement an effective standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment system. These practices led to measurable gains in student performance that exceeded the state average and a significant decrease in the achievement gap. Her systems-based approach connected professional development with classroom observations and student achievement data to target specific practices and ultimately raise student achievement.
Nancy Gannon is a seasoned leader who has led education work locally and across the country with a focus on curriculum, instruction, and school organization. As the Director of Instructional Materials, Nancy supported districts across the country in making effective selection of textbooks, connecting those choices to cutting edge data on student impact. As Executive Director of Academic Quality for New York City Department of Education, Nancy led the work to transition the city to high quality curriculum and assessment aligned with New York State’s new standards. In addition, she supported full implementation of a citywide school quality review process across 1600 schools, helping to deepen the focus on student impact. Her work was integral in helping school leaders across the city to have a coherent, focused approach to their work. As a veteran teacher, principal, and literacy coach, Nancy brings a combination of strategic thinking and deep experience to help districts and schools ensure that they are effectively serving all students. In her current consulting work, Nancy has collaborated with a range of clients, including developing a leadership pipeline and professional plan, providing content expertise for a statewide website, and supporting a charter organization in deepening instruction across classrooms.
Michael Goetz, Ph.D. is a senior associate at Cross & Joftus and executive director of Research for Social and Educational Change (RSEC). His clients include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Council for Better Education, Foundation for Child Development, National Academies of Education, Allovue, National Center for Innovation in Education, and several legislative and gubernatorial committees. Goetz leads projects related to educational policy and school finance research. He has worked with academics and policymakers to analyze fiscal data and develop Evidence-Based and Professional Judgment models for PK-12 school finance adequacy in Kentucky, Maine, Texas, North Dakota, Arkansas, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Arizona. Goetz has also performed analyses of school-based resource allocation and restructuring in Hawaii, Missouri, New Jersey, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Goetz’s most recent adequacy work was in Kentucky. Dr. Goetz led a Kentucky school finance adequacy study using multiple methods for the Council for Better Education. He led an advisory board of policy leaders in the creation of an adequate funding structure, which RSEC, LLC then brought to practitioners across the state for their input. Goetz created an Excel-based spreadsheet model that provided accessibility, usability, and transparency to school funding decisions. The KY School Finance Model was school-based and designed to instantly exhibit cost ramifications of policy decisions. In each study of state school funding systems, Goetz developed the funding models that operationalize adequate education systems. Before focusing on school finance policy, Goetz was a Researcher with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Prior to joining CPRE, he managed K-8 educational centers for Score Learning, Inc. in New York and taught middle school math and science in Kansas City.
Dr. Goetz received a B.A. in Educational Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at University of Wisconsin—Madison. He received a Wisconsin-Spencer Doctoral Research Program Fellowship, a dissertation grant from the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the American Education Finance Association (AEFA) New Scholar Award.
Christina Legg Greenberg
Christina Legg Greenberg has spent almost fifteen years in the public sphere, working in nonprofit management, human capital development, public policy analysis, and electoral politics. Ms. Greenberg is an expert in human capital and talent management in the education sector, including: creation and implementation of strategies for effective candidate recruitment and selection; executive search for school-based and nonprofit education organization positions; and organizational design and change management planning. Current and previous school district clients include: Aspire Public Schools, Denver Public Schools, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Newark Public Schools, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, San Jose Unified, Scholar Academies, and Syracuse City School District.
Previously, Ms. Greenberg spent four years as the Director of Admissions and Strategic Partnerships for New Leaders for New Schools where she was responsible for the recruitment, selection, and placement of Resident Principals, managed efforts to establish and maintain strategic partnerships for the San Francisco Bay Area region, and led the design and implementation of New Leaders’ first teacher leadership development program. Before New Leaders, Ms. Greenberg was the VP, Programs and Development for RISE, working to recruit and retain high quality teachers in schools serving low-income students. She also worked on a 1998 U.S. Senate campaign, served as the Program Officer for the Streisand Foundation, and was a budget policy analyst and researcher for government agencies. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UCLA and a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
John Hess John Hess is a retired special education administrator, having most recently served as the Executive Director of the Whittier (CA) Area Cooperative Special Education Program for 21 years. In that position he was responsible for the coordination of special education services for 7 school districts with a special education population of 5,500+ students. His prior positions include Director of Special Education for urban and rural special education cooperatives in Indiana, Executive Director of an Indiana outpatient rehabilitation center serving 13 counties, and speech & language pathologist. He also served as an adjunct instructor at Indiana University and as an adjunct associate professor at Whittier College for 11 years.
John has served on the advisory committees for the departments of education at Indiana University Southeast, Chapman University, and Whittier College. He also served as President of the Indiana Council for Exceptional Children, President of the Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education, member of the Indiana Advisory Council on Education of the Handicapped, Member of the Board of Governors of the National Council for Exceptional Children, Chair of the SELPA Administrators of California, member of California Department of Education’s Special Education Stakeholders’ Group, and President of the Greater Orange County Council for Exceptional Children. He is currently a member of the Representative Assembly of the National Council for Exceptional Children. He has authored several articles and made numerous presentations at state and national conferences.
John earned a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology and a master’s degree in special education with endorsements in emotional disturbance, learning disabilities, mild to severe mental retardation, and special education administration. He also received his doctorate degree in school administration from Indiana University.
Alan Ingram is a senior associate with Cross & Joftus. He served the last three years as Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, where he provided executive-level leadership to the Commissioner and Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on all policy matters related to advancing the Commonwealth’s education agenda to prepare all public school students for success in college, career and life. Previously, Dr. Ingram served as Superintendent of Public Schools in Springfield, Massachusetts, a district serving nearly 26,000 students in 44 schools. He has also served in a variety of executive leadership roles in Oklahoma City Public Schools, a district serving, at that time, more than 38,000 students in 80 schools. Dr. Ingram is a 2007 Broad Superintendents Academy fellow.
Gus Jacob is a senior associate with Cross and Joftus. Throughout his 35 years in education his relentless focus has been improvement of instruction through professional development and strong leadership. He currently teaches educational leadership at the University of Missouri Kansas City. His work in the Kansas City area includes providing leadership training and leadership mentoring to several school districts. He coordinates the Missouri Education Policy Fellows Program in collaboration with the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C. Additionally, Gus has 16 years experience as an elementary and middle school principal as well as serving in the role of Director of Professional Development for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. He was selected principal of one of the 12 original Basic Schools in the nation working closely with Dr. Ernest Boyer. He is a certified trainer for the Haberman Educational Foundation focused on identifying “Star Teachers and Principals” for urban schools. Gus received his doctorate from the University of Kansas.
Angel Johnson is an associate with Cross & Joftus. Bio coming soon.
Eleanor Johnson is an associate at Cross & Joftus. She is a consultant on education evaluation and policy analysis. Johnson is a member of and program evaluation expert for a National Research Council committee that is reviewing the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays International Education Programs. She recently retired as an assistant director for education issues at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), where she led more than 60 studies. GAO’s groundbreaking, high-visibility evaluations of school finance and school facilities are redefining the model for school finance policy and the metrics of school finance equity nationwide. The recommendations and information are also guiding efforts to rebuild and modernize America’s schools and the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining GAO, she published two books and worked as a management consultant and program evaluator and as a teacher and an educational administrator in Maine and New York. Johnson received a bachelor of arts from Brandeis University, a master of arts degree from Columbia University, and a doctorate in education from The George Washington University.
James Fenton has over 20 years of experience helping school districts, colleges, and healthcare institutions develop and implement effective improvement initiatives. He has a deep expertise in strategic planning and execution, teaching strategy at a graduate business program. He is a certified expert in continuous process improvement as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (Rochester Institute of Technology – Hromi Center for Quality and Applied Statistics) and is an experienced Strategy Manager with the Balanced Scorecard Methodology. Mr. Fenton held various cabinet positions including Chief Strategy Officer and Director of Operations at a large urban school district. Mr. Fenton also held a variety of leadership positions at Honeywell Incorporated and has vast experience developing, leading, and managing large public capital projects. For example, Mr. Fenton’s delivery and finance structure for the Niagara Falls High School (New York) project has been widely cited as an example of innovation in public/private partnerships and was the subject of a front page report of the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Fenton sits on several non-for profit boards and is a frequent speaker at business, education, and continuous improvement events. He holds a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the State University of New York College at Brockport.
Steven Johnson is an educator with over 45 years of experience at the district, county, regional, state, and federal levels. Mr. Johnson has worked as a general classroom teacher with students from kindergarten to middle school and as a diagnostic specialist and resource teacher for students with mild and moderate disabilities at all grade levels from preschool to young adult. He has been a building administrator, a district special education and pupil personnel administrator, director of a statewide program for personnel development resources and services, a manager in the California Department of Education and was the associate superintendent for special education with the Oregon Department of Education. He has been active in national deafblind education activities and projects, serving on the advisory board and providing assistance and training to state projects throughout the US. Mr. Johnson also served for over six years on the board of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education and was elected president of the organization in 2002. He has expertise in development and implementation of policy, regulations, and procedures, special education legal issues and compliance, low incidence disabilities, inclusive education, dispute resolution, personnel development, parent involvement and support, and use of data in planning and development. Mr. Johnson has also been a lecturer and faculty member with several teacher training institutions and programs
Jim Karleskint PhD, is a senior associate with Cross & Joftus. From 2000 to 2010 he served as Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent in school districts in Northeast Kansas. Jim played a leading role in implementing strategies that lead to significant student achievement gains during his time as district office leader. Prior to his district office experience he served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, middle school principal, and high school principal. He has extensive experience in working with school district budgets, State & Federal programs, grant writing, curriculum development, school improvement, and teacher observation and evaluation. He teaches education leadership classes at Baker University for Masters and Doctoral candidates. Jim has a passion for working with adults to help them prepare young people for an ever-changing world. He believes ongoing high-quality professional development is essential in every school and district. Jim is past president of the Kansas Staff Development Council.
