2015 Conference on Teaching: Teachers Engaging Learners
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2015 Conference on Teaching: Teachers Engaging Learners

The Evaluation Systems 2015 Conference on Teaching brought together researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to discuss the Conference theme Teachers Engaging Learners. Conference topics addressed how teachers are engaging their colleagues and students in meaningful learning while furthering their own professional development. Over the course of the Conference, educators identified strategies for engaging all learners, including building collaborative partnerships.

Dr. Lee S. Shulman

  • President Emeritus of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University

    Lee S. Shulman is President Emeritus of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University. He was previously Professor of Educational Psychology and Medical Education at Michigan State University where he was the founding co-director of the Institute for Research on Teaching.

    Shulman is a past president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and also of the National Academy of Education. Shulman's book The Wisdom of Practice was honored with the Grawemeyer Award in Education. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) in 2008. 

    Shulman's research group designed and field-tested the pioneering portfolio-based methods that became the basis for the assessments of accomplished teaching used by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. His work examines the challenges of teaching and teacher education; the centrality of pedagogical content knowledge; the assessment of teachers; medical education; the psychology of instruction in science, mathematics, and medicine; the logic of educational research; and the quality of teaching in higher education.

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Dr. David P. Driscoll, PhD

  • Former Commissioner of Education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

    David P. Driscoll, PhD served as the 22nd commissioner of education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1998 to 2007.  Dr. Driscoll was appointed chair of the National Assessment Governing Board by U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan from 2009 to 2014. He currently serves on several boards in Washington, including as chair of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the U.S. Education Delivery Institute Advisory Board, and the Alliance for Excellent Education Policy Council. Dr. Driscoll also serves on the Teach Plus Board in Boston.

    Dr. Driscoll has a 45-year career in public education and educational leadership. A former secondary school mathematics teacher, he was named Melrose assistant superintendent in 1972 and superintendent of schools in the same community in 1984. He served in that role until 1993, when he was appointed Massachusetts deputy commissioner of education, just days after the state's Education Reform Act was signed into law. He became interim commissioner of education on July 1, 1998, and was named commissioner on March 10, 1999.

    As deputy commissioner, Dr. Driscoll held several key leadership roles, both in the external affairs of the department and in internal management. He was the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation's (NSF) mathematics and science program in Massachusetts, PALMS, and was instrumental in 1997 in gaining the NSF's approval of a second five-year round of funding for this initiative. He was also appointed to oversee the implementation of the state agreement on management and governance of the Lawrence Public Schools.

    As interim commissioner, Dr. Driscoll worked with then Governor Cellucci, Senate President Birmingham, and House Speaker Finneran to pass the state's "12-62 Plan," a law aimed at enhancing future educator quality. The program gained national recognition for its accelerated teacher education and bonus programs, both aimed at encouraging mid-career professionals to become classroom teachers.

    As commissioner, Dr. Driscoll oversaw the development of the state's curriculum frameworks, the implementation and expansion of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), the development of the state's School and District Accountability System, and the development and administration of the state's educator certification tests and new licensure regulations.

    These initiatives and others have led to consistent annual improvement in student achievement as measured by state standards (MCAS), national measures (NAEP, SAT), and international tests (TIMSS). In 2005 and 2007, Massachusetts was named the first state to ever earn the highest scaled score in the nation on all four NAEP exams. In 2008, Massachusetts' students' performance on TIMSS was among the highest in the world, scoring second to Singapore in fourth-grade science.

    He is past president of the Harvard Superintendent Roundtable and the Merrimac Valley Superintendents Roundtable, was an elected member of the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, and was vice president of the superintendents association at the time of his appointment as deputy commissioner.

    Dr. Driscoll earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics at Boston College, his master's degree in educational administration from Salem State College, and his doctorate in education administration from Boston College.

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Ms. Peggy Brookins

  • NBCT, Acting President and CEO, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

    Former NBPTS Board member Peggy Brookins, NBCT, joined the National Board as executive vice president in December 2014 and was named interim president and CEO in June 2015. Her long career as an educator includes many national leadership positions and accolades. In July 2014, President Barack Obama named Brookins as a member of the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. She joins the National Board from the Engineering and Manufacturing Institute of Technology at Forest High School in Ocala, Florida, which she co-founded in 1994 and where she served as director and as a mathematics instructor.

