Presenters 2017 Institute

EXPERTS

Beth Howard-Brown
Beth Howard-Brown

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

8:30-8:45 a.m.

SPEAKER

Welcome and Introductions

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

1:45–2 p.m.

SPEAKER

Reflections/Closing Remarks

ABOUT

Beth Howard-Brown is a principal technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR). She directs the Southeast Comprehensive Center, which addresses state and local capacity building in school improvement and key content areas, including reading/literacy, math, science, the use of scientifically based research, professional development and teacher quality, and instructional strategies for specific populations. She also oversees AIR's partnership with the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast (REL Southeast) at Florida State University. Dr. Howard-Brown has worked in collaboration with the South Carolina Department of Education in providing direct support to low-performing schools and was instrumental in the development of the Palmetto Priority Schools Turnaround initiative for the state. The initiative created a partnership zone for state-identified, low-performing schools working to meet state and federal accountability standards. Dr. Howard-Brown holds an Ed.D., Curriculum and Instruction; Ed.S. and M.Ed., Educational Leadership, University of South Carolina; M.Ed., Counselor Education and B.S., Mathematics Education, South Carolina State University.


Kasim Reed
Kristin Bernhard

Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

8:45–9:15 a.m.

SPEAKER

Georgia’s Early Learning System: From Research to Practice to Outcomes

ABOUT

Kristin Bernhard serves as deputy commissioner for System Reform at the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), the state’s stand-alone early childhood education agency. At DECAL, she leads the divisions that oversee the implementation of the state's $51.7 million Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant; Quality Rated, the state’s Child Care Resource and Referral system; DECAL’s Early Head Start Child Care Partnership grant, and child care subsidy projects tied to the quality of the early learning setting. Prior to joining DECAL in 2014, she spent 3 years as Governor Nathan Deal’s education policy advisor. Bernhard is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Georgia State University’s College of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Junior League of Atlanta, and serves on the boards of directors of Graduation Achievement Charter High School and the Georgia Innovation Fund Foundation.


PRESENTERS

Shelley Billig
Shelley Billig

RMC Research Corporation

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

National

10:45–12:00 p.m.

1:25–2:40 p.m.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Breakout Sessions – Round 1 and 2

Advancing Early Learning Through Family Engagement: Ideas for State-Level Action

ABOUT

Shelley H. Billig is a vice president at RMC Research Corporation (RMC) and has been working as a researcher, evaluator, and technical assistance (TA) provider in the field of education for over 30 years. Her studies have focused on educational practices that help young people in pre-K through higher education contexts develop academic, social-emotional, and civic skills, with an emphasis on implementation of strategies that help close the achievement gap between socioeconomic groups. Dr. Billig currently works as a researcher for the Central Regional Educational Laboratory on rural education topics, teacher credentialing, and early childhood multi-tiered systems of support. She also serves as an evaluator and/or TA provider for multiple state and local projects related to school and district improvement efforts. Her work in family engagement has included projects that examined effects and best practices for family engagement, birth through high school. Dr. Billig has published 13 books and over 50 articles on educational reform.


Johnette Burdette
Johnette Burdette

American Institutes for Research

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

2:50–3:50 p.m.

PANELIST

NAESP and Pre-K-3 Leadership Development

Thursday, September 28

Midway

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Cross-State Collaborations: Yellow Group 1 and Yellow Group 2

ABOUT

Johnette H. Burdette is a senior technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR). She leads project teams in the design and development of products and services to support states, districts, and schools in their improvement efforts. Burdette has led project teams to design, develop, implement, and monitor effective School Improvement Plans for Buffalo Public Schools, Lynchburg City Public Schools, and Norfolk City Public Schools. She is currently working in collaboration with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders to provide states and districts technical assistance with recruiting, selecting, and supporting leaders using a Competency Based Leadership approach, supported by research from Public Impact and the University of Virginia. Burdette is currently completing a research study on turnaround leadership competencies for the completion of her doctoral degree (Virginia Tech). She received her master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University and her undergraduate degree from Saint Paul’s College.


Tammie Causey-Konate
Tammie Causey-Konaté

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

4:45–5 p.m.

SPEAKER

Reflections/Closing Remarks

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

8:30–8:45 a.m.

SPEAKER

Welcome & Overview

ABOUT

Tammie Causey-Konaté is a senior technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Dr. Causey-Konaté has nearly 30 years of experience as a professional educator. She presently serves as deputy director of the Southeast Comprehensive Center, which addresses state and local capacity building in school improvement and key content areas, including reading/literacy, math, science, the use of scientifically based research, professional development and teacher quality, and instructional strategies for specific populations. Dr. Causey-Konaté has served in several capacities in higher education, including assistant dean, associate professor (tenured), and doctoral program coordinator. She also worked as a support director for Teach for America. Dr. Causey-Konaté holds a Ph.D., Educational Administration, M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, and B.A., Secondary Education, English, University of New Orleans.


linda-cavazos
Linda Cavazos

Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest at AIR

SESSION

Thursday, September 28

LaGuardia

10:30–11:30 a.m.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Breakout Session

