Melody Arabo is an Outreach Specialist for EdReports.org, developing partnerships with states, districts, and non-profits across the country to ensure students have access to high quality instructional materials. Prior to this role, Melody was a Teacher Ambassador Fellow with the U.S. Department of Education and was honored to serve as the 2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year. She is a proud graduate of Michigan State University for both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and spent fifteen years teaching third grade in the Walled Lake School District in West Bloomfield, MI. In addition to being a wife, mother of three, and children's book author, Melody is a passionate advocate for bullying prevention, special education, teacher leadership, and all things education.
Instructional Materials Manager
Asma Ashraf is the Instructional Materials Manager at EdReports. Prior to joining the team, Asma served as a Founding 11th Grade English and AP Language Instructor within Chicago’s Noble Network of Charter Schools where she also served as a mentor teacher, 11th Grade Level Chair, and Summer School Principal. Prior to that position, she taught 6th Grade ELA in the Mississippi Delta and served as an Operations Director at Teach For America’s Delta Institute. Asma also has experience in recruitment, data analysis, and strategic planning through her work on Teach For America’s recruitment team. She earned her B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Bradley University.
Jess Barrow is EdReport.org’s Communications Manager. Jess joined EdReports from Denver Public Schools where she focused on communications strategies and tactics to support a teacher leadership model being implemented across the district. Prior to working with DPS, Jess lived in Chittagong Bangladesh where she directed an English language foundation program at the Asian University for Women. She has been dedicated to the field of education throughout her career and has worked for school districts, government agencies, and non-profits in hopes of serving teachers and students and sharing their amazing stories. Jess earned her M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College and her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.
Director of Communications
Janna Chan is the Director of Communications at EdReports, overseeing the organization’s marketing communications strategy. In this role, she works closely with organizational stakeholders to develop compelling assets and campaigns to better inform educators’ decisions about high quality, aligned instructional materials to support classrooms and schools across the country. Janna brings more than a decade of marketing experience with a history of leading successful multi-channel digital strategies designed to increase brand awareness, deepen engagement, and build community for socially progressive organizations. Most recently, she led digital channel strategy and knowledge management for the K-12 Education Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Janna earned her B.A. in journalism from the University of Washington.
Instructional Materials Manager
Katie Dunn is the Instructional Materials Manager at EdReports. Prior to joining the organization, Katie served on the EdReports Math Content Review Team as a writer. As the Coordinator for Elementary/Middle School Special Education Curriculum and Instruction for Jefferson Parish Schools, Katie mentored teachers around the New Orleans metropolitan area, helping them to improve curriculum and instructional practices for students with special needs. She has ten years of experience in teaching Special Education, specializing in Deaf Education, and served the State of Louisiana as a Teacher Leader Advisor. Katie has her B.A. and M.A.T. in Education of the Hearing Impaired from University of New Orleans.
Shannah Estep most recently served as the Director of the Standards, Assessment and Instruction initiative with the CORE Districts and led a team comprised of 50 senior instructional leaders representing each of those districts. Shannah brings more than 25 years of experience in education, including writing curriculum and assessments for AIMS Education Foundation and teaching at Fresno Pacific University, as well as acting as a professional development specialist, and coach for districts across the country in the area of mathematics education and reform. Shannah began her career as a math and science teacher and through her years in the classroom, has taught multiple grades K-12. She is a proud graduate of California State University, Fresno where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.
Director of Mathematics Review
Stephanie Fisher, MS.Ed, Ed.D, is the Director of Mathematics Review for EdReports. Previously, Stephanie was the Director of Curriculum and Standards Research and Manager of Global Standards and Scales at Global Schools, Pearson, developing systems to conduct alignment of international curricula standards in Mathematics and Literacy. Prior to that, Stephanie worked at the National Center on Education and the Economy, and America's Choice bringing large scale school improvement to urban districts across the United States with an emphasis on Performance Standards. Stephanie has worked at New Visions for Public Schools, co-facilitating and developing The Leadership Academy, and served as Director of The New Standards in Education project at the University of Pennsylvania. Stephanie taught middle school mathematics, served as a principal in a large urban middle school, and is an avid learner. She earned a B.S. Design from SUNY College at Buffalo, an M.B.A. from the University of Buffalo in Finance, an MS.Ed from Sunbridge/Teachers Colleges in Curricula Design. She continued her studies in an MFA program at the Tyler School of Art for fiber, and at the University of Pennsylvania for a Doctorate in Education, and holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Administration.
