This is the archive of EdSource's 2016 Symposium. For information on this year's, return to the EdSource Symposium homepage.
Jane Meredith Adams joined EdSource in 2013 and reports on social and emotional learning, special education, and other aspects of student health and wellbeing. In 2014, Jane’s reporting on school vaccinations was paired with EdSource data analysis and won first place in data reporting from the national Education Writers Association. Jane was a Boston Globe reporter for more than 20 years, both on staff in Boston and as a West Coast correspondent. She has an A.B. in government from Harvard University and an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in Writing from San Francisco State University.
PERTS partners with school support organizations, districts, colleges and online learning platforms to identify, evaluate and disseminate scalable practices that increase students’ motivation, resilience and achievement. Beaubien began working with PERTS in 2010 during her senior year as an undergraduate at Stanford University. As a non-traditional student in her 40s, she saw the profound importance of helping students overcome limiting beliefs. Prior to returning to school, Beaubien was the administrative director of a counseling center in Los Angeles providing onsite counseling services to LAUSD students.
Ramona Bishop has served as associate superintendent for Educational Services in the Twin Rivers Unified School District and her career includes teaching, serving as principal, director, assistant superintendent and superintendent in several urban school districts. In July 2015, she was an invited speaker at the White House Rethink School Discipline convening. She received a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Pacific and a BA Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley.
Linda Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University where she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and served as the faculty sponsor of the Stanford Teacher Education Program, which she helped to redesign. Darling-Hammond is past president of the American Educational Research Association and recipient of its awards for Distinguished Contributions to Research, Lifetime Achievement, and Research-to-Policy. Darling-Hammond began her career as a public school teacher. She received an Ed.D. from Temple University (with highest distinction) and a B.A. from Yale University (magna cum laude).
Christopher Edley, Jr., co-president and co-founder of the Opportunity Institute and the Honorable William H. Orrick, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law, was dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law from 2004 through 2013. Before Berkeley, he was a law professor at Harvard for 23 years, where Professor Gary Orfield and he co-founded the Harvard Civil Rights Project. He served in White House policy and budget positions under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Christopher has also held senior positions in five presidential campaigns, including senior policy adviser for Barack Obama (2008) and policy director for Michael Dukakis (1988).
Michael Essien has worked as an administrator in San Francisco Unified School District for the last four years, working to positively impact school-wide systems and structures to address inequities identified in student data. He began his career as an Algebra 2/Trigonometry teacher at McClymonds High School in Oakland, where he worked for five years before switching to special education. He continued to work for the Oakland Unified School District for 16 years, while also teaching at UC Berkeley's Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement Program. He earned a master’s degree in education from UC Berkeley's Principal Leadership Institute and holds a B.A. in African American Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.
John Fensterwald, editor-at-large of EdSource, joined in 2012. Before, he was editor and co-writer for the 'Thoughts on Public Education (TOP-Ed)' website, one of the leading sources of California education policy reporting and opinion, which he founded in 2009. For 11 years before that, John wrote editorials for the Mercury News in San Jose, with a focus on education. He worked as a reporter, news editor and opinion editor for three newspapers in New Hampshire for two decades before receiving a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1997 and heading West shortly thereafter. His wife is an elementary school teacher and his daughter attends the University California at Davis.
For more than two decades, Louis Freedberg has analyzed and reported on local, state, and national education policy. Before coming to EdSource, Freedberg was the founding director of California Watch at the Center for Investigative Reporting. He spent 15 years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was an award-winning education reporter, Washington correspondent, columnist, and member of the editorial board. He has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in child development from Yale University.
Larry Ferlazzo teaches English, Social Studies and International Baccalaureate classes at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento. He has authored eight books on education and writes a teacher advice column for Education Week. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times Learning Network and writes a popular resource-sharing blog for teachers. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Education at California State University, Sacramento and won a Ford Foundation Leadership For A Changing World Award and the International Reading Association Award for Technology and Reading.
David W. Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools, directs the Sacramento County Office of Education, which plays a leadership role in delivering quality education in Sacramento County. From 1995-2004, as the Elk Grove Unified School District superintendent, Gordon helped pioneer preschool and early intervention programs for at-risk children. He also was Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction for the California Department of Education. He serves on the Sierra Health Foundation Board, the Sacramento First 5 Commission and the State of California Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission.