Meeting the Literacy Needs of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners through Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Practices

ABOUT

Linda Cavazos is a senior technical assistance (TA) consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Dr. Cavazos leads the New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance and the English Learners Research Alliance in the Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest (REL Southwest). Dr. Cavazos conducts research related to English Language Learners and Native American Indian issues. She coordinates and facilitates all the work of the respective research alliances for REL Southwest. Her responsibilities include designing research, managing the coordination and implementation of TA projects, and planning and facilitating events for research alliance members. Dr. Cavazos is an adjunct professor who teaches graduate-level courses including Consultation and Collaboration, Introduction to the Exceptional Child, Language and Intercultural Communication, and Cross-Cultural Interactions in Multicultural Special Education. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Ed., Special Education, and B.A., Psychology/Education, University of Texas at Austin.


Sarah Caverly
Sarah Caverly

American Institutes for Research

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

LaGuardia

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

1:25–2:40 p.m.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Breakout Sessions – Round 1 and 2

Supporting Your Team in Creating a Climate of Respect and Understanding: Safe and Supportive Learning Environments

ABOUT

Sarah Caverly is a senior researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR). She has over 15 years of experience in program evaluation, data analysis, and the provision of technical assistance in the areas of early childhood education, early literacy, and children’s social and emotional learning. Dr. Caverly serves on the leadership team for the Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest (REL Southwest) and oversees a portfolio of projects providing analytical technical assistance and evaluation capacity building to state and local education agencies. She has been immersed in rigorous state- and national-level evaluations and most recently joined the research team evaluating the Read180 Universal program, which has a growth mindset component. Dr. Caverly has both research and applied experience, having taught preschool for several years. She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from George Mason University.


Don Doggett
Don Doggett

McCormick County School District, South Carolina

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Midway

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

1:25–2:40 p.m.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Breakout Sessions – Round 1 and 2

Doing What Matters for Early Learning: High-Quality Leadership in the Age of ESSA

ABOUT

Don D. Doggett is the superintendent of schools in McCormick County, South Carolina. He works to build the capacity of principals as they assist schools and improve student achievement. Previously, a senior technical assistance consultant at AIR, Doggett worked with the Southeast Comprehensive Center to build the capacity of state education agencies as they assisted schools and districts. Doggett has an extensive background in using technology to strengthen families and community-school partnerships. As a community outreach consultant for the Richland Clicks! Challenge Grant, he provided technology training for stakeholders in Richland School District One, Columbia, South Carolina. In addition, Doggett helped to identify technology resources to support students and families and expanded the district’s outreach opportunities by creating 50 additional technology centers. His current doctoral work focuses on early literacy/early vocabulary development.


M. Christine Dwyer
M. Christine Dwyer

Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center at WestEd

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Hobby

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

1:25–2:40 p.m.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Breakout Sessions – Round 1 and 2

Data Literacy in Early Childhood: Practical Strategies, Tips, and Tools


Shannon

12–1:15 p.m.

SPEAKER

WORKING LUNCH

Leveraging Local Needs Assessments and Plan Development to Support Early Learning in ESSA

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

9:15–10:15 a.m.

PANELIST

Pre-K-3 Literacy Continuum

ABOUT

M. Christine Dwyer is senior vice president of RMC Research Corporation. Her current work includes providing technical assistance in early learning to state education agencies through the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center at WestEd. Throughout her career in policy evaluation and implementation, her interests have focused on early childhood education, intergenerational literacy, school reform, and arts, culture and media program design and evaluation.


Danielle Ewen
Danielle Ewen

EducationCounsel

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

9:15–10:30 a.m.

PANELIST

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Early Childhood: Extending Conversations

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

12:30–1:45 p.m.

SPEAKER

WORKING LUNCH

Using GIS to Connect Early Childhood with K-12 Systems

ABOUT

Danielle Ewen is senior policy advisor at EducationCounsel, working to connect early childhood and K-12 systems at the federal, state, and local levels. Prior to this position, she served in numerous leadership positions in child care and early education policy. She previously served as the director of the Office of Early Childhood Education in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), where she oversaw the operations of programs serving three- and four-year-old children in high-quality, comprehensive classrooms. Prior to her work in DCPS, Ewen served as the director of the Child Care and Early Education team at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). At CLASP, she worked on federal and state issues around child care and early education, particularly the reauthorizations of the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start.


Hanah Goldberg
Hanah Goldberg

Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students

SESSIONS

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

12:30–1:45 p.m.

SPEAKER

WORKING LUNCH

Using Data Visualization and GIS Mapping for Early Childhood

ABOUT

Hanah Goldberg is the director of research at GEEARS, Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, a statewide early childhood policy, research, and advocacy organization. Dr. Goldberg oversees the organization’s suite of data and mapping tools, the GEEARS Readiness Radar, which helps stakeholders better understand the early childhood landscape in communities across the state. Dr. Goldberg’s research experience spans a number of areas, including language and literacy development, program evaluation and fidelity, and health literacy. In addition to her responsibilities at GEEARS, Dr. Goldberg teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology, education, and child development. She received her B.A. from Emory University and her M.Ed. and Ph.D. from Georgia State University.


