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Robert Stonehill, Ph.D.
Dr. Robert Stonehill is deputy director for Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs in the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Dr. Stonehill manages a $5.1 billion portfolio of programs and special initiatives to ensure that all teachers are highly qualified, particularly in the areas of mathematics and science; to implement and evaluate school reform efforts ranging from teacher incentives through smaller high schools; and to provide high-quality afterschool enrichment through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program. The 21st CCLC program provides more than $1 billion a year to support afterschool programs in high-need areas and was the winner of a 2002 Public Service Excellence Award. In earlier work at the Department of Education, Dr. Stonehill managed the Regional Educational Laboratories and the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), where he helped pioneer the use of the Internet as a way to reach practicing educators. Dr. Stonehill received a doctorate in educational research and a master's degree in mathematics education from the University of Colorado—Boulder as well as a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Queens College, City University of New York.
Elizabeth Witt, Ph.D.
Dr. Elizabeth Witt has worked at the U.S. Department of Education since 2000 in both the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Planning and Evaluation Service. She currently serves as team leader for Teacher Quality Programs, working on Title II—Part A and the Teacher Incentive Fund program. Before coming to the Department of Education, Dr. Witt taught English literature and composition at De Sales University and the University of Rochester. She holds a doctorate in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas—Austin.
Laura Goe, Ph.D.
Dr. Laura Goe is an associate research scientist in the Teaching and Learning Research Center at ETS in Princeton, New Jersey. She holds a doctorate from the University of California—Berkeley in policy, organizations, measurement, and evaluation; a master's degree from the University of Memphis in education leadership and policy, and a bachelor's degree from the University of California—San Diego with a multidisciplinary majorlanguage and learning theory in social context. While at Berkeley, Dr. Goe was the research director for the Bay Area Consortium for Urban Education, where she worked with representatives from seven school districts, seven colleges and universities, and two community colleges in an effort to improve teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention in the Bay Area. She also worked extensively on issues of teacher credentialing and distribution in California. In addition, she participated in a number of research efforts at Berkeley related to assessment, accountability, school finance, and standards setting. Prior to attending Berkeley, Dr. Goe was a seventh-grade language arts teacher in the Memphis, Tennessee, public school system where she taught in an inner-city school in North Memphis. She also taught seventh- and eighth-grade special education in a rural school in Tunica, Mississippi.
Currently, Dr. Goe is a senior researcher for NCCTQ. On July 1, 2006, she began a three-year tenure as a coeditor of the American Educational Research Association journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. In addition, she directs a project for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) focused on assessing the preparation of teacher candidates to teach reading in elementary classrooms. At ETS, she is involved in a number of projects focused on policy analysis and research related to the distribution of teacher qualifications and characteristics in schools and classrooms; measuring teacher quality; value-added modeling; teacher preparation and induction; teacher compensation; professional development; formative assessment; issues of teacher supply and retention in rural and Native American schools; resource allocation in schools and districts; and assessing school culture.
Dr. Goe focuses on mixed-methods research and is knowledgeable about research design and the collection and analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data. She has worked extensively on the development of qualitative instruments, such as interview protocols, surveys, and observation protocols, and has observed hundreds of teachers in eight states for various projects. She also has extensive experience in designing and building quantitative databases and conducting statistical analyses using large state databases as well as national databases, such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Schools and Staffing Survey.
M. René Islas
M. René Islas, chief of staff in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education within the U.S. Department of Education, hails from Tucson, Arizona. He is the principal adviser to Assistant Secretary of Education Henry L. Johnson. Islas is charged with supporting the assistant secretary in managing the overall operations, policy development, and administration of programs within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, particularly programs within the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Prior to serving as chief of staff, Islas was a special assistant to U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, advising him on issues related to teacher quality. He was also director of institutional advancement at the Council for Basic Education. Islas is available to speak on issues related to NCLB and teacher quality.
Stephen L. Barr, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen Barr is the associate superintendent for the Center for School Improvement at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). He provides leadership for the offices of Educational Reform, Federal Programs, Field Relations, and Quality Assurance. Dr. Barr joined ODE in 2001 as the executive director for federal programs. Prior to joining ODE, he served as coordinator of state and federal programs and as assistant commissioner of special education at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for 17 years. He also served for 12 years as teacher, principal, director of special services, and director of elementary education. Dr. Barr earned a bachelor's degree in music from the University of Findlay, a master's degree in music and a specialist degree in school administration from Southeast Missouri State University, and a doctorate in school administration from the University of MissouriColumbia.
Melody Schopp is the director of Accreditation and Teacher Quality for the South Dakota Department of Education. Prior to her six years with the department, she taught for 23 years in a district where she has served as a school board member for the past six years. In addition to her role as the director of K–20 accreditation, she is the director of certification, Title II coordinator, and the South Dakota Department of Education's student transportation director. Schopp serves as a lobbyist for the U.S. Department of Education. She has been the project coordinator for the Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant, which is in its final year, and has helped initiate numerous programs, including mentoring, a new-teacher academy, and statewide support for National Board Certification. She has been working with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education to renew the state's partnership agreement that has required a complete realignment of the teacher-preparation programs and rules to align with national standards. Some of Schopp's major projects have included managing a statewide teacher technology program, the rollout of the state's student information system, the infusion of Praxis II testing for teachers, and the new online teacher certification system; and she currently is charged with the development of the new South Dakota Virtual High School. Schopp has a master's degree in elementary education and is completing her doctorate through the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in educational administration.