    On the NBPTS Board from 2007 to 2011, Brookins served as audit committee chair and on the CEO Search Committee. In addition, she has served on the board of inBloom, the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences Ad Hoc Committee on Teachers as Professionals, the Content Technical Working Group for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and as a commissioner on the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). She has served as a national trainer for American Federation of Teachers (AFT) (Thinking Mathematics 1, 2, and 3, collaborator and national trainer for Thinking Mathematics Middle School) and a member of the PARCC assessment team.

    Brookins achieved her certification in Adolescence and Young Adulthood/Mathematics in 2003 and renewed in 2013. She has been inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame, is a Florida Education Association "Everyday Hero," and received the association's Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2013, Brookins was named an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar. She received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Florida.

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Dr. Michael Martirano

  • State Superintendent of Schools, West Virginia Department of Education

    Dr. Michael Martirano began serving as West Virginia's 30th state superintendent of schools in September 2014. Martirano has been an educator for 30 years and has amassed a wide range of educational and administrative experience through his work as a science teacher, principal, and visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University. Most recently, he served as superintendent of St. Mary's County Public Schools in Leonardtown, Maryland, where during his tenure the four-year graduation rate increased from the low 80s to an all-time high of 93.5%.

    As a risk-taker and innovator, he consistently focuses his energy on improving academic success and building positive relationships. He was selected the 2009 Superintendent of the Year in Maryland and a 2010 Innovator of the Year by the Maryland Daily Record. Recently, he was named as a "Chief Making a Difference" for the 2nd Annual Smart List Awards for the 40 People Shaping the Future of K-12 Education in America.

    Martirano holds a doctorate of education degree in school management and instructional leadership from Nova Southeastern University, two master of education degrees, and a bachelor of science degree from the University of Maryland.

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Mr. Jeremy Anderson

  • President, Education Commission of the States

    Jeremy Anderson is the president of the Education Commission of the States, a national organization that believes informed policymakers create better education policy. The Education Commission of the States provides education leaders with unbiased information and opportunities for collaboration, and strives to ensure policymakers learn from experience. 

    Jeremy has a strong public service record, working with officials in Washington, D.C., with many governors and legislators in states, and with education policy organizations around the country. Some of his accomplishments include providing strategic leadership on education policy design and implementation through projects with the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and many other national policy organizations.  Jeremy has served in multiple policy and governmental affairs roles for governors on state and national education initiatives and was instrumental in brokering the bipartisan passage of the largest K–12 funding investment in Kansas history, successfully averting a shutdown of Kansas schools. Jeremy currently serves on the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences Board of Governors. Jeremy is the eighth president of the Education Commission of the States since its establishment in 1965.

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Dr. Barnett Berry

  • Founder and CEO, Center for Teaching Quality

    Barnett Berry is founder and CEO of the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ), which launched the nation's first virtual network of teacher leaders in 2003. The CTQ Collaboratory now includes more than 10,000 members—fueling unique opportunities for teachers to lead boldly without leaving the classroom.

    Barnett is a former classroom teacher, think tank analyst, senior state education agency bureaucrat, and university professor. His two books, TEACHING 2030 and Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don't Leave, frame a bold vision for the profession's future. Follow Barnett and CTQ on Twitter: @BarnettCTQ and @teachingquality.

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Ms. Katherine Bassett

  • CEO and Executive Director, National Network of State Teachers of the Year

    Katherine Bassett is NNSTOY's CEO and Executive Director, responsible for establishing and expanding the organization. She was a middle school librarian for 26 years, and the New Jersey Teacher of the Year in 2000.

    Previously, Ms. Bassett served as Director of Policy and Partnerships for the Center for Educator Effectiveness at Pearson, working to support research into educator practice and self-efficacy, and to build partnerships with like-minded organizations to support education.

    She has extensive experience working with standards, having facilitated the work of a consortium to develop model standards for teacher leadership and served on the committees that revised the InTASC standards and defined learning progressions for those standards. Formerly at ETS, Ms. Bassett has a deep background in performance-based assessment, leading the development of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certificates for Library Media and Literacy, co-developing the Take One! Program booklet, and developing performance-based assessments across the continuum of professional educator practice in four states.

    Ms. Bassett has worked with six states to develop a common continuum of professional practice and to envision a transformed education system in which such a continuum would thrive.

