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Class Notes

Posted August 2015


Neal McMahan

Neal (Nicki) McMahan ’64, MA ’65, writes: “Stanford gave me the credentials and foundation to think about education in new ways, and this became the springboard for creating the Chartwell School, which I co-founded in 1983. The school [in Seaside, Calif.] provides the underserved 20 percent of students with language-based learning differences the tools needed to succeed. Dyslexia was an unfamiliar concept and both diagnosis and remediation were extremely difficult in the beginning. We have come to realize that the unique and visionary ways in which these students think will benefit all of us in our increasingly complex world.” Today, Nicki is a trustee emerita at Chartwell.

Donald Sharpes

Donald Sharpes, MA ’68, PhD [Arizona State], informs us that he is a senior visiting fellow at Cambridge University and professor in the Emeritus College at Arizona State University, after working as a research associate at Stanford and teaching at a number of other universities over the past five decades. His CV lists 20 books and some 240 articles he has authored, as well as a plethora of awards, including five Fulbright scholarships and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 from the International Studies Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association.


Leonard Beckum

Leonard Beckum, PhD ’73 (Psych. Studies), shares that he recently became a grandfather for the fourth time and that his joy and love for his grandchildren give him additional motivation to make the world a better place. Leonard continues to serve as associate vice president for academic affairs and professor of psychology at Palo Alto University, where he developed the cultural competence program that has been used in preparing PhD students at PAU, as well as in the PAU-Stanford PsyD consortium. Over the course of his career, he has held leadership roles at several other higher education institutions including City University of New York and Duke University. He also taught high school and was a San Francisco police officer. He writes, “I am especially proud of my work with South Africa in 1991 to plan for affirmative action and for being selected to serve on the [2002-2003] Alameda County Grand Jury.”

Rita Sanchez

Rita Sanchez ’72, MA ’73, MA ’74 (English), is working to publish a new book, A Chicana Tribute: The Stories of Fifty Chicanas by Fifty Authors, which will acknowledge the courage and dedication of Chicana women who are civil rights activists fighting for the betterment of women in the Chicana community. She is a professor emerita at San Diego Mesa College.

Joyce Elaine King

Joyce Elaine King ’69, PhD ’74 (Social Sciences Education), just completed her term as AERA president. She’s a professor in the College of Education at Georgia State University, where she holds the Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair for Urban Teaching, Learning and Leadership. Her fourth book, “Re-membering” History in Student and Teacher Learning: An Afrocentric Culturally Informed Praxis, was published in 2014.

Gerald Fry

Gerald Fry ’64, PhD ’77 (International Development Education), is distinguished international professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development in the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development. Since coming to the school in 2000, he has held numerous leadership roles.

Gerald lived in Thailand more than 10 years and in 2013 co-authored a third edition of the Historical Dictionary of Thailand, the major reference work in English on Thailand. His work with the Thai people began with his Peace Corp volunteer experience during the 1960s, and he has continued working there on education and other projects since then. He helped to formulate Thailand’s National Education Act 1999 and contributed to the development of their Office for National Educational Standards and Quality Assurance. In recognition he received in 2011 an honorary doctorate in education for local development from a Thai university. He has led approximately 20 annual study trips to Southeast Asia including four Stanford Alumni group trips, and has pioneered an innovative international cooperative learning approach to enhancing the quality of short-term study abroad. He has received numerous teaching awards, and has published over 20 books and more than 100 articles.


Roberto Moreno Godoy

Roberto Moreno Godoy, MA ’90 (International Development Education), continues to be at the forefront of education reform in Guatemala and throughout Central America. He reports that since stepping down as Guatemala’s minister of education in 2000, he has led the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala as its president. He has been working to ensure that at-risk, indigenous and underserved populations receive a quality education, and he has helped to develop partnerships between Universidad del Valle, the Ministry of Education and the private sector to improve teacher training; educational materials distribution; bilingual Mayan-Spanish instruction; and access to technology. Roberto came to Stanford on a LASPAU/Fulbright scholarship and is married to Regina Caffaro, MA ’89 (International Development Education). Regina is an education senior specialist in Guatemala’s Ministry of Education. They have two grown children.

