Our Team

Grace Calisi

Grace Calisi

Research Associate

As a Research Associate Grace Calisi focuses on high school reform and postsecondary programs for low-income and at-risk youth.

Since joining WestEd in April 1998, Calisi has conducted extensive research on the topics of high school reform and small schools as well as national and state reform efforts.

She is coauthor of the Rethinking High Schools series and director of On The Right Track conferences, both of which have been disseminated to a wide audience including practitioners, parents, and community members.

Calisi is a member of the Regional Educational Laboratory West, where she assists in the development and design of an annual statewide conference showcasing and sharing successful classroom and schoolwide strategies.

Prior to joining WestEd, Calisi was a high school teacher in an urban high school in New Jersey.

Calisi received an EdM in secondary education from Rutgers University, New Jersey, and a BA in economics from Richard Stockton College, Pomona, New Jersey.

Francesca Delgado

Francesca Delgado

Project Manager, California Initiatives

Francesca Delgado is the Project Manager for WestEd’s Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning, California Initiatives team. She ensures consistent alignment of the team’s projects, progress indicators, and manages external contracts.

In June 2016, Francesca joined WestEd after a yearlong Education Pioneers fellowship with the Californians Dedicated to Education (CDE) Foundation, which supports the California Department of Education. She completed research on local and national trends in Common Core State Standards implementation and online instructional tools.

In 2015, Francesca received her Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. During this time she worked with the HOPE SF initiative and interned for the Obama Administration’s anti-poverty Promise Zones initiative with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Prior to graduate school, Francesca was a Probation Officer supervising high-risk, adult offenders in Seattle, WA.

Ayele Dodoo

Ayele Dodoo

Network Director, California Initiatives

Ayele Dodoo serves as the Network Director for WestEd’s Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning.

Dodoo leads the Center’s efforts to develop a network for technical assistance providers that support California State Standards implementation.

Prior to joining WestEd, Dodoo served as the Director of Secondary Education in the Montebello Unified School District (MUSD), where she set the vision and implemented systems to transition and implement Common Core State Standards in middle and high schools.

Additionally at MUSD, Dodoo was responsible for the inception, development, and scaling of the Linked Learning approach districtwide, building a college and career pipeline from the middle schools. She also wrote a successful $6 million Career Pathways Trust grant to institutionalize work-based learning within the Linked Learning Pathways.

Before joining MUSD, Dodoo worked at the Los Angeles County Office of Education in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction. She provided customized instructional training to schools and districts, in addition to coordinating a principal coaching program.

Previously, Dodoo served as a UCLA Center X leadership and instructional coach in a variety of educational settings and was a teacher in the Long Beach Unified School District. She has taught masters level courses at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Whittier College.

Dodoo received a BA in history from Stanford University, an MA in education from Teachers’ College, Columbia University, and an EdD in educational leadership from UCLA.

Pamela Fong

Pamela Fong

Research Associate

As a Research Associate with Innovation Studies at WestEd, Pamela Fong focuses on issues related to literacy, school reform, college readiness, and Common Core State Standards.

Fong designs and conducts qualitative research, and develops evidence-based reports for educators, policymakers, and foundation executives to support education decision making.

Her work has contributed to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Knowledge Center, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Completion by Design, Reading Apprenticeship at WestEd, U. S. Department of Education’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program, and California Office to Reform Education.

Fong was principal investigator on the Expository Literacy Grant Evaluation and co-authored the final report for California Academic Partnership Program.

Fong returned to WestEd in 2007, having first joined in 1999 as a Professional Developer and Research Associate for the Strategic Literacy Initiative.

Previously, she was an adjunct faculty member of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, teaching curriculum and instruction in academic literacy to pre-service teachers and graduate students.

Fong also taught academic reading and writing at University of California, Berkeley’s College Writing Program and high school English in the San Francisco Bay Area.

She received a BA in English and single-subject teaching credential from San Francisco State University and an MA in education of language, literacy, and culture from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was awarded the Evelyn Lois Corey Graduate Fellowship.

Tracy Huebner

Tracy Huebner

As the leader of the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, Tracy brings a wealth of experience identifying, describing, and researching innovative education practices and trends and connecting researchers, practitioners, and policy makers.

As a senior researcher at WestEd, she has researched trends in college and career readiness, high school reform, digitally enhanced education, and Common Core standards for organizations such as Google, the Gates Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the CORE districts in California

Previously, Huebner worked at the Harvard Children’s Initiative as a lecturer and researcher on complex evaluations for school-based programs.

Huebner received an MA and PhD in education from Stanford University and completed postdoctoral work at Harvard University as a Spencer Fellow in Education.

Joy Lewis

Joy Lewis

Research Associate

Joy W. Lewis is a Senior Research Associate with the Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning focused on project management and program implementation involving districts, schools, states, and education policy leaders. Over the past 15 years her work has centered on K-12 policy and reform, large-scale assessment, accountability, curriculum alignment, early childhood education, and implementation of educational software and data solutions. Currently, Lewis’s work addresses the implementation of the new content standards, and support for resource development projects, as well as statewide efforts to deliver broad change management systems for school improvement.

