This team of highly experienced and remarkably successful educational leaders leverage their decades of experience and unique insights to identify the challenges – and solutions – facing administrators, teachers, and their students in today’s changing educational landscape.
Kevin Baird is a noted leader in college and career readiness content, strategies, and standards. He currently serves as Chairman and Senior Faculty at the non-profit Center for College & Career Readiness. A frequent consultant and trainer, Mr. Baird has worked with some of the United States’ largest school districts, state departments of education, and governments outside of the U.S. He also co-authored the National Pathway for Common Core State Standards, created Common Core Black Belt Certification program in partnership with the University of Southern California, and designed the Constancy and Consistency Framework. He is dedicated to connecting classrooms with pragmatic, practical approaches which accelerate student learning.
Specialties: College and career readiness, Common Core State Standards
Executive Director of District Partnerships, Achieve3000
Dr. Almitra Berry-Jones is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and consultant on the topic of culturally and linguistically diverse at-risk learners. Her research focuses on academic achievement in large majority-minority, high-poverty urban school districts. Dr. Berry-Jones is the author of the book Effecting Change: Intervention for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners. She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with a B.A. in political science/public administration. She also has a master’s in education in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate in education in educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum and instruction.
Former Superintendent, Horry County Schools, South Carolina
Dr. Elsberry is a sought-after education leader and expert in blended learning. Prior to joining Achieve3000 as the Executive Director of Blended Learning, she served as Superintendent of Horry County Schools in South Carolina and Talladega County Schools in Alabama. Horry County – a diverse, high-poverty district with over 40,000 students – won national acclaim for its transformation under Dr. Elsberry’s leadership, and was rated as one of South Carolina’s highest-performing school districts. As part of her strategic plan for Horry County, Dr. Elsberry focused on successfully implementing key blended learning strategies: empowering teachers with 21st-century skills and differentiating teaching and learning for all students.
Specialties: Blended learning, college and career readiness
Professor of Educational Leadership, San Diego State University
Dr. Fisher is the Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, as well as a teacher leader and administrator at Health Sciences High & Middle College in San Diego, CA. As an award-winning author, educator, and member of the California Reading Hall of Fame, his work has been recognized by the International Literacy Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Academy of Educational Publishers. Dr. Fisher is also a past board member of the International Literacy Association and the Literacy Research Association. As a researcher, his work focuses on school improvement, especially in the areas of quality instruction and raising student achievement.
Specialties: Instructional leadership development, data-driven instruction, English language learners, college and career readiness, higher education literacy
Ms. Annette Gurley is an accomplished educator and instructional leader, recently retired from Chicago Public Schools, with nearly 40 years of experience in education. She has served as a teacher, school administrator, central office administrator, and principal. Ms. Gurley specializes in building adult capacity to seek, interpret, and respond to data in order to identify and meet students’ academic and social needs and interests. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education, a Master of Science in reading, and a Master of Arts in administration and supervision.
Professor Emeritus of Education, Stanford University
Dr. Kamil is an expert on the effects of technology on literacy acquisition, and has advised several state departments of education on the design and implementation of comprehensive literacy plans. He is currently a member of the Adolescent Literacy Advisory Board for the Alliance for Excellent Education. Previously, Dr. Kamil chaired the Reading Advisory Panel for the Pacific Regional Educational Laboratory and served as an advisor to the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program for the U.S. Department of Education. He has also been a member of the National Reading Panel, the National Literacy Panel, and the Carnegie Corporation Advisory Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy.
Specialties: Instructional technology, Common Core State Standards, early and adolescent literacy, content-area literacy, literacy assessment
Dean for the School of Education at Southern New Hampshire
Mr. Raymond J. McNulty is the dean for the School of Education at Southern New Hampshire University and a senior fellow to the International Center for Leadership in Education, having previously served as its president. Prior to joining the International Center, he was a senior fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he worked with leading educators on improving the nation’s high schools. Mr. McNulty is a past president of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and author of It’s Not Us Against Them — Creating the Schools We Need An educator since 1973, he has been a teacher, vice principal, principal, and superintendent, as well as Vermont’s education commissioner. Ray is committed to raising performance standards for both teachers and students and to building solid connections between schools and their communities.
Former Assistant Superintendent, Chula Vista Elementary School District, California
Dr. Nelson is a dedicated instructional leader, expert in the use of technology to improve student outcomes, and passionate advocate for English language learners. During his tenure as the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services at the Chula Vista Elementary School District in California, he oversaw the district’s dramatic improvement in academic performance and high-stakes test scores through the implementation of a student-centered instructional framework and a cloud-based differentiated instruction solution. With nearly four decades of experience in education, Dr. Nelson has also worked as a classroom teacher, ESL instructor, school principal, and lecturer at San Diego State University.
Specialties: Accelerating student achievement, Common Core State Standards, leadership coaching
Professor, Language, Literacy, and Culture, University of California, Berkeley
Dr. P. David Pearson is an award-winning researcher and scholar who served as the Dean of the University of California at Berkeley from 2001-2010, where he is currently a professor in the Language, Literacy, and Culture program. His projects include the “Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading,” which examines how reading, writing, and language can be used as tools to foster the development of knowledge and inquiry in science, and the Strategic Education Research Partnership between UC Berkeley, Stanford, and the San Francisco Unified School District. Dr. Pearson is also the founding editor of the Handbook of Reading Research, and a former editor of Reading Research Quarterly and the Review of Research in Education.
Specialties: Foundational literacy, reading and writing research, literacy in the content areas
Executive Director, EL Development & Early Literacy Instruction, Achieve3000
Ms. Marisa Russo has a master’s in education and has been an educator for over 22 years. She is a nationally recognized multilingual presenter and literacy consultant specializing in reading intervention and differentiating instruction for English language learners. She has taught, trained, and supervised reading and language arts implementations throughout the United States. Since 2001, Ms. Russo has been presenting at a wide variety of state, national, and international conferences on topics concerning ELLs.
Specialties: English language learners and early literacy instruction
Head of School, Thomas Edison Charter, Wilmington, DE
For over 25 years, Principal EL has taken on the educational challenges faced by children experiencing poverty, violence, neglect, and low expectations with the absolute belief that every child can and will learn as long as adults in their world care enough to not give up. Starting as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School and through his years as principal at several traditional public and charter schools, Thomas-EL has transformed the attitudes and strategies of school staff, parents, and members of the community to help hundreds of troubled children not only graduate from high school but go on to earn higher degrees from major colleges and universities. He brings to the process a powerful combination of passion, caring, and leadership to craft a refreshing common-sense roadmap to help kids achieve their dreams, no matter the odds.
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