The Education Policy Program prepares students for their careers as policy analysts, policy advocates, and education researchers. As you read through our website and evaluate if this program is a good match for you, consider the perspectives of our current students and alumni.
CEO of Practice Makes Perfect, New York.
Karim received over a quarter million dollars in scholarships to make his education possible. At 18, he founded Practice Makes Perfect, an organization that partners with low-income schools to help narrow the achievement gap. Karim is an author, a TED Fellow and Echoing Green Fellow. At 23, he was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in Education, and at 24 was named to Magic Johnson’s 32 under 32 list. In 2016, he was ranked in the top 3 most powerful young entrepreneurs under 25 in the world. Karim’s TED Talk was named one of the 9 Most Inspiring Talks of 2017 and his Forbes day-in-the-life feature is Forbes’ second most viewed of all time, collectively garnering over 4 million views. He graduated in the top 10% of his class from Cornell University and has a Master of Arts degree in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Ph.D and J.D. Candidate at UCLA
Terry Allen is a Ph.D. candidate in Education and first-year J.D. student at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his B.A. degree in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley, and M.A. degree in Education Policy from Columbia University. Over the past decade, Terry has worked in various research and policy capacities dedicated to reshaping criminal justice systems across the United States. In his current work with the Million Dollar Hoods (MDH) research initiative, Terry has produced several policy reports and begun a new foray into oral history research to document the full impact of mass incarceration on families and neighborhoods. His research is concerned with the structural features of the criminal justice system and the political economy that constrain inequalities, particularly for youth. This interest derives in part from his own intersectional identity: being black, being a man, and being raised in San Francisco's Bayview-Hunters Point.
Christine Baker-Smith is a fourth year IES-PIRT Pre-doctoral Training Fellow and doctoral candidate in NYU Steinhardt's Sociology of Education program. She is interested in organizational sociology, adolescent student engagement/disengagement and delinquency and the intersections of the two topics. Her fellowship is at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools. She previously worked as program manager for the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences M.A. program at Columbia University where she assisted in teaching methods and research courses as well as conducting research in these areas. Christine received her B.A. in Sociology from Whitman College, a Masters in Social Sciences of Education from Stanford University and an Ed.M. in Leadership, Policy and Politics from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Director of Strategy, Kitamba Consulting, New York, NY
B.A. in History from Brown University, Providence RI
M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Outside of his work at Kitamba, Jay serves as the chair of the Wharton Education Network (WhEN) and a judge for the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education business plan competition. Jay has a BA from Brown University, an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA in Education Policy from Teachers College at Columbia University.
Ed.D. Candidate at HGSE,
Research Assistant at National Center for Teacher Effectiveness
David is a third-year doctoral student in the Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice concentration at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research interests include teacher evaluation and the use of observational measures in supporting teaching and learning. At NCTE, he is assisting with the design of the Mathematical Quality of Instruction (MQI) instrument to assess elementary school math instruction, as well as interviewing teachers about changes in their practices under new evaluation systems. Prior to receiving his master's degree, David taught high school mathematics in New York City; after receiving his degree, he worked for the New York City Department of Education, assisting with the design of their new evaluation system.
Policy Project Director at the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), NYC
Amber Briggs is the Policy Project Director at Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA). Amber has previously worked at LEDA as a College Guidance Counselor and as an Assistant Director in the Membership, Governance, and Higher Education division at the College Board. As Policy Project Director, Amber manages the LEDA Policy Corps, a select group of students from the LEDA community who are trained in key federal policy and higher education topics and participate in various activities to ensure that student perspectives are at the center of higher education policy and practice. Amber is an alumna of the College Advising Corps and completed her service at Alief Elsik High School in Houston, TX. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Sociology, a minor in Africana Studies, and a Certificate in Race and Ethnic Relations. She received her M.A. in Education Policy with a concentration in Higher Education and Law from Teachers College in 2015. Her culminating master’s project analyzed the outcomes and impacts of in-state aid and tuition policies for undocumented students.
Previous Colleges: A.B. in English from Amherst College, Amherst, MA
M.A. in Teaching English from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA Dr.
Travis J. Bristol, a former high school English teacher in New York City public schools and teacher educator with the Boston Teacher Residency program and later a postdoctoral research fellow at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) is now an Asisstant Professor at the Boston University School of Education.
His research interests focus on the intersection of race and gender in organizations. Travis’s most recent work includes consulting for The World Bank in Washington D.C. and Georgetown, Guyana; his projects included developing a male teacher recruitment campaign; surveying teachers, students, and principals to create a strategy to reduce teacher and student absenteeism; providing a needs assessment for the distant teacher training program; and, in line with Travis’s research interest, designing a curriculum for teachers on engaging boys in the classroom.
