Summer Institutes on Addressing Disproportionality

Presenter Biographies

2005 Summer Institute - 2006 Summer Institute - 2007 Summer Institute - 2008 Summer Institute

Craig A. Albers is an assistant professor in the School Psychology Program at the University of Wisconsin-–Madison. Dr. Albers received his doctorate in educational psychology with a specialization in school psychology at Arizona State University. Before joining the Wisconsin Center for Education Research as a post-doctoral research associate in August 2003 and the UW as a faculty member in August 2004, Dr. Albers worked as a school psychologist in the Kyrene School District in Phoenix, Arizona.. Dr. Albers, who has also served as a mentor for the Wisconsin EOCA/REACh project for the past two years, was recently selected as an Early Career Scholar by the Society for the Study of School Psychology. He has conducted research in functional behavioral assessment, curriculum-based assessment, language proficiency and academic interventions for English language learners, and screening/early intervention for academic and behavioral difficulties. (2006)

Vaunce Ashby has worked for the Madison Metropolitan School District for 14 years in a variety of positions including teacher, program support teacher, assistant principal, and principal. This summer she is working part-time for the Department of Public Instruction coordinating the development of materials and facilitating activities related to Early Intervening Services and Disproportionality. (Sectional 2007)

Lisa Bardon is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education, College of Professional Studies, at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. She has a MA from the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She currently teachers courses to pre-service and service teachers regarding all facets of special education. Her consultation and research focus on prevention of maladaptive behavior through early intervention, ecological/contextual exami-nation, and culturally responsive intervention. Previously, she was a special education teacher for 15 years in a semi-rural Minnesota school district servicing students in all disability areas.

Sandra Berndt was the state consultant for programs for children with cognitive disabilities at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction from 1990-2010. (Sectional 2007)

Lynn Boreson is the state consultant for programs for children with emotional behavioral disabilities at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. (Sectional 2007)

Rosemary Christensen was born on the Bad River Reservation in Wisconsin, the village of her mother, and enrolled in the village of her father, the daughter of two Bird clans. She has a Masters degree from Harvard University and an Ed.D. from the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation is entitled: Anishinaabeg medicine wheel leadership. She is an Associate professor, UW—Green Bay (UWGB), First Nations Studies, Humanistic Studies. In addition to teaching, Dr. Christensen is experienced as an administrator, curriculum developer, planner, writer, researcher and Indian education advocate. She is a founding member of the National Indian Education Association; and in recent years, with colleagues, worked with the Ojibwe language, writing and producing 5 units for family use. Presently she is working on a model promoting an American Indian learning and teaching style centered on core American Indian values and elder epistemology, assisting Medicine Elders in building curriculum for teaching Ojibwe orally-based life lessons, and working with UWGB colleagues in fusing American Indian studies into teacher education toward the goal of systemic change in how K-12 teachers provide information to all children about American Indians in their classrooms. (2006)

W. Alan Coulter is the Director of the National Center for Special Education Accountability Monitoring (NCSEAM), a project funded by the U. S. Office of Special Education Programs and operated by the Human Development Center in New Orleans. Dr. Coulter served on the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education and was a member of the National Monitoring Stakeholders Group. Dr. Coulter has worked directly on accountability efforts in more than 35 states and has provided keynote presentations at state, regional, and national conferences including the LRP Special Education Law Conference and the International Dyslexia Association, Southwest Chapter. He is also active in the implementation of early intervening services (EIS) and response to intervention (RtI). He is the recipient of the Child Advocacy Award from the National Association of School Psychologists, a past president of the National Association of School Psychologists, and past director of the school psychology division of the Texas Psychological Association. Dr. Coulter is the proud grandfather of six and takes great pride that his oldest grandchild obtained her diploma in Franklin, Louisiana, in 2004. His grandson, Travis, travels with him each summer and remarked, "I want a job like you where all you do is go to meetings, drink coffee, and write on wall charts." Dr. Coulter is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (Educational Psychology). (2006)

Susan Faircloth, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). She recently completed a three-year joint appointment in Special Education. Dr. Faircloth is the co-director of a personnel preparation grant for aspiring school administrators, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Indian Education. She is also the co-director of the recently established Center for the Study of Leadership in American Indian Education. Dr Faircloth’s research centers on the education of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students with disabilities. She is specifically interested in the factors that place AI/AN students at risk for special education in the early grades, personnel preparation, and the moral and ethical dimensions of school leadership. Her work has been published in The Journal of Special Education Leadership, International Studies in Educational Administration, Values and Ethics in Educational Administration, the Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education, the Rural Special Education Quarterly, the Journal of Disability Policy Studies, and the Journal of American Indian Education. During the 2007-2008 academic year, Dr. Faircloth will be on leave from Penn State while she completes a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California-Los Angeles where she will collaborate with the Civil Rights Project to further examine the overrepresentation of American Indian and Alaska Native students in special education programs and services. (Keynote 2007)