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Mr. Dan Brown

  • NBCT, Co-Director, Educators Rising

    Dan Brown is a National Board Certified Teacher who taught elementary school and high school English in New York City and Washington, D.C. He is the author of the first-year-teaching memoir The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle. His writing has appeared in Educational Leadership, The Boston Globe, New York Daily News, and Education Week, among other publications.

    Dan served for one year as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow in the Office of Secretary Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Education. In 2014, Mashable named him one of "10 Rockstar Teachers on Twitter." Connect with him @danbrownteacher.

    Dan holds degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University and New York University.

    Watch his TEDx talk on the future of education.

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Ms. Gayle Conelly Manchin

  • Member and Former President, West Virginia State Board of Education

    Gayle Conelly Manchin attended West Virginia University, where she attained her bachelor of arts in language arts and education and a master of arts in reading, and received a second master's specialization in educational technology leadership from Salem International University.

    As an educator, Gayle worked in Marion County Schools at the secondary level, served on the faculty of Fairmont State University in developmental education, and was the director of the university's first Community Service Learning Program. From 2000–2004, she directed the AmeriCorps Promise Fellows in West Virginia and, through the secretary of education and the arts, implemented a statewide initiative, WVPASS (West Virginia Partnerships to Assure Student Success).

    From January 2005 until November 2010, Gayle served as West Virginia's first lady, where she served as the official hostess of the Governor's Mansion and an advocate for West Virginia children and families. In addition, she was appointed by the governor to serve as a member of the State Board of Education, where she just completed her tenure as president. She is the chair of the board for Reconnecting McDowell, an American Federation of Teachers initiative serving rural West Virginia; is a past-president of the Vandalia Rotary Club of Charleston; and currently serves on the Clay Center advisory board, on the Vision Shared board of directors, and as an emeritus member of The Education Alliance. In addition, she serves on the board of directors for MVB Bank.

    On the national level, Gayle is a past-president of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).  She was appointed by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education) board in 2010, and is a member of the International III Club. Gayle is also a member of the board of directors for Horton's Kids, a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth in Washington, D.C. She has spoken both at the state and national levels on challenges of rural education and poverty, and on the responsibility and accountability of teachers, principals, students, and parents in raising student achievement.

    While at WVU, Gayle met and married Joe Manchin, III, elected as U.S. senator from West Virginia to fill the unexpired term of Senator Robert C. Byrd in 2010 and re-elected in 2012 for a full term. Joe and Gayle have been married for 48 years and have three children and eight grandchildren.

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Ms. Julia Simmerer

  • NBCT, Senior Executive Director of the Center for the Teaching Profession, Ohio Department of Education

    Julia Simmerer became a teacher because of her love for the profession and her desire to positively impact the lives of students. It wasn't long after beginning her career that she was recognized for her excellence in teaching: first being selected as Teacher of the Year for her school (Crestview Elementary) and subsequently her district (Brunswick City Schools). Julia continued her commitment to professional growth by achieving National Board Certification. Later, as an administrator, she was chosen to receive the Governor's Award for Educational Leadership.

    Julia earned her bachelor's degree from Ohio University in elementary education, followed by a master's degree in education from the University of Akron. She holds a permanent teaching license, lead professional educator license, administrative specialist license, and principal license. Because of her desire to support colleagues in their professional growth, Julia also served as a Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) consultant and as a full-time mentor.

    In 2007, Julia joined the Ohio Department of Education as director of the Ohio Educator Standards Board. In her current position as senior executive director of the Center for the Teaching Profession, Julia's principal responsibilities include overseeing the implementation of policies and programs that support Ohio's teacher and leader corps, including Teacher and Principal Evaluation Systems, the Ohio Resident Educator Program, Professional Conduct, and Educator Licensure.

    In addition to her contributions to furthering the vision of the Department of Education, Julia evidences an ongoing commitment to continuously deepen her own professional knowledge and skills. She recently returned to Ohio University where she obtained her bachelor's degree to complete requirements for a doctorate in educational administration and leadership, expected in fall 2016.

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Dr. Mark LaCelle-Peterson

  • Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

    Dr. Mark LaCelle-Peterson, senior vice president for policy and programs at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), has served as a faculty member and an administrator in educator preparation programs and as a leader in national programmatic accreditation. At AACTE, he oversees government relations, state affiliates, data initiatives, and programs promoting evidence-based program improvement.

