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Grace has been with WestEd since 1998, working alongside Tracy in various research efforts — from high school reform to college and career-ready standards. Joining the Center in 2013, Grace has added a few hats to that of researcher including evaluator, project manager, and professional learning facilitator. Motivated by the work of innovative practitioners, Grace explores opportunities to build on their experiences to inform the larger education community.
Grace holds a B.A. in Economics from Stockton University and an Ed.M. in Secondary Social Studies Education from Rutgers University. While she fully embraces her life as a Californian, she still thinks New Jersey beaches are better.
In 2016, Francesca joined the Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning as the Project Manager for the California Initiatives team. Francesca brings research experience and network connections from her role as an Education Pioneer Fellow with the CDE Foundation, where she conducted qualitative interviews and researched digital resources for standards implementation. At the Center, Francesca coordinates statewide focus group and district interview research projects, aligns coordination across team projects, oversees the budget, and manages external contracts.
Francesca holds an M.A.in Public Policy from the Goldman School at the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Political Science from Washington State University. Hailing from Seattle, WA and Wilmington, NC, you can find Francesca most weekends enjoying the sun on a hike in the Berkeley hills.
Ayele has served as the Network Director for WestEd’s Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning since 2016. She leads the Center’s efforts to develop a network for technical assistance providers that support California State Standards implementation. Additionally, she is developing and piloting tools to support LEAs in bringing coherence to their systems as they scale the California State Standards. Prior to joining WestEd, Ayele served as the Director of Secondary Education in the Montebello Unified School District, where she set the vision and built systems to transition and implement California State Standards in middle and high schools.
Ayele holds a B.A. in History from Stanford University, an M.A. in Education from Teachers’ College, Columbia University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of California, Los Angeles. Outside of WestEd, she enjoys cheering for her boys both on and off the soccer field.
Pamela has been part of the Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning team since 2013 as an education researcher, writing and developing publications and reports about the Center’s interest and commitment to advancing the profession of teaching. Initially joining WestEd in 1999 as a professional developer in adolescent literacy, Pam has always been inspired by learning the stories and experiences of teachers, whom she believes have lasting impact on their students in ways they will never realize.
No longer playing “teacher” with her oversized chalkboard in her childhood home, Pam moved on to studying English and sociolinguistics, teaching real students with her own real-life classroom chalkboard, and earning an M.A. in Language, Literacy & Culture from U.C. Berkeley’s School of Education. With two left feet, she practices Dancer’s Pose and hopes to hold the yoga pose with confidence one day.
Thomas joined WestEd in 2016 after moving to California from the great state of Tennessee. Through his involvement with the Center’s standards implementation research, he works to understand the needs and experiences of educators through focus group analysis and research on national teaching and learning trends. As part of this work, he contributes written and analytic products to advance the Center’s mission and inform the decisions of California leaders and policymakers. In Tennessee, Thomas worked in state policy as a researcher and then a program manager at the Tennessee Department of Education, where he managed the revision and implementation of the state’s 216 career and technical education courses, coordinated outreach with schools, and wrote grants and policy recommendations for the department.
Thomas holds an M.P.P. in Education Policy from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College and a B.A. from the University of Richmond. His obsessions include playing competitive tennis, cheering for the Arsenal football club and the Argentina national team, and cooking and consuming very, very spicy food.
Tracy has been leading the Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning since 2013 and has been a senior staff member at WestEd since 1999. She has the enthusiasm to guide the vision of the Center and the compassion to listen carefully to those with whom she works. As Center Director, Tracy oversees all the research and outreach provided by the Center and ensures the work is mission driven. She actively maintains relationships with outside funders and presents Center work in public settings. Tracy has an extensive background in research and evaluation supporting school and district change.
Tracy holds both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University. When not wrapped up in Center work, she is trying, with little success, to teach her rabbit new tricks. Advice is always welcome!
Joy has served the Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning as a research associate since 2015. At the Center, Joy conducts research for publications focused on teaching and learning, collects and analyzes data from teacher leaders, and manages projects offering teacher leaders a voice. Since joining WestEd in 1998 and again in 2014, Joy’s work has included K–12 policy and reform, school district improvement, large-scale assessment, and program implementation in schools, districts, and states.
