Debbie Hansen Executive Office and Administrative Specialist, 612-626-1530
Jessica Bowman is a Researcher with the National Center on Educational Outcomes and the TIES Center. In this position, she works to improve inclusion of students with significant cognitive disabilities in general education classrooms by creating resources for parents and educators and providing targeted and intensive technical assistance to states, districts, and schools related to systems change and professional development. Dr. Bowman began her education career as a teacher of students with significant cognitive disabilities and has experience developing, delivering, and evaluating professional development efforts at the state level. Her research has focused on inclusion and access to the general education curriculum in mathematics for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Dr. Bowman holds a PhD in Special Education from the University of Utah.
Kascinda Fleming is a Researcher with the National Center on Educational Outcomes, with a focus on providing technical assistance to states and entities on including students with disabilities in statewide assessment systems. Prior to joining NCEO, Kascinda worked at the Wyoming Department of Education with a focus on special education monitoring and the inclusion of students with disabilities in the statewide assessment system. Kascinda has an array of experiences working with children, adults, and families with disabilities in rural areas and diverse communities.
Gail Ghere, Ph.D. is a Research Associate with the National Center on Educational Outcomes and the TIES Center, a national technical assistance center focused on inclusive education for students with disabilities, particularly students with significant cognitive disabilities. In this position, she focuses on developing resources and providing technical assistance to states and districts related to effective inclusive education systems, Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) that are inclusive of students with significant cognitive disabilities, systems change and application of research-based practices that lead to positive outcomes for students with disabilities. She has extensive experience in preK-12 schools that began as a related service provider and culminated as a Director of Special Education. She holds her Minnesota administrative licenses in Director of Special Education, K-12 Principal and Superintendent. She has published in the areas of collaborative instructional systems, professional development, program evaluation, and paraprofessional development.
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.
Executive Office and Administrative Specialist
Andrew Hinkle is an Education Program Manager at the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) where he co-lead’s NCEO’s technical assistance activities with the Center’s director. His focus is on topics related to the inclusion of students with disabilities in assessments including issues related to accessibility on state and district assessments. In this capacity, he oversees the development, planning, operation, and internal evaluation of multiple technical assistance activities that are provided to state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders. Prior to joining NCEO, Andrew worked for 14 years at the Ohio Department of Education managing the inclusion of English learners (ELs), students with disabilities, and ELs with disabilities in large-scale assessments, including accessibility, alternate assessments, and graduation requirements. While at Ohio, Andrew was a member of the steering committee for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Assessing Special Education Students (ASES) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS). Before joining the Ohio Department of Education, Andrew taught English as a Second Language and Gifted Education at the Universidade de Uberaba in Brazil.
Director, National Center on Educational Outcomes
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.
Kristin Kline Liu is the Assistant Director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes and the Director 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. 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.
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 on how to build successful communication between parent /guardians, immigrant families and communities, and teachers and school administrators. Dr. Funfe Tatah Mentan is also involved in developing online teacher training modules for accessibility of instruction and assessment. 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. 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.
Michael Moore, 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.”
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.
Virginia Ressa, Ph.D., is a Research Associate with the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). In this position, she provides research-based and policy-based technical assistance to states around the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). She conducts research and provides leadership to improve the inclusion and achievement of students with disabilities. Prior to coming to NCEO, Virginia worked as an Education Program Specialist at the Ohio Department of Education where she focused on helping educators meet the needs of diverse learners through professional learning. Having taught in public schools in multiple cities, Virginia’s career began with a focus on urban education and school improvement. Virginia’s areas of research and publication include professional learning for teachers, formative instructional practices, and the local implementation of federal and state policies. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership at The Ohio State University.
Christopher Rogers is a Research Fellow involved with several projects at NCEO. He administers and revises the Accommodations Bibliography and AA-AAAS 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.
Jennifer Sommerness, Ed.S. is a Research Associate with the TIES Center and National Center on Educational Outcomes. In this position, she develops resources and provides guidance and technical assistance at the state, district, and school levels to improve inclusion and engagement of students with significant cognitive disabilities within general education classrooms and activities. She supports the development of knowledge, skills, confidence, and collaboration of educators and families to support inclusive education systems through the application of evidence-based practices. Prior to joining the TIES Center, she began her education career as a teacher of students with significant cognitive disabilities and has been an independent educational consultant, with an emphasis on practice-level professional development, and access and engagement of the general education curriculum for students with the most extensive support needs. She holds an Ed.S. in Educational Administration from the University of Minnesota.
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, 48-state membership 1% Community of Practice and facilitates NCEO’s intensive technical assistance for states working on the 1.0% requirements. 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 is a Senior Research Associate 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.
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.
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.