He holds an A.B. in English, with distinction, from Amherst College; an M.A. in the Teaching of English from Stanford University; a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Columbia University. While at Teachers College, Columbia University Travis was awarded the Vice-President's Grant for Student Research in Diversity and the Provost Doctoral Dissertation Grant, the Minority Dissertation Fellowship from the American Educational Research Association, a Ford Dissertation Fellowship from the National Research Council of the National Academies and the Spencer Dissertation Fellowship from the National Academy of Education.
He is a product of the New York City public school system.
Senior Analyst, Department of Children Youth and Their Families, Free City College Program, San Francisco, CA
Aliya graduated from Teachers College in 2016 with a M.A. in Education Policy. She also holds a B.S. in Nutrition Science from UC Davis.
Aliya was born and raised in San Francisco and her experiences as low-income student in the public school system shaped her passion for shaping education policy so that it can better serve underrepresented populations. After graduating from Teachers College, Aliya was appointed as a Fulbright Scholar in North Macedonia where she taught English and researched the higher education system in Eastern Europe. She returned to San Francisco in 2017 and was appointed as a legislative aide to Board of Supervisors President Malia Cohen, making Aliya the first Muslim woman to be appointed as a legislative aide in the history of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. As a legislative aide, she drafted legislation to ban criminal history questions on private school college applications, making San Francisco the first city in the U.S. to pass such an ordinance.
Currently, Aliya is the Senior Analyst at the Department of Children Youth and Their Families for the Free City College Program in San Francisco. In this capacity she negotiated and drafted a ten-year, $170 million dollar contract between the City and the College and also advocated for an equity-focused lens for the new program. She is also a Fellow in the Coro Women in Leadership Program.
Aliya also has experience interning for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. She also has experience as a teacher at a nonprofit called Aim High, which serves low-income middle school students in urban San Francisco.
During her time at Teachers College she served as the Academic Affairs Committee Chair for the Student Senate and successfully changed Teachers College’s admission application to foster a stronger commitment to diversity.
Although Aliya has a lot of west coast pride, she appreciates the policy analysis tools and the doors that were opened for her from her favorite institution on the east side, Teachers College.
New York City Department of Education, Learning Partners Program
Deputy Director, PRE4CLE, Cleveland, OH
Michelle Connavino serves as the Deputy Director of PRE4CLE where she coordinates PRE4CLE’s communication, advocacy, evaluation, and outreach strategies and leads the Cleveland Early Learning Spaces project.
Previously, Michelle was the Liaison for the Center for Educational Leadership at Cleveland State University, which offers several school leadership licensure and professional development programs. She also served as co-coordinator for the Ohio Education Policy Fellowship Program, a national leadership professional development program out of the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C. that focuses on leadership, policy, and networking. Michelle was a middle school teacher in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the North Olmsted City School District and has teaching experience in rural and international settings.
Michelle volunteers for various organizations, including as a member and former chair of the City Club of Cleveland Education Programming Committee, director of the Euclid Public Schools Alumni Association, and as a member of the Patton College of Education Dean’s Circle of Engagement at Ohio University. Michelle has also been a lifeguard and swimming instructor for more than twenty years.
Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Middle Childhood Education from Ohio University and a master’s degree in Leadership, Policy, and Politics from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Michelle lives in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland and enjoys going to Broadway shows and Cleveland Guardians games.
Program Lead at IDEO (The Teachers Guild + School Retool), San Francisco, CA
Larry currently serves as Program Lead for The Teachers Guild + School Retool, a K-12 educator professional learning program incubated in IDEO's Design for Learning studio that supports educators to use design thinking to create positive, lasting impact for their school communities. A former high school teacher and education researcher, Larry helps educators become better evaluators of their own impact in schools and is inspired by the use of data to tell compelling stories about classrooms and schools. He has previously combined his teaching experience and research skills to author various studies focused on educator preparation programs, early career teaching, and community school models. Prior to IDEO, Larry worked for the University of California system, managing and conducting program evaluations of a professional development program serving nearly 40,000 K-12 educators across California.
Irene Cruz is the Program Associate at the Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI) where she assists in creating and implementing the PNPI Prospective Policymakers Boot Camps. Specifically, she leads the curriculum development and serves as a Boot Camp participant liaison. Irene also co-manages the Summer Scholar Program and the Summer Scholar Alumni cohort. Irene is a PNPI Summer Scholar Program alumna of the inaugural 2016 cohort.
Prior to PNPI, Irene worked in an education-based non-profit in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides college access and financial aid advising first generation high school and undergraduate students of color. Additionally, she also worked at a college access program at the University of California, Berkeley where she supervised the college application process for the first-generation high school seniors. It was a pivotal experience that piqued her interest in pursuing a higher education policy degree in a graduate school and fueled her passion for expanding educational opportunities for first-generation and underrepresented students.