Donna Ford, Ph.D., is Betts Chair of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University and teaches in the Department of Special Education. She has been a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, and a researcher with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. She also taught at the University of Kentucky. Donna earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Education (educational psychology) (1991), Masters of Education degree (counseling) (1988), and Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and Spanish (1984) from Cleveland State University. Professor Ford conducts research primarily in gifted education and multicultural/urban education. Specifically, her work focuses on: (1) recruiting and retaining culturally diverse students in gifted education; (2) multicultural and urban education; (3) minority student achievement and underachievement; and (4) family involvement. She consults with school districts and educational organizations in the areas of gifted education and multicultural/urban education. (Keynote 2007)

Nancy Fuhrman is the Special Education Data Coordinator for the Special Education Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. (Sectional 2007)

Kisten Gillespie has been employed with the Madison Metropolitan School District for the past year as a Bilingual School Psychologist. She studied Psychology and Communications during undergraduate work at MSU-Bozeman and completed graduate school at UW Stout, earning M.S.E in School Psychology. Prior to working in Madison, Kisten worked for 2 years with CESA #11 serving rural districts in Northwestern Wisconsin. She also was a Peace Corp volunteer for 2-1/2 years in Guatemala where she learned and spoke Spanish and learned about Latin American culture. (Sectional 2007)

Beth Harry is a special educator with a focus on multicultural and family issues. She attributes these interests to her experience as a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, and to her identity as a person of multicultural Caribbean heritage. As a Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Miami School of Education, Dr. Harry's teaching focuses on the impact of cultural diversity on education, on working with families of children with disabilities, and on qualitative methods in educational research. Dr. Harry's research on multicultural family issues and on ethnic disproportionality in special education has been well received by the field and she had the honor of serving as a member of the National Academy of Sciences' panel (1999-2001) to study disproportionality. In 2003 Dr. Harry received a Fulbright award to do research on Moroccan children's schooling in Spain, where she was based at the University of Seville. Dr. Harry, a native of Jamaica, earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of Toronto, Canada, and her Ph.D. at Syracuse University. (2005)

Amy Hilgendorf is beginning her third year of graduate study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the department of Human Development and Family Studies. A former teacher, she is interested in the interactions between schools and families, especially among diverse family backgrounds. She recently completed a master’s thesis that examined the school-related support experiences of three African American boys, from the perspectives of the boys, their parents, and teachers. Ms. Hilgendorf is committed to applied and community-based research, and would like to pursue a career in educational research and outreach.

Deanna Hill is a Senior Policy Analyst with West Wind Education Policy, Inc., in Iowa City, Iowa. As a Senior Policy Analyst, Dr. Hill conducts research and authors reports on a number of critical issues in education including systemic racial disparities. Prior to joining West Wind, Dr. Hill worked as a Research and Evaluation Specialist in the Title I Division of the Georgia Department of Education and conducted research for a number of organizations including the Center on Education Policy in Washington, DC, and the RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Hill is a co-author of the Center on Education Policy's report on the capacity of state educational agencies to implement the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and an author of the CEP's most recent high school exit exams report. Dr. Hill holds a Ph.D. in Administrative and Policy Studies in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Additionally, Dr. Hill holds a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law and is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas.

Jerlando Jackson is interested in the study of administrative diversity, executive behavior, and academic entrepreneurship in higher and postsecondary education. He is an Associate Professor of Higher and Postsecondary Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, Faculty Associate for the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education, and Faculty Affiliate in the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship (School of Business) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Jackson’s central interest has been to contribute to administrative science, with a focus on administrators on higher and postsecondary education. In addition, he serves as the Executive Director for the Center for African American Research and Policy, which is developing and publishing a new generation of research on policy issues confronting African Americans in both the academy and the society at-large for Brothers of the Academy Institute. Frequently sought as a keynote speaker, he is credited with over 60 publications, 100 presentations, and has edited the books- Strengthening the African American Educational Pipeline: Informing Research, Policy, and Practice for SUNY-Albany Press (2007) and Toward Administrative Reawakening: Creating and Maintaining Safe College Campuses for Stylus Publishing (2007). (Keynote 2007)

Jack Jorgensen, Ph.D., has spent the past 33 years of his career in education as a public school teacher, administrator and university instructor. Recently retired from the Madison Metropolitan School District after 22 years of employment, Jack served from 1997 to 2008 as the Executive Director for the Department of Educational Services, which includes the divisions of special education and ESL/bilingual education. He has dedicated his career to promoting inclusive, culturally responsive and collaborative schools and classrooms. This work has included reducing the disproportionate number of students of color represented in special education.