    His scholarly and teaching interests include the history of education, curriculum theory, and the social, cultural, and linguistic foundations of education. He has also taught in the humanities and on early medieval Anglo Saxon and Old Norse literature. He has led initiatives to support partnerships with urban schools and a transition-to-teaching program to provide highly qualified teachers for high-needs schools. He holds degrees from the University of Minnesota and the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.Dr. Mark LaCelle-Peterson, senior vice president for policy and programs at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), has served as a faculty member and an administrator in educator preparation programs and as a leader in national programmatic accreditation. At AACTE, he oversees government relations, state affiliates, data initiatives, and programs promoting evidence-based program improvement. His scholarly and teaching interests include the history of education, curriculum theory, and the social, cultural, and linguistic foundations of education. He has also taught in the humanities and on early medieval Anglo Saxon and Old Norse literature. He has led initiatives to support partnerships with urban schools and a transition-to-teaching program to provide highly qualified teachers for high-needs schools. He holds degrees from the University of Minnesota and the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

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Dr. Susan Race

  • Director, Learning Solutions, The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

    Susan Race has over 30 years of experience in the education field. Most recently, she served as the senior director of field services and institutes for ASCD. Prior to that role, Race served as a consultant for the Danielson Group as well as a chief academic officer, an assistant superintendent, a principal, a teacher, and an adjunct undergraduate and graduate instructor in education.

    Race has provided coaching and thought leadership for educators throughout the country. At the systems or district level, she provides expertise on strategic planning, leadership development, and data-driven professional development planning and execution. At both the district and school levels, she has made culture and climate her career-long specialties. She has led strategic planning initiatives at both corporate and district levels. Race has given presentations and keynote addresses to various groups of state superintendents and district-level teachers and administrators. As a FIT Teaching (Framework for Intentional and Targeted Teaching™) cadre member, she has also helped to develop both the ASCD Summer Academy—FIT Teaching™ and the ASCD FIT Teaching™ professional development institutes.

    Race holds an EdD and MEd in educational leadership and a BS in business education.

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Dr. Saroja R. Barnes

  • NBCT, Director of Educator Preparation Initiatives, Council of Chief State School Officers

    Saroja R. Barnes, PhD, NBCT, is currently the director of Educator Preparation Initiatives at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) where she directs educator preparation initiatives that support state authorities as they implement policies and practices consistent with the CCSSO Task Force recommendations to transform educator preparation within a system of instructional improvement. The focus of her work and that of CCSSO's Educator Workforce Initiative is to ensure that educators enter the workforce ready to advance student learning and lead schools that support student achievement.

    Prior to joining CCSSO, Dr. Barnes was the chief of Educator Preparation Program Approval and Assessment at the Maryland State Department of Education. In that role, she directed state and federal oversight and regulatory responsibilities for professional educator preparation, including the approval of Continuing Professional Development courses, policy development and implementation in Maryland's PK-20 educator preparation community, implementation of alternative educator preparation programs, and technical assistance to institutions of higher education regarding ongoing evaluation and approval.

    Dr. Barnes has been twice certified as a National Board Certified Teacher and has taught high school social studies in Maryland for 15 years. She is the cofounder of What Works Evidence and has served as a consultant to school districts on a variety of educational solutions, including developing curriculum, supporting organizational efforts at building stakeholder engagement to meet reform agendas, and more generally supporting systems change to meet the equity and diversity challenges that prevail in workplaces. She continues to serve as a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park, and teaches courses on supporting equity in classrooms and instruction, action research, adolescent learning and development, and professional development and school change.

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Dr. Magaly Lavadenz

  • Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Founding Director of the Center for Equity for English Learners, Loyola Marymount University

    Dr. Magaly Lavadenz currently serves as professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and founding director of Loyola Marymount University's Center for Equity for English Learners. Previous academic appointments at LMU include chair of the Teacher Education Department, founding associate director of LMU's doctoral program in Educational Leadership for Social Justice, and founding director of Spanish and Mandarin Bilingual/Bicultural and TESOL programs.

    An active member of the education community, Dr. Lavadenz has held leadership and policy positions in numerous education associations, including as past president of the California Council on Teacher Education and the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE). She was the founding president of the California Association of Bilingual Teacher Educators. Most recently she served as inaugural chair for the Teacher Education Policy Initiatives Committee for the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and as member of the expert panel for the Next Generation English Language Development Standards for California, the AB 250 State Advisory Panel on Assessment, and the California Department of Education Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Stakeholder Advisory Group.

