2024 State of High-Dosage Tutoring Convening

January 30 - 31, 2024
Washington DC

Accelerate’s Community of Practice is brought together by the vision of improving student outcomes through adopting and implementing proven personalized learning strategies.

At our 2024 State of High Dosage Tutoring Convening, we’ll gather in person to discuss opportunities to effectively embed tutoring in public schools across the country to improve outcomes for students. This is an exclusive opportunity for our Community of Practice to share learnings, collaborate, and build the national momentum around high-dosage tutoring alongside tutoring providers, district and state leaders, researchers, policymakers, funders and other key stakeholders from across the country.

Below you will find an agenda for the convening with details on the sessions, resources and speakers who will share their expertise in the field. We look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC!

If you have any logistical questions regarding the conference, please email Janelle Johnson at janelle.johnson@canvasmeetings.com.

Tuesday
January 30, 2024
2:00 - 5:00 PM
Accelerate on the Hill
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Dinner & Remarks
Kevin Huffman
Kevin Huffman
Accelerate

Kevin Huffman is the founding CEO of Accelerate, a national initiative that seeks to embed high-impact tutoring and personalized learning in public schools. Prior to helping launch Accelerate, Kevin was a partner with City Fund, a philanthropic nonprofit, where he supported the efforts of local leaders in cities across the country working to create great public schools for all children. Kevin is the former Tennessee commissioner of education, where he managed the state department of education in its effort to advance the academic progress of nearly one million students. During his tenure, Tennessee had the largest state gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Kevin began his education career as a first- and second-grade bilingual teacher in the Houston Independent School District. After attending law school, Kevin represented school districts, state departments of education and universities, working on policy and litigation matters at the Washington D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson. He then joined the senior management of Teach For America in 2000, serving as the general counsel, the senior vice president of growth strategy and development, and the executive vice president of public affairs. Kevin has written opinion columns for a range of publications including as a regular contributor to the Washington Post. He won the Post’s national writing competition to find “America’s Next Great Pundit” in 2009. Kevin graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, and from the New York University School of Law.

Dr. Janice Jackson
Dr. Janice Jackson
Hope Chicago

Dr. Janice Jackson is a lifelong resident of Chicago. With over 22 years of experience working in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), she is a nationally-known and respected educator and leader in the field of public education. Her life’s work and commitment to public education and student outcomes began at a young age. After graduating from CPS and receiving her B.A. and M.A. from Chicago State University, she began her teaching career as a social studies teacher and debate team coach at South Shore High School. From there she went on to serve as a high school principal, District Network Chief, and Chief Education Officer all while completing an M.A. and Ed.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2017, she was appointed CEO of CPS by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. She was the first CPS alumna to serve in the position.

Jackson’s tenure at CPS—the nation’s 3rd largest school district with more than 355,000 students, 38,000 employees, and an annual budget of $7 billion—is most notable for the results the district attained in advancing equitable outcomes for its students. In fact, Bill Gates noted the data-driven approach to student success developed under Jackson’s leadership was “a model for the nation.” Jackson’s efforts, along with those of Chicago’s dedicated teachers and principals, propelled CPS students to record-breaking improvements in academic achievement, high school graduation, and post-secondary completion. Education experts across the country regard Chicago as a national leader in improving results for young people at scale.

Upon leaving CPS after 22 years, Jackson joined the Carnegie Foundation as a Senior Fellow where she is focusing on equity issues, such as improving high school and college attainment nationwide and ensuring that African American, Latinx, and Indigenous students receive exemplary education and social and emotional support. She was also selected as a 2021 Resident Fellow for the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago.

In September 2021, Jackson became CEO of Hope Chicago, a new two-generation scholarship organization that will eliminate barriers to educational and economic equity by guaranteeing debt-free college and wraparound support services to Hope Scholars and their parents. Jackson brings dynamic leadership, deep knowledge of student need and circumstance, and a personal passion for transforming lives through education to this work. She is also a board member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (CCAC) and A Better Chicago (ABC). Dr. Jackson is married with two children and resides on the southside of Chicago, in the Bronzeville community.

Roberto Rodriguez
Roberto Rodriguez
Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

Roberto J. Rodríguez currently serves as Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education, where he leads the development and review of the Department’s budget and advises the Secretary on all matters related to policy development, implementation, and review. Roberto’s distinguished career in public service includes senior government roles in the White House, as Deputy Assistant for Education to President Barack Obama, and in the U.S. Senate, as Chief Counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Most recently, Rodríguez served as President and CEO of Teach Plus where he built an equity-driven teacher leadership movement that engaged thousands of teachers to shape public policy and instructional practice to deliver greater opportunity for students.

A Michigan native, Rodríguez holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Wednesday
January 31, 2024
8:00 - 8:30 AM
Breakfast
8:30 - 9:00 AM
Welcome
Kevin Huffman
Kevin Huffman
Accelerate

Kevin Huffman is the founding CEO of Accelerate, a national initiative that seeks to embed high-impact tutoring and personalized learning in public schools. Prior to helping launch Accelerate, Kevin was a partner with City Fund, a philanthropic nonprofit, where he supported the efforts of local leaders in cities across the country working to create great public schools for all children. Kevin is the former Tennessee commissioner of education, where he managed the state department of education in its effort to advance the academic progress of nearly one million students. During his tenure, Tennessee had the largest state gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Kevin began his education career as a first- and second-grade bilingual teacher in the Houston Independent School District. After attending law school, Kevin represented school districts, state departments of education and universities, working on policy and litigation matters at the Washington D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson. He then joined the senior management of Teach For America in 2000, serving as the general counsel, the senior vice president of growth strategy and development, and the executive vice president of public affairs. Kevin has written opinion columns for a range of publications including as a regular contributor to the Washington Post. He won the Post’s national writing competition to find “America’s Next Great Pundit” in 2009. Kevin graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, and from the New York University School of Law.

9:00 - 10:15 AM
BREAKOUT SESSIONS
Decoding Early Literacy Policy: A Tutoring Provider’s Guide to State Policy and Funding
SPEAKERS
Dr. Cora Scott
Dr. Cora Scott
Delaware Department of Education

A seasoned educational leader, Delaware native Dr. Cora Scott joins the Delaware Department of Education as deputy secretary with more than 25 years of experience in district and charter schools as well as work in higher education.  With a focus on educational equity, Dr. Scott works to ensure every student has access and opportunity with the appropriate supports for success. An expert in school improvement and instructional best practices, Dr. Scott is known for building rapport and establishing trusting, collaborative relationships.  She began her education career as a teacher in Cecil County, Md., where she also served as special education coordinator before joining the Christina School District as an instructional coach. She also had leadership roles at the University of Delaware and Newark Charter School before joining the Brandywine School District as an assistant principal. She later was promoted in Brandywine to director of pupil services, director of curriculum and instruction, and executive director of elementary education before being named assistant superintendent.

A graduate of Glasgow High School in the Christina School District, Dr. Scott completed her undergraduate degree in elementary and special education at the University of Delaware before earning both a master of education and doctorate of education in school leadership from Wilmington University.