John Gray, president of School Services of California and president of the EdSource board of directors, is the former director of fiscal services for the Fresno Unified School District. He served as a audit supervisor for the Ticor Title Insurance Company and auditing officer for Union Bank in Los Angeles as well as a consultant for the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT). He is a member of the California Association of School Business Officials and the Institute of Internal Auditors. Gray received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from California State University, Fresno, and his Master’s Degree in Administrative Leadership from Fresno Pacific University.
Roneeta Guha co-leads Learning Policy Institute's Educator Quality Team and manages several projects, including a forthcoming study on teacher preparation for deeper learning and the California Performance Assessment Collaborative. Prior to joining LPI, Guha was on staff at SRI International’s Center for Education Policy, where for over a decade she led and conducted research and evaluation studies focused on educator quality, systemic district reform, career pathways, and charter schools. Guha received an M.Ed. in International Education Policy from Harvard University and a B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University.
Rucker C. Johnson, associate professor in the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a faculty research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Johnson is a research affiliate of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute and the National Poverty Center. As a labor and health economist, his work considers the role of poverty and inequality in affecting life chances. He has investigated the determinants of intergenerational mobility; the societal consequences of incarceration; effects of maternal employment patterns on child well-being; and the socioeconomic determinants of health disparities over the life course, including the roles of childhood neighborhood conditions and residential segregation.
Michael Kirst, president State Board of Education, is a Professor Emeritus of Education at Stanford University. Prior to joining the Stanford University faculty in 1969, Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty, and Director of Program Planning for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Office of Education. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education, and has served as the board’s president since his reappointment in 2011. His latest books are, From High School to College with Andrea Venezia (2004) and Political Dynamics of American Education (2009). Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard.
Dianna MacDonald, California PTA president-elect, has served PTA at the local, regional and state levels in various roles including serving as the family engagement advocate, vice president for education and leadership mentor. She is a National PTA presenter, a national Issue Forum Moderator and has received extensive training in building inclusive and equitable communities. MacDonald has served as a school board trustee since 2008 and is a California School Boards Association Delegate Assembly member. She and her husband Mike have three sons, and she credits PTA with teaching her to advocate for her own children, and then to become an advocate all children across California.
Rick Miller serves as the executive director of CORE Districts, a learning partnership between eight California districts, representing over a million students. Prior to joining CORE, Miller was a Deputy Superintendent at the California Department of Education, a communications specialist for Microsoft Corporation, a communications advisor to the California State University Chancellor and the Press Secretary to the US Secretary of Education Richard Riley. Miller currently serves on the Education Advisory Board for the Region IX Equity Assistance Center as well as on the Board of Directors for Rocklin Academy Family of Schools.
Ellen Moir is Founder and CEO of New Teacher Center, a national organization dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders. NTC works in high-poverty schools in underserved communities to ensure that the nation’s low-income, minority, and English language learners, those students most often taught by inexperienced teachers, have the opportunity to receive an excellent education. Moir has been Director of Teacher Education at the University of California at Santa Cruz and a bilingual teacher. She was honored with a Mary Utne O’Brien Award for Excellence in Expanding the Evidence-based Practice of Social and Emotional Learning in 2015 and the Brock International Prize in Education Laureate in 2014.
Raymond Pecheone is professor of practice at Stanford University and founder and executive director of the Stanford Center for Assessment Learning, and Equity (SCALE). SCALE provides comprehensive supports for standards based teaching and learning and is built around the development of interactive assessment and multimedia instructional tools. Pecheone held a variety of leadership roles as the co-director of the first Assessment Development Lab for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBTS); Teacher Scholar in Residence at Teachers College, Columbia University to support the redesign of the New York State Regents and as the Bureau Chief for Curriculum, Research and Assessment for the state of Connecticut.
Before joining PACE in 2007, David Plank was a professor at Michigan State University, where he founded and directed the Education Policy Center. He also served on the faculties at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Texas at Dallas. Plank is the author or editor of six books, including the AERA Handbook of Education Policy Research. He has served as a consultant to international organizations including the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1983.
Arun Ramanathan is CEO of Pivot Learning Partners, the largest non-profit provider of technical assistance in the areas of leadership development, teaching and learning and education finance to school districts in California. Prior to joining Pivot Learning, Dr. Ramanathan served as the executive director of the Education Trust-West, and the Chief Student Services Officer in the San Diego Unified School District. Dr. Ramanathan is an immigrant to the U.S. and an English Learner. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, M.Ed.in Elementary and Special Education from Boston College and earned a doctorate in Administration, Policy and Social Planning from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education.
