2010 Teacher Effectiveness Conference Speakers

Sara Arispe

Fort Worth Independent School District

Sara Arispe is the Executive Director of Accountability and Data Quality in Fort Worth ISD. She oversees Research and Evaluation, Data Analysis and Reporting, and Student Assessment for the district’s more than 81,000 students. Prior to working in the field of education, Sara worked in the private sector as an accountant specializing in fiduciary tax preparation for a number of banks and private trusts. Sara joined the district in 1995 as a classroom teacher. She holds a BBA in Accounting from the Dillard College of Business at Midwestern State University and a Masters in Education from Texas Christian University.

Tony Bagshaw

Battelle for Kids

Tony Bagshaw currently leads Battelle for Kids’ work in the areas of strategic compensation and other human capital innovations. Through strategic counsel, communications assistance, data integration, and innovative technology solutions, Battelle for Kids has assisted large and small districts in strategically rewarding excellence encompassing over $100,000,000. Tony previously served as Senior Director of Knowledge Management at Battelle for Kids where he led the SOAR, T-CAP, and Ohio Value-Added High Schools initiatives. These school improvement collaboratives focus on increasing student achievement based on value-added analysis, professional development, research and sharing best practices. These initiatives span approximately 100 districts in Ohio. Tony joined Battelle for Kids after 21 years in the field of education where he served as a teacher, coach, and administrator at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels. Tony came to Battelle for Kids from Wyoming City School in Cincinnati, Ohio where he served as the Assistant Superintendent responsible for curriculum, human resources, data, and testing. Passionate about school improvement through the development of human capital, he is well versed in Gallup approaches to improved employee and student engagement and performance. Tony is also a veteran of many rounds of contract negotiations and has worked closely with the Ohio Education Association and Ohio Federation of Teachers to collaboratively move value-added initiatives forward in the state.

Dale Ballou

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Dale Ballou is an associate professor of public policy and education in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Professor Ballou specializes in the economics of education, econometrics, research design, and value-added measurement. His most recent research has dealt with personnel policies in charter schools, teacher testing, and the role of unions in education reform. Professor Ballou has completed extensive research on the role of regulations and incentives in the training, recruitment, and retention of teachers. His work has appeared in professional economics journals as well as publications for a broader audience like The Public Interest and Education Week. Professor Ballou has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on education issues and has advised the Massachusetts legislature and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on policies related to school financing, teacher licensure, and teacher compensation. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Yale University, and in recent years, has developed a national reputation as an authority on educational assessment and accountability systems. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., Professor Ballou spent several years teaching in a variety of settings, including a middle school in Indiana, an adult education center in New Haven, Connecticut, and a private boarding school in Massachusetts. From 1989 to 1992 he taught in the Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts.

John Barker

Memphis City Schools

A native of Humboldt, Tennessee, Dr. John R. Barker is the Executive Director of Research, Evaluation and Assessment for the Memphis City Schools. Dr. Barker holds a Ph.D. in Education and Human Development from Vanderbilt University and graduated summa cum laude from college at UT Martin and high school in Humboldt. During the course of his professional career, he has worked in various organizational settings ranging from healthcare to higher education. In October 2006, Dr. Barker returned to Memphis CitySchools in the position he currently holds, overseeing state mandated testing, grant-based research projects, school data support, andaccreditation services for the 23rd largest school district in the country. Dr. Barker has nearly a dozen peer-reviewed publications to his creditand has presented workshops to thousands of people in conferencesacross the country. He is a former Vice President for Advancement and Operations for Memphis Theological Seminary and served forseven years in the administration of University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Camilla Benbow

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Camilla Persson Benbow is Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, a position she has held since 1998. An educational psychologist, Dean Benbow has focused her scholarly work on gifted education and the development of mathematical talent. She co-directs, with David Lubinski, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), a longitudinal study examining the developmental trajectories of over 5,000 individuals throughout the life-span. The study has been continuously funded since 1981. She is particularly interested in identifying the educational experiences and interventions most conducive to developing intellectual talent and excellence in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Dean Benbow began her academic career at Johns Hopkins University in 1981 as an associate research scientist. In 1986, Iowa State University appointed her associate professor of psychology. She was promoted to full professor in 1990, became department chair in 1992, and in 1995, was named distinguished professor. She was appointed interim dean of education at Iowa State in 1996. While at Iowa State she also directed pre-collegiate programs for talented and gifted students. Dean Benbow has authored or co-authored more than 100 articles and 35 chapters and has edited two books. A fellow of the American Psychological Association Divisions 3 and 15, and of the American Psychological Society, she has received a distinguished scholar award from the National Association for Gifted Children and has been inducted into Johns Hopkins’ Society of Scholars. In 2004, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the MENSA Education and Research Foundation. Dean Benbow is a member of the board of the American Psychological Foundation. She co-founded and co-chairs the committee of AAU College of Education Deans. In May 2006, she was appointed by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. She has recently been appointed by President Bush to serve on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation. Dean Benbow received her Ed.D., with distinction, from Johns Hopkins University, from which she also received her B.A. and M.A. in psychology and her M.S. in education.