Amy Klekotka, Ph.D., began working as a Research Analyst at American Institute of Research (AIR) in the fall of 2004. For the Access Center, she serves as a Technical Assistance Liaison with the North Central Regional Resource Center (NCRRC) and as a member of the evaluation team. She also assists with developing products and presentations for the center. Dr. Klekotka also works on the National Longitudinal Study of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), which is a four-year longitudinal evaluation of the district- and school-level implementation of NCLB. Together with its partners, AIR is exploring the implementation of four key components of NCLB: accountability, teacher quality, choice, and resource allocation. Her responsibilities focus on providing input, developing analytic strategies, and report writing on issues related to special education teachers and students with disabilities. She has planned and coordinated professional development opportunities on strategies to increase student achievement for teachers and administrators in Virginia. She obtained her doctoral degree in Education Evaluation and Policy Studies at the University of Virginia. (2006)

Janette Klingner, Ph.D., University of Miami, is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado. She was a bilingual special education teacher for 10 years before earning her doctorate in reading and learning disabilities. Currently, she is a co-Principal Investigator for The National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt), a technical assistance center on the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education, and an Investigator for The Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education (COPSSE). She has authored or co-authored 41 articles published in refereed journals, 7 books, and 10 book chapters (including those under contract and in press). Research foci include the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education and reading comprehension strategy instruction for diverse populations. She is Co-Editor of the Review of Educational Research and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Learning Disabilities. In 2004 she received AERA's Early Career Award. (2005) (2006)

Gloria Ladson-Billings is an American pedagogical philosopher, author, scholar, and teacher educator, and is on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education. Ladson-Billings addresses the issues of educational incongruity in teaching African American children in the 21st Century within her book The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African-American Children. Dr. Ladson-Billings was the President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 2005. During the 2005 AERA annual meeting in San Francisco, Dr. Ladson-Billings delivered her Presidential Address, "From the Achievement Gap to the Education Debt: Understanding Achievement in U.S. Schools," in which she outlined what she called the "Education Debt" highlighting the combination of historical, moral, socio-political, and economic factors that have disproportionately affected African-American, Latino, Asian, and other non-white students.

Jeffrey Lewis received his doctorate in Socio-cultural Studies in Education from the University of California at Davis and is currently an assistant professor at UW-Madison. Dr. Lewis is an ethnographer whose scholarship focuses on the cultural contexts of childhood and the impact of culture on children’s developmental pathways. Dr. Lewis’s current research examines the social ecology of learning for African American children, including developing an assets-based approach to viewing low-income African American families and communities as sources of support for the educational success of African American children.

Daniel Losen is a Senior Legal and Policy Research Associate for The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University. He has extensive expertise and experience regarding disproportionality in special education. He has numerous publications including the foundational book, Racial Inequity in Special Education (Harvard University Press, 2002), which he co-edited. Mr. Losen has given presentations across the nation on issues related to disproportionality in special education. He also serves on the board of directors for the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt). The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has contracted with Mr. Losen to provide technical assistance and facilitation of strategic planning activities to address disproportionality.

Yvonne Novack has worked in the field of American Indian education for 30 years. She has worked in the K-12 system, tribal colleges and in graduate programs. Currently she is the manager of Indian Education in the Minnesota Department of Education and an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation. (2006)

Thomas Peacock, Ed.D., is professor and associate dean of the College of Education and Human Service Professions at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He has authored or coauthored six books on Ojibwe history and culture, and Native education. A member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, he received his MEd and EdD from Harvard University. (Keynote 2007)

Michelle Ring is an Educational Consultant for Statewide Grants at Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #1. Her primary role is in Mentor Coordination and Technical Assistance for the REACh initiative. She has extensive expertise in the Early Ongoing Collaboration and Assistance (EOCA) framework used to help Wisconsin schools reduce the disproportionate special education identification of students of color. She also has vast experience in leadership, curriculum, instruction, and assessment, organizational planning and development, systems change, and using data to drive school improvement. Michelle holds a Masters degree in educational leadership and a Bachelors degree in elementary education. She is a former elementary teacher, principal, and director of instruction. (2006)