Dr. Scott – who met her husband, Steven, while they were undergraduates at the University of Delaware – has two children, a son, Cameron, who graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in Brandywine and completed his bachelor’s degree at Goldey Beacom College, and a daughter, Kendall, who is a senior at Newark Charter School headed to New York University this fall.

Mindy Sjoblom
Mindy Sjoblom
OnYourMark

Mindy started OnYourMark with a passion for early literacy and deep experience building systems to cultivate and develop educators. Mindy loves bringing new ideas to life that are centered in increasing outcomes for students and educators alike. While preparing to launch OnYourMark, Mindy served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Charter School Growth Fund where she started her early literacy journey at the nexus of a growing demand for high dosage tutoring to address pandemic learning recovery and increased need to support schools with foundational skills reading instruction across the country.

Prior to this newest adventure, Mindy served as Founding Dean of Relay Chicago, where she oversaw all aspects of campus growth/strategy, financial health, partnership development, political advocacy, and teacher preparation programming. Under her leadership, Relay Chicago became the second largest and most diverse provider of teachers in IL. Before joining Relay, Sjoblom served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction, then as principal, at Rauner College Prep, one of the Noble Schools. While she was principal, Sjoblom’s students earned the highest average ACT scores in the school’s history. Before that, she served as founding humanities teacher at the Crossroads School in Baltimore. Sjoblom, an alumna of Teach For America, earned an M.A.T. from Johns Hopkins University, School Administrative credentials from National Louis University and a B.A. in political science from Butler University.

Dr. Allison Rose Socol
Dr. Allison Rose Socol
The Education Trust

Allison Rose Socol, Ph.D. serves as Ed Trust’s vice president of P-12 policy, practice, and research. In this role, Allison leads the P-12 team to highlight inequities, identify research-based solutions, and work with a wide range of equity advocates to push for change that will expand excellence and equity in the P-12 education system for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

Allison has been with The Education Trust since 2016. She previously served as Ed Trust’s assistant director of P-12 Policy, where she led the development of the organization’s policy agenda on issues essential to promoting equity in the P-12 system and coordinated data and policy analyses to execute the organization’s growing state-level advocacy efforts. She started her career at Ed Trust as a senior analyst, a role in which she developed and conducted data and policy analyses to highlight gaps in opportunity and achievement in our education system.

Before joining Ed Trust, Allison was a research assistant at the Center for Scaling Up Effective Schools, where she focused on identifying programs, practices, and policies that make high schools in large urban districts effective for low-income students and students of color. She also worked as a literacy coach for kindergarten and first grade teachers in rural public schools in North Carolina and taught fifth and sixth grade at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. She earned her teaching certification through the Inspired Teaching Certification Program.

Allison holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in teaching from Trinity University, and a bachelor’s degree in public policy from UNC.

HDT for System Leaders: Strengthening Instructional Coherence and Building Effective Data Systems
SPEAKERS
Karen Lawrence
Karen Lawrence
TN Score

Karen leads SCORE’s efforts to design and pilot research-based practices with its partners in order to improve student outcomes and share learnings that promote effective practices at scale. Prior to joining SCORE in 2022, Karen served as a director at TNTP, supporting schools to understand students’ access to strong academic experiences. She also served Tennessee’s youngest students for four years through Tennessee’s Early Intervention System and began her career as an elementary school teacher in Richardson, Texas.

Dr. Jimmy Leak
Dr. Jimmy Leak
Guilford County Schools

Jimmy Leak is a Research Analyst at Guilford County Schools. Jimmy leads the district’s efforts to manage research partnerships and evaluate the district’s tutoring program and other grant-funded projects. Prior to working for GCS, Jimmy led the design, management, and evaluation of early grade reading programs in Kenya and Ethiopia. Jimmy also teaches quantitative research methods in Education as an adjunct professor at High Point University. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of California at Irvine and a B.A. in Public Policy and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Janet Wilson
Dr. Janet Wilson
Littera Education

Dr. Janet S. Wilson has dedicated decades of service to public education by focusing on success for all children. Promoting and supporting rigorous standards and assessments along with data-informed teaching and learning, Dr. Wilson’s leadership impact spans districts ranging in size from 4,000 to 165,000 students.

In Montgomery County Public Schools, MD Dr. Wilson served as the Chief of Teaching, Learning, and Schools, responsible for administrative supervision, teaching and learning, and accountability for over 200 schools. She was instrumental in the development and implementation of an Equity Accountability Model utilizing classroom, district, and external measurements to improve teaching and learning for all students. This Model was designed to report each schools’ effectiveness in serving diverse populations of learners with a focus on resource allocation and programmatic return on investment.

Previously, Dr. Wilson served as Superintendent of Schools in Garrett County, Maryland. During her tenure, she led recovery efforts in the aftermath of school closures and consolidations. Under her leadership, the school system developed an integrated model of high school course options promoting dual enrollment, early college opportunities, and increased AP course offerings while simultaneously expanding universal pre-kindergarten programs. Notable is Dr. Wilson’s partnership with state and local officials to realize a vision for internet access for all public school facilities.

As the Senior Vice-President for District Solutions at Littera Education she works closely with districts to ensure coherence of high impact tutoring to their curriculum, instruction, and assessment ecosystem. Additionally, she serves as the executive sponsor for districts involved in outcomes-based pricing and tutoring research. Dr. Wilson received her Ph.D. in educational leadership focusing on culturally changing populations from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

10:30 - 11:45 AM
GENERAL SESSION
High Dosage Tutoring: The Knowns and Known Unknowns in Building Evidence
MODERATOR - Empire Ballroom
Dr. Matthew Steinberg
Dr. Matthew Steinberg
Accelerate

Dr. Matthew P. Steinberg serves as the Managing Director of Research and Evaluation at Accelerate. In this role, Matthew develops Accelerate’s research agenda, drives the design and evaluation of research projects funded via Accelerate’s annual Call to Effective Action and States Leading Recovery grant program, leads research partnerships with Accelerate’s institutional partners to drive a coordinated research agenda, and identifies and communicates key research findings internally and externally to the field. Prior to joining Accelerate, Matthew was an Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy (with tenure) and Director of EdPolicyForward at George Mason University. Matthew’s research has addressed issues of educational significance at the intersection of the economics of education and education policy, including educator evaluation and human capital; accountability and urban school reform; education finance; and school safety and student discipline. Matthew’s work aims to inform local and national policy discussions on the impact of educational policies and practices on teacher effectiveness and the educational outcomes of students, particularly the most disadvantaged among the population. Matthew’s research has appeared in leading education, public policy and economics journals. A recipient of the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, Matthew received his PhD in public policy from the University of Chicago. During his tenure as a doctoral student, Matthew was an Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Fellow with the University of Chicago Committee on Education, a researcher at the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research and a Mathematica Policy Research Summer Fellow. Prior to graduate school, Matthew was an investment banker and a New York City Teaching Fellow.