Cheryl Krehbiel – Prior to consulting with Cross & Joftus, Cheryl served as Deputy Chief for Professional Development in the District of Columbia Public Schools and was responsible for the planning, delivery and implementation of a comprehensive professional development plan to increase the skills and knowledge of teachers, principals and other school staff so that student achievement improves. Previously, she worked as Vice President of Edbuild, a DC non-profit organization and as a Staff Development Specialist in Montgomery County, Maryland and coordinated the Teacher-to-Teacher Workshops for the U.S. Department of Education, which produced numerous on-line offerings as well as face to face workshops where teachers from across the country could learn from some of the most successful teachers in the nation in improving student achievement results. Cheryl has consulted with numerous school systems on issues related to standards and educational reform with teachers and principals. In addition, she has written for the U. S. Department of Education and Community Update, and served as a panelist for several Town Hall national broadcasts for the No Child Left Behind legislation. As a teacher for more than twenty years, Ms. Krehbiel honed skills as a classroom practitioner and has taught in New York, Delaware, and Illinois schools and served as an adjunct professor at Wilmington College, in Delaware. She currently holds certification credentials in Elementary and Special Education and Educational Administration.
Gene I. Maeroff
Gene I. Maeroff is an associate at Cross & Joftus. He was the founding director of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he is now a senior fellow. He was previously a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Earlier, he spent 16 years on the staff of The New York Times, where he was national education correspondent. Maeroff is the author of 12 books on education topics for the general public and professional audiences. His latest book, Building Blocks: Making Children Successful in the Early Years of School, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2006. The subjects of some of his other books have been online learning, the education of poor children, and the ways high schools and colleges can work together on behalf of student achievement. Maeroff also is a member of his local school board, the fifth largest in New Jersey.
Quannah Parker-McGowan is currently on the faculty at Northeastern University in Boston, MA where she teaches in the Graduate School of Education. She began her career in education as a Teach for America 2002 Corps member, where she taught middle school special education in Watts. She went on to work as the Director of Special Education for both Achievement First in New York, as well as, Aspire Public Schools in California. Quannah holds a B.S. in Biology from Catholic University of America, an M.A in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University and an M.Ed in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Brenda McLaughlin brings considerable expertise in out-of-school time learning, nonprofit leadership, and system-building to her consulting practice. Brenda is a skilled facilitator and evaluator, and has spent more than 10 years in the nonprofit sector working to connect research to policy and practice. Her current projects focus on facilitating professional learning and organizational change, leading program evaluations, and making research accessible to practitioners and policymakers. Brenda has a master’s degree in public policy from the Johns Hopkins University.
Janalee Jordan-Meldrum is a senior associate at Cross & Joftus. Janalee has served as an education consultant for several years, working with clients such as the National Academy Foundation, the Arkansas Department of Education, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, she served as Senior Program Officer for K-12 and Community Programs at the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation. There, she developed a leadership institute for women principals and superintendents, led a fellowship program and training institute for teachers, provided grants and technical assistance to community-based organizations and coordinated a large-scale community-school coalition project. Janalee obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Arizona State University.
Michael Moore has 37 years of experience as a K-12 educator, serving as a teacher, high school principal, and Superintendent of Schools. As a leadership development consultant, Mr. Moore works primarily with Superintendents and senior leaders on projects to improve human capital strategy, leadership development, and the quality of coaching and support. As a senior associate with Cross & Joftus, Mr. Moore has worked on leadership development and strategic retention projects in Denver, Buffalo, and Hillsborough County, Florida. As a partner with the Urban Schools Human Capital Academy, he provides direct service to Los Angeles Unified School District, Seattle Public Schools, and Tulsa Public Schools. Mr. Moore facilitates professional development networks for Instructional Leadership Directors in LAUSD and Dallas ISD. Mr. Moore also works with non-profit organizations to improve support for school and district leaders by creating coaching frameworks, training coaches, and facilitating professional development. Before C&J, Mr. Moore led the core program at New Leaders, Inc. as Chief Academic Officer, a national non-profit working in 12 urban areas. While at New Leaders, Mr. Moore led the development of a leadership trajectory and assessment, a school diagnostic tool, and a coaching framework. Mr. Moore holds degrees from The Boston Conservatory and the University of Southern Maine and certificate in Organizational Development from the Gestalt International Study Center.
Meghan Neary has supported education reforms at the classroom, district, and national levels. As a Cross & Joftus consultant, she has worked with districts, including the Syracuse City School District, Buffalo Public Schools, San Jose Unified School District, and Hillsborough County Public Schools, to examine their policies, programs, and systems and implement key reforms related to special education, improving teacher and principal quality, and bringing coherence to district systems. She’s also worked with nonprofits, including America Achieves, and national foundations to advance their educational improvement priorities. Prior to becoming a consultant, Meghan served at the U.S. Department of Education, where she provided strategic support to the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Previously, Meghan created professional development curricula at ESI International, a leading project management training company. Meghan also served as Senior Associate at Collaborative Communications Group. There, she worked on projects that helped districts and education foundations and nonprofits address challenges related to teacher quality, principal effectiveness, family and community involvement, early learning, and high school reform. Meghan began her career running after-school and summer learning programs in rural Iowa and then teaching English to first- through eighth-grade students in rural Japan. She holds an M.A. in education policy from the George Washington University and a B.A. from Luther College.
Jill Nieman is a senior associate with extensive training and experience in standards-based instruction and assessments, literacy and curriculum. Jill worked K-12 as a teacher and administrator. As a Local District Administrator, she provided professional development for teachers and administrators promoting collaborative and reflective problem solving, resulting in instructional improvement. Jill obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from California State University at Los Angeles and her Master’s Degree and Administrative Credential from California Lutheran University. She was nominated for 2006 Educator of the Year, California League of Middle Schools, Region 8.
Heather Clapp Padgette
Heather Clapp Padgette is a senior associate with Cross & Joftus and has worked on topics such as high school reform and ways to finance summer learning opportunities. Padgette previously worked at The Finance Project, where she focused on out-of-school time, charter schools, and comprehensive school reform initiatives. She has authored several articles and provided direct technical assistance to state agencies and community organizations to help them identify financial and other resources to help sustain and expand programming. In former positions, Padgette has consulted with school districts and state policymakers on special education and children’s health services. She also worked on education reform issues for Chicago Public Schools and the Consortium on Chicago School Research. Padgette received a master’s degree in public policy from the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at The University of Chicago.
Alice Parker is C&J’s National Director of Special Education. She has more than 40 years of experience in the classroom as a building principal, a district administrator, and an assistant superintendent of public instruction for California. Her areas of expertise include public policy and practice as well as special education models that meet federal and state compliance but are rooted in the Response to Intervention approach and are focused on improved outcomes for all children at risk of school failure. She has worked as a consultant to state departments of education, local school districts, and charter management organizations and agencies and provided support, consultation, and training in improving leadership; reducing disproportion; supporting effective education programs for adjudicated youth; and implementing Response to Intervention, inclusive preschool options, and systems change. Parker has a doctorate from the University of San Francisco in Education-Organization and Leadership, a Masters in Communicative Disorders from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. from Indiana University in Speech Pathology and Audiology.
Ronald A. Peiffer
Ronald A. Peiffer is former Deputy State Superintendent of Schools in Maryland with experience in developing and leading several waves of public school reform work over more than two decades. He did foundation work for Maryland’s Race to the Top application and helped build state level policy that supported compliant state and local reforms under No Child Left Behind. A decade before that, he helped build Maryland’s groundbreaking Maryland School Performance Program. He also provided leadership for Maryland’s strategic communication and outreach efforts, particularly those related to reforms. He has represented the agency with state and local media, with Maryland constituencies, and with numerous national groups.
Dr. Peiffer advised the State Superintendent and led reforms aimed at upgrading high school programs, including graduation testing and accountability. He also worked extensively with local school system leaders and other constituencies to resolve policy implementation issues. He is experienced in analyzing and packaging assessment and school accountability data for use by policymakers and the public alike. Serving as liaison with local superintendents on numerous issues, over two decades, he helped the State Superintendent build productive relationships with local leaders, positioning them well to lead reforms at the local level.
As a public servant for more than four decades, Dr. Peiffer has gained insight to the complexities of reforms and built a reputation for listening and collaborating on creative solutions to complex policy problems. Prior to working in school accountability areas at the state level in Maryland, he worked more than two decades with Anne Arundel County Public Schools in central office and building level instruction, curriculum, and accountability work. With undergraduate work in science education and a Master of Arts from The George Washington University, he completed his doctorate at the University of Maryland in curriculum and instruction.
