Biographies of Presenters

The States' Impact on Federal Education Policy:
New Perspectives on Research and the Historical Record

Gordon Ambach                          Marguerite Clarke                          Sandra Covington Smith

Christopher Cross                        Margaret Goertz                             Tom Hehir

Jeffrey Henig                               Carl Kaestle                                    Kathryn McDermott

Lorraine McDonnell                    Margaret McLaughlin                     Lynn Olson

Carmen Perez-Hogan                 Kathleen Roe                                 Marshall Smith

Patricia Sullivan

Gordon Ambach

Former Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers

Throughout his five-decade career in education administration, Gordon Ambach strengthened education federalism from both the national and state perspectives.  During the early years, 1956 to 1964, as an intern and later as a legislative specialist in the U.S. Office of Education, he worked on implementation of National Defense Education Act (NDEA) and the development of federal legislation which led to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and other early education acts under President Johnson.  From 1967 to 1987, as Executive Deputy Commissioner and later as New York State Commissioner of Education, he had the responsibility to advocate for federal education policy and to integrate federal programs with state services.  In 1987, he returned to Washington as the Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and served as principal advocate for the council with the administration and Congress on the full range of education services.  While with CCSSO, he served as a representative to the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, promoting cross-national comparisons of educational practice and student performance, and learning about the increasing impact of global developments on American education.  After retiring from CCSSO in 2001, he served on several non-profit boards and devoted energies to support education leadership and more effective education federalism strategies.

Marguerite Clarke

Senior Education Specialist, The World Bank

Marguerite Clarke is a senior education specialist in the Human Development Network of the World Bank.  Previously, she held academic appointments at universities in Australia and the United States and worked as a classroom teacher in the Irish and Japanese education systems.  Clarke’s work focuses on equity and quality issues in education, particularly in relation to the development and use of large-scale testing and accountability systems.  In her current position, she oversees the World Bank’s global initiatives in the area of student learning assessment.  The recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, Spencer/Hewlett Postdoctoral Fellowship, and other awards, Clarke has published extensively on the role of testing in educational policymaking, student learning, and high-stakes decision making.  She has a doctorate in educational research, measurement, and evaluation (Boston College, 2000); is a member of UNESCO's international expert group on university rankings; and is on the editorial board of the journal, Theory into Practice.

Sandra Covington Smith

Research associate, National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities

Sandra Covington Smith is a research associate at the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities (NDPC-SD) at Clemson University.  She develops technical assistance documents used by state and local education agencies, policymakers, and parents.  She develops, coordinates, and provides capacity building training and technical assistance to state and local education agencies in the development of effective dropout prevention interventions and models based on assessment of recipient needs, including the causal analysis of dropout effects and selection of appropriate strategies that represent “best fit,” based on state and local level data.  Covington Smith holds a Ph.D. in special education/behavior disorders with an emphasis in early childhood education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  She is a certified Positive Behavior Support (PBS) trainer through the MU Center for School-wide PBS.  Convington Smith is the lead faculty for PBS with the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative.  She serves as the ethnic multicultural member-at-large elect of the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders Executive Committee. 

Christopher Cross

Chairman, Cross & Joftus

Christopher Cross is chairman of Cross & Joftus, LLC, an education policy consulting firm.  From 1994 to 2002, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Basic Education (CBE).  Before joining CBE, Cross served as director of the Education Initiative of The Business Roundtable and as assistant secretary for educational research and improvement in the U.S. Department of Education.  From 1994 to 1997, he chaired the Maryland State Board of Education.  Christopher chaired the National Research Council Panel on Minority Representation in Special Education from 1997 to 2002.  He currently chairs a NRC panel on Early Childhood Mathematics.  He is on the board of trustees of Whittier College and serves on the board of The New Teacher Project and EdSource.