SPEAKERS
Dr. Joanna Cannon
Dr. Joanna Cannon
Walton Family Foundation

As a Fellow with the Walton Family Foundation, Joanna Cannon works with the K-12 education team supporting strategy, learning, and grant-making on new initiatives. Before joining the foundation, Joanna was the chief operating officer for PENCIL, an education non-profit. Prior to that opportunity, she was the chief strategic officer for the Division of Talent, Labor and Innovation at the NYC Department of Education, the largest school system in the nation. Joanna holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Columbia University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Christina Grant
Dr. Christina Grant
Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Dr. Christina Grant is the State Superintendent of Education for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Dr. Grant has extensive experience overseeing the operations and finances of school systems. Dr. Grant is a seasoned leader and manager with two decades of experience overseeing complex budgets, accountability systems, and policy and politics across several organizations. Dr. Grant’s leadership is grounded in the belief that diversity and inclusiveness is more than just a phrase but the cornerstone set of advancements needed to truly transform public education and our world. Dr. Grant served as the Chief of Charter Schools and Innovation for The School District of Philadelphia. In this capacity, Dr. Grant managed a complex organization, working closely with the Superintendent of Schools and the President of the Board of Education and the Mayor’s Chief Education Office. Dr. Grant’s career began as a public school teacher in Harlem; since then, she’s held numerous roles in education, including as Superintendent of the Great Oaks Foundation and Deputy Executive Director at the New York City Department of Education. Dr. Grant has a doctorate in education with a focus on organizational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania; two master’s degrees: one in organizational leadership from the Teachers College of Columbia University and one in teaching and adolescent reading from Fordham University; and a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University.

Dr. Thomas Kane
Dr. Thomas Kane
Harvard University | Center for Education Policy Research

Thomas Kane is an economist and Walter H. Gale Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research, a university-wide research center that works with school districts and state agencies. Between 2009 and 2012, he directed the Measures of Effective Teaching project for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His work has spanned both K-12 and higher education, covering topics such as the design of school accountability systems, teacher evaluation, financial aid for college, race-conscious college admissions and recovery from the COVID pandemic. From 1995 to 1996, Kane served as the senior economist for labor, education, and welfare policy issues within President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. From 1991 through 2000, he was a faculty member at the Kennedy School of Government. Kane has also been a professor of public policy at UCLA and has held visiting fellowships at the Brookings Institution and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

11:45 - 1:15 PM
GENERAL SESSION | LUNCH
Innovations at the Nexus: AI in Education and High-Dosage Tutoring
MODERATOR - Empire Ballroom
Kevin Huffman
Kevin Huffman
Accelerate

Kevin Huffman is the founding CEO of Accelerate, a national initiative that seeks to embed high-impact tutoring and personalized learning in public schools. Prior to helping launch Accelerate, Kevin was a partner with City Fund, a philanthropic nonprofit, where he supported the efforts of local leaders in cities across the country working to create great public schools for all children. Kevin is the former Tennessee commissioner of education, where he managed the state department of education in its effort to advance the academic progress of nearly one million students. During his tenure, Tennessee had the largest state gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Kevin began his education career as a first- and second-grade bilingual teacher in the Houston Independent School District. After attending law school, Kevin represented school districts, state departments of education and universities, working on policy and litigation matters at the Washington D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson. He then joined the senior management of Teach For America in 2000, serving as the general counsel, the senior vice president of growth strategy and development, and the executive vice president of public affairs. Kevin has written opinion columns for a range of publications including as a regular contributor to the Washington Post. He won the Post’s national writing competition to find “America’s Next Great Pundit” in 2009. Kevin graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, and from the New York University School of Law.

SPEAKERS
Yusuf Ahmad
Yusuf Ahmad
The Reinvention Lab @ Teach For America

Yusuf leads product for the Reinvention Lab, Teach for America’s R&D arm. The Reinvention Lab supports the work of innovators (new school models, startups, etc.) pushing the boundaries of what is possible; and leaders pushing the boundaries of traditional education systems. Yusuf also coached startups through MIT’s Sandbox Fund & angel invest in companies like Koalluh and Recess. In the past Yusuf contributed to Scratch (a creative coding platform used by millions of kids), developed creative tools for educators, and worked on large-scale education reform efforts. Before MIT, Yusuf led development (from ideation to scale-up) of degree programs at a pan-African University with campuses in Mauritius, Rwanda, and Kenya and over $80M USD in funding. They remixed ideas from places like Olin, Minerva, 42, Ashesi, and High Tech High to create a university where students learn through projects, research, and industry placements instead of lectures and decontextualized assignments.

Amanda Bickerstaff
Amanda Bickerstaff
AI For Education

Amanda is the Co-Founder and CEO of AI for Education. A former high school biology teacher and EdTech executive with over 20 years of experience in the education sector. She has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that AI can offer. She is a frequent consultant, speaker, and writer on the topic of AI in education, leading workshops and professional learning across both K12 and Higher Ed. Amanda is committed to helping schools and teachers maximize their potential through the ethical and equitable adoption of AI.

1:15 - 2:30 PM
BREAKOUT SESSIONS
Establishing and Strengthening District Partnerships: Strategies for Effective Community Based Organization - District Tutoring Partnerships
SPEAKERS
Matt Barrow
Matt Barrow
Baltimore City Public Schools

Matt Barrow is the Director-Differentiated Learning for Baltimore City Public Schools, where he has been an educator for over twelve years. As a middle school teacher, he had the opportunity to teach both ELA and Social Studies for seven years. Since 2018, he has served as the district’s MTSS Coordinator in the Office of Teaching and Learning, where he has applied his passion for building a better system for supporting all students. His work has focused on proactively and systematically empowering educators to collaborate around professional decisions that result in accelerated achievement outcomes for all students, centered on the core belief that by ensuring all students will learn, we will transform the future of Baltimore City.

In his current role, Mr. Barrow is working to coordinate the district’s ambitious high-dosage tutoring initiative which connected over 18,000 students with this type of support.

Alonna Berry
Alonna Berry
Office of Governor John Carney, Delaware

Alonna Berry currently serves as a Director of Community and Family Services, leading the Governor’s Family Services Cabinet Council, overseeing policy for Health, Equity, and Education, and serving as Delaware’s first Statewide Trauma-Informed Care Coordinator for the Office of Governor John Carney. Over her tenure, Alonna has led several statewide efforts in trauma-informed care and diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) practices. Berry brings expertise in strategic planning, nonprofit board management, and development to the team. Over her career, she has led organizations big and small, emerging and seasoned, through strategic planning efforts. Alonna is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Organizational Learning and Innovation from Wilmington University. She holds a post-graduate certificate from the University of Pennsylvania in virtual online teaching and learning, a graduate degree in Management and Organizational Leadership from Wilmington, and an undergraduate degree in Writing and Rhetoric from Syracuse University. As a native Delawarean, she is devoted to Delaware, serving through nonprofit leadership. In 2017 she founded The Bryan Allen Stevenson School of Excellence. Additionally, she has served on numerous boards across the state, including President for The Delaware Center for Justices, an advisor for the Youth Philanthropy Board of Sussex County, and as a board member of Next Generation South, The Milton Historical Society, The Delaware Historical Society, and Delaware Guidance Services.

Kara Hamilton
Kara Hamilton
Guilford County Public Schools

Kara Hamilton is the Tutorial Programming Director of Guilford County Schools in North Carolina. She brings more than 15 years of experience in education and operations to her role leading efforts around high-impact tutoring in Guilford.

