Indianapolis Event Speakers

Jennifer Barrett
Jennifer Barrett
Secondary Mathematics Curriculum Consultant
Kenton County School District, Ky.
View Bio | Article | Video | Video
Wes Bruce
Wesley Bruce
Chief Assessment Officer
Indiana Department of Education
View Bio | Article | EW | Article | Video | Gallery
Virginia B. Edwards
Virginia B. Edwards
President, Editorial Projects in Education
Editor-in-chief, Education Week and edweek.org
View Bio | Gallery
MaryEllen Elia
MaryEllen Elia
Superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools
View Bio | EW | Article | Article | Article | Video | Video | Video | Gallery
Catherine Gewertz
Catherine Gewertz
Assistant Editor and Common Core Beat Reporter, Education Week
View Bio | Gallery
Nicole Heimarck
Nicole Heimarck
Director of Curriculum and Professional Development, School Administrative Unit #39, N.H.
View Bio
Rhonda J. Mull
Rhonda J. Mull
Director of Middle Schools, New Albany Floyd County Schools, Ind.
View Bio | Article | Video | Video | Gallery
Deborah A. Paden
Deborah A. Paden
Teacher on Assignment for the American Federation of Teachers, Cleveland Teachers Union Innovation Fund
View Bio
Brian Pick
Brian Pick
Chief of Teaching and Learning, District of Columbia Public schools
View Bio
Erik Robelen
Erik Robelen
Assistant Editor, Education Week
View Bio
Kay Sammons
Kay Sammons
Elementary Mathematics Coordinator, Howard County Public Schools, Md.
View Bio | EW | Article
Maria Santos
Maria Santos
Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Leadership and Equity in Action, Oakland Unified School District, Ca.
View Bio
Erik Robelen
Stephen Sawchuk
Assistant Editor, Education Week
View Bio
Linda Thompson
Linda Thompson
Director of Learning
Carmel Clay Schools, Ind.
View Bio
Twana Young
Twana Young
Director Mathematics and Science K-12, Columbus City Schools, Ohio
View Bio
   
Tony Bennett
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Indiana
Chair, Chiefs for Change

Since becoming Indiana’s state schools chief in January 2009, Bennett has worked to create a department of education focused on student learning and to implement his vision that “the academic achievement and career preparation of all Indiana students will be the best in the United States and on par with the most competitive countries in the world.”

His goals include creating and promoting a statewide culture of academic excellence in which at least 90 percent of students pass both the math and English/language arts sections of the state’s ISTEP+ and end-of-course assessments; at least 25 percent of all graduates receive a score of 3, 4, or 5 on at least one Advanced Placement exam, a 4 or higher on an International Baccalaureate exam, or the equivalent of 3 semester hours of college credit during high school ; and at least 90 percent of students graduate.

In the first legislative session after he became state chief, Bennett actively encouraged the Indiana General Assembly to accelerate the state’s school accountability timeline to allow the state to step in earlier to provide resources to chronically failing schools. Bennett has opposed efforts to impose moratoriums on public charter schools. In March 2011, he announced that the state education department would, for the first time in years, enforce a law requiring students to receive 180 full days of instruction.

Bennett also created the Graduation Rate Performance Program to reward principals and educators whose guidance and leadership result in increased graduation rates. The program awarded up to $20,000 to staff members of 12 public high schools with the greatest increase in 2009-10 graduation rates.

For more than 20 years, Bennett has served Indiana schools as a teacher, coach, and administrator. He began his career in administration after nine years in the classroom as a science teacher.

Wesley Bruce
Chief Assessment Officer, Indiana Department of Education

Bruce brings expertise in a variety of areas, including state assessment data, state testing programs, and the analysis of assessment results, to his job as the chief assessment officer for the Indiana Department of Education. He has chaired the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium for the Council of Chief State School Officers and chaired the National Center for Education Statistics Forum’s task force on accounting for student exits, dropout, and mobility. His work on these and other projects has strengthened his expertise on state assessment data, assessment programs, and analysis of assessment results.

Bruce previously held several administrative positions during the nine years he served with the South Bend Community School Corporation in Indiana and the 11 years he worked in the Kanawha County schools of Charleston, W.Va.

Virginia B. Edwards
President, Editorial Projects in Education
Editor-in-Chief, Education Week and edweek.org

As the President of Editorial Projects in Education, Virginia B. Edwards oversees the nearly 90-person, $14 million-a-year nonprofit corporation that publishes Education Week and edweek.org. She has held the post since 1997.