Richard Seder, Ph.D. is senior associate at Cross & Joftus and president and senior improvement consultant at Emergent Policy & Systems, Inc. He brings nearly 20 years of education policy experience, including direct work in school finance equity and adequacy with local, state, and national and international policymakers and stakeholders. Dr. Seder worked with the State of Wyoming to design, develop, and assist with the implementation of its school funding formula, including the estimation of base funding levels, an innovative at-risk funding adjustment that increased in weights as concentrations of economically disadvantaged and English learner students increased in a school, and small school and small district adjustments. Dr. Seder served as an expert witness on issues related to school finance equity and adequacy in Montana, where he worked with the state to successfully defend its school finance system. Dr. Seder has designed and conducted adequacy and program costing studies in Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming using a combination of professional judgment and evidence-based methodologies. He has also worked with ministries of education and non-governmental organizations (e.g., UNICEF) on issues related to early childhood development finance and governance in Cambodia, Laos, Angola, and Tajikistan. In Tajikistan, Dr. Seder created a funding model that was piloted by the national government that was transparent and efficient in its ability to fund for school size, program differences, and unique community characteristics.
Dr. Seder most recently served as the associate director and lead of all research and evaluation activities for the Regional Educational Laboratory serving the Pacific region under a $25.4 million, five-year contract funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Seder served as education policy fellow with the California Secretary of Education where he worked on issues of other post-employment benefits (i.e., unfunded liabilities of retiree pension and health benefits) and translated the landmark Getting Down to Facts research and briefed the executive branch on interpretation and implications.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Beloit College with a double major in government and economics and management, Master of Science in Public Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and doctorate from the University of Southern California in Education Policy & Organization with emphasis in school finance.
Sarah Pitcock is a former nonprofit CEO who is passionate about telling memorable stories that generate support for important causes. As a freelance writer, editor and consultant for nonprofits and foundations, Sarah takes a journalistic approach to help her clients get to the root of why their work matters and how to communicate that purpose effectively. Whether for fundraising, stakeholder engagement or field building, she translates research and data into impactful tools and content across multiple media. Previously, Sarah held progressive leadership roles in a 10-year career at the National Summer Learning Association, culminating as its chief executive officer from 2013 to 2016. She is a leading national expert on summer learning, authoring numerous white papers and practitioner guides, making regular presentations to state policymaking bodies and overseeing implementation of multiple state and federal initiatives. She has served as an expert source for NPR, Education Week, Essence Magazine, and the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets. She is coeditor and coauthor of the research anthology, The Summer Slide: What We Know and Can Do About Summer Learning Loss (Teachers College Press, 2016). She holds a master’s degree in public policy from Johns Hopkins University and bachelor’s degrees in public relations and political science from the University of Florida.
Linda’s commitment to increasing opportunities and achievement for America’s children ties together her twenty-seven years as an educator. Her beginning years teaching elementary school and her years as a middle school mathematics teacher were all spent in high-poverty schools. As part of her school leadership team and later as a district curriculum specialist, she helped create and guide the implementation of school- and district-wide programs aligned with each other and focused on student achievement.
After moving to the Washington, DC area, Linda spent five years with the Council for Basic Education where she and her team facilitated the development of standards and standards-based systems in places as diverse as Maryland, Ohio, and Nevada and to conduct numerous system audits and standards reviews. In 2002, Linda created Strategic Teaching, an organization dedicated to supporting teachers and the systems in which they work. Since that time she has continued to review, craft, and support the implementation of standards and to help teachers use research-based practices to teach to standards.
She is currently serving as executive director for the Illustrative Mathematics Project (www.illustrativemathematics.org). Under the direction of William McCallum, the lead writer for the Common Core Standards for Mathematics, this project seeks to illustrate the standards with selected tasks and problems, supported by student work. She is also working with Achieve on its Open Education Resources project.
Ken Rugg has extensive experience as a general education teacher and school psychologist. He has worked as a teacher in large urban districts and small rural districts. He is currently the lead school psychologist for the Lodi Unified School District, where he is actively involved in facilitating the use of data-based decision making, tiered instruction, and evidence-based practices. He consults with districts providing guidance on the implementation of a Response to Intervention framework and teaches a class on Response to Intervention at California State University, Sacramento. Ken has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Los Angeles, a Master’s of Arts in Special Education from California State University, Sacramento, and a Master’s of Science in School Psychology from California State University, Sacramento.
Richard C. Seder
Richard C. Seder is an associate at Cross & Joftus. He recently completed a policy fellowship with the California Secretary of Education’s office, where he helped the secretary analyze policy issues facing the state’s education system. He previously served as education policy program director at the University of Southern California Policy Institute assisting state and local policymakers with policy analysis and working with members of the research community to bring their insights to the forefront of policy discussions. Prior to joining the institute, Seder worked as a senior consulting associate for Management Analysis & Planning, Inc., an education policy consulting firm. He served as an associate with the Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Services in New York and served as the director of education studies at the Reason Foundation in Los Angeles. Seder holds a bachelor of arts degree from Beloit College in government and economics, and he earned his master’s degree with distinction from the H. John Heinz School of Public Policy & Management at Carnegie Mellon University. He is finishing his doctorate work in education policy at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.
Torrey Shawe, C&J’s Director of Operations, works with clients such as the Kansas Department of Education and Los Angeles Unified School District, manages the Cross & Joftus web site, contributes to new business proposals, and supports C&J’s extensive network of consultants. Before joining Cross & Joftus, Shawe was a senior policy analyst at the National Governors Association, where she helped manage the Honor States Grant Program, a governor-led initiative to improve high school and college-ready graduation rates. Previously, she was a director at the Coalition of Essential Schools, an education reform organization, where she focused on network development and regional center and school support. During this time, Shawe also founded she19, a national nonpartisan effort to inspire women to vote in the 2004 presidential election. Before entering the field of education, she was a producer at Organic, a web development company based in San Francisco. Shawe holds a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Virginia and a master of arts degree in educational policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Janet Shay has spent 34 years in the public education sector as a staff developer, administrator, and classroom teacher. Throughout her career in each of these positions, her goals have always been to increase student achievement, improve instruction, and support school improvement. She has provided leadership in creating effective and efficient organizational structures at the school level, created and implemented professional development programs for improved curriculum and instruction strategies, supervised teachers and managed teacher accountability programs, and collaborated with colleagues to support high quality, data-driven instruction for all students. She has lived successful educational reform.
Virginia (Ginger) Adams Simon, Ed.D.
Ginger Adams Simon is a senior associate with Cross & Joftus. In the last 12 years, she has worked at education policy centers at two universities, conducted educational research, developed policy, managed implementation efforts and led numerous large projects involving educators and education stakeholders. Ginger has extensive project management experience. In 2011 she served as lead writer and quality control manager of a Special Education evaluation project with LAUSD and the California Charter Schools Association, and in 2012 was the project director for the Digital Learning Resources Project for the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA). From 2007-2010 she served as Project Manager for the California Department of Education’s “Brokers of Expertise (BOE) project. BOE was a web portal for California teachers, providing free, open, standards-based materials and resources as well as professional networking.
In the policy arena, prior the moving to CA, Ginger was Associate Director of the Center for Greater Philadelphia, a Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She then moved to the UC Davis School of Education’s Center for Applied Policy in Education (CAP-Ed) where she was as a lecturer and policy analyst (2006-2010). While there, she worked on numerous programs, including the development of their Superintendent’s Executive Leadership Forum (SELF) and CDEs P-16 initiative. Most recently (2013-2016), Ginger served as Director of Professional Capital for CORE Districts, a collaborative of eight districts across California receiving a Federal Waiver from ESEA requirements. Over 3 years, she created and facilitated a collaborative learning environment for central administrators and others in the districts as they developed and implemented new teacher and leader evaluation systems. Ginger received her doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 and lives in Davis, CA.
Dale Spears has worked in special education for 36 years. She began her career in Speech Pathology and Audiology and holds certificates, credentials and licenses as both a Speech Pathologist and Educational Audiologist. She has most recently worked in Special Education administration with a focus on service delivery for fully included students and for the speech and language impaired. Mrs. Spears years of service have included full- and part-time lecturer positions at Whittier College, and California State Universities at Los Angeles and Sacramento. She has provided leadership in creating effective support for severely disabled students in general education settings and in development of classroom-based services for Speech and Language. Mrs. Spears has been an active participant in stakeholder groups developing procedures for implementing IEPs and Least Restrictive Environment in California.
Donna Power Stowe
Donna Power Stowe is the former Executive Director of the District of Columbia Education Compact; co-founder and former Vice President of the Institute for Education and the Arts; experienced classroom teacher for pre-K, high school and adult education; and developer of curriculum and professional development for middle school and high school level teachers. She brings knowledge and expertise in translating research and theory into practice, strategic planning, cooperative collaboration building among diverse constituencies, and community engagement to support sustainable change.
Nancy Taylor is a senior consultant for Cross & Joftus and serves as Project Manager for this partnership. She has served as progressive reformer and advocate for public policy change and recognized expert in the field for over a decade. She is a writer, educator and strategist with a deep understanding of the education arena, a track record of success both in the classroom and in addressing complex challenges to education today. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of Citizen Schools California, working to extend the learning day in partnership with high need schools and districts. She began her career as a social studies teacher in South Texas, through Teach for America and later as part of a teacher led autonomous school program, gaining attention for the dramatic results of her students and serving various new school start ups across the country. She has worked at the National Bureau of Economic Research, National School Boards Association, BELL Foundation, National Student Partnerships, and launched her own consulting organization advising districts across the country to improve outcomes and opportunities for students and in our educational systems. She served for many years as Senior Policy Officer at KnowledgeWorks Foundation, a nationally heralded education reform organization, leading the creation of a policy and advocacy division, and directing strategy and staff to sustain dynamic education reform initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.