Casey McLeod
Casey McLeod
KIPP Indianapolis
Jennifer Rosenbaum
Jennifer Rosenbaum
DC Public Schools

Jennifer serves as the Deputy Chief of Schools for DC Public Schools (DCPS). She began her career as a teacher DCPS and went on to coach teachers across DCPS, DC charter schools, and Prince Georges County Public Schools. Jennifer served as the Director of Instruction and Performance for the Office of Early Childhood Education in the NYC Department of Education, leading a multi-year rollout of Common Core aligned standards for over 3,000 pre-k teachers in the city. She then came back home to DC, where she served as a founding school leader at KIPP DC, and later coached teachers and leaders across the network. Currently, Jennifer drives DCPS’s strategy for accelerating student learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including high impact tutoring, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), ESSER funding, and coaching from central services to schools.

Learning Lift-off: Strategies for Student Uptake and Engagement
SPEAKERS
Dr. Daniel Belenky
Dr. Daniel Belenky
MindPath Learning

Dr. Daniel Belenky previously Dr. Belenky previously served as the Director of Learning Science Research in the Learning Research and Design team at Pearson. Daniel received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences and subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

Matt Miller
Matt Miller
Oko Labs

Matt Miller is the Co-founder and CEO of Oko Labs. He was previously CTO and VP of Labs at Amplify Education and Head of Product at Flatiron School. He is an active consultant, advisor, and mentor in the education space and serves as Technology Advisor at XQ Institute. He also co-founded Stories Bookshop and Storytelling Lab, a retail and creative education space in Brooklyn, NY. Earlier in his career, Miller co-founded CounterStorm, an AI-based intrusion detection and prevention company later acquired by Raytheon. Miller holds BS and MS degrees in Computer Science from Columbia University.

Dr. Soren Rosier
Dr. Soren Rosier
PeerTeach

Soren is the founder of PeerTeach, a platform that empowers students to grow their leadership, confidence, and love of math through AI-powered peer tutoring. Before PeerTeach, Soren co-led Stanford’s Learning Design & Technology Masters program, preparing a new generation of ed tech innovators. A Stanford GSE instructor since 2018, he teaches courses on designing impactful tools for learning. Prior to his PhD in Stanford’s Learning Sciences & Technology Design program, Soren taught middle school in Oakland, developed teacher training programs, and evaluated the efficacy of popular ed tech products at SRI International.

2:30 - 3:45 PM
GENERAL SESSION - Empire Ballroom
Policy Over Politics in 2024! State and Federal Policy Updates
MODERATOR - Empire Ballroom
Dr. Nakia Towns
Dr. Nakia Towns
Accelerate

Dr. T. Nakia Towns has a proven track record of raising the bar for all kids, closing opportunity gaps, increasing graduation rates, and improving postsecondary readiness. As Chief Operating Officer, Nakia serves Accelerate’s program, operations, and research functions. Nakia was previously the Deputy Superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), serving over 180,000 students in Georgia’s largest district, which is also the 11th largest in the country. Nakia led transformative work in GCPS to pilot high quality instructional materials aligned to the science of reading and full implementation of whole child supports to achieve educational equity. Before her appointment in GCPS, Nakia served as interim and deputy superintendent at Hamilton County Schools (HCS) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, leading HCS to become the fastest improving district in Tennessee. Prior to joining Hamilton County, Nakia was Assistant Commissioner, Division of Data and Research, at the Tennessee Department of Education. During her time at the department, she served on the executive leadership team and helped set the strategic direction for PreK-12 educational policy through her work in developing the state’s highly regarded plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Towns, who believes that access to a high-quality public education is foundational to a thriving democracy, spearheaded her division’s efforts in promoting both equity and excellence in Tennessee public schools. Nakia transitioned to education leadership at Knox County Schools where she rose to Chief Accountability Officer, responsible for evaluating and growing the district’s overall educational return on investment. Towns was instrumental in launching a new teacher leadership model and differentiated compensation plan as a director in human resources. This work facilitated her involvement in developing aspiring school leaders through the district’s partnership with the University of Tennessee Leadership Academy. During her tenure, Knox County Schools became the only large urban district to ever earn the state’s highest accountability designation and achieve a 90% graduation rate. Nakia is respected nationally for her work in public education. She was selected for the Future Chiefs leadership development program by Chiefs for Change, as well as the Broad Residency in Urban Education by the Broad Center. She has worked as an associate adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University for the education doctorate program and as a practitioner advisor for the Annenberg Institute at Brown University’s EdResearch for Recovery project. Towns has served as an expert peer reviewer, keynote speaker, facilitator, and panelist for numerous conferences and initiatives to support the work of educators across the country. Assuming roles of increasing responsibility at IBM, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo Bank, Towns began her career in the fields of technology and finance. While in the private sector, she co-founded a nonprofit after-school tutoring and intervention program in rural south Georgia, continuing her lifelong commitment to public education. Her work as a volunteer teacher in the Saturday-school program inspired her to pursue the field of education as her fulltime passion and profession. At Duke University, Nakia completed a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and an M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business. She also earned an M.Ed. in educational leadership from The Broad Center for Education Management (now at the Yale University School of Management) and a doctorate of education in K-12 leadership and policy from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. She is a Georgia native, where she attended public schools and graduated from Clarke Central High School in Athens.

SPEAKERS
Dr. Cade Brumley
Dr. Cade Brumley
Louisiana Department of Education

Dr. Cade Brumley is a product of Louisiana schools who has invested his career into improving the lives of students and moving his state forward. Dr. Brumley has served Louisiana as a teacher, coach, school leader, and school system leader. He was appointed Louisiana State Superintendent in May 2020 during the height of the global pandemic. Under his bold leadership, Louisiana has safely reopened schools, accelerated academic recovery, launched a reading revival, and expanded educational freedom.

As State Superintendent, Dr. Brumley led Louisiana educators as they earned the most significant year-over-year increase on state assessments since 2016. Students have increased on LEAP tests for two consecutive years and Louisiana has exceeded its pre-pandemic School Performance Score. He also advanced Louisiana’s national ranking. Louisiana’s 4th graders led the country in reading growth and the state’s overall ranking moved from 46th to 42nd from 2019 to 2022 on The Nation’s Report Card – the state’s highest ranking ever.

Melissa Junge
Melissa Junge
Federal Education Group, PLLC

Melissa Junge is a co-founder and an attorney at the Federal Education Group. FEG’s practice areas include all major federal K-12 education programs, including ESSA, IDEA, Perkins, and COVID-19 relief programs, as well as federal grants management requirements, such as the Uniform Grant Guidance. Melissa has written numerous publications and present regularly at conferences on federal K-12 education topics. National organizations often seek FEG’s perspective on federal law and funding matters. Before starting FEG, Melissa served one year as in-house counsel for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in Washington, D.C.

Patrick Steck
Patrick Steck
Deans for Impact

Patrick Steck (he/him) serves as the Vice President of External Affairs at Deans for Impact. Patrick is driven by a deep passion to serve others and a belief that policy is a powerful tool for advancing equity and joy, particularly for the LGBTQIA+ community. Patrick thrives in settings that allow him to explore these passions, including serving as Vice President for the Austin Dawgs, a chapter of University of Georgia’s Alumni Association and as member of his church’s Welcome Team. Patrick currently resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife (Katie) and son (Grant).