Susan Bodary

Education First Consulting

Susan is an education policy and reform leader with a proven track record of success in local, statewide and national education initiatives. Most recently, Susan led the Education First team providing strategic, research, facilitation and writing support for Tennessee’s successful Race to the Top proposal that will bring more than $500 million to the state for education reform over the next four years. As part of the proposal, she also worked in concert with the Governor’s Office to design and negotiate key operating partners for the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. Other clients include Achieve, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Complete College America, Data Quality Campaign, Ohio College Access Network, The Cleveland Foundation, The Stone Foundation, Metro Nashville Public Schools/City of Nashville, Internationals Network of Public Schools and many others. Before joining Education First Consulting, she served as the founding executive director of EDvention, a preschool-to-workforce consortium of more than 80 partners dedicated to accelerating science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) talent to grow the economy. As part of this strategic effort, EDvention established Ohio’s STEM Education Resource Center through a grant from the National Governor’s Association and was a founding partner of the Dayton Regional STEM School. Susan also served as a Distinguished Policy Associate at the University of Dayton’s School of Education and Allied Professions and as a senior policy consultant with Achieve, Inc., a national education policy reform organization in Washington, D.C. As education and workforce advisor to Ohio Governor Bob Taft, Susan led a policy team advising on early, primary, secondary and higher education as well as workforce development. She spearheaded the development and enactment of the Ohio Core, a rigorous high school curriculum to better prepare students for work, college and life that was signed into law in January 2007. Susan served as the executive director of Project READ, a coalition of more than 50 schools, businesses, and community organizations dedicated to addressing lifelong literacy issues. Project READ served as the resource for literacy advocacy in the Dayton region and throughout Ohio. Susan began her career at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) where she was the senior project administrator for a groundbreaking international technology interconnectivity project involving major computer users and manufacturers. Susan holds bachelor degrees in public law and organizational communication from Eastern Michigan University and was honored with the university’s Alumna Achievement Award in 2008.

Jeanne Burns

Louisiana Board of Regents

Dr. Jeanne M. Burns is currently the Associate Commissioner for Teacher and Leadership Initiatives for the Louisiana Board of Regents. She is also co-director of the Blue Ribbon Commission for Educational Excellence. She served as Principal Investigator for a $3.2 million Title II Teacher Quality State Enhancement Grant awarded to the Office of the Governor (2000-2005) which supported the redesign of all teacher preparation programs in Louisiana. She served as co-director of a $4.2 million grant awarded to the Office of the Governor by The Wallace Foundation (December 1, 2004 to June 30, 2008) and is currently co-director of a $3.4 million grant from The Wallace Foundation (July 1, 2008 to August 31, 2010) to improve educational leaders in Louisiana. She has also served as principal investigator of a grant awarded to the Board of Regent by the Carnegie Corporation of New York (July 1, 2007 to August 31, 2009) to fully develop a Value-added Teacher Preparation Assessment Model, and is currently serving as co-leader of a grant that was awarded by the National Governors Association to the state to develop a Teacher Compensation Model. These are all initiatives that are jointly supported by the Governor, Board of Regents, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Louisiana Department of Education. Dr. Burns previously taught as a special education teacher, evaluated children for special education services, and served in district leadership roles in Florida and Louisiana. After receiving her M.Ed. and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University and A&M College, she moved to Florida and taught at Stetson University. Dr. Burns returned to Louisiana in 1988 to accept a position at Southeastern Louisiana University. She is an Associate Professor at Southeastern and has taught courses in the areas of leadership for change, gifted education, and reading. At the present time, she is on loan to the State to work full time for the Board of Regents and Governor. Dr. Burns has published in professional journals and presented papers at over 150 international, national, regional, and state conferences. During the last fifteen years, Dr. Burns has been directly involved in educational reform and assisted state leaders to develop a state plan for K-12 education, create the K-12 technology initiative, develop the K-12 school accountability system, coordinate efforts to redesign all public and private teacher education and educational leadership programs within the state, implement a new teacher preparation accountability system, and support the implementation of a value-added teacher preparation assessment model. She is married to Dr. Alvin Burns who is a Professor in the College of Business at Louisiana State University. They are the grandparents of twin boys.

Katie Cour

Education First Consulting

Katie Cour has over ten years of education policy experience with a focus on standards, assessments, and accountability. Prior to joining Education First, Katie worked at the Office of Education Accountability (OEA) in the Tennessee Comptroller’s office. OEA serves as a nonpartisan voice on education research and policy for the Tennessee state legislature. While at OEA, Katie spearheaded a legislatively mandated study of the state’s low performing schools and districts, as well as published reports on a variety of education policy issues. She regularly assisted members of the General Assembly with research and policy recommendations for education legislation. Katie served as both a Senior Analyst and Assistant Director while at OEA. Prior to her work for the Tennessee legislature, Katie worked at Achieve, Inc. while pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University. In addition to her education policy experience, Katie has worked on several national and state-level political campaigns. Katie received her B.A. in religion and history from Northwestern University.

Punita Dani-Thurman

Fort Worth Independent School District

Punita Thurman is the Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives in Fort Worth ISDs Policy, Planning and

Governmental Affairs Division.  In this role, Punita oversees the districts’ strategic performance plan and  assists in planning and implementation of the district’s priority initiatives.  She joined the district in 2006 as a Broad Resident through the Broad Foundation.  Prior to joining the district, Punita worked in the private sector for over 12 years as a Management consultant.  She has consulted for  number of Fortune 500 firms and federal governmental agencies  on human capital strategy, change management and organizational effectiveness.  She holds a BBA in Finance and Management from the University of Michigan and an MBA focused on Organizations and Strategy from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Peter Davies

Class Measures

A former British School Inspector, Mr. Davies has worked in teacher quality and school accountability for more than ten years in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. He currently advises the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in Massachusetts, and a number of different state institutions. He developed the protocol for school inspections in Massachusetts, trained over 100 inspectors between 2004 and 2009 and continues to monitor their work. He is currently engaged in a review of Class Measures’ teacher licensure program. Peter was formerly an administrator with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. He was also a visiting professor to the Oxford University Department of Education Studies. He has worked in school and social services departments and as a school principal. Mr. Davies completed leadership training with the National Institute for School Leaders (NISL) and is now a NISL Chief Learning Coach. A lifelong learner, he is currently completing a doctorate at Lesley University, Cambridge MA.