Irene holds a Master’s degree in Education Policy in the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Career Fluency Program Assistant, The Opportunity Network, New York
Previous Colleges: B.A. in Political Science, Howard University, Washington, DC
As a Career Fluency Program Assistant at The Opportunity Network, Alisa supports the program team in multiple aspects of programming, from recruitment to session instruction. Prior to joining OppNet full-time, Alisa served as the Graduate Program Intern. She also served as a dual-department intern at the National Education Association and the Government Affairs Assistant at Destination DC, Washington, DC’s convention and visitors’ bureau. Alisa received her B.A. in Political Science from Howard University in 2013. During her tenure at Howard, she was extremely involved in her community, mentoring girls ages 8-18 in DC Public Schools for four years. That experience showed her the importance of community involvement in the education and development of Black and Latino students. Alisa received her masters of arts in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a focus in family and community engagement policies, particularly in under-served communities.
Cassie Gare is a Regional Director of School Operations at KIPP NYC, a network of free, open-enrollment public charter schools in New York City. In that role, she works to ensure the high-quality operations of KIPP schools across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx through the direct coaching and support of school-based operations teams.
Prior to joining KIPP, Cassie taught middle school special education in DC Public Schools. There, she contributed to regional initiatives as a member of the Chancellor's Teacher's Cabinet and a Teachers Central to Leadership Fellow. Cassie holds an M.A. in Education Policy (K-12 Specialization) from Teachers College, and a B.A. in Culture and Politics from Georgetown University.
Previous Colleges: B.A. in Urban Education, California State University, Los Angeles, CA
Special Education Teaching Credential, California State University, Los Angeles
Matt Gonzales is an educator, an advocate, and a policy analyst. He is founder, and director of the Integration and Innovation Initiative (i3) at the NYU Metro Center, a project designed to support policy development, implementation, and advocacy for school integration. He is co-founder of the NYC Alliance for School Integration and Desegregation (nycASID), and serves as the Policy Coach for the youth-led advocacy group IntegrateNYC. As a member of Mayor de Bill Blasio’s School Diversity Advisory Group, Matt has helped to craft New York City policy on school integration, and was integral in helping draft a common definition for Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education (CRSE) recently adopted by the DOE. He has worked closely with state education leaders to design the New York State Integration Project (NYSIP) grant program and has supported districts all across New York in developing integration plans. Nationally, Matt serves on the Policy Working Group and Steering Committee for the National Coalition on School Diversity and is an Advisory Board member for Integrated Schools, a grassroots parent network committed to integrated schools. He is a former special education teacher at Bancroft Middle School in Los Angeles.
Senior Fellow on Creativity and Entrepreneurship at the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Maria Guo helps design, develop, and implement seminars and courses for the undergraduate student community. She also collaborates extensively with Bok staff, who focus on pedagogy and course innovation. Previously, she was a Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Academic Advisor at NYU Shanghai, and Program Assistant at Columbia Law School. She earned her Master's degree in Education Policy and Social Analysis from Columbia University. Maria also founded the Jackson School Mentor Program at the University of Washington, where she received her Bachelor's degree in International Studies. She has previously lived in Beijing, Seattle, New York, and Shanghai with study abroad experience in London and Brussels.
B.A. Quincy University, 1989
M.S. journalism, Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, 1993
M.Ed., secondary education, University of Illinois-Chicago, 2001
A former journalist and high school English teacher from Chicago, Kathleen matriculated into the former Leadership, Politics and Policy program as an Ed.D. student in Fall 2005. While living in New York, she was a graduate assistant for The Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, and The Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished NYC Principals. After completing her doctoral coursework in Fall 2007, she moved back to Chicago.
Kathleen is currently the inaugural director of research and evaluation for National Center for Teacher Residencies (www.nctresidencies.org ) in Chicago. She collaborates with staff and leaders throughout NCTR and across its network of more than 20 programs to develop and advance a research agenda that will inform NCTR residency programs, the organization itself, teacher preparation programs, and the teacher preparation research field on the effectiveness of the teacher residency model for preparing effective teachers.
Kathleen’s dissertation focused on teacher sensemaking about a Chicago high school curricular and instructional reform. In addition to her Ed.D. from Teachers College, Kathleen holds a B.A. from Quincy University, a M.S. in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and an M.Ed. in secondary education from University of Illinois-Chicago.