3:45 PM
Closing
Key Takeaways & Resources
Download PDF
Community of Practice Directory
Download PDF

Speakers

Yusuf Ahmad
Yusuf Ahmad
The Reinvention Lab @ Teach For America

Yusuf leads product for the Reinvention Lab, Teach for America’s R&D arm. The Reinvention Lab supports the work of innovators (new school models, startups, etc.) pushing the boundaries of what is possible; and leaders pushing the boundaries of traditional education systems. Yusuf also coached startups through MIT’s Sandbox Fund & angel invest in companies like Koalluh and Recess. In the past Yusuf contributed to Scratch (a creative coding platform used by millions of kids), developed creative tools for educators, and worked on large-scale education reform efforts. Before MIT, Yusuf led development (from ideation to scale-up) of degree programs at a pan-African University with campuses in Mauritius, Rwanda, and Kenya and over $80M USD in funding. They remixed ideas from places like Olin, Minerva, 42, Ashesi, and High Tech High to create a university where students learn through projects, research, and industry placements instead of lectures and decontextualized assignments.

Matt Barrow
Matt Barrow
Baltimore City Public Schools

Matt Barrow is the Director-Differentiated Learning for Baltimore City Public Schools, where he has been an educator for over twelve years. As a middle school teacher, he had the opportunity to teach both ELA and Social Studies for seven years. Since 2018, he has served as the district’s MTSS Coordinator in the Office of Teaching and Learning, where he has applied his passion for building a better system for supporting all students. His work has focused on proactively and systematically empowering educators to collaborate around professional decisions that result in accelerated achievement outcomes for all students, centered on the core belief that by ensuring all students will learn, we will transform the future of Baltimore City.

In his current role, Mr. Barrow is working to coordinate the district’s ambitious high-dosage tutoring initiative which connected over 18,000 students with this type of support.

Dr. Daniel Belenky
Dr. Daniel Belenky
MindPath Learning

Dr. Daniel Belenky previously Dr. Belenky previously served as the Director of Learning Science Research in the Learning Research and Design team at Pearson. Daniel received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences and subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

Alonna Berry
Alonna Berry
Office of Governor John Carney, Delaware

Alonna Berry currently serves as a Director of Community and Family Services, leading the Governor’s Family Services Cabinet Council, overseeing policy for Health, Equity, and Education, and serving as Delaware’s first Statewide Trauma-Informed Care Coordinator for the Office of Governor John Carney. Over her tenure, Alonna has led several statewide efforts in trauma-informed care and diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) practices. Berry brings expertise in strategic planning, nonprofit board management, and development to the team. Over her career, she has led organizations big and small, emerging and seasoned, through strategic planning efforts. Alonna is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Organizational Learning and Innovation from Wilmington University. She holds a post-graduate certificate from the University of Pennsylvania in virtual online teaching and learning, a graduate degree in Management and Organizational Leadership from Wilmington, and an undergraduate degree in Writing and Rhetoric from Syracuse University. As a native Delawarean, she is devoted to Delaware, serving through nonprofit leadership. In 2017 she founded The Bryan Allen Stevenson School of Excellence. Additionally, she has served on numerous boards across the state, including President for The Delaware Center for Justices, an advisor for the Youth Philanthropy Board of Sussex County, and as a board member of Next Generation South, The Milton Historical Society, The Delaware Historical Society, and Delaware Guidance Services.

Amanda Bickerstaff
Amanda Bickerstaff
AI For Education

Amanda is the Co-Founder and CEO of AI for Education. A former high school biology teacher and EdTech executive with over 20 years of experience in the education sector. She has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that AI can offer. She is a frequent consultant, speaker, and writer on the topic of AI in education, leading workshops and professional learning across both K12 and Higher Ed. Amanda is committed to helping schools and teachers maximize their potential through the ethical and equitable adoption of AI.

Dr. Cade Brumley
Dr. Cade Brumley
Louisiana Department of Education

Dr. Cade Brumley is a product of Louisiana schools who has invested his career into improving the lives of students and moving his state forward. Dr. Brumley has served Louisiana as a teacher, coach, school leader, and school system leader. He was appointed Louisiana State Superintendent in May 2020 during the height of the global pandemic. Under his bold leadership, Louisiana has safely reopened schools, accelerated academic recovery, launched a reading revival, and expanded educational freedom.

As State Superintendent, Dr. Brumley led Louisiana educators as they earned the most significant year-over-year increase on state assessments since 2016. Students have increased on LEAP tests for two consecutive years and Louisiana has exceeded its pre-pandemic School Performance Score. He also advanced Louisiana’s national ranking. Louisiana’s 4th graders led the country in reading growth and the state’s overall ranking moved from 46th to 42nd from 2019 to 2022 on The Nation’s Report Card – the state’s highest ranking ever.

Dr. Joanna Cannon
Dr. Joanna Cannon
Walton Family Foundation

As a Fellow with the Walton Family Foundation, Joanna Cannon works with the K-12 education team supporting strategy, learning, and grant-making on new initiatives. Before joining the foundation, Joanna was the chief operating officer for PENCIL, an education non-profit. Prior to that opportunity, she was the chief strategic officer for the Division of Talent, Labor and Innovation at the NYC Department of Education, the largest school system in the nation. Joanna holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Columbia University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago.

Sarah Glover
Sarah Glover
Southern Education Foundation

Sarah Glover is the program lead for Outcomes Based Contracting. In her role, she uses her expertise to coach cohort districts as they develop their contracts.

Sarah has led improvement efforts in K-12 public education for nearly 30 years. Previously as the vice president of client success at Panorama Education, she led a 45-person team to improve student outcomes through social-and-emotional research and analysis for more than 600 clients and nearly nine million students. Prior to her time at Panorama, Sarah served as executive director of strategic partnerships at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and was the founding executive director of SDP, a national effort to transform the use of data in education.

As a founding member of the Center for Reform of School Systems, Sarah partnered in the development of the Broad Institute for School Boards and led the development of the Texas Institute for School Boards. She also served as an elected member of the Bozeman Public Schools Board of Trustees in Montana.

Sarah holds a master’s degree in public affairs, an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and a bachelor’s in political science from Tufts University.

Dr. Christina Grant
Dr. Christina Grant
Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Dr. Christina Grant is the State Superintendent of Education for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Dr. Grant has extensive experience overseeing the operations and finances of school systems. Dr. Grant is a seasoned leader and manager with two decades of experience overseeing complex budgets, accountability systems, and policy and politics across several organizations. Dr. Grant’s leadership is grounded in the belief that diversity and inclusiveness is more than just a phrase but the cornerstone set of advancements needed to truly transform public education and our world. Dr. Grant served as the Chief of Charter Schools and Innovation for The School District of Philadelphia. In this capacity, Dr. Grant managed a complex organization, working closely with the Superintendent of Schools and the President of the Board of Education and the Mayor’s Chief Education Office. Dr. Grant’s career began as a public school teacher in Harlem; since then, she’s held numerous roles in education, including as Superintendent of the Great Oaks Foundation and Deputy Executive Director at the New York City Department of Education. Dr. Grant has a doctorate in education with a focus on organizational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania; two master’s degrees: one in organizational leadership from the Teachers College of Columbia University and one in teaching and adolescent reading from Fordham University; and a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University.

