“Practitioners, researchers and local communities work together in a sustained way, defining and pursuing key lines of research, development and implementation.”
Lyan Albino (Boston) is a Research Assistant supporting SERP's Word Generation Program as well as other SERP initiatives in the Boston area. She is currently a graduate student at Harvard University focusing on human development and psychology. She earned her Bachelors in Psychology & Sociology from the University of Central Florida and worked as a suicide counselor. Lyan also worked for McGraw-Hill and supported the development of a variety of testing and measurement products. On a lighter note, Lyan is avidly involved in Geocaching - a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices.
Stacie Beland (Boston) serves as the Data Coordinator for programs connected to SERP's Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate (CCDD) initiatives. She holds a BA in Psychology, with a Concentration in Ethics and Public Policy, from Clark University. Her multi-faceted career has included working directly with young children as a specialist in Autism Spectrum Disorders to serving as Project Director for a workforce development grant, assisting early childhood educators in attaining higher education. She was the recipient of the Worcester Educational Collaborative's Inaugural John Bassett Fellowship for Education in the Community, and currently serves as the Communications Consultant for the Collaborative. In her (limited) free time, Stacie enjoys kayaking and hiking, particularly with her partner, Mark, and his two daughters.
Phil Daro (San Francisco) is the Director of the San Francisco Field Site. He has also directed large scale teacher professional development programs for the University of California including the California Mathematics Project and the American Mathematics Project. His sixteen years at the University included six years directing projects to help states develop standards, accountability and testing systems. He has held leadership positions with the California Department of Education. Phil has served on many committees including: NAEP Validity Committee; RAND Mathematics Education Research Panel; College Board Mathematics Framework Committee; ACHIEVE Technical (Assessment) Advisory Group, Mathematics Work Group; Technical Advisory Committee to National Goals Panel for World Class Standards, National Governors Association; Title I Commission organized by Council of Chief State School Officers; Mathematical Sciences Education Board of the National Research Council; California Public Broadcasting Commission; and The Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC). He has taught mathematics and is the father of three daughters.
Suzanne Donovan (National Staff) is Executive Director of the SERP Institute. In that capacity she is building a program of work in partnership with school districts, and anchored in classroom and school practice. She was primary author and co-editor of the two SERP reports: Strategic Education Research Partnership proposed the design and governance structure of the SERP Institute, and Learning and Instruction: A SERP Research Agenda details an illustrative research and development agenda directly tied to classroom practice. Suzanne has also directed the "How People Learn" project at the National Academies since 1999. She served as study director and editor of the most recent report in the series: How Students Learn: History, Mathematics, and Science in the Classroom, which was published in 2005. She was also the study director and co-editor for the NRC report Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education, and was a co-editor of Eager to Learn: Educating our Preschoolers. She has a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley. Before joining the National Research Council, she was on the faculty of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
Susan Eagle (National Staff) joined SERP as the Finance Director in February 2005. She began her career as an audit associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Deloitte & Touche, focusing on the non-profit industry. Upon graduating from business school, Susan worked as a senior management consultant for McKinsey & Company where she worked on Board-level strategic issues for companies in various industries. Susan received an M.B.A. in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She received a Bachelor of Science in Commerce, with distinction, from the McIntire School of the University of Virginia. Susan is also the mother of two sets of twins!
Matt Ellinger (National Staff) serves as the Director of Media and Design. Matt's work prior to SERP includes time with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (Stanford) where he developed multimedia records of teaching, administered elementary mathematics teacher training studies, and facilitated lesson study programs for Scholar Liping Ma. Matt has also done similar work with the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and The Noyce Foundation. Matt consults for WestEd's Understanding Science Program as a materials developer and content specialist. Prior to entering the research world, Matt taught elementary & middle school and served as a school principal in El Cerrito, California. He holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Texas and an M.A. in Adult Education from San Francisco State University.
Michelle Forman (Boston) is a doctoral candidate in education policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Project Director for the SERP Boston Internal Coherence project. Her work focuses on building organizational capacity and collective efficacy beliefs in underperforming schools. Prior to joining the doctoral program Michelle was a high school English teacher in New York City and Oakland.
Inez Gomez (National Staff) is an Administrative Coordinator at SERP's Washington D.C. office. Her work includes planning and logistical support for events, day-to-day office administration, and projects as assigned by Executive Director, Suzanne Donovan. Prior to joining the SERP Team, she was an Event Planning Manager at the International Monetary Fund. She has a B.A in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and a Minor in Graphic Design from Marymount University.