Lewis received her MA in education administration and policy analysis from Stanford University and her BA in sociology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Melissa Josue

Melissa Josue

Administrative Assistant

Melissa Josue is an administrative assistant at the Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning at WestEd. She serves as a learning event coordinator for the Teacher Practice Networks initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She also assists the Center’s communication and dissemination efforts.

Her dissemination support at WestEd has included helping to establish the Doing What Works (DWW) dissemination team, drafting dissemination and social media strategy plans, and creating editorial and publication calendars. She has also assisted with launch efforts for new products and resources and produced e-newsletters and announcements.

Josue has also assisted the production of professional development webinars and conferences for Doing What Works and the Regional Educational Laboratory West (REL West). Her project management support included leading event planning meetings, tracking production progress, as well as creating tracking tools, workflow plans, and job aids to save time, increase capacity, and streamline production.

As an active volunteer in her community, she has also served as communications director for the national advocacy organization Filipino Americans for Progress, as well as editor-in-chief of the Filipina Women’s Network’s V-Diaries magazine.

Prior to joining WestEd, she served as human resources assistant at the California headquarters of the American Cancer Society. Josue received a BA in Journalism from San Francisco State University.

Robert Montgomery

Robert Montgomery

Digital Learning Strategy

Robert Montgomery is a Senior Project Manager in WestEd’s Information Services department.

Montgomery has managed numerous web projects, including e-learning courses, online professional learning communities, dynamic resource libraries, complex web applications, and usability studies.

He has also managed interactive media development projects, including video and Flash presentations.

His diverse experience in the field of education—in a variety of national and local educational contexts, as an elementary and high school teacher, and as a communications and technology director of a national school reform network—informs his web work in the real-world experience of educators.

Montgomery received a BA in American civilization from Brown University, a BS in education from the University of New Mexico, and an MA in social sciences in education from Stanford University.

Robert Sheffield

Robert Sheffield

Director, California Initiatives
As the Director for California Initiatives at the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd, Robert Sheffield focuses on strengthening implementation of the new content standards in California.

Sheffield works closely with California teachers and teacher advocacy groups to gather feedback and insights into their implementation of the new content standards in the state. His work also involves communicating the Center’s findings to California technical assistance providers, county offices of education staff, and state policy leaders so the information can guide enhancements in support of teachers.

Previously, Sheffield served as Executive Director for District Implementation at the College Board. During his tenure, he led efforts to grow the reach and effectiveness of the SpringBoard program through school and district leader professional learning and coaching. Sheffield also led advisory councils and focus groups to ensure that teacher voice was reflected within the program’s design and delivery.

Prior to working at the College Board, Sheffield served as a district administrator, high school teacher, and athletic coach.

Sheffield received a BS in educational studies and U.S. history from Vanderbilt University and an MS in curriculum, instruction, and technology from Nova Southeastern University.

Patsy Wilkes

Patsy Wilkes

Project Administrator

As Project Administrator with the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd, Patsy Wilkes coordinates key initiatives, all aimed at strengthening the quality of the teaching workforce and improving student learning.

Specifically, Wilkes coordinates the Center’s projects, resources, publications and reporting, and works with the Center’s project teams and agency infrastructure to ensure all deliverables are accounted for and due dates are met.

Wilkes is the project administrator for the Center’s Teacher Practice Networks initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

She has provided project oversight for previous Center initiatives such as the Invisible Achievement Gap research on the academic outcomes of California students in foster care, the groundbreaking research under Teaching and California’s Future, Strengthening Science Education in California, and Strengthening Science and Math Course-taking, among others. National and state policymakers, educators, education leaders, foundations, and the public all benefit from these initiatives.

Wilkes joined WestEd in 2011 when the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning moved to WestEd. Previously, Wilkes served as Vice President of Operations and Programs at the Center. She was responsible for program leadership and oversight, financial management and administration, resource development, internal and external operations, and special projects. As a founding staff member, she helped establish the organization in 1995.

Wilkes received a BA in psychology and a BA in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Clay Willis

Clay Willis

Communications Specialist

Clay Willis leads communications strategy and technology development for WestEd’s Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning at WestEd, California Initiatives.

Willis works across the California Initiatives’ technical assistance network, school district network, and research and dissemination strands, with a focus on equipping California stakeholders with knowledge, tools and assistance to aid in strengthening implementation of the new content standards, including providing direct strategic support and advising to the Initiatives partners. Willis further contributes communication strategy and other support across all of The Center’s initiatives, including the Teacher Practice Networks.

Prior to joining WestEd, Willis served as the senior communications associate at NewSchools Venture Fund, fulfilling the breadth of communications operations, advising leadership on marcom strategy, as well as working as a core planner of its annual summit.

Before joining NewSchools, Willis worked in communications for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; as field and communications operative in Oakland, CA local politics; as a startup marcom consultant; and began his career as a print and digital journalist.

Willis received a BS in journalism and anthropology from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Willis recently completed an Education Pioneers visiting fellowship.