Kara Hamilton
Kara Hamilton
Guilford County Public Schools

Kara Hamilton is the Tutorial Programming Director of Guilford County Schools in North Carolina. She brings more than 15 years of experience in education and operations to her role leading efforts around high-impact tutoring in Guilford.

Kevin Huffman
Kevin Huffman
Accelerate

Kevin Huffman is the founding CEO of Accelerate, a national initiative that seeks to embed high-impact tutoring and personalized learning in public schools. Prior to helping launch Accelerate, Kevin was a partner with City Fund, a philanthropic nonprofit, where he supported the efforts of local leaders in cities across the country working to create great public schools for all children. Kevin is the former Tennessee commissioner of education, where he managed the state department of education in its effort to advance the academic progress of nearly one million students. During his tenure, Tennessee had the largest state gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Kevin began his education career as a first- and second-grade bilingual teacher in the Houston Independent School District. After attending law school, Kevin represented school districts, state departments of education and universities, working on policy and litigation matters at the Washington D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson. He then joined the senior management of Teach For America in 2000, serving as the general counsel, the senior vice president of growth strategy and development, and the executive vice president of public affairs. Kevin has written opinion columns for a range of publications including as a regular contributor to the Washington Post. He won the Post’s national writing competition to find “America’s Next Great Pundit” in 2009. Kevin graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, and from the New York University School of Law.

Dr. Janice Jackson
Dr. Janice Jackson
Hope Chicago

Dr. Janice Jackson is a lifelong resident of Chicago. With over 22 years of experience working in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), she is a nationally-known and respected educator and leader in the field of public education. Her life’s work and commitment to public education and student outcomes began at a young age. After graduating from CPS and receiving her B.A. and M.A. from Chicago State University, she began her teaching career as a social studies teacher and debate team coach at South Shore High School. From there she went on to serve as a high school principal, District Network Chief, and Chief Education Officer all while completing an M.A. and Ed.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2017, she was appointed CEO of CPS by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. She was the first CPS alumna to serve in the position.

Jackson’s tenure at CPS—the nation’s 3rd largest school district with more than 355,000 students, 38,000 employees, and an annual budget of $7 billion—is most notable for the results the district attained in advancing equitable outcomes for its students. In fact, Bill Gates noted the data-driven approach to student success developed under Jackson’s leadership was “a model for the nation.” Jackson’s efforts, along with those of Chicago’s dedicated teachers and principals, propelled CPS students to record-breaking improvements in academic achievement, high school graduation, and post-secondary completion. Education experts across the country regard Chicago as a national leader in improving results for young people at scale.

Upon leaving CPS after 22 years, Jackson joined the Carnegie Foundation as a Senior Fellow where she is focusing on equity issues, such as improving high school and college attainment nationwide and ensuring that African American, Latinx, and Indigenous students receive exemplary education and social and emotional support. She was also selected as a 2021 Resident Fellow for the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago.

In September 2021, Jackson became CEO of Hope Chicago, a new two-generation scholarship organization that will eliminate barriers to educational and economic equity by guaranteeing debt-free college and wraparound support services to Hope Scholars and their parents. Jackson brings dynamic leadership, deep knowledge of student need and circumstance, and a personal passion for transforming lives through education to this work. She is also a board member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (CCAC) and A Better Chicago (ABC). Dr. Jackson is married with two children and resides on the southside of Chicago, in the Bronzeville community.

Melissa Junge
Melissa Junge
Federal Education Group, PLLC

Melissa Junge is a co-founder and an attorney at the Federal Education Group. FEG’s practice areas include all major federal K-12 education programs, including ESSA, IDEA, Perkins, and COVID-19 relief programs, as well as federal grants management requirements, such as the Uniform Grant Guidance. Melissa has written numerous publications and present regularly at conferences on federal K-12 education topics. National organizations often seek FEG’s perspective on federal law and funding matters. Before starting FEG, Melissa served one year as in-house counsel for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Thomas Kane
Dr. Thomas Kane
Harvard University | Center for Education Policy Research

Thomas Kane is an economist and Walter H. Gale Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research, a university-wide research center that works with school districts and state agencies. Between 2009 and 2012, he directed the Measures of Effective Teaching project for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His work has spanned both K-12 and higher education, covering topics such as the design of school accountability systems, teacher evaluation, financial aid for college, race-conscious college admissions and recovery from the COVID pandemic. From 1995 to 1996, Kane served as the senior economist for labor, education, and welfare policy issues within President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. From 1991 through 2000, he was a faculty member at the Kennedy School of Government. Kane has also been a professor of public policy at UCLA and has held visiting fellowships at the Brookings Institution and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Seth Kolker
Seth Kolker
Accelerate

Seth Kolker serves as Senior Advisor at Accelerate. Previously, he served as the Managing Director of Special Projects, after helping to incubate develop and incubate the national initiative seeking to weave tutoring into the fabric of public education at America Achieves.
Seth began his career in education as a high-school math teacher in Central Falls, Rhode Island. He founded a program called How to Change the World, which equips students who understand the impact of broken policies with skills to fix them – and which was recognized by the League of Women Voters with an award in civics education. Seth has also worked as a community organizer, curriculum developer, and a policy advisor on the Education Policy Committee of the Biden-Harris campaign. He is a Schwarzman and Knight-Hennessy Scholar, has a bachelor’s from Yale, a master’s in education from Rhode Island College, and a JD-MBA from Stanford. Seth calls Rhode Island home.

Jennifer Krajewski
Jennifer Krajewski
ProvenTutoring

Jennifer Krajewski serves as the Director of Outreach and Engagement for ProvenTutoring, a nonprofit initiative supported by Success for All Foundation and The Center for Research and Reform in Education at the Johns Hopkins University. ProvenTutoring is a coalition of 12 independent tutoring providers whose reading and math programs have been proven effective in rigorous research. Ms. Krajewski is responsible for building relationships with these providers and nurturing a collective voice that expounds the value in using proven tutoring programs. She has been an educator, leader in student services, and holds master’s degrees in public policy and professional writing.

Pete Lavorini
Pete Lavorini
Overdeck Family Foundation

Pete Lavorini leads Overdeck Family Foundation’s Innovative Schools portfolio, which aims to expand access to tech-enabled, student-centered K-9 learning environments. Pete is a former sixth-grade teacher with experience leading district-level initiatives for New York City Public Schools and Pittsburgh Public Schools. He has experience helping social impact organizations set and operationalize strategy at The Bridgespan Group. Most recently at OneGoal, a national college access and success nonprofit, he supported strategies to scale impact for the organization.

Karen Lawrence
Karen Lawrence
TN Score

Karen leads SCORE’s efforts to design and pilot research-based practices with its partners in order to improve student outcomes and share learnings that promote effective practices at scale. Prior to joining SCORE in 2022, Karen served as a director at TNTP, supporting schools to understand students’ access to strong academic experiences. She also served Tennessee’s youngest students for four years through Tennessee’s Early Intervention System and began her career as an elementary school teacher in Richardson, Texas.