Shana Ritter coordinates The Equity Project at Indiana University's Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. She works directly with school districts to address disproportionality and other equity issues using an approach that is collaborative, data-driven and culturally responsive. She has a wide array of experience in educational settings, including classroom teaching, diversity education, school reform, curriculum development, teacher education, and family involvement. She has worked with urban, suburban, and rural schools in the areas of innovative programming, school-wide planning, inclusivity, and cultural competence. (2006)

Elizabeth Watkins began her career as an English as a Second Language teacher, and her work with Native American staff and students is rooted in her interests in language and culture. She has worked as a special education diversity consultant for the Minnesota Department of Education for over 15 years. (2006)

Gilman Whiting received his Ph.D. from Purdue University’s College of Education. His areas of concentration were curriculum and instruction, vocational and technical education, as well as work and the family. Currently, he is Director of Undergraduate Studies in the African American and Diaspora Program at Vanderbilt University. He teaches courses on the African American diaspora, Black Masculinity, Race, Sport, and American Culture and Qualitative Research Methods. He also teaches for the Peabody College of Education in the Human Organizational Development Department. His research includes work with young black fathers, low income minorities, welfare reform and fatherhood initiatives, special needs populations (gifted, at-risk learners, young black men and scholarly identities), and health in the black community. He was recently featured on Channel 2 ( for his work with nearly 100 Metro 5th-10th grade male students on what he calls a "Scholar Identity." He is currently working on a book project entitled "Fathering from the Margins: Young African American Fathers, Fatherhood Initiatives and The Welfare State." He has articles in The Willamette Journal: Special on African American Studies, Gifted Education Press Quarterly, Journal for Secondary Gifted Education, Gifted Child Today, Midtwestern Educational Research Journal. He is editor of the forthcoming volume, On Manliness: Black American Masculinities. He consults with school districts nationally on various issue related to psychosocial and motivation among young students. (Keynote 2007)

Shelley Zion works at the University of Colorado Denver as the Executive Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development for the School of Education. In addition, she teaches graduate level courses in the teacher education program, conducts research on topics related to school reform and equity, and serves as the executive director of the CRUE center. The CRUE center provides technical assistance and training to schools and districts. From 2002-2007, Dr. Zion served as the associate director of two national projects housed at UCD--The National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt) and the National Institute for Urban School Improvement (NIUSI). These projects focused on eliminating disproportionality in special education and creating inclusive classroom environments. Prior to her work at UCD, Dr. Zion worked in a variety of Human Services organizations providing, coordinating, and developing services for marginalized populations, including youth with emotional and behavioral diagnosis, adolescents and families involved in the juvenile justice system, and people with traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Zion has conducted both quantitative and qualitative research in areas of culturally responsive practice, disproportionality, systems change, school reform, student voice, family involvement, truancy prevention, and delinquency interventions.

Showcase Presenters:

Brian Anderson is the Director of Special Education for the Appleton Area School District. He has worked in special education as a school psychologist and administrator since the implementation of PL 94-142 and has been with Appleton since 1997. Brian was born in Chicago and completed his undergraduate degree at Illinois State University and graduate degrees at Illinois State University and the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. (2007)

John Faust is the Director of Student Services for the Monona Grove School District, a position he has held for the past five years. He received his training and background in administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is pursuit of a doctoral degree in educational administration. John’s professional interests include systems change, problem-solving, and cultivating resilient strengths in children. (2007)

Ed O’Connor is the Continuous Improvement and Assessment Administrator for the Monona Grove School District. Ed received his doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A school psychologist by training, Ed’s professional interests include data analysis, consultation, and problem-solving. (2007)

Lynette Fassbender is Director of Student Services in the Verona Area School District. She has been working in special education for over 30 years with teaching and administrative experience in districts in Wisconsin and Illinois. (2007)

Linda Christensen is the Director of Instruction in the Verona Area School District. Her job responsibilities include student assessment, staff development, and curriculum and instruction. She has been with the Verona district since 1979. (2007)

Janet Farnan is the Verona Area School District's Early Intervention in Literacy Specialist. She was a classroom elementary and Reading Recovery teacher in Minnesota for 15 years and has worked in a variety of districts as a reading specialist since moving to Wisconsin five years ago. She has also taught graduate courses in diversity and literacy. (2007)

For questions about this information, contact Courtney Reed Jenkins (608) 267-9183