Content Specialist, English Language Arts
Connie Hebert is an English Language Arts Content Specialist for EdReports.org. Connie first joined the organization as an ELA Lead Reviewer and then as an ELA Review Consultant. Connie has 13 years’ experience as an elementary teacher. Connie also served the state of Louisiana as a Teacher Leader Advisor and served on several state committees, including the Louisiana Standards Review Committee which was charged with helping to review and develop the K-12 Louisiana Student Standards for ELA. She was honored to be selected a finalist for Louisiana State Teacher of the Year in 2014. Connie is a proud graduate of Northwestern State University of Louisiana, where she earned her B.A in Elementary Education.
Eric Hirsch is the Founding Executive Director of EdReports. Prior to coming to EdReports.org, Eric was the Chief External Affairs Officer at the New Teacher Center, the Executive Director of the Center for Teaching Quality and the Education Program Manager at the National Conference of State Legislatures. He has supported policymakers in 35 states, written and published more than 150 articles, book chapters, reports and policy briefs, and presented at conferences across the country on topics ranging from school governance to teaching quality. He has worked with education leaders in 20 states and 25 large districts over the past decade to gather more than 1.5 million surveys from school-based educators about the teaching and learning conditions in their schools, providing more than 30,000 school reports that help educators and policymakers to create school environments to accelerate teacher effectiveness. Eric received his teacher certification in Massachusetts and his M.A. in political science from the University of Colorado.
Chief Operating Officer
Donnidra Johnson is the Chief Operating Officer of EdReports.org. Prior to joining the team, Donnidra served as Chief Operating Officer at KIPP Dallas – Fort Worth Public Schools where she oversaw all business operations for the growing region and managed and supported the Finance, Operations, and Talent departments. She led regional initiatives to design, implement, and monitor systems and practices that enhanced organizational efficiency and scalability. Donnidra also led the continuous assessment of KIPP DFW's expansion plan to grow from one to ten schools in southern Dallas and played an instrumental role in realizing growth by a factor of at least five in total talent count, student enrollment, schools served, and annual operating revenue over six years. Prior to KIPP, Donnidra served as a public accountant at Ernst & Young. She also has strategic planning, operations, business consulting, and nonprofit board experience with Humana, KIPP NYC, Future Leaders Institute Charter School, and Christian Community Storehouse. Donnidra earned a B.S in Business Administration from the University of Florida, a M.S. in Accounting from the University of Virginia, and a M.B.A. with specializations in Strategy and Entrepreneurship & Innovation from New York University.
Mark LaVenia is the Data Strategist at EdReports and a Strategic Data Project Fellow through the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. Prior to joining EdReports, Mark was a methodologist at the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University, where his responsibilities consisted of executing experimental research designs, instrument development, statistical analysis, and report writing. His interests in education research and data analysis stem from his early-career experience as an elementary school teacher, serving as a special education teacher and site-based literacy coach, and graduate training as an Institute of Education Sciences Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Fellow through Florida State University’s Florida Center for Reading Research. Mark earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from Florida State University and is a certified reviewer for the What Works Clearinghouse Group Design Standards.
Erin Longcor is the Office Manager for EdReports.org. Erin came to EdReports from Teach For America • Chicago-Northwest Indiana, where she worked in Operations supporting more than 100 regional, national, and partner staff. Aside from working on day-to-day operations, Erin worked on an 18-month project to downsize and reconfigure the Chicago office space, and provided support for over 75 events held in the office. Prior to that role, Erin worked at Mack & Associates, a boutique staffing firm, where she managed Temporary Staff Payroll, Accounts Payable/Receivable, and Office Operations. Before moving to the Chicago area, Erin began her professional career at Land of Lincoln Credit Union where she managed Member Relationships by educating and assisting members with their personal finances.
