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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Gary Orfield

Ph.D., is Distinguished Research Professor of Education, Law, Political Science and Urban Planning at UCLA.  His research focuses on the study of civil rights, education policy, urban policy, and minority opportunity. Co-founder and director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project, he now serves as co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA. His central interest has been the development and implementation of social policy, with a central focus on the impact of policy on equal opportunity for success in American society. Recent works include eight co-authored or co-edited books since 2004 and numerous articles and reports. He has also been involved in the development of governmental policy and has served as an expert witness or special master in several dozen court cases related to his research, including the University of Michigan Supreme Court case, which upheld the policy of affirmative action in 2003.
Patricia gandara

Patricia Gandara

Ph.D., is Research Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences at UCLA. She received her PhD in educational psychology from UCLA. She has been a bilingual school psychologist, a social scientist with the RAND Corporation, and a director of education research in the California State Legislature. Since 1990 she has been a professor of education in the University of California system. She also served as commissioner for postsecondary education for the State of California, associate director of the Linguistic Minority Research Institute, and the co-director of PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education). She is currently co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA and serves as a commissioner on President Obama's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.  She has written or edited seven books and more than 100 articles and reports on educational equity for racial and linguistic minority students, school reform, access to higher education, the education of Latino students, and language policy.

John B. King, Jr.

Ed.D., J.D., is the Senior Advisor Delegated Duties of Deputy Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education, a position he assumed in January 2015. In this role, he oversees a broad range of management, policy, and program functions. Previously Dr. King served as the Commissioner of Education for the State of New York. He was among the nation's youngest state education leaders and the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State education commissioner.  Earlier, King served as a Managing Director of Uncommon Schools, a non-profit charter management organization operating some of the highest performing urban public schools in New York and New Jersey. He was also a Co-Founder and Co-Director for Curriculum & Instruction of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. Dr. King holds a B.A. in Government from Harvard University, an M.A. in the Teaching of Social Studies from Teachers College, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an Ed.D. in Educational Administrative Practice from Teachers College.

Rhoda E. Schneider

J.D., General Counsel and Senior Associate Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Institute co-chair). For over 30 years, Rhoda Schneider has been chief legal counsel to the commissioner, state board, and department staff. She has advised six successive commissioners and served twice herself as acting commissioner. Besides providing legal guidance to the commissioner and the agency, she and her staff also publish advisories for school and district leaders, parents and students, and other constituents on the state and federal laws affecting public elementary and secondary schools. The issues of education law and policy that she addresses include standards-based education reform, civil rights, charter schools, school finance and governance, student assessment, special education, school and district accountability, student rights and responsibilities, and educator licensure. Rhoda is an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the editor of the MCLE book, School Law in Massachusetts.

Maree Sneed

J.D., Ph.D., is a senior partner at the Washington, DC law firm Hogan Lovells and director of the firm’s nationally prominent education practice. She is on the Board of Directors for Magnet Schools of America. She has served on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and as a board member and secretary of the National School Boards Foundation. She advises school districts, educational associations, and private companies in the education sector on state and federal legal issues. Previously she worked as a teacher and administrator in the Montgomery County Public Schools.

Jay Lefkowitz

J.D., lead plaintiffs’ attorney in Wright v. State of New York, is a senior partner in the litigation practice of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, where he teaches a seminar on Supreme Court advocacy. He has served as lead trial and appellate counsel in a wide variety of substantive areas, including shareholder disputes, antitrust, and product liability.  He currently serves on Advisory Boards for many organizations, including Columbia Law School, NYU Alexander Hamilton Center and Barnard College.  His public service career includes serving as a senior White House advisor to two presidents, and as United States Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea. He earned his J.D. in 1987 from Columbia Law School and his A.B. in History from Columbia College.  In its 2013 release of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” The National Law Journal described him as “a leading voice on school choice issues.”

Dennis D. Parker

J.D., is the Director of the ACLU National Office's Racial Justice Program, where he coordinates the racial justice work done by the ACLU's national office and its affiliates. Parker’s work with the ACLU has brought needed attention to the school-to-prison-pipeline, which tracks many young Black and Latino students from the principal’s office to the nation’s prisons. Previously, Parker was Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau under New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.  There he oversaw the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in housing, employment, voting, public accommodations and credit. He spent 14 years at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he supervised the litigation of scores of cases throughout the country in matters involving K-12 education, affirmative action, and equal educational opportunity.  Parker is a graduate of Middlebury College and Harvard Law School.  He has numerous publications on housing discrimination, educational equity, affirmative action, and testing, and has served as an adjunct professor at New York Law School.