Charles Dorn

Charles (Chuck) Dorn, MA ’94, PhD [UC-Berkeley], is writing another book (under contract with Cornell University Press). It will present a “new history” of higher education, examining changes to U.S. colleges and universities, as well as American society, over the course of 200 years. Chuck’s first book, published in 2007, was American Education, Democracy, and the Second World War; it examines the ways that educational institutions in the United States, from nursery schools through universities, grappled with the exigencies of WWII.

Chuck earned his PhD in 2003 from UC Berkeley and is currently associate professor and chair of the education department at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Previously, he taught high school social studies in Maryland, California and Morocco and served as a master teacher at Stanford’s summer teaching program. He has received numerous grants and awards, including a Fulbright Scholar Award to the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Pia Lindquist Wong

Pia Lindquist Wong, PhD ’94 (International Development Education), writes: “I left Stanford determined not to join the ranks of academia, but I soon found the perfect position for me—professor in bilingual/multicultural education at Sacramento State and have been loving it ever since! I work with a very smart, hard-working and innovative group of teacher educators, and we partner with local public schools who are eager to implement new practices related to teaching English learners, students with special needs, and students in poverty. Being in the state capital has its perks. I served as co-chair of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s Teacher Advisory Panel and will soon begin a term as co-chair of the CTC's Committee on Accreditation.

“Working with Martin Carnoy, Milbrey McLaughlin and Hank Levin at Stanford provided excellent preparation for this balancing act of teaching, research, policy work, activism and fun.”

Adam Winsler

Adam Winsler, PhD ’94 (Psych. Studies/Child Development), is professor of applied developmental psychology and associate chair of graduate studies in George Mason University’s psychology department. He is also editor-in-chief of the Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

Adam’s research focuses on the development of young children in the areas of: bilingual language acquisition, early childhood education and school readiness for ethnically diverse children in poverty. He’s studied private speech and self-regulation in typically developing children and children with ADHD or ASD and has also explored the self-regulatory benefits of early childhood music and dance/movement programs. Adam is an author of 70 journal articles and two books including Private Speech, Executive Functioning, and the Development of Verbal Self-Regulation published in 2009 by Cambridge University Press.

Van Ton-Quinlivan

Van Ton-Quinlivan, MA/MBA’95 is vice chancellor of workforce and economic development of California community colleges, supporting career education across the system’s 113 campuses. Appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, she has focused on Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy, a framework that bolsters sectors important to California’s 15 regional economies. Her work has contributed to the passage of two legislative bills that fund California’s push to create jobs, promote relevant career pathways, and foster stackable credentials.

Angela Campbell

Angela Campbell ’92, MA ’96 (STEP), posted a brief statement on the Education Trust website in January about her 20 years of teaching in Southern California and what drew her to John Francis Polytechnic Senior High School in Sun Valley. “I chose this location because I speak Spanish and wanted to help bridge gaps for English Language Learners,” she explained later. Angela holds teaching credentials in biology, chemistry and physics and is National Board certified. She is a science fellow for her district and science department chair and chemistry lead. She also writes about other milestones: “In 2013 I was selected as a semifinalist for the Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Teaching. [In 2014] I worked with a team of colleagues on a policy paper about teacher compensation through Educators 4 Excellence and was selected to participate in an international summit on teacher professional development that was held by the Sutton Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Washington, D.C. I have two amazing and talented daughters, ages 10 and 12.”

Lisa Petrides

Lisa Petrides, PhD ’96, founder and CEO of the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, tweeted on Aug. 4 how ISKME joined with more than 90 other groups to call on the White House to include Open Education Resources in the government’s national open resource action plan.

An international researcher and thought leader in the field of open education, Lisa and ISKME launched OER Commons, a comprehensive digital “public” library of open educational resources, in 2007. Today, OER Commons contains over 100,000 free and readily accessible resources from more than 400 content providers across most subject areas, enabling K-20 educators worldwide to access free high-quality learning content. In recent years, she pioneered technological innovations that help states, districts and teachers tap into high-quality, curated, open-content aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

In 2009, she established the Big Ideas Fest, an annual event that identifies innovative trends and solutions for key challenges in education.

Not surprisingly, she describes herself today (on Twitter @lpetrides) as “One part researcher, two parts social entrepreneur and three parts open advocate.” 