Liisa Moilanen Potts
Director of English Language Arts Review
Liisa Moilanen Potts is the Director of English Language Arts Review for EdReports. Previously, Liisa was the Director of Literacy/ELA and Professional Learning Integration for the Washington State department of education (OSPI), where she worked to support statewide birth-to-20 literacy efforts for 295 public districts. Prior to that position she worked as an instructional and leadership coach for public and private schools, focusing on school improvement efforts in reading, writing, cross-content strategies, and building professional learning communities. Liisa was a junior high and high school English teacher for ten years (Iowa and California) and continues to teach English at the community college level. She earned her B.A. in English from the University of Washington and her M.A.T. in English Education from the University of Iowa and is a NWP Fellow (South Basin, 1997).
Early Literacy Consultant
Katharine Overhauser-Smith is an instructional coach and literacy specialist at Michael Anderson Elementary School on Fairchild Air Force Base. Katharine joined EdReports.org as an English Language Arts reviewer in 2015. She has been a teacher for 12 years serving as a classroom teacher in grades 3-5, a STEM teacher in grades 6-8, a highly capable teacher in grades 3-6, and an instructor in early literacy at Washington State University. She has her National Board Certification in Middle Generalist. Katharine earned her B.A. in Sociology at the University of Washington and earned her Master’s degree in Teaching at Washington State University. She is currently completing her Ph.D. at Washington State University in Language, Literacy, and Technology. Katharine’s research focuses on critical content analysis of picture books depicting military children.
Content Specialist, English Language Arts
Tricia Parker is an English Language Arts Content Specialist for EdReports. Prior to joining the organization, Tricia served for seven years as the Director of ELA Education for the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE). In this role, she served Nebraska’s 239 districts, 17 Educational Service Units, and institutions of higher education to meet the needs of Nebraska’s learners. This included leadership work in school improvement, assessment, literacy in career and technical education, and the revision of Nebraska’s content standards in ELA, mathematics, science, and social studies. Tricia also served as co-coordinator for the State Coordinators of English Language Arts (SCELA), a sub-group of the Conference on English Leadership (CEL), and an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Prior to NDE, Tricia was an elementary teacher and high ability learning facilitator in Scottsbluff, Nebraska for eight years. She earned her B.A. in elementary education with a minor in special education from Chadron State College (Chadron, NE) and her M.S. in Education with a focus on Educational Technology from Lesley University (Cambridge, MA). She is completing her Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Human Resources Manager
Edy Penn is the Human Resources Manager for EdReports. She is responsible for spearheading talent acquisition; onboarding, training, and development of staff; and managing and maintaining employee benefits and all HR-related compliance issues company-wide. Edy, a licensed attorney, is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of the Milton Hershey School located in Hershey, PA. In addition to her legal background, Edy also has varied experience in the non-profit arena having served as a Board Member, Deputy Executive Director, and Business Manager in her home state. Edy holds a Bachelor of Art in Broadcast Communications and a Juris Doctorate degree, both from Temple University. She has one teenage daughter and is a big fan of foreign language films and EDM music.
Director of Science Review
Sam Shaw is the Director of Science Review at EdReports.org. Sam came to EdReports from the South Dakota Department of Education, where he oversaw science education in addition to social studies, fine arts, advanced placement, the South Dakota Virtual School, among other programs, and was also a participant in the SD Governor’s Leadership Program. Sam worked statewide with teachers and school leadership to advance education related to college and career readiness (CCR), specifically with regard to CCR standards implementation. Prior to his role at the Department of Education, Sam was a middle school science teacher. He has also held positions of board director and financial officer with the Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) where he was also a collaborator on the Science Professional Learning Standards. Sam earned his B.S. in Biology from South Dakota State University and his Executive Master in Public Administration from the University of South Dakota.
Jamie Siers is EdReports.org's Program Manager. Jamie came to EdReports from Grantmakers for Education (GFE), where she worked for nearly 300 education philanthropies to keep them engaged and united in the common goal of strengthening education for all learners. Jamie has also worked as a consultant, advising school districts on strategy and communications best practices to help advance their missions and engage parents and other stakeholders in their community of learning. Having been raised in a family of educators, she is eager to contribute to that tradition, which is why, after years of experience working in the public and private sector in internal communications, program management, and logistics, she is never happier than when she's working to improve K-12 education. Jamie earned her M.A. in international development from the University of Denver and her B.A. in political science from the University of Iowa.