Taylor has worked with leading stakeholders and public officials on cutting edge education reform, redefining the shape of learning for the 21st century. She has served Governor Strickland of Ohio’s developing education initiative and as a strategist in service to Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s senior transition team for Washington, D.C. Public Schools. A first generation college student and daughter of a Honduran immigrant, Nancy holds a B.A. in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government, specializing in transforming public sector organizations and smart equitable public policy and social change.
Traci E. Thibodeaux
Traci E. Thibodeaux is an associate with Cross & Joftus. Bio coming soon.
Jacquelyn Thompson brings 23 years of experience in the development and implementation of state systems in early childhood education, special education, and early intervention services. She served as State Director for Special Education in Michigan for 13 years where she was distinguished for her leadership in the development and implementation of numerous systems to achieve both compliance and excellence in the delivery of educational services. In addition, Dr. Thompson served as Co-Coordinator of Michigan’s Education Policy Fellowship Program for many years. Her areas of expertise include: implementation and scale-up of school-wide Response to Intervention; policy analysis and development; strategies for systems change; and educational leadership. Dr. Thompson was recently appointed to the U.S. Secretary of Education’s Commission on Equity and Excellence in Education. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and a Master’s and Doctorate from Michigan State University.
Valda Valbrun is an educational leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion. Ms. Valbrun has worked with national school districts on Leadership Development and Executive Coaching. She provides training to aspiring, newly appointed and experienced principals and has worked as a school turn-around partner. She started her career over 20 years ago as a teacher in the Broward County (FL) schools before becoming a Professional Developer and secondary school administrator in Montgomery County (MD). She has a strong background in school administration, having served as a middle school principal. She is committed to professional development and closing achievement gaps and never waivers in her commitment to instructional and leadership improvement, both on the macro-level of a school system and on the micro-level of an individual classroom teacher and leader.
Ms. Valbrun has worked directly with school and district leaders to advance improvement initiatives and understands that leaders must be lifelong learners and that better solutions come from groups with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Her experience includes work in rural, suburban, and large, urban districts and she currently provides leadership training, coaching and consulting across the country. In addition to her school and district level leadership roles, Ms. Valbrun has also served as a Director of Professional Learning at ASCD and as Executive Director of Organizational Development for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina where she currently resides.
Ms. Valbrun received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Master of Science degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University. She also completed post-graduate certification in School Administration and Leadership at Johns Hopkins University. She is also a trained executive coach.
Ann Levy Walden
Ann Levy Walden is an associate with Cross & Joftus. Bio coming soon.
Connie Wehmeyer, Ph.D., the Director of Teaching and Learning for Cross & Joftus, has more than 30 years of experience as a teacher, teacher leader, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, and school improvement specialist for the Kansas State Department of Education. Her areas of expertise include curriculum and instruction, school and district improvement, and educational leadership. She recently developed a training and delivery model to support district and state implementation of the Common Core Standards. Support resources include a needs assessment to determine district readiness and guide the planning process and on-line clearinghouse of vetted resources that include instructional supports for ELA/Literacy and math, teacher and principal professional development, and parent communication. Wehmeyer has lead Root Cause Analysis work at the district and state level to identify effective use of Title Program dollars, improve processes and procedures to support student learning, and guide educational program development. She has significant experience with needs analysis and technical assistance to turnaround schools and districts resulting in increased student achievement for all students in low performing schools and districts. Her work with districts has resulted in articulated instructional frameworks, professional development plans, classroom observations tools and protocols, and professional learning community structures and processes.
Wehmeyer earned a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Pittsburg State University. She holds credentials as a building leader and school district superintendent.
Michael Wilson is Director of the Teachers College School to Prison Pipeline Project and Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. He formerly taught high school students who were labeled with emotional and behavioral disorders. He earned his Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Maryland at College Park, where his research focused on the organization of education services for students labeled with disabilities, at-risk students, and students involved in the juvenile justice system. Dr. Wilson has served as Resource Fellow and researcher for the National Center for Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice, where he conducted research examining the educational status and experiences of students involved in the juvenile system. He has served as an education evaluator in numerous state and district evaluations of education programming in juvenile and adult facilities. Dr. Wilson conducts research examining the effects of policies, school contexts and practices on the academic and social outcomes of marginalized students. Through this research, he is seeking to understand how schools facilitate disability, school failure, exclusion, delinquency, and criminal justice involvement.
Bernard Yaklin is an expert in converting data into information that is useful in describing, managing, and improving individual and system outcomes. During a career in the United States Air Force, his major duties included quality assurance analysis and development of technician training curricula. After a brief stint as an analyst with the California Postsecondary Education Commission, he was a research analyst in the Student Affairs Research and Information office at the University of California, Davis. He served on various campus committees and the university system-wide committee responsible for tracking affirmative action student outcomes. During this time, he played a key role on a research project examining the performance of students transferring among the community college, state university, and university. Bernie completed his career in education in the Special Education Division at the California Department of Education as a research program specialist. He served as research staff to the statewide special education stakeholders group. Bernie led the development of the data analyses and district reports that became the key element of the district-level quality assurance process for California. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Psychology and Sociology from California State University, Sacramento and has completed graduate work in research methodology at Sacramento State.
Barbara Young is a retired California school superintendent who has provided leadership in both high performing and program improvement districts in suburban and rural communities. Her 38 years in education include administrative experiences in special education, curriculum and instruction, human resources, and site administration. Presently Barbara is a consultant in the areas of executive searches and coaching, site administrative coaching supporting equitable practices in schools and classrooms, and assistance for districts in program improvement. She continues her commitment to the importance of inquiry in instructional practices by serving on the board of Visual Understanding in Education.
Bella Rosenberg is an associate at Cross & Joftus. She presently works as an education consultant. She was at the American Federation of Teachers for 22 years, most of them as special assistant to its late president, Albert Shanker. Rosenberg’s work has focused on various education issues, including standards, testing, and accountability; the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; the National Assessment of Educational Progress; teacher policy; high school reform; and public school choice, vouchers, and charter schools. During the past three years, she has concentrated on schools-plus approaches (e.g., health, early childhood education, and extended learning time) to overcoming achievement gaps. She also has extensive public relations strategy and media experience. Her written work includes op-eds, congressional testimony, and academic journal articles. Rosenberg is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Queens College. She pursued her doctoral studies in education and social policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Terri Ferraguto Rita
Terri Ferraguto Rita is an associate with Cross & Joftus. Most recently, Terri provided support to C&J on the principal pipeline project with Hillsborough County Public Schools. Terri also serves as Senior Director of Talent for Unlocking Potential. Previously, Terri worked as a Senior Consultant for Recruitment at Teacher U/ Relay Graduate School of Education. Terri worked as National Director of Recruitment at Uncommon Schools, where she designed, implemented, and managed the selection process used to recruit, select, and hire more than 500 individuals. During Terri’s tenure, the number of applicants to Uncommon increased by more than 400%. Terri worked as Senior Program Coordinator for the Northeast Region at A Better Chance. There, she recruited, selected, placed, and supported more than 300 A Better Chance scholars into more than 100 A Better Chance College Preparatory Schools. She was a Campus Director at Citizen Schools and taught 4th and 5th grade as a Teach For America corps member in the Bay Area. Terri earned her BA from Connecticut College and her Ed. M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Allison Wyatt is an associate with Cross & Joftus. Allison worked with Boston Public Schools and Syracuse City School District in the areas of educator recruitment, selection, effectiveness, and strategic talent management. Allison began her career at a subsidiary of Time Warner as an HR Specialist where she led the company’s college recruiting program and provided HR support to the international, sales and marketing, and business development units. She later joined Education Pioneers as the 7th staff member where she served as the VP, Human Assets and built the organization’s HR department, function, and initiatives from the ground up to fuel the growth of the organization from an operating budget of $1 million to $6 million and from a team of six to team of 50 employees.
Amanda Broun brings 25 years of experience and expertise in education policy and implementation at federal, state, and local levels; public engagement and coalition building; and nonprofit organizational development and fundraising. She has spearheaded the development of campaigns to mobilize policy makers, opinion leaders, and the public, and she has done extensive public speaking and work with national and regional media.
As the Senior Vice President for Public Education Network, the nation’s leading network of community-based public education advocacy organizations, Ms. Broun catalyzed and supported the evolution of these organizations from a project- to a policy-focused orientation, to undertaking public engagement, to increasing college and career-readiness. Ms. Broun oversaw the development of an online public engagement campaign, ‘Give Kids Good Schools’ that reached over 100 million people, as well as public opinion polling commissioned by PEN, and the launch of a ‘Civic Index for Public Education’. She staffed the National Commission on Civic Investment in Public Education which set standards for local community-based organizations in the areas of governance, management, and programmatic work. She was responsible for PEN’s strategic and operating planning, and supported PEN’s fundraising and board development.
As Chief Education Counsel for the U.S. Senate Labor & Human Resources (now the “HELP”) Committee, she worked on a broad range of education policy issues including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, now NCLB); early childhood education; teacher effectiveness; math and science; educational technology; education for homeless, disabled, and limited English proficient students; and dropout prevention.
Ms. Broun is a member of the bars of New York State and the US Supreme Court. Her JD is from NYU School of Law and her BA is from Barnard College, Columbia University.
Anne Miller’s career spans education, business, and not-for-profit organizations dedicated to improving K-12 education. Her areas of specialty include strategic planning & implementation; process improvement, quality, and accountability; strategic management of human capital (SMHC); and leadership development.
Anne served on the leadership teams in the Newark, NJ Public Schools and at EdisonLearning, Inc. Previously she was the education director with the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) and the Executive Director of the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). Prior to ASBO, she was Director of School Leadership Services with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), where she led the formation of the National High School Alliance and served as its first president.
