Staff

Deb Albus  Research Fellow  e-mail: albus001@umn.edu

Linda Goldstone Research Fellow e-mail: golds240@umn.edu

Debbie Hansen  Executive Office and Administrative Specialist

Maureen Hawes Research Associate e-mail: hawes001@umn.edu

Erik Larson Research Fellow e-mail: edl@umn.edu 

Sheryl Lazarus, Ph.D.  NCEO Director e-mail: laza0019@umn.edu

Kristi Liu, Ph.D. NCEO Assistant Director e-mail: kline010@umn.edu

Charity Funfe Tatah Mentan, Ph.D. Research Associate e-mail: tata0006@umn.edu

Michael Moore  Principal Editor/Writer  e-mail: moore031@umn.edu

Darrell Peterson Educational Program Specialist e-mail: pete2620@umn.edu

Christopher Rogers  Research Fellow  e-mail: roge0229@umn.edu

Kathy Strunk, Ph.D. Education Program Specialist e-mail: kstrunk@umn.edu

Martha Thurlow, Ph.D. Senior Research Fellow e-mail:  THURL001@umn.edu

Terri Vandercook, Ph.D. TIES Center Assistant Director email: vande002@umn.edu

Yi-Chen Wu, Ph.D.  Research Associate  e-mail: wuxx0207@umn.edu

Deb Albus

Deb Albus

Debra Albus is a Research Fellow in the area of English learners (ELs), students with disabilities, and English learners with disabilities, conducting research on the participation and performance of these student groups in statewide testing. This includes policies and practices on the use of accessibility features and accommodations on state administered general and alternate assessments, as well as reviews of policies for the participation of students with disabilities in alternate assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards. She writes annual reports on states’ public reporting of disaggregated data for students with disabilities, including achievement gaps. She also authors and helps develop the interactive Data Analytics reports for NCEO.

Linda Goldstone

Linda Goldstone

Linda Goldstone is a Research Fellow at the National Center on Educational Outcomes. Linda’s research work to date has been on projects related to large-scale assessments and academic standards for preK-12 students with disabilities, English learners (ELs), and ELs with a disability. 

Linda has over ten years’ experience as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) with pre-K learners to adult population with a spectrum of disabilities in various settings. Linda’s current SLP practice focuses on ELs with disabilities in an urban charter school context. She is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Second Language Education Program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota.

Debbie Hansen

Debbie Hansen

Executive Office and Administrative Specialist

Contact: 612-626-1530

Maureen Hawes

Maureen Hawes

Maureen Hawes serves as NCEO’s internal evaluator and SSIP TA Coordinator. She has managed and implemented numerous evaluations, research projects, and technical assistance initiatives designed to improve programs and outcomes for students with disabilities. Maureen served as Co-Principal Investigator and Director for the North Central Regional Resource Center and the Systems Improvement Group and as a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, and spent over 15 years as an evaluator and technical assistance provider, delivering high quality services to numerous state agencies and territories on topics including general supervision and monitoring, policy and program evaluation, systems change, evidence-based practices, data analysis and use, and leadership. Maureen has authored a number of tools and products developed to support both state and local level implementation of IDEA as well as to support state work on the State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR). Her professional areas of interest include policy and program evaluation, performance measurement, general and special education collaboration, systems change, program policy development and implementation, and cultural and linguistic issues for children with disabilities.

Erik Larson

As a Researcher at NCEO, Erik Larson is involved in several projects that aim to make instruction and assessments more accessible for all students, including students with disabilities, English learners, and English learners with disabilities. He regularly writes reports, analyzes state assessment policies, creates professional development resources, and explores teacher and student perspectives through interviews and surveys. Erik has a master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Minnesota and teaches part-time at Minneapolis College. He is proud to have recently received the Future Leader Award from NCEO’s parent organization, the Institute on Community Integration.

Sheryl Lazarus

Director, National Center on Educational Outcomes

Sheryl Lazarus

Sheryl Lazarus, Ph.D. is the Director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). In this position she addresses special education policy issues related to the inclusion of students with disabilities, English learners (ELs), and ELs with disabilities in assessments. She also holds a Minnesota K-12 principal's license. Her research and technical assistance priorities include: student participation, accessibility and accommodations, alternate assessments, technology enhanced assessments, and formative assessment. She has expertise in the assessments that comprise the comprehensive assessment system, school reform, school accountability, research design (including cost analyses), data-driven decision-making, rural education, and the economics of education. She has published extensively, including papers in peer-reviewed journals in both the fields of education and economics.

Contact: 612-625-6032 or laza0019@umn.edu

Short Curriculum Vitae PDF

Kristi Liu

Kristi Liu

Kristin Kline Liu is the Assistant Director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes and a Co-Principal Investigator of the TIES Center. Kristi, a former secondary school and college instructor, has a variety of experiences working on state and federally funded projects relating to large scale assessment and standards-based instruction for students with disabilities, English learners (ELs), and ELs with disabilities. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of the Improving Instruction for English Learners through Improved Accessibility Decisions project that is creating online professional development training modules on accessibility and accommodations for English learners. Her areas of research and technical assistance include: assessment and instruction of ELs and ELs with disabilities, particularly inclusive education for English learners with significant cognitive disabilities, accessibility and accommodations for linguistically and culturally diverse students, academic language development, and teacher training.