Stephen Elliott

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Professor Steve Elliott is an educational psychologist with interests in children’s academic and social learning and the measurement of this learning. Prior to his appointment at Vanderbilt University in 2004 as the Dunn Family Professor of Educational and Psychological Assessment, Steve was on faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was the associate director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and a faculty member of UW’s top-ranked School Psychology program. He currently co-directs three USDE research grants concerning the design and validation of alternate assessments for students with disabilities and a fourth USDE project to validate the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education (VAL-ED). Steve teaches courses on educational psychology history and research and an advanced assessment course in Special Education. Steve has been a productive scholar, authoring more than 130 journal articles, 20 books, 40 book chapters and five widely used behavior-rating scales. His scholarly and professional contributions have been recognized by his colleagues in psychology as evidenced by being the 1984 recipient of the Lightner Witmer Award from Division 16 within the American Psychological Association, by being elected to Fellow status in four APA divisions, being appointed editor of School Psychology Review (1984-1990) for two terms and most recently by being invited to be an AERA Fellow. Steve frequently consults with educators on the assessment and instruction of K-12 students and served on the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Education Goals 2000 and Students with Disabilities during 1995-1997. He recently completed multi-year appointments on the U.S. Department of Education’s technical advisory panels for the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the National Alternate Assessment Study. In addition to his faculty position in Special Education, Steve serves as Director of the Peabody Interdisciplinary Program in Educational Psychology (IPEP), a relatively new inter-departmental doctoral program focusing on learning and measurement research.

Drew Gitomer

Educational Testing Service

Drew Gitomer is an ETS Distinguished Researcher and Senior Director of Understanding Teaching Quality Center. Drew was Senior Vice President for Research and Development at ETS from 1999 to 2004. His research interests include policy and evaluation issues related to teacher education, licensure, induction and professional development. His studies have focused on enhancing the validity base for teacher licensure assessments (Praxis™) and advanced certification of teacher assessments (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards). He is currently the principal investigator for research efforts sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the WT Grant and Spencer Foundations targeted at developing and understanding potential measures for understanding teaching quality. Gitomer’s research has also focused on the design of assessments, particularly those that support the improvement of instruction. From 1991 to 1995, Gitomer was the NSF project co-director with the University of Pittsburgh for SEPIA, Science Education through Portfolio Instruction and Assessment. He also was project co-director with Harvard University of Arts PROPEL, a portfolio assessment effort funded by the Rockefeller Foundation involving middle and high school teachers and students in music, visual arts, and writing. Recent activities include serving as editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis from 2006-2009 and as editor of the recent volume Measurement Issues and Assessment for Teacher Quality. He has also been a member of the AERA Consensus Panel on Research on Teacher Education and the National Academy of Education’s Standards and Assessment Working Group. He continues to serve on a variety of technical advisory panels and boards. Drew completed his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center in Cognitive Psychology.

Jason Glass

Battelle for Kids

Following a 15-year career in education, Jason Glass joined Battelle for Kids in fall 2010 to lead the organization’s strategic compensation initiatives and other human capital innovations. In his role at Senior Director of Human Capital, Jason will partner with the Tennessee Department of Education to support the state’s First to the Top value-added and formative assessment implementation efforts. Additionally, he will provide counsel to large and small districts across the country around strategically rewarding educator excellence. Prior to joining Battelle for Kids, Jason served as Director of Human Resources for Eagle County Schools in Colorado. In this role, he collaborated with a district leadership team to develop and implement a strategic plan for over 900 district staff. Jason also served as Director of Research and Assessment, conducting statistical analysis of student assessment data, teacher evaluation data and numerous other data sources. As a consultant for the Colorado Department of Education, Jason coordinated academic testing of the state’s students with disabilities and oversaw test development, reporting, budget management, technical integrity and administration. Jason also managed a federal enhancement grant which provided resources to improve the quality and availability of data for education monitoring and research. Jason’s work in higher education includes serving as an instructor and research assistant at the University of Kentucky, his alma mater, and as an adjunct instructor at Georgetown College. He led undergraduate lecture, discussion and learning activities in Political Behavior and State and Local Government and directed research on a number of grant-financed projects for the National Science Foundation, Commonwealth of Kentucky and Pew Charitable Trust. Jason previously served as a high school social studies teacher. With a passion for communicating with diverse populations, Jason has presented and served as a panelist at numerous national conferences and symposiums, including the National School Boards Association, Council of Chief State School Officers and the University of Texas Institute for Public Initiatives. He has also conducted research and published articles around assessment, special education data collection and the perception of bias in the news media.