Alex Spangler is the Program Manager at EdReports.org, heading up our project management and supporting outreach related to our current priorities. She is responsible for the development, execution, maintenance, and timelines for projects related to our work with districts, states, and partners throughout the country. Alex’s mission in education began in Philadelphia, where she taught 7th and 8th grade special education as a part of Teach For America’s 2009 corps. After teaching for 3 years in Philadelphia, she taught for two years in Chicago and more recently, she led Teach For America’s Need-Based Transitional Funding Program which supports corps members in their transition to the classroom. Alex earned her Bachelor of Art in Sociology and Media Communication at DePauw University and a Master of Elementary Education with certification in Special Education at Chestnut Hill College. Alex has two crazy cats who she adores and is training as an aerialist in her free time.
Regan Spurlock is a Program Coordinator at EdReports.org. Previously, she served as a Grants Programs Manager for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. There she oversaw general operating, project, and capacity-building grants for organizations and individuals, to increase access to arts, humanities, and arts education in the District of Columbia. In 2017 she was honored to be awarded a Certificate of Excellence for Grants Management Service by DC's Grants Management Advisory Council. Prior to that, she worked at the New York International Children’s Film Festival, where she managed the annual festival and launched the organization’s media education field trip program. She has experience in nonprofit management, development, and program evaluation. She holds an M.A. from The George Washington University and a B.A. from Vanderbilt University.
Carissa Tawara is the Operations Coordinator at EdReports.org. She plays a key role in leading day-to-day operations, creating strong support systems, and managing the planning and logistics for all events. Carissa began her career with Teach For America in Dallas/Fort Worth as their Operations Coordinator. Since then, she has continued to grow in her ability to build strong systems through supporting teacher licensure, onboarding, and regional events as a staff member with Teach For America- Colorado. She also has experience working as a Recruitment and Hiring Coordinator for a Denver based charter school network. Carissa holds a B.A. in Business Administration from The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. She is a proud Colorado native who enjoys spending time with her pup, trying new vegan recipes and watching documentaries on Netflix.
Content Specialist, High School Mathematics
Tim is the High School Mathematics Content Specialist for EdReports.org. Prior to joining the organization full time, Tim was a member of the Anchor Educator Working Group that developed the review tool for K-8 mathematics and was a member of the Content Review Team that created the inaugural set of reviews for EdReports.org. Most recently, Tim was the Mathematics Curriculum Specialist for grades 6 through 12 with Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY, and in that role, Tim developed curriculum documents, district-level assessments, and professional learning opportunities for teachers and administrators that aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Prior to working as a mathematics curriculum specialist, Tim was a classroom teacher for 10 years with courses ranging from Geometry to Advanced Placement Statistics, and he taught in public and private schools in the states of Georgia and Kentucky. Tim received his B.A. from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN majoring in mathematics and Latin, and he earned his M.Ed. from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA majoring in secondary mathematics education. Currently, Tim is working on a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY, and his research will focus on how teachers’ mindset impacts students’ mathematics achievement in grades 9 through 12.
Chief Strategy Officer
Lauren Weisskirk is the Chief Strategy Officer at EdReports.org, overseeing the organization’s communications, outreach, and impact priorities. In this role, she works with districts, states, and partners throughout the country to prioritize the selection and implementation of high-quality, aligned materials that will best meet the needs of their students. Lauren brings experience from multiple roles in public education – from the classroom to the federal government – to her work at EdReports. Most recently, she led instructional policy, professional learning, and organizational management teams at the New York City Department of Education. Her passion for education began in Indonesia as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow, where she taught English in public high schools. She earned her M.P.A. from New York University and her B.A. from Claremont McKenna College.
Content Specialist, Science
Lacey Wieser is the Content Specialist, Science at EdReports. In this role, she supports science reviews and activities that inform educators’ decisions about high quality instructional materials aligned to the NGSS. Prior to joining EdReports, Lacey was the Director of K-12 Science and STEM at the Arizona Department of Education where she provided professional development and instructional support to assist teachers and district leadership in advancing standards-based science and STEM education in Arizona. Prior to her role at the Department of Education, Lacey taught high school biology and held positions in the software industry as a technical writer and product manager. Lacey earned her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her M.S. from Louisiana State University, and completed certificate programs in secondary education and eLearning instructional design and development.