Research analyst at Child Trends in Bethesda, MD
Sarah recently graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University with an M.A. in Education Policy with specialization in Data Analysis and Research Methods. During her time in school, she worked as a graduate consultant and a research assistant at the Columbia Law School evaluating networks of schools which aimed to increase high school graduation rates, an education initiative funded by the Gates Foundation. Through these positions, she honed her skills in qualitative study and became an experienced user of NVivo. She is also experienced in using Stata, looking to learn about Tableau, SQL, Python, R and other software that might increase efficiency in data management and analysis. Her research interest is in improving academic and career readiness to improve postsecondary access and success. She is also excited to expand her research interest and learn more about different facets of youth development and how it affects children’s learning and their life outcomes.
She is currently a research analyst at Child Trends on projects ranging from school health, anti-bullying to childcare and health.
Elisabeth (Betsy) Kim is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at California State University, Monterey Bay. Previously, she was a Robert Curvin Postdoctoral Associate at the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University- Newark. She holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research uses a mixed-methods approach to explore the links between education policy and educational equity, with a particular focus on how contemporary policies moderate or exacerbate inequities for low-income Latinx and BIPOC students. Her research interests include culturally responsive & sustaining education and leadership, student discipline policy and equitable access to STEM coursework.
The Director of Assessment and Accreditation
Boston College, Boston, MA
I received my Ph.D. degree in October 2012. I graduated from the the Leadership, Policy, and Politics program with academic and research interests in education policy, measurement, and evaluation. Through my courses and research experiences at Teachers College, I developed an understanding of the political, economic, and legal perspectives of US education policy issues. I was trained in assessment and evaluation design, methods, and theory.
Since the beginning of my studies, I worked closely with Professor Madhabi Chatterji as a research assistant at the Assessment and Evaluation Research Initiative (AERI) on national and international sponsored projects. I first served as a field researcher and assessment coach on a 2-year, National Science Foundation funded program that aims to support learners and improve achievement with a dynamic approach to diagnostic formative classroom assessment called, Proximal Assessment for Learner Diagnosis (PALD). This work was the focus of my dissertation. The purpose of the study was to validate the theoretical PALD model, using a mixed methods design.
Internationally, I have worked with the Global Education Leadership Foundation in New Delhi, India to provide technical services in curriculum-based assessment design as an AERI Research Fellow. As a member of AERI and a student in the Leadership Policy and Politics program, I had the opportunity to engage in original research and fully explore my academic interests with the support of faculty and fellow peers with similar academic and professional interests.
General Manager and Community Lead
CodeSpeak Labs, NYC.
Jade Le is a Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar and a 2012 Ed.M. alumna of the Leadership, Policy & Politics program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She came to the program directly after completing her undergraduate studies at Harvard College where she majored in the Social & Cognitive Neuroscience track of Psychology (and dipped a bit into Economics theory). She was very involved in the Leadership Institute at her alma mater which helped her land a job creating and running several leadership development programs for Columbia undergraduates while also maintaining full-time graduate student status during her tenure at Columbia.
During her first year in graduate school she was a Young People For Education Fellow where, along with some of her undocumented friends, she worked on creating a blueprint to help minority immigrants transition to, through, and beyond the higher education system. After her first year in graduate school she received APIASF/GMS Honors Recognition for earning straight A’s and an all-expense-paid invitation to attend the APIASF Higher Education Summit in Washington DC titled Advancing the Democratic Mission of Higher Education: The Relevance of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders. As a Vietnam-born immigrant to the US, this was a great honor for her and her family.
While a second year master’s student, she served as Vice-President of the Society for Entrepreneurship & Education and completed her capstone fieldwork project in close partnership with the Children’s Aid Society. Her capstone project merged her interests in education policy and business management by investigating and strategizing methods to increase school-based health clinic (SBHC) user rates within a comprehensive education reform model. With a much-appreciated amount of support from those around her and a combination of intellectual curiosity, grit, and excellent time-management, she completed the program early and was accepted into law school on a scholarship before graduation.
Jade has been incubated in NYC’s startup scene for the last few years. Most recently she is Founder at mimiJ and was selected for a venture accelerator program for her idea to disrupt the nail industry in favor of worker rights and empowering professionals in the industry (largely immigrant women) to become their own entrepreneurs through the use of technology and community building. Previously she has had experience working with other early stage education startups in NYC: 1) general management and business development for CodeSpeak Labs, a company that brings computer science to K-8 schools and 2) business operations at Character Lab where she was one of the first 5 employees building and maintaining systems of infrastructure, people, knowledge, finance, and governance from the ground up. Before her startup experiences, Jade worked as a Financial & Management Consultant to NYC under the Bloomberg administration and managed the allocation of $4.5B in FEMA public assistance funding to over 50 city agencies (including the NYCDOE) throughout the five boroughs.
Jade values learning and making an impact in all that she does. She is originally from California, welcomes infinite smiles and hugs, and LOVES meeting new people—she is more than happy to chat with others about leadership, social impact, startups, education, tech, navigating an interdisciplinary career, et al-- so feel free to come say hello anytime!