Abby Rovner

Abby Rovner ’93, MA ’98 (Admin. & Policy Analysis), is the executive director at Horizons at San Francisco Friends School. In this capacity, she recently launched Horizons, a public/private partnership that addresses the achievement and opportunity gaps of high-need elementary students in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood and surrounding areas. The program provides students with early literacy support and hands-on academic learning, as well as enrichment activities. Prior to her work with Horizons, Abby initiated and ran the San Francisco chapter of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation. She has devoted her professional energies over the past 15 years to providing enrichment and leadership opportunities, academic support and college access programs for underserved youth.


Jeannette Renee LaFors

Jeannette Renee LaFors ’91, MA ’92 (STEP), PhD ’04 (Admin. & Policy Analysis), moved this summer to Santiago with her husband Matt Kelemen, PhD ’01 (Admin. & Policy Analysis), to support education reform efforts in Chile and experience the world from a different perspective with their children Dylan (12) and Adela (9). Prior to the move, she was the director of equity initiatives at the Education Trust–West in Oakland, advocating for the high academic achievement of all students, particularly those of color or living in poverty.

She earlier served as vice president of instruction at Envision Schools, a charter management organization in the Bay Area focused on helping students become the first in their families to go to college. 

Lin Kobayashi

Lin Kobayashi, MA ’05 (ICE/IEAPA), is celebrating the first anniversary of the International School of Asia Karuizawa (ISAK) which she founded in August 2014. ISAK is Japan’s first international boarding high school that aims to educate the next generation of transformational leaders who explore new frontiers for the greater good of Asia and beyond. To ensure school diversity, 70 percent of their students come from outside Japan and receive needs-based scholarships.

Lin is driven by her passion to educate and empower young people with the opportunity to be successful, well-rounded citizens. The school’s curriculum incorporates design-thinking methods, which were developed in collaboration with Stanford’s D.School (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford) and IDEO Japan (a global design firm.) In recognition of her efforts, Lin received two Nikkei awards for Changemaker of the Year in 2013 and Woman of the Year in 2014. She also now serves on several government education committees.

Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig, PhD ’06 (Admin. & Policy Analysis), professor of educational leadership and policy studies at California State University - Sacramento, co-authored a paper, “Understanding Universal Vouchers at Urban Public School Districts in Santiago de Chile: Educational Administrators’ Responses to Choice,” published in this summer’s issue of Multidisciplinary Journal of Educational Research. The findings show that while striving to enhance school choice, such programs exacerbate inequality and stratification.

The paper continues Julian’s efforts to examine quantitatively and qualitatively how high-stakes testing and accountability-based reforms and market reforms impact students, particularly poor students of color.” His research also examines issues of access, diversity, and equity in higher education. His work has been cited by the New York Times, Washington Post and other outlets. He blogs at Cloaking Inequity, and you can follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJVH. He also serves as director of Sacramento State’s doctoral program in educational leadership.

Neeru Khosla

Neeru Khosla, MA ’06 (Curriculum & Teacher Education), is executive director of CK-12 Foundation, a nonprofit she co-founded that develops and curates high-quality, K-12 STEM content. She is committed to ensuring equity for all students and open access to high-quality content and resources. Neeru says, “If we believe that all students have an inalienable right to learn, then we must ensure access to educational resources and information.” To that end, CK-12’s resources are aligned to state and national standards, can be translated to any language, and ported to any device, anytime, anywhere, and are free.

Jenny Maehara

Jenny Maehara ’06, MA '07 (STEP), is starting her second year as elementary literacy coach for Santa Clara Unified School District. In this role, she mentors teachers and principals, designs professional learning, and helps sustain the literacy vision for the district. She writes, “During summers, she and a team of her colleagues, including Elizabeth Hepworth Stavis ’04, MA '06 (STEP), lead literacy institutes in several Bay Area school districts.” Recently, as an advisory board member of Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation, she helped develop and launch the LIGHT Awards, a grants program providing teams of teachers up to $30,000 over two years to fund the professional development experience of their dreams.


