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42 Judges Weighing Second-Round NCLB Waiver Applications

By Michele McNeil — March 06, 2012 4 min read
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With 27 applications for No Child Left Behind Act waivers in hand, the U.S. Department of Education has doubled its team of outside peer reviewers who will help decide what changes states must adopt before they can get their second-round proposals approved.

Notably, only eight of the 21 peer reviewers from the first round, which had to judge 11 applications, are sticking around for the more intense second round. (I can only speculate that the first round was a lot of work. But I also am wondering if some peer reviewers were unsatisfied with the result—in which all 11 got a waiver.)

As before, the judges are mix of education policy experts who are working for state departments of education, districts, teacher programs, universities, and consulting firms. The list is stacked heavily with those experienced in teacher issues, but also contains a fair number of experts in English-language learners and special education. Since the Education Department just provided a bare-bones list, I’ve done my best to background these 42 folks.

The judges with clear state experience are Karla Baehr, the project lead for educator evaluation implementation with the Massachusetts Department of Education (repeat reviewer); Sara Heyburn, a policy adviser for Tennessee’s department (repeat reviewer); Kathryn Hebda, the deputy chancellor for educator quality in Florida’s department; Deborah Larkin, a teacher-effectiveness director for the South Carolina department; Elise Leak, a consultant and former North Carolina state assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction; Margaret MacKinnon, the Title I administrator in Alaska; and Brud Maxcy, a former state special education and assessment official in Maine.

In the district camp—many of whom have ELL experience as well—are Janet Filbin, the director of student achievement for Douglas County (Colo.) Public Schools’ Hope Learning Academy Charter System; Drew Furedi, the executive director in the office of talent management for Los Angeles Unified School District; Judy Elliott, a consultant and former LA Unified top official (repeat reviewer); David Lussier, the executive director in the office of educator quality for the Austin school district, in Texas; Barbara Medina, the director of English language acquisition for Denver Public Schools (repeat reviewer); Aleksandr Shneyderman, the director of assessment and research for Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida; and Gabriela Uro, the manager of English language learning policy and research for the Council of the Great City Schools.

Others with ELL and special education experience on the roster are Lynn Holdheide, a special education research associate for the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality at Vanderbilt University; Sheryl Lazarus, of the National Center on Educational Outcomes, at the University of Minnesota; Jane Montes, a consultant with ELL experience; Lauren Rhim, the president of LMR Consulting, with expertise on special education and charter schools; and Diane Zendejas, who worked on ELL issues for Chicago Public Schools.

And others with experience on teacher issues are Alice Johnson Cain, the national director of policy for Teach Plus; Christina Hall, the co-founder of the Urban Teacher Center; Ulcca Hansen, the vice president of the Denver-based Public Education and Business Association; and Sydney Morris and Evan Stone, who co-founded Educators for Excellence.

Researchers and university folks on the list are Johns Hopkins University’s Robert Balfanz, of high school dropout factory fame (repeat reviewer); Lizanne DeStefano, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and director of the Illinois STEM Education Initiative; Thomas Hehir, a professor at Harvard’s Graduation School of Education; C. Thomas Kerins, an adjunct professor for research design and program evaluation at the University of Illinois at Springfield; James Liebman, a professor and director of Columbia University’s Center for Public Research and Leadership; Margaret McLaughlin, the associate dean for research and graduation education at the University of Maryland; Edward Roeber, an adjunct education professor at Michigan State University (repeat reviewer); and Adriane Williams, an assistant professor in the college of human resources and education, at West Virginia University.

Also judging are education consultant Dale Carlson; Jacquelyn Jackson Fleming, president of LifeLearn Associates and a former federal education department official; Laura Goe, a research scientist with the Educational Testing Service; Susan Hanes, a technical advisor with the Center on Innovation and Improvement, which works on school turnarounds (repeat reviewer); and Dalia Hochman, a consultant who works with Mass Insight (which specializes in school turnarounds).

Last, and certainly not least, are Angela Minnici, a principal research scientist with the American Institutes for Research; Arun Ramanathan, the executive director of Education Trust, West; Veronica Rivera, who is of counsel with Akers & Boulware-Wells law firm, in Texas; William Slotnik, the executive director and founder of the Community Training and Assistance Center; and Richard Wenning, the president of RJW Advisors (repeat reviewer).

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