Samson Lim is a JD candidate at Berkeley Law School, where he serves as Editor-in-Chief of the California Law Review. Before law school, Sam served as the National Director of Graduate and Fellowship Programs at The Posse Foundation, a college access and youth leadership development program that awards four-year, full-tuition scholarships to high school seniors with extraordinary academic and leadership potential. Previously, Sam founded Scholarship Junkies, a nonprofit scholarship resource program, and led the University of Washington Dream Project, a nonprofit college access program.
Sam was a U.S. Student Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany, where he researched the relationship between access to higher education and social mobility. Sam also previously researched barriers to higher education access in Germany as a Humanity in Action Fellow. His interests focus on the impact of policies and programs on higher education access, affordability, and completion, particularly for low-income and first-generation students.
Sam holds a Masters of Arts in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (Development) from the University of Washington in Seattle. In the community, Sam chaired the Board of Directors for Scholarship Junkies and served on Teachers College's 21st Century Leaders Committee, the Advisory Group for the Washington Scholarship Coalition, and the Board of Directors for Graduate Washington.
Learn more about Sam and his road to Berkeley Law School from the article in Berkeley Law from August 2020.
Jia Liu is currently the Project-Based Research (PBR) Coordinator and a high school counselor at Guangzhou Foreign Language School in Guangzhou, China. She has guided students who are successfully admitted into University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, The University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, Cornell University, Northwestern University, Rice University, New York University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Toronto, University of Hong Kong, etc. She is currently pursuing the International Professional Certificate in School Leadership from School of Continuing Education at Tsinghua University and UCL.
Before coming to TC in 2018, Jia taught economics (IBDP, IBMYP, AP, IGCSE) and served as a counselor for 5 years. She is an AP Reader for College Board an IBMYP Integrated Humanities Examiner for IBO.
Returning to Guangzhou, China, she focuses on curriculum design and development. PBR is the most innovative and dynamic course in the school, which is guided by students' academic interests, organized by student clubs, empowered by school mentors, and achieved by academic outputs. It helps students to discover their college majors and professional goals through practice and theory. The complete course assessment of PBR aims to comprehensively cultivate students' creativity, collaboration, reasoning, communication and self-directed learning abilities, so as to improve students' logical thinking and problem-solving abilities. The academic outputs can be transformed into various valuable assets to prepare for higher education.
Being a life-long learner, she has gained Certificate in Advanced Education Leadership, Certificate in School Management and Leadership and Certificate in Creating Effective Home and School Partnerships for Student Success from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She also obtained College Advising Certificate from Teachers College, Columbia University and School Counselor Leadership Certificate from ACT.
As a member of International ACAC, ChinaICAC and Chinese Society of Educational Development Strategy Committee for Life and Career Education, Jia Liu strives to guide more and more Chinese students to prepare and thrive in high education all over the world.
Jia also holds a M.S. degree in Policy Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2013).
Ria Mehta is the Director, Strategic Partnerships at the Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality (TRQ) in the New York City Department of Education.
She concurrently serves as the Project Director for a five-year $34 million federal Teacher and School Leader Grant that she co-authored in order to build, retain, and sustain the teaching pipeline in all Bronx schools. In these capacities, she leads 13 district-level partnerships in aligning and implementing talent acquisition and retention initiatives through NYC DOE’s most evidence-based activities such as, clinical preparation of teachers, pre-budget hiring, formal teacher leadership teams, and principal talent development. Ria manages a team that strategically partners and continuously improves the combination of these initiatives with superintendent teams and program teams in order to ultimately eliminate the teacher vacancy and retention gap in the Bronx; and, for the long-term, build the framework to do so for the city’s most underserved districts.
Having taught in Memphis, TN, and graduated from The University of Georgia, Ria has southern roots, but a heart for the Big Apple. Ria received her Masters of Arts in Education Policy (with a concentration in Law) from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2015.
National Project Director, Baby's First Years
Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City
Lauren Meyer is the National Project Director of the Baby’s First Years research, a groundbreaking random assignment study happening in four cities to assess the link between family income and children’s cognitive, emotional, and brain development in the first three years of life. She has a particular interest in data driven reform in the early childhood care and education landscape, and advancing policies to support young children and their families. Lauren comes to the NEED lab with experience overseeing and developing systems for large-scale data collection for early childhood initiatives, and experience working with young children and their families at the pre-K level. Lauren received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and holds a graduate degree in from Columbia University Teachers College.