Before joining NASSP, Anne worked in a number of roles at Eastman Kodak, including Quality Director, Director of Corporate Education Initiatives, and as the CEO’s advisor on K-12 education policy issues and programs. She also was Director of Education Solutions & Services, a group that developed image-based technology solutions to improve teaching and learning. Prior to joining Kodak, Anne taught in both urban and rural K-12 public schools and at the Universities of Kansas and Missouri. She holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Illinois.
Sabrina Hope King
Sabrina Hope King, senior associate at Cross & Joftus, has contributed significantly to the field of urban education as a teacher, scholar, professor, school and district leader. She began her career teaching young adults with Aspira of New York, working with juvenile offenders at the Spofford Juvenile Detention Center, and teaching history at A. Phillip Randolph High School in Harlem. Upon completing her doctorate, she became an assistant professor of curriculum and teaching at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She was granted tenure upon her return to New York from Hofstra University. As a professor, she trained future teachers and administrators in the areas of curriculum, instruction and diversity. She encouraged candidates to choose to work in urban and/or ethnically diverse school districts and to embrace their own career-long professional learning. Over the next 17 years, she worked as a principal in New York City, an assistant superintendent in Mount Vernon, New York, and as Senior Program Officer for the Wallace Foundation. She also directed the Leadership Institute at Bankstreet College that focused on preparing leaders of color. Collectively, these experiences led to her appointment as Chief Academic Officer in the Office of Teaching and Learning at the New York City Department of Education. She was able to impact the work of over 1600 schools in the areas of curriculum, professional development and educational equity. She initiated the “Closing the Achievement Gap” Speaker Series that brought together educators, parents and community leaders for collective learning and strategy. She co-led the New York City’s Campaign for Middle School Success, a multi-year strategic initiative to close the achievement gap in the middle grades. Her last post with the NYCDOE involved collaboration with the Abyssinian Development Corporation focused on school transformation in Harlem.
Elana Feinberg has over a decade of experience in education, working as a teacher, administrator and counselor in both charter management organizations and at large public school districts. Her consulting practice focuses on teacher and leader effectiveness and curriculum and instruction, working with Syracuse City School District (NY), HIllsborough County School District (FL), Stanford School of Education, and Winning Play$. Her areas of expertise include: curriculum development, educational technology/user experience design, high quality instruction and teacher effectiveness, college readiness, data analysis, school operations, teacher and leader recruiting and staffing, and culturally responsive teaching. Previously, Elana spent five years working at Summit Public Schools (Redwood City, CA) as the Director of College Readiness and as a history teacher. At Summit, she created and implemented a college readiness program, a comprehensive data dashboard, and coached and mentored teachers. She was also a Leadership Fellow, instrumental in growing the organization from one school to six schools. Elana honed her practice teaching all levels of social science at San Mateo High School (San Mateo, CA) for four years and was an Americorps member in the Harlem Children’s Zone.
Prior to her experience in education, she spent five years working with Silicon Valley technology start-ups. She holds a Masters degree in Education and a teaching credential from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College, Columbia University in Political Science.
Nancy A. Doorey
Nancy A. Doorey has been deeply involved in educational reform for more than twenty years, serving as a teacher, policymaker, program director, and as a consultant in the areas of assessment, teacher quality, and leadership. Nancy co-led the creation of the Center for K-12 Assessment & Performance Management at ETS, charged with serving as a catalyst for advances in K-12 testing to support student learning, and currently serves as its Director of Programs. In 2005, she was part of a small team that initiated the development of a blueprint for transformational change of the P-20 education system in Delaware, and this plan then served as the foundation for the state’s successful Race to the Top application. Previously, she initiated and directed a statewide growth assessment pilot and worked as a consultant in the areas of teacher quality, assessment and board development. She served on both a local school board for eight years and a state board of education for six years, overseeing the development of standards, assessments, accountability systems and financial reforms, after classroom experience spanning elementary through graduate levels.
Nancy holds a Master of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Simmons College, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in computer science from Harvard University Extension, and completed doctoral studies in educational leadership at Columbia University (ABD).
Alison Avera is a senior associate at Cross & Joftus. Her consulting focuses on strategy, organizational design, and operations management. She most recently served as interim Chief Strategy Officer for Newark Public Schools advising the Superintendent on organizational structure and managing strategic reform priorities including portfolio design, high school choice, and principal autonomy. Previously, Alison served as the Deputy Chief Operating Officer for New York City Department of Education managing district initiatives such as oversight of $2.4 billion Recovery Act Funding and class size reduction programs. She also served as Chief of Staff for the Chief Schools Officer facilitating the citywide conversion from geographic districts to a school support structure based on autonomy and accountability. Alison launched her education career through Teach For America as a high school biology teacher in New Orleans. She is a graduate of the Broad Residency and earned a Masters in Business Administration at Harvard Business School.
Richard Lee Colvin
Richard Lee Colvin is a senior associate with Cross & Joftus based in Washington, D.C. From 2002 through 2011 he led non-profit organizations dedicated to improving journalism about education and clearly communicating complex ideas about education policy to broad audiences. From 1989 until 2002 he was an editor and reporter at the Los Angeles Times, concentrating on education in California as well as nationally. In 2009, he created the Hechinger Report, which deploys a team of highly accomplished journalists to augment coverage of education issues nationally. Currently he is providing communications consulting to school districts, states, non-profits in education, foundations and publicly traded companies. He also is the author of “Tilting the Windmills: School Reform, San Diego, and America’s Race to Reform Public Education.” Harvard Education Press, April 2013.
Jim Kohlmoos is a senior associate with Cross & Joftus and co-founder and partner of EDGE Consulting LLC. 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. He led a national effort to promote informed and active lay citizen participation in state level education policymaking. From 2001 to 2011, Kohlmoos served as the president and CEO of the Knowledge Alliance where he guided a national advocacy program to expand support for evidence-based education and knowledge-based solutions in school improvement and policy. Prior to joining the Alliance in 2001, Kohlmoos was a vice president of Implementation Group, where over a two- year period he built an extensive bi-partisan government relations practice for elementary and secondary education. From 1993 to 2000 Kohlmoos served at the U.S. Department of Education as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education and as a Senior Adviser and Special Assistant. He also served on the Clinton-Gore Presidential Transition Team in 1992.
From 1977 to 1993, Jim worked at the Close Up Foundation first as an instructor and director and subsequently as the vice president of programs and outreach where he guided the development of new citizenship education programs in all 50 states and 10 countries around the world involving more than 30,000 students and teachers a year. Kohlmoos began his professional career in education 1971 as a classroom teacher with the U.S. Teacher Corps in Salinas, CA. He subsequently served as a teacher trainer in the Peace Corps in Malaysia for almost three years. Kohlmoos holds a baccalaureate in history from Stanford University (1971), plus teacher credentials from the University of California.
Mary Guinn, C&J senior associate, is currently a leadership consultant for Buffalo Public Schools. In this role, Dr. Guinn provides systemic supports that include coordinating the implementation of the district’s reorganization, helping to guide the new system and processes for school support and turnaround, and coaching senior district staff. Before working with C&J, Dr. Guinn served as deputy superintendent and CAO of Tulsa Public Schools (42,000 students) and superintendent of Gary (IN) School District (19,500 students). While serving in these and other positions (principal, teacher, director, assistant superintendent), she has been consistently credited with improving student achievement and developing highly effective school leaders. She has received several awards, including principal of the year and educator of the year. Dr. Guinn also worked with Purdue University to establish the Special Education Leadership Development Program and with Oklahoma University to establish the leadership practitioner doctoral program for Tulsa Public Schools.
Henry Mothner, C&J senior associate, has a wide-range of experience and expertise as a teacher, elementary, middle and high school principal, adjunct professor, staff development consultant, and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Programs at the Los Angeles County Office of Education. As Assistant Superintendent, he was responsible for providing leadership and oversight for the Divisions of Student Programs, Special Education, Alternative Education as well as two specialty high schools: the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts at CSULA and the International Polytechnic High School at Cal Poly, Pomona. Henry’s many years of working with a variety of stakeholders has enabled him to find user-friendly solutions to an array of challenges and opportunities in both regular education and special education settings. He has worked extensively with the USDE, local education agencies and state education agencies providing support and technical assistance to improve leadership, build capacity for school and district reform efforts and strategically plan for the effective use of instructional resources. Henry has a doctorate from USC in Educational Policy, Planning and Administration, Masters Degrees in Educational Leadership and Special and Rehabilitative Education from California State University – Northridge, and a B.A. from UCLA.
Steve Gering, senior associate at Cross & Joftus, is a career educator who has worked for over 30 years in both urban and suburban districts as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, district administrator, Deputy Superintendent, and consultant. In Kansas City, Kansas, Steve led the district reform effort, First Things First, resulting in dramatic increases in student achievement. These system wide gains were cited by the Gates Foundation as “one of the most significant reforms in urban education today.”
In 2008, Steve was recruited by former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan to lead Chicago’s High School Transformation efforts. As a senior consultant for the district, he focused on developing the leadership capacity of the high school principal supervisors. His work supported the effective implementation of the nationally recognized Freshman on Track strategy. This strategy is credited with turning around the graduation rate in Chicago Public Schools and driving an increase in ACT scores. Over the next two years, Steve’s consulting role in Chicago expanded to include leadership development and coaching for all 19 regional principal supervisors.