Rolf Grafwallner
Rolf Grafwallner

Council of Chief State School Officers

SESSION

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

9:15–10:30 a.m.

PANELIST

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Early Childhood: Extending Conversations

ABOUT

Rolf Grafwallner is program director for Early Childhood Initiatives at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in Washington, D.C., where he works with states to improve learning opportunities and outcomes for young children. Prior to joining CCSSO, Dr. Grafwallner worked on early childhood policy and school reform as an assistant state superintendent at the Maryland State Department of Education. Prior to joining the department, he served as a teacher, program director, and administrator. His expertise is in large-scale early childhood assessments, governance, finance, organizational leadership, and early education systems building. Dr. Grafwallner received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland–College Park in Education Policy Planning and Administration.


Leslie Janes
Leslie Janes

EarlyEdU Alliance

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Kennedy

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

1:25–2:40 p.m.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Sessions – Round 1 and 2

Early EdU Alliance: Transforming Teacher Preparation Program Quality

Thursday, September 28

National

10:30–11:30 am.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Breakout Session

EarlyEdU Alliance: Transforming the Field of Early Learning

ABOUT

Leslie Janes is the state implementation specialist for the EarlyEdU Alliance. She is responsible for working to build state systems around early childhood education professional learning and degree attainment, particularly in the states of Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington as part of EarlyEdU’s work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, Janes served NCQTL as the regional field specialist for Head Start Region 5, where she worked with federal Head Start staff and training and technical assistance staff to ensure that Head Start programs received high-quality training resources and delivered high-quality early childhood programming to the region's neediest children. She has sat on local, state and national teams to develop materials that support the development of early learning guidelines, quality rating and improvement systems, and professional development opportunities around high quality teaching and learning. Janes holds a M.Ed. in Special Education.


marcia-kosanovich
Marcia Kosanovich

Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at FSU

SESSIONS

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

9:15–10:15 a.m.

PANELIST

Pre-K–3 Literacy Continuum


Hobby

10:30–11:30 am.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Breakout Session

Teaching Foundational Reading Skills: Overview of the Practice Guide and Professional Learning Community Materials

ABOUT

Marcia Kosanovich is a reading educator with 25 years of experience in teaching, creating and delivering professional development, and designing curricula. She completed a doctorate in Elementary Education with an emphasis in literacy at Florida State University (FSU). She is a former pre-K-fifth grade classroom teacher and tutor. Kosanovich has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses. Dr. Kosanovich is the lead author of many literacy guidance documents for educators at the state, district, and school levels. She has coauthored intervention reading curricula, research articles in peer-reviewed journals, and chapters in books. She is the former director of Curriculum and Instructional Projects at the Florida Center for Reading Research and deputy director for the National Center on Instruction for Literacy. Currently, Dr. Kosanovich is the chief executive officer for MK Educational Research & Practice, LLC, and is engaged in school leadership and literacy projects for the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at FSU.


Laurie Lee
Laurie Lee

Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at FSU

SESSIONS

Thursday, September 28

Kennedy

10:30–11:30 am.

SPEAKER

Evidence-Based K-3 Literacy Tools to Help Ensure Quality Instruction

ABOUT

Laurie Lee is the Improving Literacy Research Alliance manager for the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast (REL Southeast) at FSU and works with educators and state education agencies in the region. She came to the REL from Just Read, Florida!, an office focused on literacy with the Florida Department of Education, where she served for 10 years. Lee has worked extensively with school districts throughout Florida and was a teacher for 14 years in the states of Illinois, Mississippi, and Missouri.


Gail Morgan
Gail Morgan

National Association of Elementary School Principals

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

2:50–3:50 p.m.

PANELIST

NAESP and Pre-K-3 Leadership Development

ABOUT

Gail Morgan currently serves as the associate executive director of Professional Learning with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) in Alexandria, Virginia. Prior to this appointment, she led professional development efforts with the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) for 8 years. A diverse educational career in public, private, and parochial schools in the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Virginia have afforded Morgan many unique opportunities. She was an administrator at Luverne School in Crenshaw County, Alabama, a pre-K-12 school with over 1,000 students. During her 20 plus years in education, she has taught all grade levels, pre-K through Grade 12. Morgan also has served as an adjunct instructor on the college level. She has presented numerous trainings on diverse topics at the local, state, national and international levels. She considers it a distinct honor to serve with national school and school system administrators to provide the best possible education for our future…our children.


John Pruette
John Pruette

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

9:15–10:30 a.m.

PANELIST

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Early Childhood: Extending Conversations

ABOUT

John Pruette is the executive director of the North Carolina Office of Early Learning, with his work focused on structural reform in the early grades and strengthening the PK-3 learning continuum in North Carolina’s schools. His contributions have been central to the design and implementation of the More at Four program (now named NC Pre-K), which remains a nationally recognized model for high-quality, state-funded prekindergarten. Pruette holds appointed memberships on the Southern Regional Education Board Early Childhood Commission, Education Commission of the States Early Learning Caucus, Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council, North Carolina Partnership for Children Board of Directors, North Carolina Superintendent’s Leadership Council, North Carolina SchoolWorks Council, and NC Early Childhood Integrated Data System Executive Committee (chair). He is president of the National Association of Early Childhood Experts in State Departments of Education (NAECS-SDE).