Dr. Jimmy Leak
Dr. Jimmy Leak
Guilford County Schools

Jimmy Leak is a Research Analyst at Guilford County Schools. Jimmy leads the district’s efforts to manage research partnerships and evaluate the district’s tutoring program and other grant-funded projects. Prior to working for GCS, Jimmy led the design, management, and evaluation of early grade reading programs in Kenya and Ethiopia. Jimmy also teaches quantitative research methods in Education as an adjunct professor at High Point University. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of California at Irvine and a B.A. in Public Policy and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Casey McLeod
Casey McLeod
KIPP Indianapolis
Matt Miller
Matt Miller
Oko Labs

Matt Miller is the Co-founder and CEO of Oko Labs. He was previously CTO and VP of Labs at Amplify Education and Head of Product at Flatiron School. He is an active consultant, advisor, and mentor in the education space and serves as Technology Advisor at XQ Institute. He also co-founded Stories Bookshop and Storytelling Lab, a retail and creative education space in Brooklyn, NY. Earlier in his career, Miller co-founded CounterStorm, an AI-based intrusion detection and prevention company later acquired by Raytheon. Miller holds BS and MS degrees in Computer Science from Columbia University.

Dr. Amanda Neitzel
Dr. Amanda Neitzel
ProvenTutoring

Amanda Neitzel is an assistant research scientist at the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University and the spokesperson for ProvenTutoring, a coalition of organizations that provide highly effective tutoring programs to support students across the U.S. Before pursuing her Ph.D., she was a public school teacher.

Roberto Rodriguez
Roberto Rodriguez
Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

Roberto J. Rodríguez currently serves as Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education, where he leads the development and review of the Department’s budget and advises the Secretary on all matters related to policy development, implementation, and review. Roberto’s distinguished career in public service includes senior government roles in the White House, as Deputy Assistant for Education to President Barack Obama, and in the U.S. Senate, as Chief Counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Most recently, Rodríguez served as President and CEO of Teach Plus where he built an equity-driven teacher leadership movement that engaged thousands of teachers to shape public policy and instructional practice to deliver greater opportunity for students.

A Michigan native, Rodríguez holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Jennifer Rosenbaum
Jennifer Rosenbaum
DC Public Schools

Jennifer serves as the Deputy Chief of Schools for DC Public Schools (DCPS). She began her career as a teacher DCPS and went on to coach teachers across DCPS, DC charter schools, and Prince Georges County Public Schools. Jennifer served as the Director of Instruction and Performance for the Office of Early Childhood Education in the NYC Department of Education, leading a multi-year rollout of Common Core aligned standards for over 3,000 pre-k teachers in the city. She then came back home to DC, where she served as a founding school leader at KIPP DC, and later coached teachers and leaders across the network. Currently, Jennifer drives DCPS’s strategy for accelerating student learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including high impact tutoring, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), ESSER funding, and coaching from central services to schools.

Dr. Soren Rosier
Dr. Soren Rosier
PeerTeach

Soren is the founder of PeerTeach, a platform that empowers students to grow their leadership, confidence, and love of math through AI-powered peer tutoring. Before PeerTeach, Soren co-led Stanford’s Learning Design & Technology Masters program, preparing a new generation of ed tech innovators. A Stanford GSE instructor since 2018, he teaches courses on designing impactful tools for learning. Prior to his PhD in Stanford’s Learning Sciences & Technology Design program, Soren taught middle school in Oakland, developed teacher training programs, and evaluated the efficacy of popular ed tech products at SRI International.

Dr. Cora Scott
Dr. Cora Scott
Delaware Department of Education

A seasoned educational leader, Delaware native Dr. Cora Scott joins the Delaware Department of Education as deputy secretary with more than 25 years of experience in district and charter schools as well as work in higher education.  With a focus on educational equity, Dr. Scott works to ensure every student has access and opportunity with the appropriate supports for success. An expert in school improvement and instructional best practices, Dr. Scott is known for building rapport and establishing trusting, collaborative relationships.  She began her education career as a teacher in Cecil County, Md., where she also served as special education coordinator before joining the Christina School District as an instructional coach. She also had leadership roles at the University of Delaware and Newark Charter School before joining the Brandywine School District as an assistant principal. She later was promoted in Brandywine to director of pupil services, director of curriculum and instruction, and executive director of elementary education before being named assistant superintendent.

A graduate of Glasgow High School in the Christina School District, Dr. Scott completed her undergraduate degree in elementary and special education at the University of Delaware before earning both a master of education and doctorate of education in school leadership from Wilmington University.

Dr. Scott – who met her husband, Steven, while they were undergraduates at the University of Delaware – has two children, a son, Cameron, who graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in Brandywine and completed his bachelor’s degree at Goldey Beacom College, and a daughter, Kendall, who is a senior at Newark Charter School headed to New York University this fall.

Andrew Shachat
Andrew Shachat
Watershed Advisors

Andrew Shachat is a Director at Watershed Advisors, a consultancy that partners with leaders at all levels of the American education system—including governors’ offices, state education agencies, local school districts, mission-driven organizations, and philanthropies—to design and implement solutions that match the size and scale of the biggest challenges in American education today. His expertise spans high-impact tutoring for accelerated student learning, state assessment and accountability systems, and fostering innovations in school choice.

For over the last two and a half years, Andrew has advised and supported Accelerate as it has grown from an initiative incubated at America Achieves to its current status as a standalone nonprofit. Andrew worked collaboratively with Accelerate to develop its Call to Effective Action, Community of Practice for grantees, and its States Leading Recovery grant opportunity. Andrew currently serves in an advisory capacity to Accelerate, supporting the implementation of these programs and evaluating their success.

Mindy Sjoblom
Mindy Sjoblom
OnYourMark

Mindy started OnYourMark with a passion for early literacy and deep experience building systems to cultivate and develop educators. Mindy loves bringing new ideas to life that are centered in increasing outcomes for students and educators alike. While preparing to launch OnYourMark, Mindy served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Charter School Growth Fund where she started her early literacy journey at the nexus of a growing demand for high dosage tutoring to address pandemic learning recovery and increased need to support schools with foundational skills reading instruction across the country.

Prior to this newest adventure, Mindy served as Founding Dean of Relay Chicago, where she oversaw all aspects of campus growth/strategy, financial health, partnership development, political advocacy, and teacher preparation programming. Under her leadership, Relay Chicago became the second largest and most diverse provider of teachers in IL. Before joining Relay, Sjoblom served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction, then as principal, at Rauner College Prep, one of the Noble Schools. While she was principal, Sjoblom’s students earned the highest average ACT scores in the school’s history. Before that, she served as founding humanities teacher at the Crossroads School in Baltimore. Sjoblom, an alumna of Teach For America, earned an M.A.T. from Johns Hopkins University, School Administrative credentials from National Louis University and a B.A. in political science from Butler University.