Margaret Goertz

Professor, Education Policy; Co-Director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania

Margaret Goertz is a professor of education policy and co-director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She has conducted extensive research on state education reform policies, education finance, state teacher policies, state and federal programs for special-needs students, and the implementation of standards-based reform. Her current research interests include the effect of state and federal accountability policies on schools and school districts. Goertz has co-authored and co-edited five books and authored numerous journal articles and book chapters on school finance reform, standards-based reform, and accountability policy.  Prior to joining the Penn faculty, Goertz taught at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and was executive director of the Education Policy Research Division of Educational Testing Service. She received her Ph.D. from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Tom Hehir

Professor of Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Tom Hehir is a professor of practice in the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He served as Director of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs from 1993 to 1999.  As director, he was responsible for federal leadership in implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Hehir played a leading role in developing the Clinton administration's proposal for the 1997 reauthorization of the IDEA, 90 percent of which was adopted by Congress.  In 1990, he was associate superintendent for the Chicago Public Schools, where he was responsible for special education services and student support services.  In this role, Hehir implemented major changes in the special education service delivery system, which enabled Chicago to reach significantly higher levels of compliance with the IDEA and resulted in the eventual removal of the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights as overseer.  He served in a variety of positions in the Boston Public Schools from 1978 to 1987, including that of director of special education from 1983 to 1987. An advocate for children with disabilities in the education system, he has written on special education, special education in the reform movement, due process, and least restrictive environment issues.

Jeffrey Henig

Professor, Department of Political Science and Education Politics, Teachers College, and Professor, Department of Political Science, Columbia University

Jeffrey Henig is a professor of political science and education at Teachers College, and professor of political science at Columbia University.  He has written broadly on urban politics, privatization, and on education policy.  Among his books are Public Policy and Federalism (St. Martins, 1985), Rethinking School Choice: Limits of the Market Metaphor (Princeton 1994); The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics and the Challenge of Urban Education (Princeton 1999); Building Civic Capacity: The Politics of Reforming Urban Schools (Kansas, 2001), and, most recently, Spin Cycle: How Research Is Used in Policy Debates, The Case of Charter Schools (Russell Sage/Century Foundation 2008).

Carl Kaestle

Professor Emeritus, Department of Education, Brown University

Carl Kaestle is university professor emeritus in the departments of education, history, and public policy at Brown University.  He is also presently a resident fellow at the Spencer Foundation.  He has been the director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, the president of the National Academy of Education, vice-chair of the National Research Council’s Board on Testing and Assessment, a principal consultant for the PBS documentary School, and director of the Advanced Studies Fellowship Program at Brown.  With the postdoctoral fellows from that program, he authored To Educate a Nation: Federal and National Strategies of School Reform.  He is currently working on a history of the federal role in American elementary and secondary schooling from 1940 to 1980.

Kathryn McDermott

Associate Professor, School of Education and Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Kathryn McDermott is assistant professor of education and public policy, and associate director of the Center for Education Policy, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She holds a joint appointment in the School of Education and the Center for Public Policy and Administration.  Her main research interest is on the balance of power among local, state, and federal education authorities, and the effect of that balance on educational quality and equity.  She is the author of Controlling Public Education: Localism Versus Equity (University Press of Kansas, 1999), as well as numerous academic journal articles, at the time of the conference was working on her book High Stakes Reform: The Politics of Educational Accountability, which was published in 2011. Kathryn received her doctorate in political science from Yale University in 1997.

Lorraine McDonnell

Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara

Lorraine McDonnell is a professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Prior to joining the UCSB faculty, McDonnell was a senior political scientist at RAND where her research focused on the design and implementation of federal and state education policies and their effects on school practices.  In her book, Persuasion, Politics, and Educational Testing (Harvard University Press, 2004), she examined the politics of student testing, particularly the curricular and political values underlying state assessment policies.  She was a member of the National Research Council's Board on Testing and Assessment for seven years, and is currently the president of the American Educational Research Association.  She received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and her Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Margaret McLaughlin

Professor of Special Education, University of Maryland, and Associate Director, Institute for the Study of Exceptional Children

Margaret McLaughlin began her career as a teacher of students with serious emotional disorders.  She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia and is a professor in the Department of Special Education, University of Maryland, and serves as the associate director of the Institute for the Study of Exceptional Children, which is a research institute within the College of Education, University of Maryland.  She has conducted a number of national research institutes and projects investigating educational reform and students with disabilities, specifically related to standards, large-scale assessments and accountability.  She has co-chaired and/or served on three National Academy of Sciences committees related to students with disabilities and national educational reform policies, and has published extensively in areas of standards, assessment and accountability, and students with disabilities.  She teaches graduate courses in policy studies in the Department of Special Education.