Michael A. Rebell

J.D., is an experienced litigator, administrator, researcher, and scholar in the field of education law. He is the executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity and Professor of Law and Educational Practice at Teachers College, Columbia University. The Campaign seeks to promote equity and excellence in education and to overcome the gap in educational access and achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged students throughout the United States.  He is the author of five books and dozens of articles on issues involving law and education. Previously, Mr. Rebell was the co-founder, executive director and counsel for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. In CFE v. State of New York, the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court, declared that all children are entitled under the state Constitution to the "opportunity for a sound basic education" and it ordered the State of New York to reform its education finance system to meet these constitutional requirements. Mr. Rebell also serves as a consultant to attorneys, advocates and policymakers involved in education reform and education litigation throughout the country, and he is currently counsel for the plaintiffs in New Yorkers for Students Educational Rights v. State of New York.

Perry A. Zirkel

J.D., LL.M., Ph.D., is University Professor of Education and Law at Lehigh University, where he has held the Iacocca Chair in Education and has served as Dean of the College of Education. He has more than 1,400 publications on various aspects of school law, with an emphasis on legal issues in special education. He writes a regular column for Principal magazine and did so previously for both Phi Delta Kappan and Teaching Exceptional Children. Past president of the Education Law Association and co-chair of the Pennsylvania special education appeals panel from 1990 to 2007, in 2013 he received the Research into Practice Award from the American Educational Research Association and the Excellence in Research Award from AERA’s Division A, and in 2014 he received the University Council of Educational Administration's Edwin Bridges award for significant contributions to the preparation and development of school leaders.


Richard Casagrande

J.D., is general counsel to the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), a position he has held since 2010. He represents NYSUT as a defendant in Wright v. State of New York. Previously, as a member of Hinman Straub P.C., he represented individual employees and several public and private sector unions. He also served for many years as general counsel to the New York State Public Employees Federation, a union representing over 50,000 professional State employees. Mr. Casagrande has litigated many employee rights' cases involving tenure and due process, and has argued numerous cases before the State Court of Appeals, New York's highest court. Mr. Casagrande received his B.A. from Colgate University and his J.D. from Albany Law School where, from 1998 through 2005, he was a member of the adjunct faculty. He is a member of the Labor sections of the ABA and NYSBA, and has been a frequent CLE presenter on a variety of labor and employment issues.

Jay P. Heubert

Institute Faculty Chair, is a Professor of Law and Education at Teachers College and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. For thirty years at Columbia and Harvard, he has taught courses on education law, policy, and practice for students in education, law, and related fields.  His research focuses on civil rights issues, including desegregation, charter schools’ obligations to serve students with disabilities, and high-stakes testing. He has also served as chief counsel to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, a specialist on desegregation and gender equity in Philadelphia, and a high-school English teacher in rural North Carolina. He also served as study director to a National Research Council committee conducting a Congressionally-mandated study of high-stakes testing published as High Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion, and Graduation. A Carnegie Scholar, in June 2001 he received the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s annual Alumni Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education.
Faculty
  • Gary Orfield, Ph.D.

    Gary Orfield, Ph.D., is Distinguished Research Professor of Education, Law, Political Science and Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Orfield's research interests are in the study of civil rights, education policy, urban policy, and minority opportunity. He was co-founder and director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project, and now serves as co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA. His central interest has been the development and implementation of social policy, with a central focus on the impact of policy on equal opportunity for success in American society. Recent works include eight co-authored or co-edited books since 2004 and numerous articles and reports.  His "A Life in Civil Rights," appeared in the October 2010 issue of PS: Political Science & Politics. Recent books co-edited or co-authored with E. Frankenberg include, The Resegregation of Suburban Schools:  A Hidden Crisis in American Education (2013) and Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair (2013), as well as Twenty-First Century Color Lines (2008) with Andrew Grant-Thomas. Others are Dropouts in America: Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis (2004); (with John Boger) School Resegregation: Must the South Turn Back? (2005); and (with Patricia Marin and Catherine Horn) Higher Education and the Color Line (2005). He is currently working on studies of the impacts of the major civil rights and educational policies of the l960s.