Edwards has been the Editor of Education Week—the premier “newspaper of record” for precollegiate education in the United States—since 1989. The newspaper, which covers policy developments in K-12 education, has a paid circulation of about 45,000, is read in print by a total of nearly 250,000 subscribers and pass-along readers, and is accessed by an online community of nearly 1.2 million registered users. The newspaper also publishes three highly anticipated reports each year: Quality Counts (on state education policy), Technology Counts (on education technology), and Diplomas Count (on high school graduation and reform).

Before joining EPE, Edwards worked for two years for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and, for the nearly 10 years before that, was an editor and reporter at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.

A frequent speaker on education-policy and media issues, Edwards serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including the Center on Education Policy and the Center for Teaching Quality.

MaryEllen Elia
Superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools

Elia has been the superintendent of the Hillsborough County Public Schools, based in Tampa, Fla., since 2005. Under her leadership, this demographically diverse school district—the eighth-largest in the nation, with 193,000 students—has emerged as a hub for innovative approaches to K-12 learning.

Hillsborough County is a national leader in implementing the Common Core State Standards at the classroom level. To support that initiative, the district has created a site-based learning model and developed an assessment protocol to determine which methods for implementation are most effective.

After Elia’s first year as superintendent the district earned its first overall grade of A under the state’s school grading system, and it has earned three more since.

Elia began her career as a social studies teacher in upstate New York in 1970. In 1986, she relocated to the Tampa Bay area and became a reading resource specialist. She served as the Hillsborough County district’s first magnet schools supervisor, as its general director of secondary education, and as its chief facilities officer.

Her many honors include the College Board’s District of the Year Beacon Award, the Florida Department of Education’s Data Leader of the Year award, the Inaugural Governor’s Business Partnership Award from the Florida Council of 100, and the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations’ 2007 Superintendent of the Year.

In 2009, her district was awarded what appears to be the largest grant ever given to a school district: $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support teacher effectiveness.

Catherine Gewertz
Assistant Editor and Common Core Beat Reporter, Education Week

Gewertz covers academic standards and assessment for Education Week. She also reports on those issues for Education Week’s “Curriculum Matters” blog. Before moving to the curriculum beat, she spent a decade covering urban education and secondary schools. Prior to joining Education Week, Gewertz wrote for The Los Angeles Times and United Press International.

Carey M. Wright
Chief Academic Officer, District of Columbia Public Schools

Offering more than 30 years of experience in the field of education, Wright has served for the past year as the chief academic officer in the District of Columbia public schools. In this capacity, she has provided leadership for PK-12 education, including management of the offices of Curriculum and Instruction, Early Childhood Education, Secondary School Transformation, Bilingual Education, Out of School Time, Athletics, Educational Technology, and Library Media Services.

From 2003 to 2009, Wright served as the associate superintendent for the Office of Special Education and Student Services for the Montgomery County public schools in Maryland. In her capacity as associate superintendent she was responsible for special education programming for 17,000 students with disabilities, managing a budget of $325 million, overseeing nonpublic placements and alternative programs, providing special education staffing for 200 schools, the provision of K-12 school counseling, psychological services, pupil personnel services, and the administration of the International Student Admission Office.

Wright spent the majority of her career in Howard County public schools, also located in Maryland. In Howard County, Wright was a teacher, a principal for fifteen years, and the director of special education and student services. She began her career in Prince George’s County public schools in Maryland, serving as a teacher.

Wright has been recognized as an outstanding educator by the National Center for Culturally Responsive Systems, nominated twice for The Washington Post Outstanding Principal Award, and awarded the Howard County Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Educator of the Year. For the past three years, she has served on the faculty of the Public Education Leadership Project, a joint initiative of Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Erik W. Robelen
Assistant Editor, Education Week

Robelen has written on a wide range of K-12 issues since joining the newspaper in 1999, from federal and state policy and budget matters to education law, research, and school choice. His primary areas of coverage currently are curriculum across content areas and education philanthropy. He also is the co-author of Curriculum Matters, a blog on edweek.org.

Prior to joining Education Week, Robelen was an education policy analyst and writer at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, a national nonprofit organization. Before that, he worked as a reporter and editor covering federal and state environmental issues for Inside Washington Publishers, an independent newsletter publisher.

Stephen Sawchuk
Assistant Editor, Education Week

Sawchuk is an assistant editor for Education Week and the author of its Teacher Beat blog. He writes about all aspects of the teaching profession, including preparation, development, evaluation, compensation, and teachers’ unions. He has covered education issues for several education publications since 2002.