Contact: 612-626-9061 or kline010@umn.edu

Charity Funfe Tatah Mentan

Charity Funfe Tatah Mentan

Charity Funfe Tatah Mentan, Ph.D., is a Research Associate with the National Center for Education Outcomes (NCEO). She is currently developing materials on parental involvement in K-12 schools, how to build successful communication between parent /guardians, immigrant families and communities and teachers and school administrators. Specifically, English learners (ELs) and ELS with disabilities. Dr. Funfe Tatah Mentan is involved in developing online teacher training modules for accessibility of instruction and assessment. She is writing grant proposal relating to engaging parents and families in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner to build partnership with school to improve instruction and assessment for students’ success and improved outcome. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, and is a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow with a diploma in International Human Rights Law from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Dr. Funfe Tatah Mentan has been serving the underserved immigrant community as an Executive Director of Africa Network for Development Incorporated (ANDI), a non-profit organization she founded in 2005. She received an award from Voices Magazine for her services in educational leadership in the immigrant community on April 2019. Her research interests are immigrant education and employment, parental involvement, community integration, service learning, shared leadership, community engaged research, communal good, intercultural and cross cultural communication, racial healing, diversity and equity building an inclusive community and peace building.

Contact: 612-625-6585 or tata0006@umn.edu

Michael Moore

Michael Moore

Michael Moore, Principal Editor/Writer, oversees NCEO's publishing efforts, including publications, website content, media relations, and social media. Moore is an award-winning writer who has published articles, essays, and stories in local and nationally published newspapers, magazines, literary journals, and books. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Hamline University and is the recipient of many awards, including a University of Minnesota Communicators Forum “Gold Award” for feature writing and the Institute on Community Integration 2014 “Excellence and Community Building Award.”

Contact: 612-626-0546 or moore031@umn.edu

Darrell Peterson

Darrell Peterson

Darrell Peterson is an Educational Program Specialist involved with several projects at the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). His focus is the development and implementation of professional development on topics related to the inclusion of students with disabilities, ELs, and ELs with disabilities in assessments and instruction, primarily in the form of online training modules for parents and educators. Darrell has over 20 years of professional experience designing and developing professional development for online delivery. His primary area of interest is in the use of instructional technology to enhance the educational achievement of individuals with disabilities.

Christopher Rogers

Christopher Rogers

Christopher Rogers is a Research Fellow involved with several projects at NCEO. He administers and revises the Accommodations Bibliography and AA-AAS Bibliography online databases and reports on empirical research related to assessment accessibility and alternate assessment research and policy. Prior to joining NCEO, Chris worked in the Regional Resource and Federal Centers Network providing information and technical assistance to state departments of special education. In all, Chris has over fifteen years of experience working at technical assistance centers providing information on K-12 policy regarding general and special education. Chris is currently interested in accessible science assessments and assisting states in utilizing research evidence supporting accommodations use for students with disabilities, English learners, and English learners with disabilities. Chris is most curious about the intersection of ethnocultural diversity and emotional-behavioral disability, and has published and presented on these topics for over 10 years.

Kathy Strunk

Kathy Strunk

Kathy Strunk, Ph.D., is an Education Program Specialist at the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)  where she conducts research and provides technical assistance related to special education assessment policies and practices. Kathy’s current emphasis is providing technical assistance to states for implementation of requirements related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) 1.0% state-level threshold on participation of students in Alternate Assessments based on Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (AA-AAAS). In addition to providing leadership for the October 2018 National Convening on the AA-AAAS, she facilitates NCEO’s bi-weekly, 43-state membership 1% Community of Practice and supports NCEO’s bi-weekly1% threshold Peer Learning Groups (PLGs). Kathy supports technical assistance for state identified measureable results (SIMRs) and also provides leadership of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) / Assessing Special Education Students (ASES) / NCEO forum held in conjunction with the National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA).

Martha Thurlow

Martha Thurlow

Martha Thurlow is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Center on Educational Outcomes. In this position, she addresses the implications of contemporary U.S. policy and practice for students with disabilities and English Learners, including national and statewide assessment policies and practices, standards-setting efforts, and graduation requirements. Dr. Thurlow has conducted research and technical assistance for the past 45 years in a variety of areas, including assessment and decision making, learning disabilities, early childhood education, dropout prevention, effective classroom instruction, and integration of students with disabilities in general education settings.

Dr. Thurlow has published extensively on all of these topics, authoring numerous books and book chapters, and publishing more than 200 articles and reports. She served as co-Editor of Exceptional Children from 1995 to 2003, the research journal of the Council for Exceptional Children, and is currently associate editor for numerous journals.

Contact: (612) 624-4826, or THURL001@umn.edu

Martha Thurlow Curriculum Vitae PDF

Terri Vandercook

Terri Vandercook

Terri.Vandercook, Ph.D. is the assistant director of TIES Center. She previously was an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Special Education at the University of St.  Thomas and coordinator for the program in Developmental Disabilities. She has worked with and learned from individuals with significant developmental disabilities, their families, and team members for 40 years. Themes throughout her career have been the active belonging, participation, and learning (inclusion!) of each child in her or his community. Her areas of focus include inclusive schooling, collaborative teaming, instruction of students with significant cognitive disabilities, and teacher training.

Yi-Chen Wu

Yi-Chen Wu

Dr. Wu is an experienced psychometrician and the statistical expert for the National Center on Educational Outcomes. She has been working with large-scale assessment data since 2000. She has also had experience on analyzing state-wide assessment datasets and different types of datasets. She has used the analyses of regression model and MANOVA on various projects and presented at national conferences. Dr. Wu has authored more than 40 publications, including 18 journal articles, 22 technical reports, and made more than 40 conference presentations on the topic of reading and psychometric areas. Dr. Wu holds a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.