Carmelita Reyes, founding principal, Oakland International High School. OIHS is an alternative public school in the Oakland Unified School District serving newly arrived immigrants and refugees. Prior to OIHS, Reyes was a founding teacher at Life Academy of Health and Bio-Science in Oakland where she taught 10th grade humanities, journalism and photography. In 2005, she was "Oakland Unified School District Teacher of the Year," and in 2007 she was named “Oakland Educator of the Year” by the Marcus Foster Foundation. She began her teaching career in New York City and received her BA in economics at Princeton University and a master’s in Education at Columbia University.
Mac Taylor serves as the nonpartisan fiscal advisor to both houses of the California Legislature and oversees the preparation of annual fiscal and policy analyses of the state’s budget and programs. His office is also responsible for preparing impartial analyses of all initiatives and constitutional measures qualifying for the state’s ballot. In his 38-year career with the office, he has served in many capacities, including as deputy to the prior analyst, Elizabeth Hill. Taylor earned a bachelor’s in political science from the University of California, Riverside, and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University.
Libby Schaaf was inaugurated as Oakland’s 50th mayor on January 5, 2015. An Oakland native, Schaaf began her work in public service as a young attorney, building and running the first centralized volunteer program for Oakland public schools at the Marcus Foster Institute. She served as chief of staff to the Council President, aide to then-Mayor Jerry Brown and public affairs director for the Port of Oakland. She is committed to revitalization that preserves and celebrates Oakland’s diversity and leads to direct prosperity for long-time residents and newcomers. Her four areas of focus as mayor are: holistic community safety, sustainable vibrant infrastructure, equitable jobs and housing and responsive trustworthy government.
Sujie Shin is Director of Research and Strategy for the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE), the statewide agency tasked with assisting districts, charters and county offices with increasing student achievement in in accordance with the new Local Control and Accountability Plans. Prior to joining the CCEE, Shin served as a research director at WestEd, managing the national Center on Standards and Assessment Implementation. Shin also worked as the Deputy Chief of Assessment and Accountability for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). She began her career in education as a classroom teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Diane Tavenner is co-founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools, a charter management organization serving California and Washington State. Prior to Summit, Diane was a teacher, administrator and leader in traditional urban and suburban public schools. Tavenner serves as board chair of the California Charter Schools Association and the California Charter Schools Association Advocates. In September 2016, Summit was one of ten organizations nationwide awarded $10 million each to “reimagine high school,” in a year-long contest backed by by Laurene Powell Jobs. She holds a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology from the University of Southern California and a master’s in administration and policy analysis from Stanford University.
Jennifer Thomas serves as the president of the San José Teachers Association, the largest teachers union in Santa Clara County. An advocate for public education’s value to communities and families, she frequently speaks and writes on the issues, and has appeared on NBC’s "Class Action." Recently, Jennifer led the campaign to write and pass AB 375. Signed into law by Governor Brown in 2015, AB 375 expands paid family leave to educators in California. Prior to her work in policy, Jennifer was a high school English teacher and instructional coach, recognized for her work in the classroom by the NEA and Pearson Foundation with a Horace Mann award.
Samantha Tran helps oversee Children Now's education policy agenda, including managing the organization’s comprehensive policy, advocacy and communications campaigns on school finance and accountability. Prior to joining Children Now, Tran was a senior research and policy consultant at the California School Boards Association where she tracked and provided guidance on state and federal policy issues. She represented CSBA in meetings with the State Board of Education, Department of Education, California First 5 Commission and other state bodies. Tran completed her BA in Communications at the University of San Francisco and her MA in Education Policy at Stanford University.
Antwan Wilson is committed to working with the community to transform OUSD into the premiere urban school district. Under his leadership, the District has prioritized effective talent program development, school site support, and quality community school improvement. An educator for over 20 years, Antwan has served in various roles, leading successful work in school turnaround resulting in dramatic improvements in academic achievement, graduation and college acceptance rates. In addition to earning an advanced degree in School Leadership from Friends University and graduating with Distinction from Nebraska Wesleyan University, Antwan is a graduate of The Broad Academy class of 2014.