Kay Sammons
Elementary Mathematics Coordinator, Howard County Public Schools, Md.

Sammons is responsible for curriculum development and professional development for teachers and administrators in the 50,000 student Howard County district, located between Baltimore and Washington. She has been both a classroom teacher and a mathematics resource teacher, and she has served on several committees of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

She is a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences for the NCTM and has co-authored several publications for teachers. She is an author of Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics and Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley enVisionMATH. She was honored as the Maryland Teacher of the Year in 1986 and Maryland Educator of the Year in 1995.

Rhonda J. Mull
Director of Middle Schools, New Albany Floyd County Schools, Ind.

Mull provides leadership for the middle level administrative team and assists in developing the curricular focus of the three middle schools (approximately 3700 students) in the New Albany Floyd County School District. Mull works with teaching staff in the development of an academic framework for student success and meets with guidance counselors to address the social and emotional needs of middle level students. Mull also oversees the System to System process as teachers and administrators meet to discuss student achievement data.

Mull earned her B.A. in English Education from Eastern Kentucky University, an M.A. in Guidance Counseling from Western Kentucky University; her principal certification from the EPPSP program at Butler University; and her superintendent’s license from Indiana State University and is currently working on her PhD.

Mull’ s professional experience includes teaching secondary English for five years and working as a guidance counselor for seven years before going to New Albany Floyd County. In 1995, Mull worked at Prosser School of Technology for three years as an assistant principal before going to Hazelwood Middle School in the same capacity. From 2001 to 2010, Mull served as principal of Scribner Middle School.

Professional honors include serving as the Indiana Middle Level State Association President for 2009 and receiving the Indiana Principal of the Year Award for 2010.

Jennifer Barrett
Secondary Mathematics Curriculum Consultant, Kenton County School District, Ky.

In her role as the secondary mathematics curriculum consultant for the14,465 students in the Kenton County school system in Northern Kentucky, Barrett leads districtwide initiatives to implement math instruction and assessment based on the Common Core State Standards. She was a high school math teacher for 15 years before transitioning into her current role and is nationally certified in teaching adolescent /young adulthood mathematics. Barrett has made presentations to state and district leaders in Kentucky, Colorado, Georgia, and Tennessee on the work her district is doing to implement the common standards in math.

Mark Baumgartner
Director of Professional Issues, Cleveland Teachers Union

Baumgartner has been a teacher for 23 years in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. For the last 20 years, he has taught 7th grade English at Luis Munoz Marin School. He is currently an elected officer of the Cleveland Teachers Union. He is also the director of professional issues for the CTU, a position he has held for the past four years. His responsibilities in that post include being the co-chair of the Promoting Education Advancement in Cleveland/Peer Assistance and Review (PEAC/PAR) Governing Board and co-chair of the Cleveland Race to the Top Transformation Team.

Linda Thompson
Director of Learning
Carmel Clay Schools, Ind.

Thompson has provided district leadership in curriculum, instruction, and assessment since 2000. In her present position, she is responsible for secondary mathematics and English/language arts education for the district’s approximately 8,500 middle and high school students. Thompson’s current focus is on implementation of the Common Core State Standards and alignment of the district’s curriculum and instruction with the PARCC Model Content Frameworks as the next steps in ensuring that students in grades 6-12 are college- and career-ready.

Thompson has taught undergraduate courses in technology application for Ivy Tech Community College as well as graduate courses in curriculum and instruction for Anderson University. She served as the president of the Indiana Curriculum and Instruction Association and now participates on the Indiana AP Advisory Council. In 2011 and 2012, Thompson served on the Indiana team at the PARCC Transition and Implementation Institutes and the Achieve Educators Evaluating Quality Instructional Products Collaborative.

Jennifer Cheatham
Chief Instruction Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Cheatham’s focus is on systemic improvement in urban school districts. Her expertise lies in developing instructional alignment and coherence at every level of a school system aimed at achieving breakthrough results in student learning. Currently, Cheatham is the Chief of Instruction for Chicago Public Schools, a role to which she brings a depth of experience in school system reform.

She has worked as a Chief Area Officer for Chicago Public Schools, the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for San Diego City Schools, and a coach and professional developer for the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative (BASRC). Before joining BASRC, she led a multi-year initiative aimed at improving academic literacy for middle and high school students. She began her career as an 8th grade English teacher.

Maria Santos
Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Leadership and Equity in Action
Oakland Unified School District, Ca.