PK-3 Public Policy Manager and Kindergarten Transition Program Director at Trying Together, Pittsburg, PA
Emily engages in statewide and local advocacy activities to ensure high-quality early education experiences for children birth through age eight. Passionate about empowering educators and connecting policy to practice, she supports the public policy agenda through research and writing of white papers and a variety of professional development resources. In efforts to strengthen the regional connections of the early childhood continuum, Emily coordinates a kindergarten transition program for 43 school districts in the Greater Pittsburgh area. She also co-leads the Recess Advocacy Team, a group of organizations dedicated to health and wellness, education, and play focused on recess practices and policies in elementary schools. Previously, Emily worked for the New York City Department of Education as a Family Support Coordinator, serving families and students from 25 elementary and middle schools. She began her education career teaching first grade in Hazelhurst, Mississippi. Emily received her bachelor’s degree in English from Allegheny College. Additionally, she completed the 2018-19 Office of Child Development and Early Learning policy fellowship and holds a PreK-4 Pennsylvania teacher certification.
Current Position: Ph.D. Student at USC Rossier School of Education
Desiree O’Neal is a Ph.D. student in the Urban Education Policy program at the University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education and research assistant at the National Center Research on Education Access and Choice (REACH) and the USC Rossier Center for Education Policy, Equity, and Governance (CEPEG). She is advised by Dr. Julie Marsh. Her research critically interrogates the racial politics of public education while also exploring the various ways class and social capital shape local, state, and federal K-12 education policy and decision-making. Desiree uses mixed methods to examine the effectiveness of education reform policies and their role in creating more access and opportunity for marginalized students and their communities.
Prior to attending the University of Southern California, Desiree worked as a Research and Policy Intern for the Learning Policy Institute and as a Community Coordinator/ Consultant for the New York City Department of Education. Desiree is also a former middle school reading and social studies teacher. She received a M.A. in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College.
Aki Osawa is an Education Officer at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Philippines. Her work revolves around providing technical assistance to the government in strengthening evidence-based policy making for basic education and adolescent learning.
At Teachers College, Aki earned a master’s degree in Education Policy as a recipient of the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship and Teachers College Scholarship. Taking a specialization in Data Analysis and Research Methods, she had training in designing quantitative research, analyzing education programs with large-scale datasets, and finding practical solutions to enhance education policy and practices. Aki aspires to bring positive and tangible changes in education at the international level using advanced policy analysis and quantitative research skills she has acquired at Teachers College.
Prior to joining Teachers College, Aki worked at the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) Asia-Pacific regional office in Bangkok, Thailand. She undertook various research, publications, and technical assistance to strengthen data collection and monitoring progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on education (SDG 4) in the Asia-Pacific region. Aki also holds a master’s degree in International Development from Nagoya University and a bachelor’s degree in Education from Sophia University in Japan.
Zachary Paull works in education policy advocacy as Project and Systems Manager for Prepared To Teach, Bank Street College of Education. A policy initiative, Prepared To Teach supports a national movement toward sustainably funded, paid, year-long teacher residencies for aspiring teachers. He has had the privilege of working on national projects such as developing the report Toward a National Definition of Teacher Residencies, supporting the collaboration of Prepared To Teach’s National Network of local residency partnerships, and publishing other reports, guidance, and advocacy documents supporting the national movement. Starting with Prepared To Teach in February of 2020 after graduating from TC with his Masters of Arts in Education Policy, specializing in Data Analysis and Research Methods, he worked as a Research Consultant, then Staff Writer & Researcher before his current role.
Zachary began his career in education after graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in History Education and minoring in Sociology and Zoology. Working for three years as a High School Social Studies Teacher in Cleveland, Ohio and Rochester, New York, he transitioned from the classroom to support systems change in education. During his graduate studies at TC he worked in education non-profits such as Opportunity Network and ExpandED, as well as worked supporting staff of the Teachers College Community School.
Joe Rogers, Jr., is the founder and facilitator of Total Equity Now (TEN), a Harlem-based, volunteer-led organization facilitating education information sharing, community organizing, leadership development, and community-based policy research. He is also a senior researcher and public-engagement specialist with the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University.
After completing the Leadership, Policy and Politics Program in 2009, Joe served as director of policy and civic engagement with Education Voters of New York, a consultant to several New York City-based organizations, and co-chair of Manhattan Community Board 9's Youth, Education and Libraries Committee, representing West Harlem.
Previously, as a program associate in Teaching and Learning at New Visions for Public Schools, he co-led a program that strengthened campus-based school library programs throughout NYC. Early in his career, he served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Georgetown University's Volunteer and Public Service Center before launching launching and managing a Literacy*AmeriCorps program for a coalition of community-based adult, child, and family literacy service providers in Washington, D.C.
Joe currently serves on the board of directors for the Harlem Council of Elders, a nonprofit organization fostering scholastic achievement among Harlem's youth, and mutual understanding among Harlem’s youth, senior citizens, and community leaders.