In 2011, Mr. Gering moved from consulting full time to accepting the role of Chief Leadership Development Officer for Chicago Public Schools. In this role he spearheaded the implementation of the district’s strategy for principal recruitment, development, evaluation, and recognition. He launched the Chicago Leadership Collaborative, an effort to develop 100 new principals each year, ready to enter the role as highly effective school leaders. Additionally, Steve was responsible for supervising, developing, and coaching regional principal supervisors. To support this effort, he created and implemented the Chicago Executive Leadership Academy aimed at providing structured development and coaching for the regional leaders.
Steve’s consulting work emphasizes developing the leadership capacity of school and district leaders with the skills and knowledge needed to drive positive student outcomes.
Clair Tannenbaum provides project management and administrative support on a variety of C&J projects. A significant focus of her work has been on executive recruitment and talent management in the education and nonprofit sectors. In her work with C&J and Redwood Circle Consulting, she supports the coordination of search projects for school districts, charters, and community foundations. Her role encompasses organizational operations, database maintenance, research, technical support, marketing, and communications.
Clair studied at Oberlin College and the University of Colorado, and in between her world travels, served as the Director of Admissions and Housing at an international English language school in Denver.
Hillary Stroud serves as a consultant in the areas of summer and expanded learning, systems-building strategies, and research and program evaluation. Stroud previously worked for the National Summer Learning Association, where she directed the organization’s strategic initiatives and research and evaluation portfolios. Her current projects include management of: district and school program evaluations and quality assessment; community systems-building initiatives; national research advisory boards and national networks; professional meetings and conferences; and targeted technical assistance and learning experiences for foundation grantees. Stroud received a master’s degree in educational policy and leadership from The Ohio State University.
Craig Chin has recently completed six years at the Boston Public Schools, where he first started as a Broad Resident following several years as a management consultant. His work as an independent consultant focuses on supporting district- and state-level reform efforts through improved human capital strategy development, implementation, and system transformation.
In his most recent position as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources in Boston, Craig served on the Superintendent’s leadership team and led the district’s human capital initiatives with particular emphasis on school turnaround efforts as well as the implementation of a new performance management system. He also played a key leadership role in a human resources reinvention initiative, as well as implementing Race to the Top, Teacher Incentive Fund, and Teacher Quality Partnership funded initiatives. Previously, Craig served as the Deputy Chief Operating Officer, supervising multiple departments where he utilized his extensive experience in operational improvement/redesign, budget control, school closings, school choice, organizational alignment, and strategic planning.
Prior to joining the Boston Public Schools, Craig worked in management consulting with Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, and Benchmarking Partners. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University and a MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.
Julia Keleher is a senior associate at Cross & Joftus, founder of Keleher & Associates, and adjunct faculty at The George Washington University’s Business School. From 1998 to 2007, Julia worked in public and non-public schools serving as a middle school teacher, counselor, and assistant principal. In her role as Assistant to the Superintendent in Red Clay Consolidated School District (Wilmington, DE), Julia led the design and implementation of a new computer adaptive assessment system. From 2007 to 2013, while working at the US Department of Education, Julia provided technical assistance to States and districts implementing school improvement grant programs. Before leaving federal service, Julia led the Risk Management Service’s effort to deploy data-driven risk assessment tools across all grant making Program Offices. Julia has been recognized as an emerging leader in government and was selected to participate in the Excellence in Government (2011) and Federal Executive Institute (2012) programs.
Lindsay Kruse is an education consultant with extensive experience helping education reform organizations leverage human capital to close the achievement gap. Her most recent projects have included launching a new, innovative national school leadership program for Relay Graduate School of Education and redefining the principal selection process for Newark Public Schools. Lindsay previously worked as a founding member of Uncommon Schools, where she last served as the Senior Director of Human Capital.
She is a graduate of the Broad Residency in Urban Education, a two- year management development program that trains graduates of business, public policy, and law schools for leadership positions in school districts. She previously worked as a management consultant for Capgemini (previously Ernst & Young). Lindsay received her bachelor’s degree in Communication from Cornell University and a masters in business administration from Columbia Business School with a concentration in social enterprise.
Alejandra (Javiera) Caballero is a project manager with Cross and Joftus. She is a former Montessori educator with classroom teaching experience ranging from pre-K through middle school. She has developed and adapted Montessori curriculum for several non-Montessori education settings, including a community run preschool, in Durham, NC, which she helped co-create. Most recently, Javiera has worked at the community level organizing, fundraising and running a cooperative bakery that focused on issues around food security and access to sustainably sourced food for low-income families. She has a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University in Political Science.
Venus Velez-Vann has over 20 years of experience in program design and evaluation, organizational development, staff development, strategic planning, community engagement, and high school programming. Starting in 2002, Venus joined a team of educators and consultants to support the city’s Children First Initiative, a massive education reform effort launched by the Mayor and Chancellor to improve NYC schools. She was involved in high school reform efforts – phasing out larger failing campus high schools and helping to build new small high schools in their place – as well as the community engagement strategy. She led the creation of a new parent engagement office in a region serving 139 schools, and then took the role of Director in the Chancellor’s office working with the parent and community engagement teams across the city to implement engagement initiatives set out by the Chancellor. After leaving the NYC DOE, Venus designed and supported the implementation of a high school college preparatory program for a non-profit. Most recently, she returned to district level reform work including supporting the redesign of the human resource department and talent management systems for Newark Public Schools and Syracuse City School District. Venus did her undergraduate work at Wesleyan University and holds an MBA from the Zicklin School of Business in NYC.
Sandra Tacina has over fifteen years of experience in education and business management. Her focus is on using analytics to improve talent management and educator effectiveness. She recently worked with the Armenian Government’s Quality Assurance Agency to develop and pilot teacher quality training programs designed to improve instruction techniques in Armenian universities. She also worked with the US Peace Corps office in Armenia, participating in an international team that evaluated the Peace Corps’ TEFL program in Armenia and then leading a national team in using these results to re-design the Peace Corps’ TEFL training program. Prior to this, Sandra worked at the New York City Department of Education for six years. There, as the Director of Talent Analytics, she formed and led a team which provided senior leadership with data-informed analysis in order to reform the school system’s human capital policies. She also led teams in developing one of the nations first systems for measuring teacher performance using a ‘value added’ methodology, developing new systems to improve the tenure process for teachers and principals and in creating data dashboards to help school leaders easily understand human capital trends. Earlier in her career, Sandra worked as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and as a Peace Corps Volunteer, where she taught university level Economics and English in Ukraine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Tracee Frazier, a former English & Reading teacher and Middle & High School Principal, has worked primarily in charter and public schools in urban districts in New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington DC for the past fifteen years. She received her BA from The University of Virginia with a dual major in English and African American Studies. She is a 1996 Teach for America Alum, who went on to receive her MA in Administration and Supervision from St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey. Mrs. Frazier has been in the forefront of conceptualizing the development of start-up schools, from staffing, training, and implementation. As a result, she has worked in the capacity of a K-12 curriculum writer and developer of assessments for schools in Milwaukee, WI and Trenton, NJ. She also served as testing strategist to insure schools meet Adequate Yearly Progress. Mrs. Frazier is a skilled grant writer, raising monies for school programming geared toward college preparedness and school accountability. She has experience with creating and implementing performing arts programs, as well as training schools on data driven instruction. Mrs. Frazier has developed literary workbooks and lessons for teachers that integrate arts and literacy and reading across the curriculum. Most recently, Mrs. Frazier has worked as an Instructional Leadership Director in Tulsa public schools, leading work in coaching, and evaluating principals in the area of instructional leadership. Prior to moving to Tulsa, Tracee continued to develop teachers and leadership teams in The District of Columbia’s high schools as a Director of High School Instruction in the Office of School Turnaround, and as a Manager of Instructional Coaches. She is a skilled professional developer and is driven by results. Tracee has a record of success in leading students and schools to excellence.
Crystal Moore has two decades of experience in education, fundraising, and training, as well as a lifelong passion for developing racially diverse, high performing, urban public schools. Her areas of specialty include change management, continuous improvement, data analysis, differentiated instruction, elementary education, literacy instruction, professional development, and school design. Most recently, Crystal served as the Director of Organizational Leadership and Development for Magnet Schools of America. Prior to joining MSA, Crystal worked for the School District of Philadelphia, DC Public Schools, and Wireless Generation (now Amplify Education, a division of NewsCorp). She has an undergraduate degree in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a Master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Pennsylvania. Crystal also is a registered yoga instructor and certified life coach, and operates her own yoga studio in Washington, DC.
Meka Childs is a graduate of Duke University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in History from the Trinity College and a Master of Public Policy from the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy. She has spent several years formulating and implementing education policy at the local level for federal and local government agencies as well as nonprofit organizations in Washington D.C., North Carolina, and South Carolina. Mrs. Childs served in the Policy Department of the Governor’s Office as the Education Advisor to Governor Mark Sanford. She has served as the Director of Legislative and Political Analysis for the South Carolina Business and Industry Political Education Committee. In her role at SC BIPEC Mrs. Childs worked closely with leaders of the South Carolina business community to inform legislation that affected the economic and workforce development of the Palmetto State. Meka served as the Deputy Superintendent for Policy and Research at the South Carolina Department of Education, reporting directly to General Mick Zais, Republican State Superintendent of Education. Mrs. Childs serves as the Deputy Superintendent over the Division of School Effectiveness. She was charged leading the Agency’s efforts to work with schools and districts on educator professional development, educator evaluation, blended learning opportunities, licensure, and school choice options. Most recently Meka has worked with South Carolina’s John de la Howe School providing technical assistance on administrative change management, improving educational outcomes, strengthening the quality of therapeutic services, and improving internal and external communications.