    Her research interests include preparation and professional support of Latino and bilingual teachers, the experiences of the Central American immigrant community, public policy affecting language use and biliteracy, and education for Latinos and immigrant communities. Her publications include numerous journal articles, chapters and several books, including the upcoming book Latinos and Civil Rights in Education: La Lucha Sigue with Anaida Colon Muniz and most recently a book chapter with Etta Hollins entitled "Urban Schools as a Context for Teaching and Learning Teaching," in the volume Rethinking Field Experiences in Pre-Service Teacher Education, edited by Etta Hollins.

    She has written and managed over 32 grant projects over the past 22 years, including the founding grants for the LMU Chinese Bilingual Teacher Education Program at LMU. She works actively with district partners to support equitable access to quality multilingual education in the state, nation, and internationally. She has presented her work in over 15 countries.

    Dr. Lavadenz completed her B.S. in elementary education from Oakland University in Michigan, an M.A. in educational psychology and counseling from California State University, Northridge, and a Ph.D. in education, specializing in language, literacy, and learning, from the University of Southern California. In addition to her academic degrees, she holds credentials from the state of California for pupil personnel services, teaching multiple subjects, and administration.

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Dr. Marvin Lynn

  • Professor and Dean of the School of Education, Indiana University South Bend

    Dr. Marvin Lynn is professor and dean of the School of Education at Indiana University South Bend.  He has served as associate dean for Teacher Education at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire; associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction, affiliate faculty member in African American studies, and director of graduate and undergraduate elementary teacher preparation programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and assistant and associate professor of Minority and Urban Education, a graduate program he founded and coordinated at the University of Maryland at College Park. He also worked for several years as an elementary and middle school teacher in Chicago and New York City.

    As a scholar, Dr. Lynn is an internationally recognized expert on race and education. He has been invited as a keynote presenter at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom, at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and at the Thinking Globally, Counseling Locally Conference in Trinidad and Tobago. He is also frequently invited to share his expertise in the United States. In 2013, he gave the Freeman Butts Lecture at the American Educational Studies Association Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. In the past year, he has shared his expertise at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, Ball State University in Indiana, and elsewhere. He is the lead editor of the Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education, published simultaneously in the United States and the United Kingdom with Routledge Press. He serves as an editorial board member of several journals and has published more than two dozen research articles and book chapters in reputable outlets. 

    In addition to his longstanding work as an educator and leader in a variety of educational contexts, Dr. Lynn has established successful education and arts organizations, including the Critical Race Studies in Education Association, which recently sponsored its 8th Annual Critical Race Theory in Education Conference at Vanderbilt University, and the ever-popular South Shore Opera Company of Chicago, established in partnership with the Chicago Park District in 2008.

    Dr. Lynn earned his PhD in social sciences and education with a concentration on race and ethnic studies in education from the University of California at Los Angeles, a master of arts in curriculum and teaching with an emphasis on urban education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a bachelor's of science degree in elementary education with concentrations in music and language arts from DePaul University in Chicago. He is a proud father to three boys and enjoys singing in a variety of styles. For more information, he can be reached at lynnm@iusb.edu.

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Dr. Yvonne Curtis

  • Superintendent, Forest Grove School District, Oregon

    Dr. Yvonne Curtis, the superintendent of the Forest Grove School District in Forest Grove, Oregon, turns adversity into opportunity as she prepares the school district to transform learning for students, teachers, and leaders. She inspires staff to see the strengths in each student. Together, Dr. Curtis and her staff empower students who every year reach higher levels of learning. As chief leader and learner, she guides her district to become the model for our country in transforming public education. Beyond her school district roles, Dr. Curtis contributes her knowledge and experience to the development of state policy and national practice.

    Dr. Curtis earned a bachelor's degree from San Diego State University in San Diego, California, where she began her educational career as an elementary teacher 34 years ago. In 1989, she moved to Bend, Oregon, to teach kindergarten when the Bend-La Pine School District opened the first public kindergarten classrooms. Over the next eight years, she taught multiple elementary grades while earning her master's degree and administrator license from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

    Dr. Curtis began her administrative career serving as a middle school assistant principal in Madras, Oregon, before moving to Redmond, Oregon, to serve as the principal of Terrebonne Elementary School. As the principal, Dr. Curtis led her team to grow students from economically challenged homes with low levels of literacy to the highest literacy levels in the district within three years. The students maintained high levels of achievement throughout her tenure and beyond.