Jeana Ross
Jeana Ross

Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

2:50–3:50 p.m.

PANELIST

NAESP and Pre-K-3 Leadership Development

ABOUT

Secretary Jeana Ross was appointed in 2012. Under her leadership, the Department of Early Childhood Education has maintained the highest quality rating for its First Class Pre-K program while undergoing the largest growth in program history. The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has recognized Alabama as one of four states to have a state prekindergarten program that meets all 10 of the NIEER quality benchmarks. Since Secretary Ross joined the department, the voluntary high-quality, pre-K program has grown from 211 classrooms to more than 938 classrooms located in all 67 counties of the state. The early learning home visiting and family support services has grown from serving 13 counties to a total of 43 counties. Secretary Ross has led the department in writing and receiving federal grant awards totaling over $100 million. Secretary Ross holds a M.A. in Education Leadership from the University of Alabama and a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Trent Sharp
Trent Sharp

American Institutes for Research

SESSIONS

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

12:30–1:45 p.m.

SPEAKER

WORKING LUNCH

Using Data Visualization and GIS Mapping for Early Childhood

ABOUT

Trent Sharp is a senior technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR), where he focusses on issues of spatial injustice, regional urbanization, smart cities, and sustainable economic development. Prior to joining AIR, he served alongside many amazing communities as a teacher, principal, and district administrator. Sharp has extensive training in organizational change management, socio-cultural contexts of education, and human-centered design. He has recently led school improvement change processes as a teacher, turnaround principal, district-level reform director, regional specialist, and consultant on state and national projects. Sharp is completing a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Planning and the Graduate Sustainability Portfolio at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds an M.A., Curriculum and Instruction, and Education Administration, University of Texas.


Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith

Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at FSU

SESSION

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

9:15–10:15 a.m.

FACILITATOR

Pre-K–3 Literacy Continuum


Kennedy

10:30–11:30 am.

SPEAKERS

Concurrent Breakout Session

Evidence-Based K-3 Literacy Tools to Help Ensure Quality Instruction

ABOUT

Kevin Smith is currently the research alliance manager for the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast (REL Southeast) at FSU, supporting all training, coaching, and technical support for each REL Southeast project. He is formerly the deputy and acting director of the Just Read, Florida! office at the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) where he provided extensive technical support to schools and districts across the state. Prior to joining FDOE, Smith was a middle and high school literacy coach and teacher of English, journalism, and reading intervention.


Jim Squires
Jim Squires

Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes/National Institute for Early Education Research

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

9:15–10:30 a.m.

PANELIST

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Early Childhood: Extending Conversations


Hopkins

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

1:25–2:40 p.m.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Breakout Sessions – Round 1 and 2

Transforming the Great Divide Between Birth-5 and K-3: State and Local Strategies

Thursday, September 28

Midway

10:30–11:30 am.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Sessions

The Art of Art: Using Fine Art to Promote Early Learning

ABOUT

Jim Squires is a senior fellow at the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). Dr. Squires conducts research and provides technical assistance (TA) on national early education policy and practices, focusing on prekindergarten through third grade, with an emphasis on school readiness. His work at NIEER involves monitoring trends in early childhood policy, regulation, and funding; conducting research for the annual State Preschool Yearbook; and providing TA to state education agencies. He also serves on the CEELO leadership team as senior technical assistance fellow, working closely with states located in the Northeast and Southeast. Dr. Squires was formerly the early childhood programs coordinator at the Vermont Department of Education for nearly two decades where he was instrumental in development and passage of Vermont’s universal prekindergarten legislation and establishment of early learning standards. He received his Ph.D. in child development and public policy from the Union Institute in Ohio.


Kathleen Theodore
Kathleen Theodore

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

8:30-8:45 a.m.

FACILITATOR

Welcome and Introductions


Shannon

12–1:15 p.m.

SPEAKER

WORKING LUNCH

Building a Learning Community: SECC Early Childhood Community of Practice

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

1:45–2 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Reflections/Closing Remarks

ABOUT

Kathleen Theodore is a senior technical assistance (TA) consultant at American Institutes for Research. She works primarily with the Southeast Comprehensive Center in which she serves as the early childhood project lead. In this role, Theodore leads technical assistance (TA) work to build the capacity of state agencies in improving the cognitive, social-emotional, language, literacy, and physical well-being outcomes for children (birth to third grade) through high-quality early learning programs. Theodore has provided TA to states with developing comprehensive literacy plans, writing literacy professional development modules, and implementing state literacy initiatives. Previously, she was a regional Reading First coordinator for the Louisiana Department of Education. Theodore has extensive experience with supporting states, districts, and schools with improving literacy outcomes for all students. She holds an M.A., Curriculum and Instruction, Xavier University of New Orleans; and a B.A., Learning Disabilities/Elementary Education, Dillard University of New Orleans. Theodore is completing a Ph.D. in Educational Administration at the University of New Orleans.