Lynn Olson

Managing Editor, Special Projects; Executive Project Editor, Quality Counts and Diplomas Count, Education Week

Lynn Olson has written about public education in the United States for more than 20 years.  A nationally recognized education journalist, she has won awards from the Education Writers Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the International Reading Association.  In 2005, she won an award from the Consortium for Policy Research in Education for her outstanding contributions to education policy.  She is the managing editor for special projects at Education Week, an independent, national newspaper that covers education in grades K–12; the executive project editor for Quality Counts, an annual report card on public education in the 50 states, published by Education Week with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts; and executive project editor for Diplomas Count: An Essential Guide to Graduation Policy and Rates, produced with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  In 1995, she received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation of New York to write a book about the transition from school to work for America’s young people.  The book, The School to Work Revolution: How Employers and Educators Are Joining Forces To Prepare Tomorrow’s Skilled Workforce, was published by Addison-Wesley in 1997.  Lynn is a member of the board of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  A graduate of Yale University, she lives in Maryland with her husband, Steve, and her two children.

Carmen Perez-Hogan

Former Coordinator for the Office of Bilingual Education, New York State Education Department, retired

Carmen Perez Hogan’s lifelong goal has been to make the educational opportunities that exist for native English speaking children in America available to English language learners with limited English proficiency. She was a teacher and an administrator in New York City, director of the bilingual teacher education programs at the University at Albany and the coordinator of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Bilingual Education.  She graduated from the New York City public schools, and earned a B.A. from Saint Joseph’s College and an M.A. in ESL from Hunter College.  Before retiring from the NYSED in 2005, Carmen participated in shaping policy and programs for LEP/ELLs in certification, regulations, funding, and in the development of New York’s English Proficiency Test.  Carmen served as president of NABE, the Puerto Rican Educator’s Association, and New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.  She is the recipient of numerous awards; her most cherished honor was being adopted into the Seneca Nation of Indians in Western New York.  Carmen was born in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Kathleen Roe

Director of Operations, New York State Archives

Kathleen D. Roe is Director of Operations at the New York State Archives. She oversees records management and archival services to state agencies, local governments and historical records repositories statewide. She also manages the State Archives facility, holding over 200 million items. Kathleen is past president of the Council of State Archivists and currently chairs the CoSA Government Relations Committee. She is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists, and has been honored by the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños at Hunter College for her contributions to documenting New York’s Latino Communities. Kathleen has been awarded three NEH-Mellon Fellowships for the Study of Archival Administration, and has been a member of several national and international archival practices research projects. She has published and taught extensively in the areas of archival descriptive practices, advocating for archival programs and the use of historical records with students.

Marshall Smith

 Director, Education Program, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Marshall Smith has been the program director for the Education Program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California, since 2001.  Prior to that, he was acting deputy secretary and undersecretary for education in the Clinton administration.  During the Carter administration, he was chief of staff to the secretary for education and assistant commissioner for policy studies in the Office of Education.  While not in government, he was at different times an associate professor at Harvard, and a professor at Stanford and at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  At Stanford, Marshall was also the dean of the School of Education.  He has authored a large number of publications on topics varying from computer content analysis to early childhood education to effective schools and standards-based reform.  He is a member of the National Academy of Education.

Patricia Sullivan

Deputy Directory, Educational Issues, American Federation of Teachers

Patricia Sullivan has had an extensive career in K–12 and postsecondary education policy in Washington, D.C.  She currently is the deputy director for Educational Issues at the American Federation of Teachers.  Prior to that she was an independent consultant heading up her own firm, Sullivan Consulting Services, where she provided advice to a range of clients on both the workings of Washington and states education agencies.  During her career, Patricia has served as the director of the Center on Education Policy, the deputy director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the chief education lobbyist for the National Governors Association and worked for the then Education and Labor Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.  She also worked as the founding executive director of Achieve, Inc. A graduate of Purdue University, Patricia resides in Arlington, Virginia, with her two children.