Gary Gordon


Gary Gordon, Ed.D., is the Strategic Consultant in Gallup’s Education Practice. He consults with school districts, businesses, and organizations on human resources selection and development, leadership, and workplace management. Gordon’s extensive background in public education and his experience consulting with Gallup’s business and education clients enable him to develop innovative education and business solutions. He is the author of Building Engaged Schools: Getting the Most From America’s Classrooms (Gallup Press, 2006). Gordon directs or is involved in a number of Gallup Education research projects, including a recent student engagement study and current research on teacher effectiveness. Prior to joining Gallup in 1994, Gordon’s career in education included teaching grades 7 through 12 in public schools in Kansas and Missouri and graduate-level teaching at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He also held administrative positions in several school districts in Kansas and Missouri, serving as a junior and senior high school assistant principal, a high school principal, a director of personnel, and an assistant superintendent. Gordon received his doctorate in education leadership with a concentration in human resources from the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Tabitha Grossman

National Governors Association

Tabitha Grossman, Ph.D., is a senior policy analyst at the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices in Washington, D.C. She has been in the education profession since 1999 as a teacher, school counselor, and administrator in school districts in the central Virginia region. Prior to her work at the Center for Best Practices, Dr. Grossman served as director of North Carolina Governor Mike Easley’s Learn and Earn Early College High School initiative. In addition, she led Virginia Governor Mark Warner’s Project Graduation and Early College Scholars initiatives. She is currently leading work in the Center for Best Practices on a number of human capital issues, including: teacher compensation, teacher and principal effectiveness, teacher and principal evaluation, professional development, and extended learning opportunities. She is the author of Building A High-Quality Education Workforce: A Governor’s Guide to Human Capital Development, State Policies to Improve Teacher Professional Development, and State Policies to Increase School Leader Effectiveness. Dr. Grossman is a proud product of the Commonwealth of Virginia public school system and a first generation college student. Dr. Grossman earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership, a post-master’s degree in school administration, and a master’s degree in school counseling-all from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.

Todd Hellman

Battelle for Kids

With over 15 years of experience in management, technology and solutions development, Todd Hellman provides strategy, design and development of solutions to help address educational-improvement issues for Battelle for Kids and its clients. Todd has been instrumental in the launch of Battelle for Kids’ satellite office in Houston, Texas and growing national presence. Among the many leadership roles he serves for the education organizations with which Battelle for Kids partners, Todd is the solutions architect helping the Houston Independent School District implement its ASPIRE educational-improvement and performance-management model. Prior to joining Battelle for Kids, Todd served as director of technology for the Educational Service Center of Franklin County. Additionally, he served as the executive director of the Technology Solutions Group – part of the Management Council of the Ohio Education Computer Network. Todd was chief information officer for the Ohio SchoolNet Commission (now the eTech Ohio Commission)— responsible for over $1B of the state’s investment in educational technology for Ohio’s 614 public schools serving over 200,000 educators and 1.8M students. As CIO, he designed and built the infrastructure and established IT operations, strategy, application development practices and product development for applications, including single-sign-on suite (Hall Pass), content management, online grant applications, eLearning, online payment systems, complex online surveys and planning tools, document management, communications tools, interactive CD-ROMs and professional learning tools. Todd previously worked in educational technology, brand-building, marketing, communications and interactive consulting firms overseeing complex, enterprise solutions for startups, small companies, non-profits and government entities. He has served former clients, including the Ohio Department of Education, Apple, BMW Financial Services, Huntington Banks, the State of Ohio Office of Information Technology and more.

Kaya Henderson

District of Columbia Public Schools

Kaya Henderson is the Deputy Chancellor for the District of Columbia Public Schools where she focuses on organizational strategy, human capital, and labor relations. Prior to her appointment, Kaya served as the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at The New Teacher Project (TNTP), where she oversaw the organization’s work on improving teacher hiring for school districts from a process, policy, and capacity-building perspective. She also launched a managed alternative certification programs in a number of districts, including the DC Teaching Fellows Program. Her work contributed to the organization’s two major reports: “Missed Opportunities: How We Keep High-Quality Teachers Out of Urban Classrooms,” and “Unintended Consequences: The Case for Reforming Staffing Rules in Urban Teachers Union Contracts.” Kaya began her career in education as a Teach For America Corps member, teaching middle school Spanish in the South Bronx, and overseeing the development of new teachers at summer institutes. She served the organization for a number of years as a Recruiter, National Director of Admissions, and the Executive Director for Teach For America-DC, where she was responsible for 170 teachers in over 50 DC Public Schools. Kaya has also worked with the Fresh Air Fund’s Career Awareness Program, and led groups of students on overseas experiences through World Horizons International. She holds a BS in Foreign Service and a Master’s in Leadership, both from Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

Lynn Holdheide

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Lynn Holdheide is a research associate at Vanderbilt University. She works on several TQ Center projects related to improving the preparation of teachers for students with at-risk characteristics and disabilities. Holdheide coordinates the TQ Connection, an online resource designed to serve both general and special education teacher preparation. Her work also addresses response to intervention, inclusive services, and effective teaching practices. Prior to appointment to her current position, Holdheide was a project coordinator and education consultant for nine years at the Indiana Department of Education, Division of Exceptional Learners. She served as the school-to-work transition consultant and directed a statewide study collecting postschool outcome data for students with disabilities. Data from this study were used to develop a statewide system to measure employability skills, modify curriculum, and direct state transition policy. Holdheide has experience as a teacher, transition specialist, vocational specialist, and residential provider. She earned her master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University.