Sheryl Turner
Sheryl Turner

RMC Research Corporation

SESSIONS

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

9:15–10:15 a.m.

PANELIST

Pre-K–3 Literacy Continuum


Hopkins

10:30–11:30 am.

SPEAKER

Concurrent Breakout Session

Early Childhood Reading Continuum: How to Prepare Children to Become Better Readers

ABOUT

Sheryl Turner is a senior research associate at RMC Research Corporation (RMC) and director of the RMC Tampa, Florida, office. She works primarily with the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast (REL Southeast) at Florida State University (FSU) and the Southeast Comprehensive Center in the areas of literacy and early childhood. Turner was a literacy expert with the Center on Instruction and a technical assistance provider for the National Reading Technical Assistance Center. Previously, she was a research assistant at the Florida Center for Reading Research at FSU. She has extensive experience in assisting states, districts, schools and foundations in their planning, implementation, and evaluation of literacy initiatives. Turner supports states and districts with the use of assessment data to improve literacy instruction – providing effective support for teachers, literacy coaches, interventionists, and administrators in the lowest-achieving schools; and building capacity to implement and sustain programs.


Matthew Weyer
Matthew Weyer

Senior Policy Specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

9:15–10:30 a.m.

PANELIST

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Early Childhood: Extending Conversations

ABOUT

Matthew Weyer, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver. Prior to this, he served as a transitional bilingual kindergarten teacher in Denver Public Schools and literacy tutor and paraprofessional in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Iowa City, Iowa. Dr. Weyer’s work centers on enhancing equity and access for young, disadvantaged populations towards ensuring all students are school ready and successful.


Vic Wilson
Vic Wilson

Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

2:50–3:50 p.m.

SPEAKER

NAESP and Pre-K-3 Leadership Development

ABOUT

Vic Wilson is the executive director of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools. CLAS is a nationally recognized organization that strives to provide professional learning opportunities, legal services, legislative advocacy, and networking opportunities to each one of its 3,600 members in 10 different affiliates. Prior to coming to CLAS, Dr. Wilson was the superintendent for Hartselle City Schools in Alabama, where he was named the 2016–2017 Alabama Superintendent of the Year. From 2006 to 2013, Dr. Wilson served as the principal at Homewood and Mountain Brook high schools. He has 25 years of experience in public education. Wilson and his wife, Felecia, are the proud parents of Dailey (21), Emma (17), and Paul (14). Dr. Wilson is a graduate of The University of Alabama, The University of Montevallo, and Samford University. He also teaches doctoral courses at Samford University.


Carey Wright
Carey Wright

State Superintendent, Mississippi Department of Education

SESSIONS

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

8:45–9:15 a.m.

SPEAKER

High-Quality Early Childhood Education: Pathway to Kindergarten Readiness and Academic Achievement

ABOUT

Carey M. Wright is the state superintendent of education for Mississippi. She previously served as chief academic officer and deputy chief for the Office of Teaching and Learning for the District of Columbia Public Schools and as associate superintendent for the Office of Special Education and Student Services for the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. A former teacher and principal, Dr. Wright has been recognized as an outstanding educator by the National Center for Culturally Responsive Systems, nominated twice for The Washington Post Outstanding Principal Award, and awarded the Howard County Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Educator of the Year. Dr. Wright is president-elect of the board of directors of the Council of Chief State School Officers and is a member of Chiefs for Change.


Taishya Adams
Taishya Adams

Midwest Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSION

Wednesday, September 27

Midway

1:25–2:40 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session Round 2

Doing What Matters for Early Learning: High-Quality Leadership in the Age of ESSA


Hopkins

4–4:30 pm.

FACILITATOR

State Reflections: California

Thursday, September 28

Hobby

11:30–12:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Cross-State Collaborations: Blue Group 1 and Blue Group 2

ABOUT

Taishya Adams is a senior technical consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR) and serves as Minnesota state manager for the Midwest Comprehensive Center (MWCC). Adams manages multiple projects and staff working in collaboration with senior leadership of the Minnesota Department of Education to implement key initiatives in a number of areas, including American Indian education, early childhood, educator effectiveness, standards implementation, school climate, and school improvement. Prior to joining AIR, she served as director of state services for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, where she led the Master Class Series for over 35 state charter support organizations aimed to strengthen support services offered to charter schools. Adams holds an M.A., International Education and International Affairs, George Washington University; and a B.A., Political Science and Film Production, Vassar College.