George Gumulinski (National Staff) serves as a media and design technician for SERP's national media team in San Francisco. His work includes collecting and processing video recordings, assisting in the production of online and print materials, and providing technical and logistical support to the media staff and to the organization as a whole. Prior to joining the SERP, he was a project manager in international business. This Minnesota native enjoys biking to work year-round in California and also appreciates the vast hiking opportunities available locally.
Beverly Hoffmaster (National Staff) serves the organization as the Director of Operations, which includes financial management, grants administration, and human resources. She earned a degree in Industrial Management from Carnegie-Mellon University and went on to work in retail commerce for over twenty years prior to joining the SERP team. Her business background includes senior management positions at Finlay Fine Jewelry and The Imaginarium (an educational toy store). Beverly admits to being "crazy" for her dogs and enjoys connecting with family when not overseeing operations at SERP.
Patrick Hurley (San Francisco) is an eighteen-year veteran educator who is now with SERP as a teacher in residence. His current work includes overseeing a study of the Word Generation academic language program in the San Francisco Unified School District as well as developing curriculum for work connected to SERP's Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate (CCDD) initiatives. Most recently, Patrick taught English and English Language Development at Mountain View High School (California) and served as the English Language Development Department Coordinator. In this role, he coached teachers and administrators in academic language instruction. He has a B.A. in English from John Carroll University and a M.A. in Education Administration from the Urban High School Leadership Program at San Jose State University.
Jill Joseph (Baltimore) directs the study of the Word Generation academic language program in the Baltimore City Public Schools. She holds a teacher certificate for preschool through grade 8 as well as a reading certificate for grades K-12. After graduating cum laude from The Pennsylvania State University, Jill earned her master's degree in early childhood education from Towson University. During her ten years of experience teaching in Baltimore City and County Public Schools, Jill was nominated for the Kurt L. Schmoke Teacher of the Year Award, which demonstrates her commitment to the children of Baltimore City. Most recently, she has worked as a teacher supervisor for Teach for America through Johns Hopkins University. Urban education, literacy, and multicultural education have long been her passions. Jill also has experience in owning and managing several businesses including a real estate investment company and an energy brokering business. Now that her youngest child is entering kindergarten, Jill is eager to return to the world of public education.
Kirsten Kainz (National Staff) is an education researcher, policy maker, and practitioner dedicated to fostering excellent education for all children. Most recently, Kirsten was a member of the research faculty of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at Chapel Hill she taught research design, statistics, and child development studies at the graduate and undergraduate levels and conducted research on young children’s cognitive and social development. Before coming to Chapel Hill Kirsten worked as a preschool teacher, the director of an Even Start family literacy program, and a Parents As Teachers parent educator. Kirsten has served as an elected member of the board of education in an urban school district in North Carolina and policy maker and advocate for local early childhood education organizations. She now joins the SERP team as Deputy Director.
Meenakshi Khanna (Boston) is a Senior Coach for the Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention (STARI) project within SERP’s broader Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate work (CCDD). Prior to joining the SERP team, Meenakshi worked as a school development coach in Massachusetts urban schools. Meenakshi has been a teacher of the deaf and has taught in Massachusetts and Vermont public schools for thirteen years. Meenakshi’s interests include literacy, bilingualism, curriculum, instruction and assessment, teacher training and comprehensive school reform.
Maria LaRusso (Boston) serves as the director of SERP's Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate (CCDD) initiatives and as Research Associate at Harvard University. After completing her doctorate in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard University, she was awarded an APA/IES Postdoctoral Education Research Training Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholar Award for research and teaching in Bogotá, Colombia, and a Research Fellowship Award from the American Association of University Women. Her research focuses on school climate, social development, high-risk behaviors, and the effectiveness of school-based prevention and intervention programs. Previously, she worked as a psychotherapist with children and families.
Keith McDaniel (National Staff) works as a Media and Technology Designer for SERP. He is a recent graduate of the Stanford University Learning, Design and Technology program, specializing in interactive media for experiential and social learning, web-based learning environments and technology-mediated professional learning. His thesis work concentrated on nutritional efficacy through technology. Keith interned with the Stanford University School of Medicine facilitating a major shift to HD imaging technologies for teaching, and with Synaptics Inc. developing video and web-based interfaces to train engineers in Silicon Valley and Taiwan. Before attending graduate school, Keith spent five years working for Apple Inc. as a trainer, developing and delivering employee training in California, New England and the state of Washington. Keith holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington and an M.A. in Learning Technologies from Stanford University. His interests include casual learning mechanisms, super-nerdy technology, cooking, nutrition, and swimming.
Charlotte North (Boston) is a curriculum writer for the Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention (STARI) project. Additionally, she is in her third year of instructional coaching in Boston, currently serving as a writing coach for WriteBoston. In the past, Charlotte has taught high school English and contributed to education policy research. She holds master's degrees from Brown University in biology teaching and education policy, and a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College in English literature.