Joy holds an M.A. in Education Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hailing from her home office in the Chicago area, Joy can be found most spring, summer, and fall evenings watching baseball, soccer, and football games of her three young boys.
Melissa has been supporting the Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning with dissemination and high-level logistical support since 2014. As administrative assistant for the Center, she coordinates online and face-to-face learning events and supports the Center’s dissemination efforts such as maintaining the Center’s websites, publishing newsletters, and managing social media, among tons of other project support activities to increase the capacity and impact of the Center. Melissa is celebrating her tenth year at WestEd!
Having always been drawn to mission-driven work, Melissa holds a B.A. in Journalism from San Francisco State University and worked at the American Cancer Society and Red Cross prior to joining WestEd. She spends her free time keeping her toddler from eating cat food or reprogramming the TV remote.
Reino has worked with the Center since 2015 and joined WestEd in 2004. He is an experienced researcher and policy analyst who provides evidence-based analysis and technical assistance to policymakers and practitioners. His research focuses on teacher policy and school and district leadership, including investigating the distributions of teachers and principals in particular regions, evaluating professional learning initiatives, and examining current reforms in teacher development and support. Reino works with the Center on research methodology, instrumentation, analysis and dissemination, as well as contributing to project strategy.
Reino holds a Ph.D. in Measurement and Evaluation from the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Education. In his spare time, Reino likes reading historical fiction and visiting the Bay Area’s many live music venues, and he spends an inordinate amount of time concerned with the fortunes of the Boston Celtics.
Bob is a Digital Learning Strategist and has been working with the Center since 2014 as a lead thought partner and chief architect of digital and in-person learning. Since joining WestEd in 2003, he has set strategic direction and managed numerous digital professional learning projects ranging from dynamic resource collections and interactive courses, to professional learning communities for teachers, administrators, and colleagues. His experiences in a variety of national and local educational contexts, as a classroom teacher and as a director of communications and technology for a national school reform network, serve to ground his digital strategy skills in the real-world experiences of educators.
Bob’s most recent projects — Formative Assessment Insights, a six-month digital professional learning experience for over 2,000 teachers across seven states, and Student Agency in Assessment and Learning — use a variety of collaboration and video technologies and content formats to engage teams of teachers in the ongoing implementation of formative assessment practices in their classrooms.
Bob holds an M.A. in Social Sciences in Education from Stanford University, a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico, and a B.A. in American Civilization from Brown University. Outside of work, Bob loves soccer, collecting textiles, and looking for his next favorite song to listen to.
Robert joined the Center in 2015 and serves as its Director for California Initiatives, a multi-year effort to improve teacher and school leader access to high-quality professional learning and technical assistance resources. He also serves as a consultant and thought partner to emergent professional learning organizations seeking to scale work within school districts. Prior to working at WestEd, Robert led the District Coaching and Implementation Services for the College Board’s SpringBoard program. Robert’s responsibilities included administrator PD and coaching product development, sales team product training, and go-to-market strategy development for the program.
Robert is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Nova Southeast University. When away from the daily work of the Center, Robert finds time to teach and mentor pre-service social studies teachers at CSU-Long Beach.
Patsy joined WestEd in 2011 when the Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning moved to WestEd. As project administrator, she brings her years in operations and program management to her role acting as air traffic controller, overseeing contracts and grants, workflow, finances, and commitments of the various Center initiatives. Previously, Patsy served as vice president of operations at the Center, and as a founding staff member she helped establish the organization in 1995.
Patsy holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She spends her free time enjoying horseback riding adventures with her horse, Pal.
Clay joined the team in 2015 to lead communication and technology strategies for the Center’s California Initiatives, overseeing technology design and development, branding, key messaging, external content, quality assurance, and dissemination. He works across the Initiatives’ technical assistance network, district capacity, and research and dissemination strands, focused on equipping California stakeholders with the information, tools, and assistance necessary to strengthen implementation of the new content standards, including providing direct strategic support and advising to the Initiatives’ partners. With a devotion to user-centered design and a background in content of every kind, Clay is fixated on making knowledge work for people.
Before joining WestEd, Clay led communications operations for NewSchools Venture Fund. He received a B.S. in Journalism and Anthropology from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Clay spends most of his free time thinking about food, talking about food, growing food, cooking food, and especially eating food.