    In addition to his scholarly work, Orfield has been involved in the development of governmental policy and has served as an expert witness or special master in several dozen court cases related to his research, including the University of Michigan Supreme Court case which upheld the policy of affirmative action in 2003 and has been called to give testimony in civil rights suits by the United States Department of Justice and many civil rights, legal services, and educational organizations.

    He was awarded the American Political Science Association's Charles Merriam Award for his "contribution to the art of government through the application of social science research." He also received the 2007 Social Justice in Education Award from the American Educational Research Association for "work which has had a profound impact on demonstrating the critical role of education research in supporting social justice." He is a member of the National Academy of Education. A native Minnesotan, Orfield received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and travels extensively in Latin America.
  • Patricia Gandara, Ph.D.

    Patricia Gandara, Ph.D., is Research Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences at UCLA. She received her PhD in educational psychology from UCLA. She has been a bilingual school psychologist, a social scientist with the RAND Corporation, and a director of education research in the California State Legislature. Since 1990 she has been a professor of education in the University of California system. She also served as commissioner for postsecondary education for the State of California, associate director of the Linguistic Minority Research Institute, and the co-director of PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education. She is currently co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA. 

    Dr. Gándara is a commissioner on President Obama's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association and recipient of its Presidential Citation at the 2011 AERA annual conference.  She is a past fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy, and the Educational Testing Service in Princeton. She was a French-American Foundation/Sciences Po visiting scholar at Sciences Po in Paris. In 2005, she was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award from UC Davis and the Outstanding Researcher in Higher Education Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. 

    She has written or edited seven books and more than 100 articles and reports on educational equity for racial and linguistic minority students, school reform, access to higher education, the education of Latino students, and language policy. Her most recent books are The Bilingual Advantage (Millenium Matters, 2014), Forbidden Language: English Learners and Restrictive Language Policies (Teachers College Press, 2010) and The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies (Harvard University Press, 2009).
  • John B. King, Jr., Ed.D., J.D.

    John B. King, Jr., Ed.D., J.D., is the Senior Advisor Delegated Duties of Deputy Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education, a position he assumed in January 2015. In this role, he oversees a broad range of management, policy, and program functions.

    Prior to his arrival at the Department, King served as the commissioner of education for the state of New York. In this role, he served as chief executive officer of the State Education Department and as president of the University of the State of New York (USNY). King was one of the nation's youngest state education leaders at the time of his appointment and the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State education commissioner.

    As commissioner education, King worked with the Board of Regents to pursue an ambitious education reform agenda. During his tenure, New York state was a national leader in many facets of education: implementing college- and career-ready standards; redesigning teacher and school leader evaluations to incorporate student learning growth; supporting teachers and school leaders through strong professional development, access to rich instructional resources, and innovative educator career ladder models; investing in high-quality early learning; expanding career and technical education in high-demand fields; and increasing educational opportunity for students in the highest-need communities.

    Dr. King previously served as a Managing Director with Uncommon Schools, a non-profit charter management organization that operates some of the highest performing urban public schools in New York and New Jersey. Dr. King was also a Co-Founder and Co-Director for Curriculum & Instruction of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. Under his leadership, Roxbury Prep’s students attained the highest state exam scores of any urban middle school in Massachusetts, closed the racial achievement gap, and outperformed students from not only the Boston district schools but also the city’s affluent suburbs. 

    Dr. King holds a B.A. in Government from Harvard University, an M.A. in the Teaching of Social Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an Ed.D. in Educational Administrative Practice from Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition, Dr. King has served on the board of New Leaders for New Schools and is a 2008 Aspen Institute-New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellow.  He taught high school social studies in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Rhoda Schneider, J.D., (Institute Co-Chair)

    Rhoda Schneider, J.D. (Institute Co-Chair), is General Counsel and Senior Associate Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. For over 30 years she has been chief legal counsel to the commissioner, state board, and department staff. She has advised six successive commissioners and served twice herself as acting commissioner. Besides providing legal guidance to the commissioner and the agency, Rhoda and her staff also publish advisories for school and district leaders, parents and students, and other constituents on the state and federal laws affecting public elementary and secondary schools. The issues of education law and policy that she addresses include standards-based education reform, civil rights, charter schools, school finance and governance, student assessment, special education, school and district accountability, student rights and responsibilities, and educator licensure. Rhoda is a graduate of Wellesley College and received her J.D. from Boston University Law School. She is an adjunct lecturer at The Harvard Graduate School of Education and has been a presenter or guest lecturer at many professional conferences and graduate courses for educators and lawyers. Rhoda is also the editor of the MCLE book, School Law in Massachusetts.
  • Maree Sneed, J.D., Ph.D.