Pamela Bonsu
Pamela Bonsu

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSION

Wednesday, September 27

LaGuardia

1:25–2:40 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session Round 2

Supporting Your Team in Creating a Climate of Respect and Understanding: Safe and Supportive Learning Environments

Thursday, September 28

LaGuardia

10:30–11:30 am.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session

Meeting the Literacy Needs of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners through Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Practices

ABOUT

Pamela A. Bonsu is a researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR) with experience in designing formative evaluations. Currently, she provides technical assistance to the Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers, working alongside state education agencies, building capacity by codeveloping evaluative tools for program implementation, training, and learning. Bonsu uses her expertise in qualitative evaluation methods to design and implement data collection instruments for clients, including survey questionnaires, interview and focus groups protocols, and literature reviews. She has led data collection for small- and large-scale research projects, including the Baby TALK pilot study, which involved nine participating sites in the Chicago metropolitan area and central Illinois; and the eMINTS Validation Study, a four-year study conducted in 58 schools in the state of Missouri. Bonsu is a certified CLASS-PreK and CLASS-Secondary observer. Prior to joining AIR, she served as a program evaluator for educational programs in Houston, Texas.


Trish Brennan-Gac
Trish Brennan-Gac

American Institutes for Research

SESSION

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

9:15–10:30 a.m.

FACILITATOR

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Early Childhood: Extending the Conversations


Shannon

2:50–3:50 p.m.

FACILITATOR

NAESP and Pre-K-3 Leadership Development

ABOUT

Patricia Brennan-Gac, a principal technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR), has more than 20 years of experience working in education. During this time, she has managed various projects for national organizations, providing technical assistance to state and local educational entities. In her direct work with districts and schools, she has lead teams conducting school audits, researched and analyzed trends in education, and assisted districts in selecting providers to support low-performing schools. At the national level, Brennan-Gac provides a critical link between the organization’s work in the field and federal policymakers by facilitating conversations to highlight the successes and challenges in implementing federal programs. Brennan-Gac holds a J.D., Pepperdine University School of Law; and a B.A, Political Communication, The George Washington University.


Ramona Chauvin
Ramona Chauvin

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSION

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

12–1:15 p.m.

FACILITATOR

WORKING LUNCH

Leveraging Local Needs Assessments and Plan Development to Support Early Learning in ESSA


Shannon

4:45–5 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Reflections/Closing Remarks

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

8:30–8:45 a.m.

FACILITATOR

Welcome & Overview

ABOUT

Ramona Chauvin is a senior technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Dr. Chauvin works with the Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers to build the capacity of state and regional education staff to assist schools and districts in need of improvement. Highlights of Dr. Chauvin’s qualifications include reading/language arts/writing instruction (K-12), adolescent literacy, coaching, instructional monitoring and feedback, assessment, leadership, teacher quality and effectiveness, and professional learning communities. Prior to joining AIR, Dr. Chauvin was a Reading First regional coordinator for the Louisiana Department of Education and the program director of Western Washington University’s K-8 Teacher Education Program in Everett, Washington. She has more than 25 years of teaching experience in Grades 5–12 and 13 years of teaching experience in higher education institutions in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Washington. Dr. Chauvin holds a Ph.D. and M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, University of New Orleans; and a B.A., English and Social Studies Education, Nicholls State University.


Glenda Copeland
Glenda Copeland

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSION

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon

8:45–9:15 a.m.

FACILITATOR

Georgia’s Early Learning System: From Research to Practice to Outcomes


Kennedy

4–4:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

State Reflections: Georgia

ABOUT

Glenda Copeland is a senior technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Working with the Southeast Comprehensive Center, Copeland oversees the planning and delivery of technical assistance and professional development in the state of Georgia and assists in providing similar services to other Southeastern states. Copeland serves as SECC state liaison to the Georgia Department of Education. Working in other parts of the Southeast region, Copeland assisted both the Mississippi and South Carolina state education agencies in their review and revision of state instructional standards, curriculum documents, and units of study that are based on their state standards. She also assisted in the analysis and review of the South Carolina Statewide System of Support. Copeland holds an M.A., Special Education, Gifted and Talented; M.A., Special Education, Mental Retardation; and B.S., Secondary Education, University of Alabama.


Crystal Darby
Crystal Darby

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSION

Tuesday, September 26

Shannon

5–7 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Registration & Optional Meet and Greet, sponsored by American Institutes for Research

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

1:45–2 p.m.

SPEAKER

Reflections/Closing Remarks

ABOUT

Crystal Darby is an administrative assistant at American Institutes for Research (AIR). She has over 10 years of experience as a trainer, facilitator, and customer service provider. In her current role, Darby provides support services to the Southeast Comprehensive Center. She works closely with comprehensive center staff and directors coordinating logistics (registration, travel, and reimbursement), planning training sessions, assisting with data analysis, and managing documents (editing and preparation). Darby also prepares presentations using various programs such as PowerPoint and Prezi. Prior to joining AIR, she developed and implemented training programs for the telecommunications industry and worked as an office manager.