Eliana Pereyra brings a decade of experience in talent identification and cultivation, program development and management, and HR policy. Eliana is passionate about working on start-up and creative initiatives that seek to develop and cultivate the absolute best leaders to serve students.
Her work began at New Leaders as a member of the national admissions team where she developed systems and processes that ensured streamlined implementation of a rigorous, competency-based selection cycle for principal residents across seven program cities.
After New Leaders, Eliana served as a school social worker where she worked with recent immigrant students at risk of dropping out. Her time in schools reignited the desire to address school-based challenges. She had the privilege to support several school districts to establish or strengthen leadership pipelines, support talent cultivation efforts, and design selection processes. Most recently, Eliana oversaw various aspects of the implementation of teacher leadership opportunities within the NYC Department of Education including developing policy, setting goals and direction, securing resources, cultivating partner relationships, implementing program components, and overseeing program evaluation.
Eliana received a M.S.W. from the Hunter School of Social Work and a B.A. in Economics from NYU. Her social work background serves as the framework from which she approaches all aspects of her work.
Dane Martinez is the Founder and President of Keyno Consulting. Before launching his consulting business, Dane was most recently the Director of South Bronx Programs for Harlem RBI ensuring successful design, operations and collaboration. Prior to arriving at Harlem RBI, Dane served as a Director in the Teacher Effectiveness Group and Office of School Leadership with the New York City Department of Education where he lead content development, training and
design enhancements of Performance Management systems and leadership programs to support teachers and school leaders. Prior to his work at the New York City Department of Education, Dane was the founding Dean of Students for Achievement First Bushwick Middle School in Brooklyn. Dane has also previously served as a Program Director with Teach for America NYC and taught middle school science, math and English in the Bronx. Dane is a Bronx native who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University and a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Pace University.
Connie Casson partners with Cross and Joftus to bring experience in strategic human capital planning, organizational analysis and design, and performance management skills.
Until 2013, Connie led the Accountability, Research, and Evaluation group as its Executive Director at Denver Public Schools. For three years, she led a team of thirty-five researchers, analysts, trainers, and warehouse workers to measure, capture, present and interpret student-, school-, and district-level results. Prior to that role, she was a grant writer and project manager focused on performance management at Denver Public Schools.
Casson entered public education through the Broad Residency in Public Education, a two-year program during which she worked and learned at Fort Wayne (Indiana) Community Schools. She began her career in process and strategic consulting with Accenture.
Casson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Notre Dame, where she was a Notre Dame Scholar and graduated with honors. She received an MBA degree from The University of Texas at Austin where she received the peer-nominated Leadership and Service Award.
Dr. Posny has almost four decades of experience in education, from classroom teacher to Chief State School Officer to Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Posny was most recently the Senior Vice President of State and Federal Programs for Renaissance Learning.
Dr. Posny served as Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education from 2009-2012. In this position, she played a pivotal role in policy and management issues affecting special education and rehabilitative services across the country. She also served as the principal adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Education on all matters related to special education. Prior to arriving at the Department, Dr. Posny served as the Commissioner of Education for the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) from 2007-2009, Director of the Office of Special Education Programs for the U.S. Department of Education (2006 -2007), deputy commissioner of education at KSDE (2001-2006), state director of special education at KSDE (1999 to 2001), and the director of special education for the Shawnee Mission School District in Overland Park, KS (1997-1999). Prior to that, she was the Director of the Curriculum and Instruction Specialty Option as part of the Title 1 Technical Assistance Center (TAC) network of TACs across the United States and a Senior Research Associate at Research and Training Associates in Overland Park, KS. Dr. Posny has also served on the board of directors for the Chief State School Officers and the National Council for Learning Disabilities and chaired the National Assessment Governing Board’s Special Education Task Force.
Dr. Posny earned her Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she also minored in special education. She earned a master’s degree in behavioral disabilities from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.
Nancy Waymack is a seasoned education policy professional with 20 years of experience as a teacher, central office administrator and researcher. Most recently, Nancy was the Managing Director of District Policy at the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), where she led analyses of individual districts’ teacher policies, conducted in-depth studies of teacher quality issues, and managed the organization’s Teacher Contract Database.
Before joining NCTQ, Nancy served as the Executive Director for Policy and Operations for the San Francisco Unified School District. In San Francisco, she managed the district’s school funding formula, state and federal advocacy for the district, and the implementation of the Quality Teacher and Education Act, a voter initiative designed to help recruit and retain effective teachers. Nancy also supervised Student Nutrition Services and provided strategic analysis and planning for departments throughout the district.
Prior to moving to San Francisco, Nancy was the Assistant Budget Director at the District of Columbia Public Schools and a teacher in the Houston Independent School District. Nancy has a master’s degree in Public Policy from Georgetown and a B.A. from Hendrix College.
Dr. Monica Martinez is an education strategist and consultant for philanthropy and non-profits, Senior Fellow to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and appointee to the White House Commission of Educational Excellence for Hispanics. As an education strategist, Monica works with philanthropy, nonprofits, states, districts and schools to help them establish or codify strategic priorities and develop plans for their implementation; create, assist in the roll-out of initiatives and provides ongoing management or short-term execution; and shape or assess an organization’s initiative. Her book, Deeper Learning: How Eight Public Innovative Schools are Transforming Education in the 21st Century, was released June, 2014 by The New Press and has received positive reviews. In January, 2015, Martinez released an implementation tool based on the book: Deeper Learning: The Planning Guide. Prior to this work, Martinez served as the CEO and President of the New Tech Network, a network of over 130 schools that engage in project-based learning that integrates technology and the Vice President of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation. Martinez is an international and national speaker on the topics of deeper learning, education innovation and reform, college readiness, and the future of learning. She currently serves on the Board for the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future on the Board of Trustees (NCTAF) and 10,000 Degrees, a college access and success intermediary in California.
Marcella Renken has 30 years of experience in lower school and middle school education. Her experience in diverse locations includes Kansas City, Kansas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Houston, Texas. During her tenure, she was a member of a select team of professionals evaluating private schools for state accreditation. Currently she holds Master teacher status, having completed 20 years with Second Baptist School in Houston, TX. Marcella was also chosen for elite technology team training in Atlanta, Georgia, which became the initial movement to advance technology in the school. Most recently, she has been part of an experienced faculty implementing the Apple computer one-to-one technology program, helping Second Baptist School achieve Apple School of Distinction. Marcella has a special interest in professional development, having more than 380 training hours, which led to the development of her creative, cutting-edge pedagogy. Her passion is empowering students of the 21st century with knowledge that will equip them to think deeply and wisely, with clarity and understanding. She has post-graduate hours from both the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas. Marcella earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Baker University.
Erin Ewart is a Senior Associate with fifteen years of experience across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Her work is focused around building systems and capacity for growing organizations with a specialization in talent recruitment strategy and operations. Most recently, Erin served as the National Director of Recruitment Strategy and Support for KIPP, the nation’s largest network of charter schools, where she led the organization’s national teacher recruitment strategy as it doubled in size. Erin has led projects for clients that include New Schools for New Orleans, the Washington State Charter Schools Association, and the Highline Public School District. Before moving into the education sector, she held roles with organizations including Google and the U.S. Department of State, where she served as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Panama City, Panama. Erin holds a Bachelors Degree from the College of William and Mary and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
David Orrick is a Project Manager with Cross & Joftus. In that role he has helped support Omaha Public Schools to adopt a new principal supervision model for its 85 schools. In addition to his work with Cross & Joftus, David is the Founder of DIBS for Kids – a literacy initiative launching in Omaha to help eliminate the literacy gap in the city’s highest-poverty schools through in-home reading. David started his education career as a 1st grade Teach For America teacher and was a Founding Teacher of ARISE Academy, one of New Orleans’ strongest charter schools. David was recently named a Distinguished Educator by Turning Technologies, and holds a BSD in Architecture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Elizabeth Mascitti-Miller is a lifelong educator who most recently served as the Chief Officer for the Chicago Public School’s Office of Early Childhood Education (Birth through 2nd Grade) and transformed the early learning programs through the primary grades in the third largest district in the country. Previously, she served as Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in the Rochester City School District in New York where she led a massive K-12 curriculum restructure and re-alignment. She has also worked as a special education teacher, director of a preschool program for children with special needs, a building administrator, and principal of World of Inquiry School, which won the National Change Award. The school also went on to be recognized with the Excellence in Urban Education Award and the National Blue Ribbon School Award, all of which were received during her nine years of leadership.
Dr. Mascitti-Miller graduated from Syracuse University and received her doctorate from St. John Fisher College. She recently served on several key state committees, including the Illinois State Early Learning Council, and was recently recognized with the Benjamin O. Canada Change Leader Award, 2015.
Natalie Nielsen, Ph.D., is an independent consultant. Before that she was acting director of the Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. There, Natalie set strategic directions for BOTA in consultation with board members and other external advisors; collaborated with government agencies and private foundations to identify potential projects of national importance and secure funding for them; oversaw the teams that are responsible for completing BOTA’s projects; disseminated BOTA’s work; and managed staffing and financial needs. Prior to leading BOTA, Natalie was a senior program officer with the Board on Science Education at the National Academies. In that role she directed studies on defining and measuring successful K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. She also was involved with several projects related to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), including the Framework for K-12 Science Education, dissemination efforts for a study related to developing assessments for NGSS, and a study to identify science teachers’ professional learning needs in light of NGSS.