    Maree Sneed, J.D., Ph.D., is a senior partner at the Washington, DC law firm Hogan Lovells and director of the firm’s nationally prominent education practice. She advises school districts, educational associations, and private companies in the education sector on a wide range of state and federal legal issues, including those involving the U.S. Constitution, No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX, FERPA, and the Magnet School Assistance Project.

    Maree has been involved in litigating on behalf of school districts in both state and federal courts, including two Supreme Court cases, Schaffer v. Weast and PICS v. Seattle School District No. 1. She also has counseled school districts on interpretation of Title I requirements, investigations by the Office for Civil Rights and the Department of Justice, development of policies and plans for English Language Learner students, racial and sexual harassment and cyberbullying. She has assisted school districts in developing court-ordered and voluntary student assignment plans, and magnet plans and policies, including those that comply with the requirements of the federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program. In addition, she has provided regulatory advice to companies in the education sector.   

    Maree is on the Board of Directors for the Magnet Schools of America. For more than a decade, she was on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She served as a board member and secretary of the National School Boards Foundation and as a Board member of the Council of School Attorneys. Before attending law school, she taught at the high school level. She was also a secondary school principal, assistant principal, and supervisor of gifted and alternative programs in the Montgomery County Public Schools. 
  • Jay Lefkowitz, J.D.

    Jay Lefkowitz, J.D., lead plaintiffs’ attorney in Wright v. State of New York, is a senior partner in the litigation practice of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and a member of the Firm’s Global Executive Management Committee. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, where he teaches a seminar on Supreme Court advocacy. He has served as lead trial and appellate counsel in a wide variety of substantive areas, including shareholder disputes, antitrust, product liability, litigation against the FDA and False Claims Act matters. He has also conducted numerous internal investigations for public companies and audit committees.  He currently serves on Advisory Boards for many organizations, including Columbia Law School, NYU Alexander Hamilton Center and Barnard College, and his public service career includes serving as a senior White House advisor to two presidents, and as United States Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea. He earned his J.D. in 1987 from Columbia University School of Law where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar (1985-86) and his A.B. in History from Columbia College.  In its 2013 release of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” The National Law Journal describes him as “a leading voice on school choice issues.”
  • Dennis D. Parker, J.D.

    Dennis D. Parker, J.D., is the Director of the ACLU National Office's Racial Justice Program, where he coordinates the racial justice work done by the ACLU's national office and its affiliates. He has testified before the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues: Minorities and the Right to Education and appeared in the African American Policy Forum series: 13 Myths About Affirmative Action. Parker’s work with the ACLU has brought needed attention to the school-to-prison-pipeline tracking many of young Black and Latino students from the principal’s office to the nation’s expanding prison industrial complex.

    Prior to joining the ACLU, Parker was the Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau in the Office of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer where he oversaw the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in housing, employment, voting, public accommodations and credit. He spent 14 years at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, where he supervised the litigation of scores of cases throughout the country in matters involving elementary and secondary education, affirmative action in higher education and equal educational opportunity. 

    Parker has also worked with the New York Legal Aid Society. He has numerous publications on housing discrimination, educational equity, affirmative action, and testing, and has served as an adjunct professor at New York Law School. He is the author of the 1993 edition of the Fair Housing Litigation Handbook, and he wrote a chapter in this year's Awakening from the Dream: Civil Rights Under Siege and the New Struggle for Equal Justice. He teaches Race, Poverty and Constitutional Law at Columbia University's School Law Institute and is a graduate of Middlebury College and Harvard Law School.
  • Michael A. Rebell, J.D.

    Michael A. Rebell, J.D., is an experienced litigator, administrator, researcher, and scholar in the field of education law. He is the executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity and Professor of Law and Educational Practice at Teachers College, Columbia University. The Campaign seeks to promote equity and excellence in education and to overcome the gap in educational access and achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged students throughout the United States. 