Frank De Rosa
Frank De Rosa

Great Lakes Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

LaGuardia

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Supporting Your Team in Creating a Climate of Respect and Understanding: Safe and Supportive Learning Environments


LaGuardia

4–4:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

State Reflections: Indiana

Thursday, September 28

Hobby

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Cross-State Collaborations: Blue Group 1 and Blue Group 2

ABOUT

Frank E. De Rosa is a senior technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR) and state manager to the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) for the Great Lakes Comprehensive Center. He is currently assisting IDOE on major initiatives including the development of a mission and vision statement and department-wide strategic plan, early childhood education, college and career readiness, and other work around federal programs. De Rosa has also provided technical assistance and consultation to the Minnesota Department of Education on its High School Redesign project, to the Ohio Department of Education concerning their new “credit flexibility” policy, and to several state and regional offices and school districts involved in the school improvement process. De Rosa has 36 years of experience in public school education as a teacher and administrator. De Rosa has an M.A.T., National Louis University; and a B.A., History, Loras College.


Kathryn Drummond
Kathryn Drummond

American Institutes for Research

SESSION

Wednesday, September 27

Hobby

1:25–2:40 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session – Round 2

Data Literacy in Early Childhood: Practical Strategies, Tips, and Tools

Thursday, September 28

Hobby

10:30–11:30 am.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session

Teaching Foundational Reading Skills: Overview of the Practice Guide and Professional Learning Community Materials

ABOUT

Kathryn Drummond is a principal researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR) and director of the language acquisition/learning and literacy practice area, where she works on a variety of research and evaluation studies related to literacy achievement and professional development. Currently, she serves on the leadership team for an evaluation of a K-3 literacy intervention that involves tiered-instruction and professional development in three large urban districts. She also manages a design study project related to training and coaching in the Head Start context. Previously, Dr. Drummond worked as the director for an Institute of Education Sciences (IES)-supported evaluation of Thinking Reader, a software program for struggling middle school readers. Dr. Drummond taught special education for 3 years in Louisiana public schools and worked in a clinical setting for 2 years in Los Angeles, conducting reading and writing interventions for students with disabilities. She has a Ph.D., Educational Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles.


Heidi Goertzen
Heidi Goertzen

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Hopkins

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session Round 1

Transforming the Great Divide Between Birth-5 and K-3: State and Local Strategies


Hobby

4–4:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

State Reflections: Alabama

Thursday, September 28

Midway

11:30–12:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Cross-State Collaborations: Yellow Group 1 and Yellow Group 2

ABOUT

Heidi Goertzen is a senior technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Dr. Goertzen’s current work involves building capacity through technical assistance to state education agencies served by the Southeast Comprehensive Center. Goertzen serves as the SECC liaison to the Alabama State Department of Education and leads and contributes to projects throughout the region. Her work focuses on capacity building in strategic planning, program evaluation, and continuous improvement in the area of English language learners. Dr. Goertzen holds a Ph.D., Ed.S., M.Ed., Administration of Elementary and Secondary Education, Auburn University; M.S.Ed., Language Education/ESL, Indiana University; B.A., English, University of Texas at Austin.


Ursula Hill
Ursula Hill

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Midway

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session Round 1

Doing What Matters for Early Learning: High-Quality Leadership in the Age of ESSA


Shannon 1

4–4:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

State Reflections: South Carolina

Thursday, September 28

National

10:30–11:30 am.

FACILITATOR

EarlyEdU Alliance: Transforming the Field of Early Learning

ABOUT

Ursula Hill is a senior consultant for school turnaround at American Institutes for Research (AIR) and serves as the SECC state liaison for South Carolina. Dr. Hill has more than 22 years of experience in public education as a special educator and school administrator with substantial knowledge and experience working with Title I schools and transformation initiatives. As a senior turnaround consultant, she has served as an onsite coordinator and special education coach assisting school improvement efforts in Virginia. Dr. Hill holds an Ed.D., Leadership and Policy Studies, The George Washington University; M.Ed., Elementary Administration and Supervision, University of Virginia; a B.S., Special Education, Virginia Union University.


Billie Jo Day
Billie Jo Day

Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Kennedy

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Session Round 1

EarlyEdU Alliance: Transforming the Field of Early Learning


Midway

4–4:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

State Reflections: Illinois

Thursday, September 28

Midway

10:30–11:30 am.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session

The Art of Art: Using Fine Art to Promote Early Learning

ABOUT

Billie Jo Day is a researcher for the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest (REL Midwest) at American Institutes for Research (AIR) and has more than 15 years of experience in higher education. She has worked in both public and private universities in a variety of capacities. She has an Ed.M. in Higher Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Ph.D. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. In her current position, Dr. Day serves as a partnership liaison for the Midwest Early Childhood Education Research Alliance.  


Janice Kaizer
Janice Kaizer

Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

National

1:25–2:40 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session Round 2

Advancing Early Learning Through Family Engagement: Ideas for State-Level Action

Thursday, September 28

Hopkins

10:30–11:30 am.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session

Early Childhood Reading Continuum: How to Prepare Children to Become Better Readers

ABOUT

Janice Esau Keizer is a senior technical assistance consultant with the Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest (REL Southwest) at American Institutes for Research (AIR). In this position, she leads, coordinates, and facilitates the work of the Arkansas and New Mexico Pre-K Research Alliances as part of REL Southwest work. She serves as the spokesperson for REL Southwest support activities related to prekindergarten in the states of Arkansas and New Mexico. Keizer also works on early childhood projects for the Texas Comprehensive Center at AIR.