Dr. Allison Rose Socol
Dr. Allison Rose Socol
The Education Trust

Allison Rose Socol, Ph.D. serves as Ed Trust’s vice president of P-12 policy, practice, and research. In this role, Allison leads the P-12 team to highlight inequities, identify research-based solutions, and work with a wide range of equity advocates to push for change that will expand excellence and equity in the P-12 education system for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

Allison has been with The Education Trust since 2016. She previously served as Ed Trust’s assistant director of P-12 Policy, where she led the development of the organization’s policy agenda on issues essential to promoting equity in the P-12 system and coordinated data and policy analyses to execute the organization’s growing state-level advocacy efforts. She started her career at Ed Trust as a senior analyst, a role in which she developed and conducted data and policy analyses to highlight gaps in opportunity and achievement in our education system.

Before joining Ed Trust, Allison was a research assistant at the Center for Scaling Up Effective Schools, where she focused on identifying programs, practices, and policies that make high schools in large urban districts effective for low-income students and students of color. She also worked as a literacy coach for kindergarten and first grade teachers in rural public schools in North Carolina and taught fifth and sixth grade at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. She earned her teaching certification through the Inspired Teaching Certification Program.

Allison holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in teaching from Trinity University, and a bachelor’s degree in public policy from UNC.

Patrick Steck
Patrick Steck
Deans for Impact

Patrick Steck (he/him) serves as the Vice President of External Affairs at Deans for Impact. Patrick is driven by a deep passion to serve others and a belief that policy is a powerful tool for advancing equity and joy, particularly for the LGBTQIA+ community. Patrick thrives in settings that allow him to explore these passions, including serving as Vice President for the Austin Dawgs, a chapter of University of Georgia’s Alumni Association and as member of his church’s Welcome Team. Patrick currently resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife (Katie) and son (Grant).

Dr. Matthew Steinberg
Dr. Matthew Steinberg
Accelerate

Dr. Matthew P. Steinberg serves as the Managing Director of Research and Evaluation at Accelerate. In this role, Matthew develops Accelerate’s research agenda, drives the design and evaluation of research projects funded via Accelerate’s annual Call to Effective Action and States Leading Recovery grant program, leads research partnerships with Accelerate’s institutional partners to drive a coordinated research agenda, and identifies and communicates key research findings internally and externally to the field. Prior to joining Accelerate, Matthew was an Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy (with tenure) and Director of EdPolicyForward at George Mason University. Matthew’s research has addressed issues of educational significance at the intersection of the economics of education and education policy, including educator evaluation and human capital; accountability and urban school reform; education finance; and school safety and student discipline. Matthew’s work aims to inform local and national policy discussions on the impact of educational policies and practices on teacher effectiveness and the educational outcomes of students, particularly the most disadvantaged among the population. Matthew’s research has appeared in leading education, public policy and economics journals. A recipient of the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, Matthew received his PhD in public policy from the University of Chicago. During his tenure as a doctoral student, Matthew was an Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Fellow with the University of Chicago Committee on Education, a researcher at the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research and a Mathematica Policy Research Summer Fellow. Prior to graduate school, Matthew was an investment banker and a New York City Teaching Fellow.

Dr. Nakia Towns
Dr. Nakia Towns
Accelerate

Dr. T. Nakia Towns has a proven track record of raising the bar for all kids, closing opportunity gaps, increasing graduation rates, and improving postsecondary readiness. As Chief Operating Officer, Nakia serves Accelerate’s program, operations, and research functions. Nakia was previously the Deputy Superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), serving over 180,000 students in Georgia’s largest district, which is also the 11th largest in the country. Nakia led transformative work in GCPS to pilot high quality instructional materials aligned to the science of reading and full implementation of whole child supports to achieve educational equity. Before her appointment in GCPS, Nakia served as interim and deputy superintendent at Hamilton County Schools (HCS) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, leading HCS to become the fastest improving district in Tennessee. Prior to joining Hamilton County, Nakia was Assistant Commissioner, Division of Data and Research, at the Tennessee Department of Education. During her time at the department, she served on the executive leadership team and helped set the strategic direction for PreK-12 educational policy through her work in developing the state’s highly regarded plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Towns, who believes that access to a high-quality public education is foundational to a thriving democracy, spearheaded her division’s efforts in promoting both equity and excellence in Tennessee public schools. Nakia transitioned to education leadership at Knox County Schools where she rose to Chief Accountability Officer, responsible for evaluating and growing the district’s overall educational return on investment. Towns was instrumental in launching a new teacher leadership model and differentiated compensation plan as a director in human resources. This work facilitated her involvement in developing aspiring school leaders through the district’s partnership with the University of Tennessee Leadership Academy. During her tenure, Knox County Schools became the only large urban district to ever earn the state’s highest accountability designation and achieve a 90% graduation rate. Nakia is respected nationally for her work in public education. She was selected for the Future Chiefs leadership development program by Chiefs for Change, as well as the Broad Residency in Urban Education by the Broad Center. She has worked as an associate adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University for the education doctorate program and as a practitioner advisor for the Annenberg Institute at Brown University’s EdResearch for Recovery project. Towns has served as an expert peer reviewer, keynote speaker, facilitator, and panelist for numerous conferences and initiatives to support the work of educators across the country. Assuming roles of increasing responsibility at IBM, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo Bank, Towns began her career in the fields of technology and finance. While in the private sector, she co-founded a nonprofit after-school tutoring and intervention program in rural south Georgia, continuing her lifelong commitment to public education. Her work as a volunteer teacher in the Saturday-school program inspired her to pursue the field of education as her fulltime passion and profession. At Duke University, Nakia completed a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and an M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business. She also earned an M.Ed. in educational leadership from The Broad Center for Education Management (now at the Yale University School of Management) and a doctorate of education in K-12 leadership and policy from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. She is a Georgia native, where she attended public schools and graduated from Clarke Central High School in Athens.

Dr. Janet Wilson
Dr. Janet Wilson
Littera Education

Dr. Janet S. Wilson has dedicated decades of service to public education by focusing on success for all children. Promoting and supporting rigorous standards and assessments along with data-informed teaching and learning, Dr. Wilson’s leadership impact spans districts ranging in size from 4,000 to 165,000 students.

In Montgomery County Public Schools, MD Dr. Wilson served as the Chief of Teaching, Learning, and Schools, responsible for administrative supervision, teaching and learning, and accountability for over 200 schools. She was instrumental in the development and implementation of an Equity Accountability Model utilizing classroom, district, and external measurements to improve teaching and learning for all students. This Model was designed to report each schools’ effectiveness in serving diverse populations of learners with a focus on resource allocation and programmatic return on investment.

Previously, Dr. Wilson served as Superintendent of Schools in Garrett County, Maryland. During her tenure, she led recovery efforts in the aftermath of school closures and consolidations. Under her leadership, the school system developed an integrated model of high school course options promoting dual enrollment, early college opportunities, and increased AP course offerings while simultaneously expanding universal pre-kindergarten programs. Notable is Dr. Wilson’s partnership with state and local officials to realize a vision for internet access for all public school facilities.

As the Senior Vice-President for District Solutions at Littera Education she works closely with districts to ensure coherence of high impact tutoring to their curriculum, instruction, and assessment ecosystem. Additionally, she serves as the executive sponsor for districts involved in outcomes-based pricing and tutoring research. Dr. Wilson received her Ph.D. in educational leadership focusing on culturally changing populations from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

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