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Catherine Harrell ’09, MA ’10 (Learning, Design & Technology), is returning to the Farm! Catherine writes: “Since my days in the LDT program, I've been working in software as a user experience designer, creating interfaces at Autodesk, and most recently leading a design team at Amazon Web Services. Now I'm getting ready to go back to Stanford in the fall, to pursue an MBA at the Graduate School of Business. Can't wait!”

Kerry McNaughton

Kerry McNaughton, MA ’10 (STEP), just completed teaching summer school and moved to Seattle with her fiancé where she will teach sixth-grade science. From 2013-2015 Kerry taught seventh and eighth grade science at Columbia Middle School, which has a partnership with STEP.  As part of the program, she hosted 14 STEP teaching candidates in her classroom, mentoring them to see real-world connections between theory and practice. Kerry received several teaching awards and grants including the Wells Fargo Teacher Innovation Classroom Grant. She was selected to be the June Teacher of the Month by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and Teacher of the Year at Columbia Middle School

Jack Schneider

Jack Schneider, PhD ’10 (History of Education), is an assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. Since graduating from Stanford, he has written two books: From the Ivory Tower to the Schoolhouse: How Scholarship Becomes Common Knowledge in Education and Excellence for All: How a New Breed of Reformers Is Transforming America’s Public Schools. He is currently completing a third book about how to measure school quality beyond test scores; through that project he has been working with the Massachusetts legislature to overhaul how schools in the state are evaluated. He is a frequent author of op-eds and blogs for Education Week at K-12 Schools: Beyond the Rhetoric. You can follow him on Twitter @Edu_Historian

Posted June 2015


Mary Jean Montgomery

Mary Jean Montgomery, (Education) MA ’73, writes: “I recently completed serving 15 years on the State Board of Education for Iowa. In that capacity I also got to sit on the Iowa Public Television Board, help craft the Iowa Core Curriculum and chair some study committees for the National Association of State Boards. It was a great ride and helped me better understand the exciting issues explored by the GSE Advisory Council. I just concluded two terms on that council and was honored to help them launch their first alumni engagement group. Now that my husband and I are both retired, we plan to split our time between California and Iowa and enjoy our five grandchildren. This fall I will begin a five-year term on the Stanford Alumni Association Board of Directors.” 

Janice Lynn Ross

Janice Lynn Ross, (CTE) PhD ’75, has written a biography, Like a Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia, published in January 2015 by Yale University Press. Yakobson was a brilliant and unconventional choreographer of ballet in Soviet Russia. A Washington Post review of the book notes, “By the time he died of cancer in 1975 at age 71, he had created 180 ballets for the Kirov, the Bolshoi and his own small troupe.” According to the book summary on, “He used dance to celebrate reinvention and self-authorship — the freedom of the individual voice as subject and medium. His ballets challenged the role of the dancing body during some of the most repressive decades of totalitarian rule.” The book has also been reviewed in the New Yorker, New York Times and other publications, and it has been hailed by such luminaries of the dance world as Mikhail Baryshnikov: “I salute Janice Ross for allowing us to peek behind the curtain of Yakobson’s extraordinarily creative life,” Baryshnikov says. “His personal struggle for freedom — in life and in his art — was exemplary knowing the time and the place in which he fought to make his dreams and ideas into theatrical reality." Janice Ross is a professor in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford. 


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Derek  Miyahara, (APA) MA ’86. After leaving his Stanford PhD program to marry Joanne Tengan Miyahara, (STEP) ’91, Derek took a job at The Learning Company where he was promoted to vice president of research and development. After the company was acquired by Mattel, Derek followed his passion to personally impact the lives of children. Today he is a teacher and social studies department chair at Los Altos High School in Los Altos, Calif., where he also teaches AVID and serves as WASC Coordinator. 


Jim (James H.) Shelton

Jim (James H.) Shelton, (MA/MBA) ’93, has taken a new position as chief impact officer at, a company that provides colleges and universities with the infrastructure needed to attract, enroll, educate and support students in online degree programs. Jim is the former deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. [See October 2014 Class Note.]