Postdoctoral Fellow at Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Before coming to TC, I worked as a researcher at a non-profit that conducts education research and evaluation. It was through that work that I first became interested in issues of math and science teacher quality. I loved research, and I decided to pursue a PhD when I realized that being able to develop and design my own studies would require me to have a doctorate.
I chose a program in policy because I am primarily interested in the ways that specific policies shape the educational environment, particularly whether they are helping or hurting students, and how they can be manipulated to do the former rather than the latter. In addition, policy was more interesting to me than a program in a pure discipline because I wanted to think about issues in a multi-disciplinary way. Looking at the issues through the lens of just political science, or sociology, or economics felt too intellectually confining to me. With the LPP program, I have had the flexibility to take coursework with professors in a variety of disciplines, both at TC and on the Columbia Main Campus, as well as to pursue fairly extensive quantitative training. I have been able to use the tools I have acquired to develop research that is both analytically rigorous, and theoretically multifaceted.
I was lucky enough to receive an AERA dissertation grant award to support my work, which uses quasi-experimental methods to investigate the efficacy of financial incentives for recruiting and retaining shortage field teachers. Once I finish my degree, I plan to continue pursuing research that is both intellectually challenging, and policy relevant.
My Ph.D. dissertation was titled "Shortage field incentives: Impacts on teacher retention and recruitment." and I defended in April 2012.
Previous Colleges: B.A. in Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Isaac S. Solano earned his Master of Arts degree in Education Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2015. His emphasis at TC was K-12 Education Policy.
He currently works for Denver Public Schools as a Culturally Responsive Education Specialist. In this role, he supports and supervises staff in seven schools across the city. Specifically, he and his team engage in data collection and data analysis aimed at understanding issues that contribute to the Opportunity Gap for certain Denver students. His team is also responsible for implementing interventions that will positively impact under-served students in each of these seven schools.
Isaac is also a Ph.D. candidate in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Program at the University of Denver. His dissertation research examines school district demographic change in suburban school systems.
In addition to his current professional work and research, Isaac has been involved in education and public policy in numerous capacities. In the summer of 2011, Isaac founded the College Boot Camp Program. Its purpose is to motivate high-need, inner-city middle school students to apply to college. The camp does this by exposing them to college students from similar backgrounds. The camp also teaches participants about various scholarship foundations. It also introduces students to the fundamentals of the admissions process, the financial aid process, and other processes necessary for successfully applying to college. Since the program’s inception, it has been taught in three different school districts in the metropolitan area of Denver, as well as Chicago Public Schools.
In the past, Isaac has interned for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington DC, Denver Public Schools Foundation and Sheridan Public Schools. During these experiences he was responsible for attending congressional briefings on Capitol Hill, managing various alumni outreach initiatives and conducting school enrollment research for district-level administrators.
Isaac also actively volunteers his time and talents to two non-profit organizations. He is the Secretary of the Board for Minds Matter Colorado. MMC is an organization dedicated to supporting the educational dreams of high-achieving high school students from low-income households, by providing them with the help and guidance they need to get into and succeed at the college of their choice. Isaac also serves as the President of the North Side High School Alumni Association. This 501c3 organization is dedicated to preserving the history of Denver’s North Side High School and supporting its current students through targeted fundraising efforts.
Over the years, he has published commentaries on education and public policy issues in the Washington Post, the Denver Post and the North Denver Tribune. Once he finishes his doctoral education, Isaac hopes to continue working in and conducting research on the public schools throughout Metropolitan Denver, and in time run for municipal office. It is no secret that his dream is to be elected mayor of his city.
Isaac was born in Denver, Colorado and raised by his maternal grandparents, Stella and Bill Chacon in the North Denver neighborhood of Globeville.
Link to a Denver Public Schools Foundation video where Isaac discusses education and his long-term professional goals.
Program Manager, New York City Department of Education in the Office of Postsecondary Readiness, NYC
Andy manages Learning to Work, a citywide initiative that supports partnerships between community based organizations and high schools. While at TC, he participated in the Federal Policy Institute and the Center for Public Research and Leadership where he worked with Newark Public Schools in studying the district's enrollment process. Prior to graduate school, he worked in college access and admissions in Chicago and Minneapolis. He holds a bachelor's degree in history and American studies from St. Olaf College.
Professor of Higher Education, Affiliate Professor of Law, and Associate Dean for Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at the University of Louisville, KY.
In addition, Jeff Sun has been awarded, as Project Director and Principal Investigator, over $16 million in grants designing and investigating professional/career education practices and policies as well as higher education policy and law, and he has served as Co-PI to over $7 million in workforce development projects. Jeff taught previously at the University of North Dakota, Teachers College of Columbia University, and New York University. Also, while at Teachers College, he served as the Director of Academic Administration.