    In 2004, Dr. Curtis served the Eugene School District as director for student achievement while earning a doctorate of educational leadership in assessment degree from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. For the Eugene District, she co-designed and implemented one of the three federally funded Response to Intervention District Models, working collaboratively with the Behavioral Research in Teaching department at the University of Oregon. Chapters she co-authored in the book Models for Implementing Response to Intervention: Tools, Outcomes, and Implications describe the development and implementation of this model. She designed and implemented the Academy School Model, which gave schools labeled as "not the choice" schools a positive identity and a sense of community. Shortly after graduation, she was invited by the Forest Grove School Board to continue improving student learning as the superintendent of the Forest Grove School District. In every position, her heart and work has centered on raising up students of color, students who speak multiple languages, and students overcoming economic disadvantages to high levels of academic achievement.

    Her vision for a transformed public school system that effectively serves each student motivates Dr. Curtis in shaping public policy and practice both statewide and nationally. Currently on the Education Northwest Board and Oregon Leadership Network, she influences the development of statewide and national equity work. As a member of the Oregon Education Investment Board, she contributes to Oregon's Birth to College and Career Education System alignment by breaking down barriers across the transitions. As a part of the Superintendents Roundtable, she insisted the most recent edition of The Superintendent's Fieldbook: A Guide for Leaders of Learning address issues impacting English learners.  While serving in Eugene, she led her district's team in the statewide Harvard Executive Leadership Initiative, focusing the entire system on the instructional core where teachers and students interact with content.  On the Minority Student Achievement Network Researcher Practitioner Council, she with other researchers identified practices most positively impacting our most underserved students.

    Dr. Curtis empowers peers, administrators, and teachers to take courageous action in schools, a practice she learned as a Center for Courage & Renewal facilitator. Most recently, she contributes to the development of educational leaders as an adjunct professor for the University of Oregon Continuing Administrator Licensure program. Dr. Curtis believes only transformed leaders and teachers will transform public education in the United States. She intentionally and transparently transforms her own professional practice and seeks opportunities to share her new learning. Currently serving as a leader, Dr. Curtis always approaches her work as a teacher, her core vocation.

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Ms. Sydney Beauchamp

  • Senior Lecturer in Elementary Education/Director of the Lab School, Indiana

    Sydney Beauchamp is a senior lecturer and the director of the Elementary Lab School Program in the School of Education at Indiana University South Bend (IU South Bend).  For the past 12 years, she has taught Social Studies Methods and Teaching about the Arts Methods, and supervises teacher candidates in field experience and student teaching.  As director of the Elementary Lab School Program and working with Elkhart Community Schools mentor teachers, principals, and administrators, she helps train, supervise, support, and evaluate the IU South Bend teacher candidates in their summer school teaching experience. Sydney was a two-term member of the NCSS Carter G. Woodson Book Award Committee and the director of Diversity Reading at IU South Bend, and is trained in the St. Cloud State University co-teaching model.  Passionate about developing a love for community, diversity, nature, and outdoor education, Sydney takes her students to visit the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, where they experience the cultural history, stunning geographical features, and the industrial and agricultural influences that helped develop the area from Gary to Michigan City, Indiana.

    Before her university experience, Sydney spent 16 years teaching for the South Bend Community School Corporation in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades.  In 2001, she received the Teacher of the Year Award at Perley Elementary School.  While teaching at Perley, Sydney earned her master's degree in elementary education and certification in educational leadership and school administration.  Her passion for strengthening teacher education began in her classroom as she hosted field experience students in a pilot program developed by faculty at IU South Bend.  That program has developed into strong partnerships with many area school corporations and helped make possible the IU South Bend/Elkhart Summer Lab School.

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Ms. Jennifer Bare-Benak

  • Fourth-Grade Teacher, Mary Beck Elementary, Indiana

    Jennifer Bare-Benak is a recent graduate of Indiana University South Bend with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.  She took her first teaching position in a fourth-grade classroom at Mary Beck Elementary in Elkhart, Indiana, in fall 2014. Outside the classroom, she is a busy mom of three daughters, ages 15, 12, and 9.  Together, they enjoy playing board games, riding bikes, and spending lazy Sunday afternoons at the library.

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Ms. Carla Darr

  • Second-Grade Teacher, Mary Beck Elementary, Indiana

    Ms. Carla Darr is a second-grade teacher at Mary Beck Elementary, a Title 1 School in Elkhart, Indiana.  Ms. Darr previously taught first grade for 31 years at Mary Daly Elementary in Elkhart, which is also a Title 1 School.  Ms. Darr received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Purdue University in 1984, with an endorsement in special education.  She received her master's degree in elementary education in 1990 from Indiana University. 