Jayne Ogata (Boston) is an implementation coach for the Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention (STARI) project. Prior to joining SERP, she was a whole-school change coach with the Center for Secondary School Redesign and the Center for Collaborative Education. In that work, she facilitated the development of structures and strategies promoting effective leadership and collaboration to improve student outcomes. Jayne has also taught middle-school language arts, and has worked as a performing artist and educator, creating educational programming for the classroom, stage, and broadcast media. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Juliana Paré-Blagoev (National Staff) is the Assistant Director of SERP Institute. She has a long standing interest in effectively integrating educationally relevant research and educational practice. Before joining SERP, her primary research focus was on skill and language learning using a combination of brain and behavioral methodologies. This work was conducted with the explicit intent of hastening the translation of neuroimaging findings into results that are useful and testable in a classroom environment. Complementing her work at SERP, she is a founding Board Member of the International Mind Brain and Education Society whose mission it is to facilitate cross-cultural collaboration in all fields that are relevant to connecting mind, brain, and education in research, theory, and/or practice. Juliana received her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Erin Ruegg (Boston) is a coach for the new fourth and sixth grade versions of the Word Generation curriculum being used in Boston Public Schools and Dennis-Yarmouth Public Schools as part of SERP's Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate initiatives. Recently, Erin completed her Masters of Education at Harvard University. She is a former elementary school teacher and bilingual literacy coach, and has earned national board certification. She taught and coached in public and private schools in Gallup, New Mexico, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Guatemala and Colombia for twelve years. Her specialties are interdisciplinary literacy development and bilingual education. In her free time she likes to windsurf, run, practice yoga, spend time with family and travel.
Simone Saltzman (National Staff) is a research assistant supporting SERP's national office. She recently graduated from University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in psychology and minors in human development and Middle Eastern studies. Throughout her college career she participated in educational research which attracted her to SERP. Simone hopes to become a school psychologist in the future.
Catherine Snow (Boston) is the SERP's Director of Research in Boston, As Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she carries out research on language and literacy development in monolingual and bilingual children. She chaired the committee that produced the National Research Council Report, “Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children” (1998), the RAND Reading Study Group that produced “Reading for Understanding: Toward an R&D Program in Reading Comprehension” (2002), and the National Research Council that produced Assessing Young Children: What, When and Why. She is a former president of the American Educational Research Association and a member of the National Academy of Education. Her research focuses on the social-interactive origins of language and literacy skills, the ways in which oral language skills relate to literacy learning, the literacy development of English-Language Learners, and implications of research on language and literacy development for teacher preparation.
Esther Mellinger Stief (National Staff) is the Site Director for the Word Generation study in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Prior to her work with SERP, Esther taught high school English and Composition for ten years in the public school system. Esther also has a background in the social services field and more recently worked as a freelance writer, researching and compiling reports to ensure permanency for children in Pennsylvania’s Child Welfare system. Esther holds Bachelor’s degrees in English and Sociology and a Masters degree in Education. Her primary interests are public education, especially the achievement gap and the impact of poverty on student performance, and child advocacy and adoption. Esther and her husband, Rodney, are the parents of two children.
Karen Tran (San Francisco) is a Research Assistant for the San Francisco Field Site where she supports various initiatives, including Word Generation, Reading to Learn and Learning Progressions in Science. Prior to joining SERP, Karen was a Graduate Research Intern with IREPP at Stanford and a Program Assistant with the Comprehensive School Assistance Program at WestEd. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Geography from the University of California, Los Angeles and a M.A. in Education from Stanford University.
Claire White (Boston) directs the SERP's Word Generation Program developed in collaboration with the Boston Public Schools and coordinates other projects at SERP’s Boston Field Site. She is also an adjunct lecturer in the Teacher Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she teaches courses on the language and literacy development of English language learners. Prior to this work, she worked as an education specialist at the Massachusetts Department of Education, in the Office of Language Acquisition and Academic Achievement providing training in ELL literacy issues to teachers, administrators and state education leaders. White received her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Jennifer Winsor (Boston) joins SERP after teaching high school history and psychology for the last eleven years. In addition to teaching, she has held several teacher-leader roles helping to establish Monument High School in South Boston. Most recently, Jennifer served as the department head of history at Boston's Charlestown High School. She earned her Massachusetts school administrator's license in 2009 under the leadership of former Academic Superintendent Jonathan Pizzi of the Boston Public Schools. As an administrative apprentice, she led her school's successful bid for initial accreditation, supported new teachers, and conducted school-wide professional development. Jennifer now coordinates work with SERP's partner schools in the Boston area and develops curriculum for Word Generation and other programs connected to SERP's Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate (CCDD) work.