John Hussey

Battelle for Kids

In his role as Battelle for Kids’ Chief Strategy Officer, John Hussey provides organizational and strategic oversight for Battelle for Kids and the organization’s clients in the areas of innovation, technology, communications, development and strategic advancement. Most recently, John fostered Battelle for Kids’ multi-year, systemic partnership with the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the seventh largest school district in America. Under John’s leadership, Battelle for Kids provided strategic counsel around HISD’s development and implementation of the ASPIRE educational-improvement and performance-management model, which produced record-breaking results in raising students’ academic performance. John previously supported Battelle for Kids’ SOAR school improvement collaborative, which grew from 42 school districts in 2002 to nearly 100 school districts today. This statewide pilot was designed to introduce value-added analysis to participating Ohio school districts and demonstrate how progress information can improve teachers’ and schools’ impact on student learning. SOAR now serves one of the country’s largest value-added initiatives and is a centerpiece of successful education reform on behalf of students. John also oversaw the development of Battelle for Kids’ Value-Added Toolkit for School Leaders, a multi-media resource used statewide in Ohio and Pennsylvania to train educators to use SAS® EVAAS® reporting for school improvement. He also led the development of a teacher-to-student linkage system, which evolved into the BFK•Link™ solution, that collects the data necessary to produce teacher-level value-added reports designed to inform instruction and recognize teaching excellence. Prior to joining Battelle for Kids, John enjoyed a 30-year career in education and technology. He previously served as the regional manager for Schoolnet, Inc., helping create Web based products to help teachers access student data and curricular standards via the Internet for use in instructional planning. He was also a middle school science teacher and technology coordinator in several Ohio school districts.

Brad Jupp

United States Department of Education

Brad Jupp is the senior program advisor for teacher quality initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education. He was formerly a senior policy adviser to Denver school’s superintendent turned U.S. Senator, Michael Bennet, who currently works for the Office of Secretary of Education. He has worked on school and district performance improvement and accountability, teacher effectiveness, and school choice, among other issues. Prior to this, Jupp was a teacher and a union activist with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association for 19 years. He helped develop the Professional Compensation System for Teachers (ProComp), Denver’s signature alternative pay program.

Jason Kamras

District of Columbia Public Schools

Jason Kamras is the director of human capital strategy for teachers in D.C. Public Schools, and was an adviser on education policy to the Barack Obama presidential campaign. He began teaching in 1996 as a member of Teach for America and was named the 2005 National Teacher of the Year for his work as a seventh and eighth grade mathematics teacher at John Philip Sousa Middle School, a District of Columbia public school. Mr. Kamras was recognized for helping his students make historic achievement gains in one of America’s most disadvantaged communities. He was also recognized for co-founding and directing the EXPOSE digital photography program at his school, for which he previously received the Mayor’s Art Award, the highest arts honor bestowed by the District of Columbia. Mr. Kamras graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1995, earning his bachelor’s degree in public policy. In 2000, Mr. Kamras earned his master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Alexander Kurz

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Alexander Kurz is a doctoral student and Dunn Family Scholar in Educational and Psychological Assessment in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Alex has studied in Germany and the United States earning degrees in special education and philosophy. He is a licensed special education teacher and board-certified behavior analyst. He has taught special education classes in Tennessee and California, designed and implemented curricula for reading intervention classes, and participated in school reform activities through the Gates Foundation. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Alex worked as behavior analyst for children with autism and as an educational consultant to Discovery Education Assessment (DEA). During his graduate work at Vanderbilt, he collaborated with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and DEA leading research efforts to examine curricular alignment and its relation to student achievement for students with and without disabilities. Alex has coauthored several peer-reviewed publications on alignment and alternate assessment as well as book chapters on large-scale assessment and opportunity-to-learn (OTL). His latest scholarly contributions have expanded the concept of OTL in the context of a comprehensive curriculum model. Together with Steve Elliott and Jackie Shrago, he has applied his expertise to develop an online measure of OTL.

Sabrina Laine

National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality

Sabrina W. M. Laine, Ph.D., is chief program officer for educator quality at Learning Point Associates. She manages the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is a principal investigator for the Center for Educator Compensation Reform. Dr. Laine has a diverse background in educational policy research and has spearheaded efforts to contribute to policy research and resource development related to every aspect of managing and supporting educator talent including recruitment, compensation, evaluation, distribution and professional development. She is skilled in working closely and effectively with local, state, regional, and federal education agencies and leads a team of more than 15 researchers and policy analysts who are focused on the challenges faced by educators in urban, rural, and low-performing schools. Dr. Laine has established and sustained collaborative relationships with other organizations and is efficient in managing both financial and human resources. She has worked for the last several years to ensure that policies and programs are in place that enable all children to have access to highly qualified teachers and leaders. Dr. Laine earned her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Indiana University.

Jim Mahoney

Battelle for Kids

Since 2001, Dr. Jim Mahoney has served as the Executive Director of Battelle for Kids, a national, not-for-profit organization that provides strategic counsel and solutions to address complex educational-improvement challenges. The organization’s mission-driven team of education, technology, communications and business professionals specializes in creating strategies that advance the development of human capital, the use of strategic measures, and the implementation of effective practices in schools. Dr. Mahoney has 30+ years of experience in roles including superintendent, principal, teacher, professor and author. He has also worked as an adjunct faculty member at The Ohio State University, Ohio University, Ashland University and Muskingum University. A well-known speaker, Jim has made presentations throughout the United States, Canada and China. He has received numerous awards for his leadership in education, including the Ohio Friend of Education Award from the Ohio Federation of Teachers in 2007; the President’s Award from the Ohio School Boards Association in 2003, an award given annually to an individual who has greatly influenced public education; the Ohio Superintendent Outstanding Performance Award from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation in 2001; and the Educator of the Year Award from the Ohio Association of Local School Superintendents in 2001. Under his leadership, Battelle for Kids specializes in the use of value-added analysis, assessment for learning, strategies for recognizing and rewarding teaching effectiveness, and performance management initiatives to accelerate student progress.