    Ms. Darr is a huge supporter of community partnerships and mentoring programs. She coordinates a reading camp, partnering with United Way.  In addition, Ms. Darr coordinates adult/teenage volunteers to work with students during and after school.  Ms. Darr has supervised numerous student teachers and was a mentor for the first time last summer at the collaborative laboratory school between Elkhart Community Schools and Indiana University South Bend.

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Ms. Madison Johnson

  • National Student President, Educators Rising

    Madison Johnson is the national student officer president of the newly launched Educators Rising, a program that cultivates highly skilled educators by guiding young people on a path to becoming successful teachers, beginning in high school and extending through college and into the profession.

    Formerly, Madison was actively a part of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Team 932, taking over leadership duties as a sophomore, helping the team win a total of 19 awards and earn a trip to the world championship for four consecutive years. In 2014, she was given Society of Women Engineers Certificate of Merit, which is a certificate awarded to young women completing their junior year of high school who have shown great leadership skills in the area of engineering.

    Along with robotics, Madison was on her school's Special Olympics team as a unified player. She was a peer tutor to students with special needs throughout high school. Through her continuous work with these students, she was deemed a TARC (Tulsa Advocates for the Rights of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities) Volunteer of the Year finalist in 2013, and in 2015, she was named Peer Tutor of the Year at her high school.

    Madison is an alumni of the Tulsa Engineering Academy at Memorial in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and will be a freshman majoring in special education at the University of Oklahoma this fall.

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Ms. Talandra Neff

  • Director of Student Teaching and Clinical Practice/Assistant Director of Lab School Project, Indiana

    Talandra Neff began her educational career as a speech-language technician with Elkhart Community Schools.  While implementing best practices and providing therapy for communication disorders for students in preschool through eighth grade, Talandra developed her passion for education and became a special education teacher for students identified with mild and intense disabilities.  Her leadership skills were developed as Talandra led the RTI initiative in her school and served as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers site coordinator. Talandra's leadership and passion for education has provided her with many opportunities to present evidence-based strategies to her peer educators, mentor preservice teachers, and connect students and families to community organizations for access to interventions outside the school building.

    As an independently contracted behavior consultant, Talandra trained the staff and families of children and adults identified with developmental disabilities in shaping, teaching, and practicing appropriate behavior in all settings. 

    While earning licensure as a school administrator, Talandra served in the roles of assistant to the principal and academic dean. It was in these roles that Talandra developed her skills as an instructional leader, utilizing her knowledge of achievement data to implement interventions and curricular adjustments to meet student needs. Leading intervention teams in determining appropriate, student-focused interventions and tracking the data to determine the efficacy of those interventions allowed Talandra to provide instruction to colleagues regarding decisions for school improvement.

    In her current position as the director of Student Teaching and Clinical Practice, Talandra's wealth of experience is culminated in the development of partnerships with local school districts for placement of preservice teachers for field experiences and student teaching.  Relying on her education and training in co-teaching, Talandra trains cooperating teachers from local school districts in these strategies for successful teacher education preparation. It is Talandra's goal to develop a preservice teacher experience that results in a student-engaged and responsive educator endowed with the knowledge and skills to support, maintain, and encourage lifelong education and success of preschool through 12th-grade students.

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Mr. Joshua Parker

  • Instructional Coach, Randallstown High School, 2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year

    Joshua Parker, an English/Language Arts teacher at Randallstown High School, is the 2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year. Joshua Parker is a graduate of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, he holds a bachelor of science degree in sports communication with a minor in English from Towson University, and he earned a master of arts degree in leadership in teaching. He is zealous when it comes to teaching to prepare world-class students, and he has proven his abilities while serving as and holding several English/Language Arts positions throughout his tenure in Baltimore County. Having an uncommon drive to see students succeed, Mr. Parker states that he believes in their potential and works tirelessly to not only open, but to also fill their minds with instructional tools for learning.

    Mr. Parker's exceptional tutelage, leadership, and enthusiasm to shape the future goes beyond the classroom: he has organized a middle school all-male reading club; directed a top-ten finishing Black Saga team; coached a boys' junior varsity basketball team; coordinated a summer program directed at engaging local youth; and implemented a comprehensive after-school program at two middle schools.