Before joining the National Academies, Natalie was the director of research at the Business-Higher Education Forum and a senior researcher at SRI International. Her responsibilities in these organizations included research and analysis, project management, and grant writing. In those roles, she also helped to forge partnerships between business, K-12, and postsecondary institutions in Louisville, Kentucky, and studied partnerships between K-12 and various intermediary organizations involved with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Early College High School Initiative.
Natalie holds a B.S. in geology from the University of California, Davis; an M.S. in geological sciences from San Diego State University; and a Ph.D. in education from George Mason University.
Nancy Que has nine years of nonprofit K-12 education experience in program impact evaluation and design, project management, and strategic planning. She has deep experience analyzing student outcomes, having led the annual $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education, a flagship grant of the Broad Foundation that recognized improvement in large urban public school systems nationally, and launched its sister prize, the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools, to highlight excellence in charter management organizations. A versatile professional with over 10 years of work experience, she is skilled at managing complex projects, designing and executing grant evaluation systems, translating data for decision-makers, facilitating board deliberations, and bringing an objective, rigorous, data-driven perspective to her work. Prior to beginning a career in the education sector, she focused on process improvement in the mortgage banking sector and also worked as a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and FTI Consulting in the telecommunications practice. Nancy has a bachelor’s degree in economics and in psychology from Pomona College and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.
Tatiana Epanchin-Troyan is a passionate educator and educational leader. Most recently she served as Senior Vice President of Regional Operations at Teach for America (TFA). In this role, Tatiana’s leadership and teaching experience among school districts in diverse, high-poverty neighborhoods directly contributed to the development of new teachers in 8 TFA regions. She is an award-winning educational leader with a proven analytical approach to problem solving which is grounded in the real-world challenge of serving a diverse population with scarce resources.
Before joining Teach for America, Tatiana served as Aspire Public Schools’ Bay Area Superintendent for 10 schools in Oakland, Berkeley, and East Palo Alto in Northern California. Prior to selection as Superintendent, Tatiana gained experience in startup schools as a teacher and then as a principal. She served as a Lead Teacher for the grades 6-8 humanities team at Aspire’s Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy, was a founding teacher there, and also taught at Monarch Academy. She was then selected as the founding principal for Aspire’s ERES Academy in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, and also served as principal of Aspire’s Monarch Academy in East Oakland. Under her leadership, the school increased its API by 150 points, more than three times the state average increase. In 2008, Monarch Academy was awarded the National Title I Distinguished School Award for closing the achievement gap, an honor bestowed upon only 1 out of over 9,600 schools in the state.
Tatiana began her teaching career with Teach for America in New Orleans, where she taught middle school in Orleans Parish. She has also served as a social worker in Contra Costa County where she worked on intensive family preservation cases. Tatiana holds a BA in Sociology, and Masters’ degrees in both education and social work.
Griffith Montgomery is a consultant, educator, coach, artist, and parent with experience teaching as a Resource Specialist, Special Education Lead/Coordinator and coaching in grades K-12. His teaching style is creative and engaging, helping children to discover intrinsic motivation and risk-taking as a catalyst for building a lifelong love of learning. Montgomery’s areas of expertise include creative delivery of differentiated instruction by breaking standards down into meaningful and manageable components and adding unique engagement strategies to the classroom. Outside the classroom Montgomery is a coach and consultant to administrators and general education teachers in the areas of Student Success Team and Response to Intervention. He helps school teams create success plans for at-risk student populations and manage teams’ professional development in the areas of data-driven planning and differentiated small group instruction. Montgomery holds an A.S. in Multimedia and Web Design from the Art Institute of California at San Francisco, a B.A. in Liberal Studies with a Creative Arts Emphasis from San Francisco State University, and M.A. in Special Education from Notre Dame de Namur University.
Catherine Conrado is an experienced special educator, administrator and consultant. She began her career as a speech-language therapist in grades preschool through secondary with a population of diverse students representing the full spectrum of disabilities. She has experience in administrative and leadership roles in large urban districts, suburban, and small rural districts, in addition to State level service, consulting work and college-level instruction. Conrado has been the Chair of the California Advisory Commission on Special Education, has served on the Charter School Workgroup at the California Department of Education, and has had national consulting experience related to special education services and delivery. She is currently the Special Education Director of the Sonoma County SELPA.
Jillian Ryan is an associate with Cross and Joftus as well as a classroom teacher and a teacher technology educator in San Diego Unified School District, serving as the lead Digital Teacher Leader at her site. Ms. Ryan’s diverse teaching experience includes ESL, CAHSEE prep, 6th, 8th and 9th grade English, GATE Cluster English, Middle School Study Skills, US History, and Digital Literacy. As a teacher technology educator, Ms. Ryan trains staff on site in student 1:1 netbooks, Promethean boards, LanSchool, ActivInspire, Moodle, Twitter, Zangle, WordPress.com, and document cameras, among others. She also teaches and helps to design both software and hardware classes for the entire district. Ms. Ryan previously contributed to the Digital Learning Resources Project for the Smithsonian Center for Education Museum Studies, conducting an environmental scan of current best platforms.
Ms. Ryan earned her Masters Degree in Education from the University of California, Davis, where her work focused on morphology and reading comprehension. She worked as a Graduate Student Researcher throughout her credential year, assisting with the Brokers of Expertise environmental scan and requirements document for the California Department of Education.
Brian Gadsden is a senior associate with Cross and Joftus. Brian is a coach and a management consultant providing strategic planning, change management and program and organizational development service for non-profit organizations. Brian has over fifteen years’ experience in leadership positions in the public sector and extensive experience working where the public, private, and governmental sectors intersect. Prior to coaching and consulting, Brian started several AmeriCorps programs, taught high school, worked in senior management positions at several education non-profits, and worked for a start-up technology company. Brian is passionate about leadership, innovation, and building strong supportive, healthy, communities. He is an active volunteer, chair of the Youth Speaks Board, and mentor to high school and college students. Brian is politically active in both local and national politics.
Brian earned his undergraduate degree at The George Washington University, where he studied Political Science and Sociology. He holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Kenji Hakuta is Lee Jacks Professor of Education, emeritus, at Stanford University. He has held full-time faculty positions at Yale University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. During 2003-2006 he helped start the University of California, Merced as its Founding Dean of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. He has several hundred publications, and is most noted for his 1986 book, Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism. In addition to his academic writings, Kenji is a leading expert in the area of English Language Learners (ELLs) at the federal, state, and local district levels. Since the early 1990’s, he has worked within the policy and practice arenas toward the inclusion of ELLs in reform efforts, particularly around bilingual education and standards-based reform.
Kenji has served at the federal level through service in various capacities, including serving on many committees and panels of the National Research Council as well as the National Academy of Education and chairing the National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board of OERI (predecessor to the Institute for Education Sciences) from 1995-2004. At the state level, Kenji has provided significant and long-term support for a variety of states, including California and New York. During the past 3 years, he has also served as advisor to the Council of Chief State Schools Officers for the “ELL SCASS”, a learning community of state directors of ELL programs from over 35 states that convene tri-annually to share practice and conduct practice-based research on various aspects of ELL education at the state level. He collaborated with states through the CCSSO to develop new English Language Proficiency Standards as well as to launch ELPA21 – an annual assessment of English language proficiency used by 10 states.
Kenji’s scholarly contributions have been recognized by many honorary societies; he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Educational Research Association, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Education. His education includes a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Harvard University.
Katie Singh has worked closely for the past four years with the Urban Schools Human Capital Academy – supporting districts across the country to find, keep and develop great teachers and school leaders. In addition to district support, she co-leads content development for the Emerging Human Capital Leaders Initiative for emerging HC leaders in K-12 education across the country. Prior to her work with the Urban Schools Human Capital Academy, Katie worked at the New York City Department of Education for 4 years in a variety of roles. She was a Senior Director in the Office of School Leader Effectiveness and led the design and implementation of the Department’s principal performance review pilot in 30 schools. In addition to working in the Department’s Office of Product Development, where she managed the launch of a professional learning management system, Katie was also Director of Strategic Analysis in the Division of HR – supporting the HR team in making data-driven talent decisions.
Before joining the NYC Department of Education, Katie worked at the World Bank in Washington DC, where she researched education systems across East Asia and the Pacific and supported the Bank’s education program in Mongolia. Katie began her career as an elementary school teacher in East Oakland and East Palo Alto, California. Katie holds a Master’s Degree in International Management from the University of California, San Diego and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Annie O’Donnell is passionate about ensuring all of America’s children receive an equitable and empowering education and has dedicated her career to pursuing that aim. Annie spent over 12 years building up the national design team at Teach For America. She began her work as Director of Design, overhauling the organization’s knowledge-base and training approach for elementary literacy teachers. Her most recent role was Senior Vice President of Instructional Leadership Support. Highlights of her team’s work included preparing staff to help teachers understand Common Core State Standards and skillfully enacting the related pedagogical shifts; piloting and scaling content-specific training and ongoing support from pre-K through high school; transforming the organization’s approach to summer institute in concert with a region and a college of education; expanding support to teachers by offering a year-long pre-corps development experience and fellowships and virtual coaching programs for alumni teachers; supporting organizational learning about and commitment to culturally relevant pedagogy; and increasing the effectiveness of virtual communities and digital resources.
Annie began her career in public education as an elementary teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools. She has a MAT from Johns Hopkins University and a BA in Political Science and Sociology from Vanderbilt University.