Joseph Murphy

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Joseph Murphy is the Frank W. Mayborn Chair of Education and Associate Dean at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University.  He has also been a faculty member at the University of Illinois and The Ohio State University, where he was the William Ray Flesher Professor of Education. In the public schools, he has served as an administrator at the school, district, and state levels, including an appointment as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction in California.  His most recent appointment was as the founding President of the Ohio Principals Leadership Academy.  At the university level, he has served as Department Chair and Associate Dean. His work is in the area of school improvement, with special emphasis on leadership and policy.  He has authored or co-authored 16 books and 2 major monographs in this area and edited another 12 books.  His most recent authored volumes include: Understanding and Assessing the Charter School Movement (2002), Leadership for Literacy (2004), Connecting Teacher Leadership and School Improvement (2005), Preparing School Leaders: An Agenda for Research and Action (2006), Turning Around Failing Schools: Leadership Lessons from the Organizational Sciences (2008), and The Educator’s Handbook for Understanding and Closing Achievement Gaps (2010).  He has also published over 200 articles and book chapters on school improvement and leadership. Murphy directed the development of the ISLLC Standards for School Leaders and chaired the research panel that produced the revisions to those standards-ISLLC: 2008.  He led the CCSSO team that developed the specifications with ETS for the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA).  He is also one of the four co-creators of the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education

Erin O’Hara

Tennessee Governor’s Office of Planning and Policy

Erin O’Hara serves in the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Policy under Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. In this capacity, she advises the Governor on education policy, with an emphasis on Race to the Top planning and implementation and teacher effectiveness. Over the past ten years, Erin has worked on a variety of education policy issues at the federal, state and local levels. Most recently, Erin worked with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, specializing in college access and financial aid. Erin managed the research and policy analysis for all Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship programs and worked with GEAR UP TN from the program’s inception. Prior to that, she consulted on afterschool, pre-school and child care policy in California and nationally. She has a Master of Public Policy from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Arts in American Government and African/African American Studies from the University of Virginia.

Steven Poole

United Educators Association of Texas

Steven Poole is the Deputy Executive Director of United Educators Association, an independent teacher association representing over 20,000 employees in the Fort Worth, TX area. Steven oversees the policies and initiatives of this dynamic association and works closely with its leaders and school districts to improve salaries and working conditions for its members. He holds a B.A. in Political Science / Public Administration from Baylor University.

Daniel Reschly

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Dan Reschly is Professor of Education and Psychology in Peabody College, Vanderbilt University where he Chaired Department of Special Education from 1998-2006, gaining the #1 national ranking for the first time in 2003. From 1975 to 1998 Reschly directed the Iowa State University School Psychology Program where he achieved the rank of Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Education. Reschly earned graduate degrees at the University of Iowa and the University of Oregon and served as a school psychologist in Iowa, Oregon, and Arizona. Reschly has published on response to intervention, reduction of special education disproportionality, identification of disabilities (high incidence, minority issues), and policy issues in special education. Recent funding and research focuses on teacher quality. In 1999 Reschly was listed in the top 5 in school psychology career service contributions and in 2004 he was identified as the most widely cited author in school psychology books and journals over 2002-2004 period. He has been active in state and national leadership roles including President of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), Editor of the School Psychology Review, Chair of NASP-NCATE Graduate Program Approval, President of the Society for the Study of School Psychology, and Chair of the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs. Reschly served on the National Academy of Sciences Panels on Standards-based Reform and the Education of Students with Disabilities and Minority Overrepresentation in Special Education. He chaired the National Academy Panel on Disability Determination in Mental Retardation. He has received the NASP Lifetime Achievement Award, three NASP Distinguished Service Awards, the Stroud Award, appointment to Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, Charter Member of the Iowa Academy of Education, 1996 Outstanding Alumnus, College of Education, University of Oregon, 2000 NASP Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2007 NASP Legend Award.

Baron Rodriguez

Data Quality Campaign

Baron Rodriguez was hired in July of 2009 as the Director of State Data Systems with the Data Quality Campaign. As the Director of State Data Systems, Baron partners with state education advisors, managing and endorsing partners to assist states’ efforts around building effective longitudinal data systems specifically shifting the focus from collection of data to USE. In addition to working with states, Baron is working on developing best practices around state/district data relationships, vendor relationships, and data portals. Prior to working for the DQC, Baron worked for over 6 years at the Oregon Department of Education, most recently as the Chief Information Officer. Baron holds a Master of Business Administration degree from George Fox University in Portland, Oregon and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute.

Robert Rothman

Alliance for Excellent Education

Robert Rothman joined the Alliance for Excellent Education in September 2009 as a senior fellow. Previously, he was a senior editor at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform where he edited the Institute’s quarterly magazine, Voices in Urban Education. He was also a study director at the National Research Council, where he led a committee on testing and assessment in the federal Title I program, which produced the report Testing, Teaching and Learning (edited with Richard F. Elmore) and a committee on teacher testing. A nationally known education writer and editor, Mr. Rothman has also worked with Achieve and the National Center on Education and the Economy, and was a reporter and editor for Education Week. He has written numerous reports and articles on a wide range of education issues, and he is editor of City Schools (Harvard Education Press, 2007) and author of Measuring Up: Standards, Assessments and School Reform (Jossey-Bass, 1995). He has a degree in political science from Yale University.