    Heritage, love, need, and opportunity coalesced to push Mr. Parker to become a teacher. Growing up as an African American male, he often felt separated from his peers, and this led him to search for allies where he found, through pages of his history, inspiration from African American males who used intelligence and candor and wit and the power of the spoken word through teaching to change the world.

    "Teaching was the way that I could use the knowledge of my heritage, the love of English content, and the universal need that I saw to make a difference," said Joshua Parker. "Looking back over my brief but expansive teaching career, I can't help but smile. I get opportunities to impart passion, wisdom, content knowledge, and love I have to students. Yet, my greatest achievements include providing students with a dependable role model, helping them conceptualize the purpose and power of English while helping them achieve on standardized tests."

    "The opportunity that my profession affords me is the greatest reward I can reap," Joshua Parker said. "I get a daily opportunity to advance society."

    Mr. Parker is a proud member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, a 2013 Pearson Global Fellow, and an adjunct professor. He is the only African American male educator from Baltimore County to win the state teacher of the year award and lives in Owings Mills, Maryland, with his wife, Tiffany, and two children, Laila and Joshua. 

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Ms. Daniela Robles

  • NBCT, Teacher Retention and Professional Development Coordinator, Balsz School District, Arizona

    Daniela Robles is approaching her 19th year of serving the profession in multiple capacities. Currently, she is serving the Balsz School District in Phoenix as the teacher retention and professional development coordinator. She achieved National Board Certification in Early/Middle Childhood Literacy-Language Arts in 2007. She served for two years as a member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards D.R.E.A.M. Team (Direct Recruiting Efforts to Attract Minorities). She is committed to serving our most deserving communities. Her commitment to this effort sparked the full feature documentary Mitchell 20 released in 2011. She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the Arizona K–12 Center.

    Ms. Robles holds degrees from Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.

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Ms. Dyane Smokorowski

  • PreK–12 Instructional Technology Coach, Andover Public Schools, 2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year

    Ms. Smokorowski is the 2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year and is currently serving as a preK–12 instructional technology coach in the Andover Public Schools in Andover, Kansas, where she supports 300 teachers in effective technology integration and professional development. Mrs. Smoke, as her students know her, believes in a project-based, student-centered classroom that helps students build skills in communication, planning, research, and cultural awareness. She wants her students to develop a love for learning, communication, and technology, but also to understand how to use those passions to advance their own futures, as well as that of the global community.

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Ms. Peggy Stewart

  • NBCT, Director of Professional Learning Services, 2005 New Jersey Teacher of the Year

    Peggy Stewart is the 2005 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year, a Princeton University Distinguished Secondary School Teacher, and a National Board Certified Teacher. After a rewarding career in empowering students to broaden their world view, Stewart serves as the director of Professional Learning Services for the National Network of State Teachers of the Year.

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Ms. Monica Washington

  • English Teacher, Adjunct Professor, 2014 Texas Teacher of the Year

    Monica Washington is an English III and AP English III teacher at Texas High School in Texarkana where she serves as department chair.  She has been in education for 18 years and has taught grades 7–12.  She has served as adjunct professor at LeMoyne-Owen College and Texarkana College. 

    She began her teaching career in 1998 in Memphis, Tennessee, and moved to Texas in 2007 with her husband Ricky, a native Texan, who is a sixth-grade social studies teacher.  She believes that a teacher's greatest accomplishments are those things that cannot be typed on a resume or measured by statistical data: the ability to inspire, to mentor, to engage students are immeasurable but most vital qualities.  The best teachers, according to Monica, are those who are students in their own classrooms—guiding students by learning and problem solving with students. 

    In addition, she has a passion for mentoring beginning teachers.  She wants to demonstrate to all teachers the importance of building positive relationships with students to create a foundation for academic growth. 

    In addition to representing the teaching profession as the 2014 Texas State Teacher of the Year, Monica is a 2015 Lowell Milken Center Fellow, and she will work with her students and the center to discover and honor unsung heroes.  She is also a 2015 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow, and she hopes to help students begin to see themselves as global citizens. 

    Monica is currently pursuing a doctorate of education in teacher leadership.

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2015 Conference on Teaching Question and Answer Session #1


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2015 Conference on Teaching Question and Answer Session #2


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2015 Conference on Teaching Question and Answer Session #3


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2015 Conference on Teaching Question and Answer Session #4


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