Robyn Madison-Harris
Robyn Madison-Harris

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Hopkins

1:25–2:40 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session Round 2

Transforming the Great Divide Between Birth-5 and K-3: State and Local Strategies

Thursday, September 28

Kennedy

11:30–12:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Cross-State Collaborations: Green Group 1 and Green Group 2

ABOUT

Robyn Madison-Harris is a senior technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Dr. Madison-Harris works with the Southeast Comprehensive Center, where she plans and delivers technical assistance and professional development to the states served by the center as well as assisting them with school improvement and turnaround efforts. Dr. Madison-Harris also serves as the SECC liaison to the College and Career Readiness and Success Center at AIR.


Karen Manship
Karen Manship

American Institutes for Research

SESSIONS

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

12:30–1:45 p.m.

FACILITATOR

WORKING LUNCH

Using Data Visualization and GIS Mapping for Early Childhood

ABOUT

Karen Manship is a principal researcher with American Institutes for Research (AIR) focusing on early childhood and K-12 education policy and finance. She currently serves as director of the Study of California’s Transitional Kindergarten Program. She recently directed an evaluation of the Stretch to Kindergarten program in Mountain View, California, and served as the deputy project director of the First 5 LA Family Literacy Initiative evaluation. Manship also recently led the case studies task for a U.S. Department of Education study of programs successful at sustaining the effects of preschool. Before joining AIR, she was an analyst for the School Finance Redesign Project at the University of Washington and a statistician and presidential management fellow at the National Center for Education Statistics. Manship holds an M.A., Urban Affairs and Public Policy, University of Delaware.


Debbie Meibaum
Debbie Meibaum

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

National

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session Round 1

Advancing Early Learning Through Family Engagement: Ideas for State-Level Action


National

4–4:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

State Reflections: Mississippi

Thursday, September 28

Shannon

8:45–9:15 a.m.

FACILITATOR

High-Quality Early Childhood Education: Pathway to Kindergarten Readiness and Academic Achievement

ABOUT

Debra Meibaum is a senior technical assistance consultant at American Institutes for Research and serves as the Southeast Comprehensive Center’s state liaison for Mississippi. Meibaum has 35 years of experience in providing professional development and technical assistance to intermediate, state, and local educators on multiple educational topics, including school improvement, best practices for instruction, educator evaluation, Response to Intervention, English language learners, parental involvement, peer coaching, team building, needs assessment, and the Every Student Succeeds Act.


Crystal Darby
Camille Riley

Midwest Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSION

Tuesday, September 26

Shannon

5–7 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Registration & Optional Meet and Greet, sponsored by the American Institutes for Research

ABOUT

Camille Riley is an administrative associate for the Midwest Comprehensive Center at American Institutes for Research and has more than 25 years of experience as a professional administrator. She has provided administrative support to senior management and management teams throughout her career. She is certified in business administration and management, business organization, and communications. Riley has worked in public and private school sectors as a special education therapeutic assistant. She also has over 25 years of experience as an event/meeting planner.


Zena Rudo
Zena Rudo

American Institutes for Research

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Shannon 1

1:25–2:40 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session Round 2

EarlyEdU Alliance: Transforming Teacher Preparation Program Quality

Thursday, September 28

Kennedy

10:30–11:30 am.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Breakout Session

Evidence-Based K-3 Literacy Tools to Help Ensure Quality Instruction

ABOUT

Zena Rudo is a senior researcher at American Institutes for Research. Dr. Rudo has 35 years of experience in research, family and community practice, and professional development. Her 20 years of experience in research and evaluation includes using mixed methods of data collection and analyses mainly focused on school improvement issues. Dr. Rudo serves as a principal investigator and senior researcher with the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast (REL Southeast). She designs and conducts research studies and provides technical analytic support to build educational research capacity at the state and local levels. Dr. Rudo conducts research and evaluation on other critical issues in education to inform practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and other education stakeholders. She has a Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, University of South Florida, Tampa; M.S.W., Clinical Social Work; and a B.A., Social Work and Psychology, University of Maryland.


Kathy Terry
Kathy Terry

Southeast Comprehensive Center at AIR

SESSIONS

Wednesday, September 27

Hobby

10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Concurrent Session – Round 1

Data Literacy in Early Childhood: Practical Strategies, Tips, and Tools

Thursday, September 28

Kennedy

11:30–12:30 p.m.

FACILITATOR

Cross-State Collaborations: Green Group 1 and Green Group 2

ABOUT

Kathy Terry is a senior researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR) and serves as the North Carolina state liaison for the Southeast Comprehensive Center. Dr. Terry provides technical assistance and resource support to the state education agency, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), to increase its capacity to support schools and districts to address the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act and other student achievement and school improvement goals. With more than 15 years working as an education evaluation researcher, Dr. Terry has experience with all aspects of evaluation studies. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A., Social Psychology, Wayne State University.


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