Richard Rozzelle


Mr. Rozzelle joined CELT in May of 2006 as President and Chief Information Officer. Previously, he was the owner/president of Tech-Knowledge Consulting, where he engaged in management and technology consulting for public school districts and state agencies across the nation. As a management consultant, he served for over three years as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, an urban system with over 110,000 students. Rick is currently under contract (through CELT) to the Tennessee Department of Education as their part-time CIO. Rick also assists other state and local education authorities with their Balanced Scorecard and project management processes. Through CELT, Mr. Rozzelle is currently assisting the University of Virginia’s Partnership for Leaders in Education, a program offered by the university’s Darden School of Business and Curry School of Education to provide executive leadership training to school district administrators. In April 2001, Rick co-founded the North Carolina Data Warehouse Consortium, a non-profit organization established to develop and distribute to member school districts a data warehouse model for student information. This Consortium’s latest project is to establish a collaborative of districts to develop and share formative assessment items. Rick is also the co-founder of ITechrity FIRST Company, a limited liability corporation that specializes in providing management consulting services to enhance the value of small technology companies with whom they enter into joint ownership agreements.

Shana Shaw

Fort Worth Independent School District

Shana Shaw works in Fort Worth Independent School District as part of the Strategic Data Project, a partnership between the district and the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard. Driven by rigorous research and data analysis, her work as a Strategic Data Fellow contributes to policy makers’ ability to use data to inform decisions on key district initiatives. Currently, she is the principal evaluator of the district’s PEAK program, a pilot program that leverages financial incentives and working condition improvements to enhance teacher recruitment and retention and student academic progress in high-needs schools. Before joining the district in June, she completed her Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin where her dissertation research focused on relationships between teacher efficacy, teachers’ use of data to inform their teaching, and students’ academic growth. She has co-authored manuscripts accepted for publication in peer-reviewed academic journals such as the Review of Educational Research and the Journal of Educational Psychology, and has presented papers at regional and national educational research conferences.

David Sigler

Annenberg Institute for School Reform

David Sigler has been a Principal Associate at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University since 2007. His work there focuses on using the Institute’s district redesign tools in site-based partnerships to ensure central office resources are deployed to effectively support high quality instruction.   He also works with district partners on issues of educator quality and human capital development strategy and facilitates cross-stakeholder collaboration in these areas. Prior to joining the Institute, David spent over five years with the New Teacher Project working as a project manager and partner in the organization’s strategic partnerships business line. In this capacity he worked closely with school districts and human resources departments nationally to craft human capital strategy and reform human resources business processes. From 1999-2001, he spent two years placing and supporting teachers in the District of Columbia Public Schools with Teach for America and he began his career in public education as a second-grade teacher with the District of Columbia Public Schools in 1997. David holds a BA in philosophy from Creighton University and an MA in moral and political philosophy from the University of Illinois. His primary focus is urban education reform, with concentrations on educator quality, human capital strategy, the role of teachers’ unions in school reform, and the role of a school district’s central office in leading reform efforts.

Mike Sorum

Fort Worth Independent School District

Michael Sorum serves the Fort Worth Independent School District as its Chief Academic Officer, a position he has held for five years. Prior to Fort Worth, Sorum held the same position in the Providence. He began teaching French and Spanish in San Antonio where he also served as an Instructional Coach and mathematics department chair. After an audit of the District’s curriculum in 2006, Sorum lead the development of a PK-12 Curriculum Framework for all content areas. This Framework includes national, state, and local standards, and differentiations for all special populations. It also encompasses a complete Response to Intervention tool. Since implementing the Framework, Fort Worth students have demonstrated double digit gains in math and science at all levels and maintain exemplary level performance (>90% achieving standard) in most grades for literacy and social studies. Secondary gains for African American and Hispanic students have been especially strong. Fort Worth is the only large urban district in Texas to obtain Federal performance or growth targets this year and achieve Adequate Yearly Progress. Sorum has a B.A. in Romance Languages from Portland State University, an M.A. from the University of Texas in San Antonio and an M.Ed. in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University.

Shayne Spalten

Denver Public Schools

Shayne Spalten serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer for the Denver Public Schools (DPS). As the Chief Human Resources Officer, Shayne is responsible for the District’s core strategic human capital management functions, including recruitment and staffing, labor and employee relations, performance management, compensation and benefits.   Prior to assuming her current role, Shayne was a member of the DPS New Schools Office, where she was responsible for charter school issues and the development of a process to solicit proposals for new school models to DPS. Before joining DPS, Shayne practiced law with the University of Colorado and law firms in Washington, D.C. and Denver. She has taught education law at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the University of Denver. Shayne is a graduate, with honors and distinction, of Stanford University, where she majored in Political Science, and the Harvard Law School. After college, she spent a year in eastern Germany studying higher education reform as a William J. Fulbright scholar. She is current participant in the Broad Residency Program for Urban Education.