Before becoming the deputy superintendent for instruction, leadership and equity in action for the Oakland Unified School District, Santos was the senior instructional manager and superintendent for the Office of English Language Learners (ELLs) at the New York City Department of Education. Santos has designed and developed strategic initiatives and resources for several nonprofit organizations that provide state and national support, setting trends in the educational agenda nationwide.

As an education program officer at Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds, Santos designed the Leadership for Education Achievement in District project—a program that engaged 12 urban districts in 12 states in developing educational leadership to improve student learning. Before going to New York City, Santos spent 20 years in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). As associate superintendent, she supervised the development of major instructional improvement initiatives such as SFUSD’s Professional Development Initiative and gained SFUSD the recognition of an exemplary site by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Award for Professional Development.

Nicole Heimarck
Director of Curriculum and Professional Development
School Administrative Unit #39, N.H.

Heimarck has led her district in transitioning to the common-core standards through an intensive three-year focus on improving math education for all students. Using a program-review model, she assembled a team of teachers, administrators, and parents to explore the teaching and learning of mathematics. With her training as a facilitative-leadership coach through New Hampshire’s School Reform Initiative, she was able to foster grassroots collaboration throughout this process to ensure sustainable growth and change.

The work began with an extensive academic literature review and a gap analysis of the district’s current program. The team then created a multiyear plan for implementation, including an intensive five-day summer math institute designed for teachers to improve their content knowledge and instructional practice. Grade-level teams were then able to begin “unpacking” the new curriculum standards and developing transition plans to support students in meeting the higher, more rigorous academic expectations.

That process has become a model throughout New Hampshire in guiding districts through the waters of Common Core State Standards implementation. Locally, is has expanded to support the transition to the common standards in English/language arts through a backward-design model completed by multidisciplinary teams. Because of that work, Heimarck was invited to help craft New Hampshire’s No Child Left Behind Act waiver application. She has also supported the state in other efforts, ranging from adequate yearly progress to crafting a model to evaluate and support teacher effectiveness.

Deborah A. Paden
Teacher on Assignment for the American Federation of Teachers, Cleveland Teachers Union Innovation Fund

Paden has 20 years of experience in education, both in private and public school. Her focus is implementation of the Common Core State Standards within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She has been an active union steward from 2001 to the present.

Since 2010 she has served as the Race to the Top co-lead for Assurance B (Standards & Assessments). Paden was in the classroom for 15 years (1997-2012) at Buckeye-Woodland School (K-8), where she taught a variety of grade levels and curriculums. While in the classroom she also served as a teaching mentor, core team leader, and member of the Academic Achievement Plan, Safety and Leadership teams. Prior to Buckeye-Woodland, she taught 5th and 6th grade math at a private school.

Twana Young
Director Mathematics and Science K-12, Columbus City Schools, Ohio

Young has received many awards and recognitions for her commitment to education including achieving National Board Certification in Mathematics: Early Adolescence, the Columbus Public School Districts Teacher of the Year Award, the Urban Systemic Initiative Award and twice receiving the Performance Advancement System (PAS) Award for improving student achievement.

Throughout her educational career, Young has been actively engaged in promoting student achievement and developing curriculum, professional development, and programs to support district academic goals. Among some of the initiatives and programs that have been developed during her work as director of mathematics and sciences are the Primary Mathematics Intervention Program, the Numeracy Board curriculum, Discovery Dome district science program, and the creation of online common core mathematics professional development modules (currently in development).

Young serves on several district and community teams including the Standards and Assessment Committee for her district’s Race to the Top work and the Learn for Life Summer Learning Loss Mathematics work group. In addition to her work in the district, Young engages in state and national leadership activities including; serving as a guest speaker for college classes; presenting at state and national conferences and serving on state and national committees including the Ohio Leadership Collaborative and the Council of Great City School’s Mathematics Advisory Committee.

Brian Pick
Chief of Teaching and Learning, District of Columbia Public schools

Pick sits on the D.C. Chancellor’s instructional team and provides strategic alignment and direction for the district’s academic work. His current efforts focus on ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality curriculum, engaging instruction, and aligned interim assessments. Over the past three years, Pick has led the development and rollout of the DCPS Teaching and Learning Framework; served as the chairperson of the standards, assessments, data, and accountability working group for DC’s successful Race to the Top application; and led the development, coordination, and implementation of the district’s academic strategy. He is also the 2012 recipient of the national Curriculum Leadership Award from the Council of Great City Schools. Prior to joining DCPS, Brian worked as a teacher, an education consultant, and an education policy analyst. He is an alumnus of both Teach For America and Education Pioneers.