Mary Katherine Hofstedt

Mary Katherine Hofstedt, (Social Sciences, Education) MA’03, works with Stanford’s John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at the Graduate School of Education. Among her accomplishments, she co-developed the Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL) curriculum, a resource that has been downloaded by thousands of educators and NGO leaders in more than seventy countries. In addition to her work with YELL, she helps to create community-based youth action research initiatives in the cities and towns neighboring Stanford. Her most recent projects include facilitating a coalition of youth and adult partners to form the new Youth Arts and Music Center in East Palo Alto, Calif.; supporting cross-sector data linking and strategic planning with a variety of local partner organizations in the Bay Area; co-founding the North Fair Oaks Youth Initiative in unincorporated San Mateo County, Calif.; and conducting an implementation study of the Art in Action program. She also guest lectures on youth development theory and practice, and volunteers with such organizations as Challenge Success, Full Circle Fund and the Earth’s Birthday Project, among others.

Robert Pronovost

Robert Pronovost, (STEP - Elementary) MA ’07, is the STEM Lead Coordinator for the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto, Calif. In conjunction with Stanford Graduate School of Education’s FabLab@School network of educational digital fabrication labs, Robert designed and initiated the Ravenswood Makerspace Collaborative, which helps students to explore science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on work with advanced design and construction tools. In 2014, the program won the Silicon Valley Education Foundation’s 2014 STEM Innovation Award and First Place in the Microsoft & KCI (Krause Center for Innovation) Innovation Awards. Currently Ravenswood students are programming Dash and Dot robots, experimenting with 3D printing, and coding through  


Lauren Hofmayer

Lauren Hofmayer and Robert (Robbie) Torney, both (STEP) MA ’10, are getting married! Lauren writes:  “Robbie and I met when we entered STEP Elementary, with just 22 teaching candidates (two men and twenty women). We began dating in January 2010 and graduated in June. Robbie got his first job teaching in San Jose, and I started my teaching career in a small town in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We supported each other ‘long distance’ through our first three years of teaching, visiting each other every weekend and discussing lesson plans and teaching over the phone during the week. In 2011 Robbie transitioned to Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland to teach kindergarten, and I joined the Lighthouse team in 2013 to teach third and fourth grade. We are both still at Lighthouse and are completing our fifth year of teaching this year. We are planning our wedding for this July 4th, 2015. We are now part of the Lighthouse family and have invited all of our students to our wedding in Stanford Memorial Church! We are thankful to STEP for preparing us well for our first years of teaching and for bringing us together.” 

Tina Lee

Tina Lee, (LDT) MA ’10, is the founder of MotherCoders, a nonprofit social enterprise based in San Francisco. The group aims to make the “new economy” more inclusive by helping moms to pursue careers in technology. Through their nine-week, Saturday-only tech orientation program, moms learn basic computer programming, expand their understanding of the technology landscape, and network with peers and industry professionals. MotherCoders also provides on-site childcare to program participants who need it, removing a major barrier to many mother’s being able to gain access to training. The group’s work was recognized by the Points of Light Foundation, which featured MotherCoders as part of its Spring 2015 Civic Accelerator program to promote efforts that increase economic opportunity for women and girls.

Jon McNaughtan

Jon McNaughtan, (POLS) MA ’10. After graduating from POLS in 2010 Jon worked for two years as the President's Council Fellow at Southern Utah University. After that he enrolled in the University of Michigan where he just completed his third year working toward his PhD in Higher Education, Organizational Behavior and Management. Recently Jon co-authored an article, “Positive Organizational Change,” in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences. He is now working on his dissertation focused on organizational fit of university presidents and is enjoying life with his wife and three little boys!  

Erica Ostermann

Erica Ostermann, (POLS) MA ’10, works at Cornell University where she is a House Assistant Dean in the West Campus House System. In this capacity she helps faculty to become involved in the undergraduate residential experience to create informal intellectually engaging opportunities for house residents. Erica is also a pursuing a PhD in information science through Cornell’s employee degree program. Her research looks at how undergraduates are using technology to navigate their social transition into college, as well as the use of large public displays to support community building. When not at work or in class, she has enjoyed teaching rock climbing in the Cornell Outdoor Education program and in the summer of 2014 rode her bicycle from Seattle to San Diego. On this bicycle tour she was excited to be able to visit with Tricia Maas, (POLS) MA '10; Susan Tu, (POLS) MA '10; and Lindsey Sheehan (Engineering) MA '10.