Matthew G. Springer

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Matthew G. Springer is a research assistant professor of public policy and education and director of the federally-funded NCPI. Professor Springer’s research interests involve educational policy issues, with a particular focus on the impact of policy on resource allocation decisions and student outcomes. His current research includes studies of the impact of performance-based incentives on student achievement and teacher turnover, mobility, and quality; the strategic resource allocation decision-making of schools in response to No Child Left Behind; and the impact of school finance litigation on resource distribution. Professor Springer’s research is currently funded by the United States Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, Smith Richardson Foundation, and Texas Education Association. He has also served on several advisory committees charged with designing performance-based compensation systems for teachers and/or principals at the state and district level, and conducted analyses of school finance systems in Alaska, Kentucky, and South Carolina. Springer received a B.A. from Denison University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. He is co-principal investigator for the center.

Carla Stevens

Houston Independent School District

Carla Stevens is responsible for the oversight of the Office of Research and Accountability and the Student Assessment Department for Houston Independent School District. Her areas of expertise include accountability, student assessment, program evaluation, and performance-pay models. Ms. Stevens earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology/economics in 1985 and a master’s degree in sociology/research methods in 1987, all at the University of Denver. She performed the duties of legal assistant in the Houston office of the law firm of Vinson & Elkins from 1987 to 1990. Joining HISD in 1991 as a research specialist, she was promoted to manager level in Research and Accountability in 1996 and the assistant superintendent in 2007. Carla Stevens has published articles in various educational journals and presented papers at numerous conferences in the areas of assessment, accountability, program evaluation, and performance pay.

Sara Ray Stoelinga

Urban Education Institute

Sara Ray Stoelinga is the Urban Education Institute’s director of planning and program development. Stoelinga maintains a research portfolio at the Consortium on Chicago School Research where she is the principal investigator on projects focused on teacher effectiveness and leadership and is a faculty member within the Urban Teacher Education Program. Stoelinga supports evaluation research across UEI and engages in local and national engagement. Stoelinga first joined the organizations within UEI as an intern in 1995. She worked on the development and validation of the STEP assessment and engaged in research on school improvement. She became a research analyst at the Consortium in 1999, where she continued through her graduate studies. After working for a few years in education evaluation as an Assistant Research Professor at University of Illinois Chicago, Stoelinga returned in 2007 as a senior research analyst at the Consortium. In 2008, Stoelinga published her first book, titled Effective Teacher Leadership: Using Research to Inform and Reform, with Teachers College Press. Her second book on the subject, Examining Effective Teacher Leadership: A Case Study Approach, was published in 2010. Stoelinga received her B.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago.

Joann Taylor

Austin Independent School District

Joann Taylor is a Senior Associate for Student Learning and Assessment and collaborates with teachers to create Student Learning Objectives for AISD REACH, the Austin Independent School District’s strategic compensation initiative. Joann was a high school English teacher in Austin, Texas, for ten years where she served as Department Chair for five years. She earned her National Board Certification and was recognized as Teacher of the Year for her campus and as a District Semi-finalist in 2005. She graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in English.

John Tyler

Brown University

John Tyler is an applied microeconomist who focuses on economics of education-related questions. Much of Tyler’s research has addressed the linkages between education, skills, and labor market outcomes, particularly for low-skilled individuals. More recently Professor Tyler has turned to K-12 school reform issues, with particular interests in how we identify effective teachers and examinations of how teachers use student test data to inform and improve classroom practice. An Associate Professor of Education, Economics, and Public Policy at Brown University, Tyler received his doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1998.

Timothy Webb

Tennessee Commissioner of Education

Timothy Webb has served as Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education since 2008. Prior to this appointment, he served as Deputy Commissioner. He has been active in education since 1990 where he began as a math and social studies teacher. He served as a system-wide Title II Coordinator, Athletic Director, Assistant Principal and Superintendent of Lewis County Schools from 1997 – 2003. He is a retired Battalion Staff Officer of the Tennessee Army National Guard. Webb holds a doctorate in Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a master’s degree in Education Leadership from Middle Tennessee State University, a bachelor’s degree from Regents College and an associate’s degree from Columbia State Community College. He is a member of the National Center of Education Statistics, the National Assessment Governing Board and the TNII Steering Committee. Webb is active in a number of Lewis County community groups.

J. Todd White

PhocuseD on Learning

As Chief Executive Officer for PhocuseD on Learning, LLC, J. Todd White provides training and mentoring to teachers, coaches, and administrators throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Prior to starting PhocuseD on Learning, Dr. White served as the Senior Vice President for the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, with the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) as a regional director, and as the executive director of TAP in South Carolina. Prior to these roles, Dr. White spent five years as an elementary school teacher before moving into administration. He has been named First Union Administrator of the Year, South Carolina PTA Principal of the Year, a National Distinguished Principal, and a Furman University Outstanding Young Alumnus. In 2000 he received the Milken Educator Award. Dr. White was recognized as a principal for working closely with the faculty and community of an elementary school serving historically underachieving students to change student achievement from the 48th national percentile to the 85th national percentile in 5 years.


Rachel Woods
Tennessee Department of Education

Rachel Woods serves as Deputy to the Commissioner for First to the Top implementation in Tennessee. She oversees over 30 state level projects and coordinates implementation across state agencies. She has worked for Governor Bredesen’s administration for the last 7 years as both a policy analyst and as the communication director for the Department of Education. Prior to working for the state, Rachel was the program director for the Seattle Urban Debate League (SUDL). SUDL is an education nonprofit that promotes cross examination debate as a vehicle for empowerment for underserved high school students. Rachel received her Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction from Tennessee State University and her B.A. in history and sociology from Emory University in Atlanta.