    Previously, Mr. Rebell was the co-founder, executive director and counsel for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. In CFE v. State of New York, the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court, declared that all children are entitled under the state Constitution to the "opportunity for a sound basic education" and it ordered the State of New York to reform its education finance system to meet these constitutional requirements. Mr. Rebell is currently co-counsel for plaintiffs in NYSER v. State of New York, a case filed in February, 2014 that is asking the court to enforce the CFE orders and compel the state to provide sufficient funds to provide all students in New York State the opportunity for a sound basic education.  He has also litigated numerous major class action lawsuits, including Jose P. v. Mills, which involved a plaintiff class of 160,000 students with disabilities. He also served as a court-appointed special master in the Boston special education case, Allen v. Parks.

    Mr. Rebell is the author or co-author of five books, and dozens of articles on issues of law and education. Among his most recent works are Courts And Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through The State Courts (U. Chicago Press, 2009), Moving Every Child Ahead: From NCLB Hype To Meaningful Educational Opportunity (Teachers College Press, 2008) with Jessica R. Wolff, The Right to Comprehensive Educational Opportunity, 47 Harvard Civil Rts-Civil Lib. L. Rev. 49 (2012), and Professional Rigor, Public Engagement and Judicial Review: A Proposal for Enhancing the Validity of Education Adequacy Studies, 109 Teachers Coll. Rec. 1303 (2007).

    In addition to his research and litigation activities, Mr. Rebell is a frequent lecturer and consultant on education law. He is also currently adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. Previously he was a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, and for many years, a Visiting Lecturer at the Yale Law School. Mr. Rebell is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. 
  • Perry A. Zirkel, J.D., LL.M., Ph.D.

    Perry A. Zirkel, J.D., LL.M., Ph.D., is University Professor of Education and Law at Lehigh University, where he has held the Iacocca Chair in Education and has served as Dean of the College of Education. He has more than 1,400 publications on various aspects of school law, with an emphasis on legal issues in special education. He writes a regular column for Principal magazine and did so previously for both Phi Delta Kappan and Teaching Exceptional Children. Past president of the Education Law Association and co-chair of the Pennsylvania special education appeals panel from 1990 to 2007, in 2013 he received the Research into Practice Award from the American Educational Research Association and the Excellence in Research Award from AERA’s Division A, and in 2014 he received the University Council of Educational Administration's Edwin Bridges award for significant contributions to the preparation and development of school leaders.


  • Richard Casagrande, J.D.

    Richard E. Casagrande, J.D., is general counsel to the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), a position he has held since 2010.  He represents NYSUT as a defendant in Wright v. State of New York.  Previously, as a member of Hinman Straub P.C., he represented individual employees and several public and private sector unions. He also served for many years as general counsel to the New York State Public Employees Federation, a union representing over 50,000 professional State employees.  Mr. Casagrande has litigated many employee rights' cases involving tenure and due process, and has argued numerous cases before the State Court of Appeals, New York's highest court.  Mr. Casagrande received his B.A. from Colgate University and his J.D. from Albany Law School where, from 1998 through 2005, he was a member of the adjunct faculty. He is a member of the Labor sections of the ABA and NYSBA, and has been a frequent CLE presenter on a variety of labor and employment issues.
  • Jay P. Heubert, J.D., Ed.D. (Institute Faculty Chair)

    Jay P. Heubert, J.D., Ed.D., (Institute Faculty Chair), is a Professor of Law and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He received his J.D. cum laude and his Ed.D. from Harvard University.

    For seventeen years at Columbia and thirteen at Harvard, he has taught courses on education law, policy, and practice for students in education, law, and related fields. His research has focused on civil rights issues in education, including desegregation, the obligations of charter schools to serve students with disabilities, high-stakes testing, and the role of law in school reform.  As a Carnegie Scholar, he studied how testing for student tracking, promotion, and graduation affects the learning and life chances of students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities.

    He has also served as chief counsel to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, a specialist on desegregation and gender equity in the School District of Philadelphia, and a high-school English teacher in rural North Carolina. In 1997-98, he served as study director to a National Research Council committee conducting a Congressionally-mandated study of high-stakes testing published as High Stakes: Testing for Tracking, Promotion, and Graduation.  In June 2001 he received the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s annual Alumni Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education.


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