Jared Boyce, Ph.D., is a quantitative education researcher specializing in using adult and student data to better understand instructional practices, education leadership, and data use in schools. He has firsthand experience building researcher-practitioner partnerships that empower educators in collecting, interpreting, and taking action on their own data through sustainable processes and improvement science. Boyce received the 2016 Advanced Studies of National Databases Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association and the 2016 Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award in Education and Leadership Strategy for his research on education leadership. He earned his Ph.D. in education leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University and his B.S. in symbolic systems, M.A. in philosophy, and M.A. in education from Stanford University.
Kevin P. Brady (Ph.D., University of Illinois) began his career as an assistant professor in the Department of Educational and Community Programs at The City University of New York (CUNY), Queens College, where he first developed his passion for preparing future school leaders for the varied and complex legal issues in today’s schools. Currently, Dr. Brady is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. One of his primary research and scholarly interests comprises legal issues involving students with disabilities. Dr. Brady is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Education Law Association and is on the editorial board of several journals, including Education and Urban Society and the Journal of Disability Policy Studies.
Joseph Daschbach is a doctoral candidate in Leadership, Policy and Politics at Teachers College, Columbia University. A former public school teacher in both New Orleans and New York City, and a former charter school principal in New Orleans, Joe currently works as an independent consultant with a variety of educational clients. His areas of expertise include school operations and finance, school decentralization, and privatization. He is also the founding director of US-HP Skilled Trade Initiative, a recently launched startup that provides job skills and industry-based certifications to area high school students. Joe currently serves on the Board of Directors at the New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School. In his role as a researcher and doctoral candidate, Joe is examining the impact of decentralization and privatization on school finance. In particular, he is interested in identifying trends that emerge as charter schools in New Orleans begin to re-centralize as charter management organizations, and whether and how those organizational changes lead to a change in expenditures within schools.
Dr. Yolanda Davis is an Associate Director at the Summer Principals Academy-Teachers College, Columbia University. She is originally from Chicago, IL and earned her B.A. in English, Secondary Education, EdM in Education Policy, and PhD in Education Policy at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include: urban educational leadership, recruitment and retention of diverse educators, issues of equity and access in K-12 schools, and principalship. She is a certified secondary education teacher and is very passionate about teaching, researching education issues, and working within education programs to help create change in K-12 schools.
Professor Laura McNeal is a member of the faculty of University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. Her scholarly interests examine issues of access and equity in employment and education law, with a particular emphasis on issues of access and equity for individuals from traditionally marginalized populations. Professor McNeal has contributed to the national debate on law, education policy, and race relations for CNN, CBS, NBC, NPR and other news networks. She has worked with the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School since 2012 where she conducts national empirical legal studies that explore issues of access and equity in education, employment and criminal law. She also conducts implicit bias workshops for educators, lawyers, judges, non-profit organizations and various other sectors. Recently, she served as an expert witness for the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Hearings on School-to-Prison Pipeline. She has received numerous fellowships, honors, and awards, including the Washington University Employment Law Achievement Award and a two-year Stafford Faculty Fellowship for the National Institute on Leadership, Disability and Students Placed at Risk. Dr. McNeal was inducted into the Illinois State University Hall of Fame for her innovative work in the area of education law and policy.
Dr. Andra Penny is currently a practicing elementary school principal at Cottonwood Creek Elementary in Coppell, Texas. She has served as the principal of the school since its inception in 1996. Cottonwood Creek Elementary has been awarded the state’s highest “Exemplary” rating by the Texas Education Agency for all 16 years. Prior to leading Cottonwood Creek, she was an assistant principal in Coppell ISD and Denton ISD, both Texas public school systems. Dr. Penny taught Kindergarten for seventeen years and Gifted and Talented education for one year. She has a total of almost 40 years in Texas public schools. Andra received her BS in Elementary Education, MEd in Early Childhood Education, and PhD in Early Childhood Education/Public School Administration from the University of North Texas. For the past seventeen years, Dr. Penny has been an adjunct professor at UNT where she has taught in the departments of Educational Administration, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Curriculum and Instruction.Dr. Penny is also an adjunct professor with Summer Principals Academy at Teachers College, Columbia University. Andra has served on the state board of Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association for 10 years, and served as the President of the association in 2009-10. TEPSA is the largest organization for elementary principals in the nation. She is the recipient of many awards and honors including the UNT Outstanding Alumnae for two years and National Distinguished Principal finalist. Dr. Penny is a frequent keynote speaker and presenter.
Laura Smith is a Professor of Psychology and Education here at at Teachers College. Her scholarly Interests include Ssocial inclusion/exclusion and emotional wellbeing, social class and poverty, antiracism and Whiteness, and participatory action research.
Dr. M. T. Speller is the CEO and founder of Ivy Learning Services. She is an educational leader with more than 15 years of experience. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Rochester, and her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Speller’s decision to become an educator was born from a desire to provide equity and access for students of color. She believes that all students can succeed with the right resources and support. She intentionally pursued teaching and leadership opportunities in areas where young people were experiencing the most challenges. As a former high school teacher, assistant principal, principal and executive director, she never settled for mediocrity from her students or staff.
During her tenure as principal at the Harlem Children’s Zone, Promise Academy Charter High School, all of her students graduated on time, and all were accepted into college. While serving as the executive director in the same district, students continued the tradition of excellence. Under her leadership, students were accepted into some of the country’s top colleges and universities, including Cornell University, Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania. Accomplishing this goal was not simple. After learning about some of the early struggles that her former students faced as they transitioned to college, Dr. Speller worked with her team to reimagine the high school experience for her students by creating a school community that was more aligned with the demands of post-secondary education. Read about her journey in Repositioning Educational Leadership. This journey allowed her to examine and refine her own
leadership practice. Dr. Speller’s experience as a teacher, school leader, district leader and
executive director give her a unique perspective.
Dr. Speller’s is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University and the College of Staten
Island. Her research focuses on culturally relevant leadership, school reform, college and career readiness and college persistence with a special emphasis on Black and Brown students.