At Louisville, Jeff established the university’s first competency based education program, developed an industry-university apprenticeship program, collaborated with the state workforce investment boards on several projects, advanced new initiatives for career and technical education teachers, established several partnerships with the U.S. Army including cadre/faculty development and NCO leadership development, led projects that expanded his department enrollments over 25% within 3 years, and diversified his academic program from 25% scholars of color to 44%. He also serves as a member of the “Forward50”, which is a national thought-leadership group to advise Congress on the Higher Education Act. In addition, he has published over 50 scholarly works including 7 books. Other academic works include 13 professional publications and over 90 research-based presentations.
Jeff serves on the Executive Committee for the Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Board of Directors and on the NIH National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. He was the 2019 University of Louisville Trustee Award recipient and the 2019 ASHE service award winner. Jeff received a BBA and an MBA from Loyola Marymount University, a law degree (J.D.) from the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, and an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Recent publication: a report "In-House or Outsource?", co-authored with an adjunct professor and colleague at the University of Louisville SKILLS Collaborative, Heather A. Turner.
Katrina Uhly completed her M.A. in Educational Leadership: Leadership, Policy, and Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2005 after having received her A.B. in English literature and Spanish from Elmira College in 2004. As her LPP capstone project, she worked with the Citizens' Committee for Children to help prepare a policy brief and interview instrument for their task force on "community-based alternatives-to-placement" in the New York City juvenile justice system.
From 2005-2007, Katrina served as a budget/research assistant in the Dean's Office at Teachers College, and she was a research fellow in the University of Minnesota's College of Education & Human Development from 2007-2009. During this time, she co-authored the book Sustaining Our Spirits: Women leaders thriving for today and tomorrow (NASW 2008) with Darlyne Bailey, Kelly McNally Koney, Mary Ellen McNish, and Ruthmary Powers.
Katrina is currently a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Northeastern University and an invited doctoral student at the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations of l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po), Paris. Her research focuses on gender, globalization, and higher education, in particular in France and the United States. Her dissertation examines the strategies of diversification of the elite French institution of higher education, l'Ecole polytechnique and their implications to shape possibilities of meritocratic advancement and who can be considered "elite," in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, nation, and class, both within and beyond France.
Amiee completed an M.A. in education policy from the EPSA program in 2014, after receiving her M.A.T in urban education from Johns Hopkins University and her B.A. in international relations from American University. While at Teachers College, Amiee focused on K-12 education policy and comprehensive educational opportunity. For her capstone project, she worked with the Coalition for Community Schools on a case study examining which policies and mechanisms were necessary to scaling-up a sustainable community school strategy.
Amiee currently works at Hager Sharp, a Washington D.C. communications firm, as a Senior Account Executive. As a member of the education team, she supports the firm in managing communications and evaluation activities related to reviewing state-level implementation of a federal education program under the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) contract.
Prior to joining Hager Sharp, Amiee spent five years as an elementary school teacher, in both urban and suburban school settings. Coupled with the skills Amiee gained from EPSA’s education policy program, she is able to pursue both her passions – education and policy – to make meaningful contributions to education programs and the students they serve, at the national level.
Manny Zapata is a research assistant and Ph.D. student studying Minority and Urban Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his B.A. degree in English and Textual Studies and Political Science from Syracuse University, an M.A.T degree in Secondary English Education (7-12) from New York University, and most recently an M.A. in Education Policy, with a specialization in law, from Teachers College, Columbia University. Over the past two years, Manny has worked as a middle school English teacher at a charter school in NYC. His research interests center the resistance and resilience of undocummented youth as well as the exploration of ethnoracial identity development of Afro-Latinx men in education. He hopes to expand and leverage his critical thinking, analytical, and research skills to become a changemaker for urban communities and work towards crafting sound and equitable policies in schools.
Learning Analyst, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
B.A. in Management Information Systems and English Literature, Beijing Foreign University, Beijing, China
Joe is currently working as a learning analyst with the integrated renewal program at the University of British Columbia, focusing on the integration and implementation of the workplace learning ecosystem as the university is embarking on a multi-year journey to transform the Finance, Human Resources and Student administrative processes and system environments. Joe and his team play an essential role in the business process transformation and system implementation that leverages the industry-leading cloud enterprise solution to replace the current core administrative systems. Before this role, Joe worked as an Associate Admissions Advisor at UBC. His portfolio mainly includes US secondary school, Chinese high school, and international baccalaureate applicants.
During his time at Teachers College, Columbia University, Joe has developed profound knowledge in the decision-making modeling in the education industry and understanding of the importance to appreciate the analytics and reasoning behind the models through different lenses, which are now valuable assets for his work in higher education.
Box: Box 11
Teachers College, Columbia University
Contact Person: Malgorzata Kolb
Phone: (212) 678-3751 Fax: (212) 678-3589