Aaron Fulk

Aaron Fulk, (POLS) MA ’11,  writes: “My first job out of the POLS program was as assistant director at the Family Engagement Institute (FEI) at Foothill College. During my time at Stanford, I became passionate about working for an open access institution. I was drawn to FEI because it was a start-up nonprofit organization incubated within a community college that enabled me to work with lower income families in Silicon Valley. During my time at FEI, I also worked as a seasonal reader for Stanford's undergraduate admissions office, read applications for QuestBridge and shadowed the founder of Alpha Public Schools during the school's inception.

“After FEI, I moved to the world of independent schools as associate director of college counseling at St. Margaret's Episcopal School (SMES) in San Juan Capistrano. I worked on the school's diversity initiatives, supported full scholarship students through the college application process, served on several committees and coached varsity baseball. This past year, I continued my path in independent schools by moving to Richmond, Virginia, to work as a college counselor at Collegiate School where I serve in a variety of capacities.

“I love working at Collegiate, an academic institution that has the ability to make curricular changes in an agile way. I have been able to continue working on diversity initiatives to ensure that students who come from lower income backgrounds have opportunities equal to our overwhelmingly affluent population. At Collegiate, I am part of a tight-knit community where I have the opportunity to get to know my students in different environments: the classroom, college counseling, athletics, arts and casually hanging out in my office. It's a dream job where I am able to straddle the two worlds of working with students every day while also addressing administrative concerns and challenges like curriculum offerings, external communication, and data analysis.”

Elizabeth (Betsy)  Harris Cepparulo

Elizabeth (Betsy) Harris Cepparulo, (POLS) MA ’12, has taught AP Government at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, Calif., since 2013. She writes: "I have LOVED being at Eastside these last two years. It's really the most remarkable place at which I've ever had the privilege of working. Eastside is a school for low income students who will be the first in their families to go to college, and it is fully funded by generous donors in the area. The students inspire me every single day, and I'm grateful to know them." Betsy will move to Delaware at the end of this school year to be closer to her family and to teach global peace and justice at Wilmington Friends School. In her spare time she will teach Zumba and pursue emerging professional opportunities that foster civic engagement. 

James Ihn

James Ihn, (POLS) ’13, worked in student activities as assistant director of leadership development at Seton Hall University after graduating from Stanford Graduate School of Education. He writes about having just returned from advising a service trip to Honduras with college students and notes that he recently started a new position as student affairs manager at Columbia University in the Biomedical Engineering Department. James got his start in student activities during his time as a POLS student, where he interned as a program coordinator under Nanci Howe and Ankita Rakhe in the Student Affairs Higher Ed Fellows Program. 

Posted April 2014


Dan Gilbert

Chris walsh and Renee Bruner

Dan Gilbert, MA ’02, wrote this update on behalf of LDT alumni who attended the SXSWedu Conference and Festival in March: “Congratulations to LDT alumni Chris Fitzgerald Walsh, MA ’00, and Renee Bruner, MA ’14, whose company Zaption won the grand prize in the LAUNCHedu startup competition at the SXSWedu conference in Austin, TX. [Photo above.] LDT alumni from 1999-2014 met at the festival to share experiences, strengthen our network, and support one another. I presented a citizen-science social media project at the conference with a team of high school students from Omaha North High School. Alumni Debbie Stephens Stauffer, MA ’99, Tacy Trowbridge, MA ’01, Angad Singh, MA ’14, Manwen Ivy Guo, MA ’13, and Stephanie Chang, MA ’12, were also there, and we were joined for some inspiration from POLS alum Jason Weeby, MA ’07.”


Bruce Fuller

Bruce Fuller, PhD ’84, and José Ramón Lizárraga, MA ’12 co-authored the recent report, “Digital Media and Latino Families: New Channels for Learning, Parenting, and Organizing” for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. They found that while Latino families purchase and use tech tools almost as much as their white counterparts, they use them less often for school work or educational tasks. The report also examines the barriers faced by foreign-born or low-income Latino families in accessing digital technology, how technology positively and negatively disrupts family and community ties, and how community organizations are using these tools in their work to empower children and families. Bruce is a professor at the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Education. To read more about José Ramón, see his class note below.

Sarah Deschamps

Sarah Deschamps, MA ’89, is the development director for the Langley School, a private school in the greater Washington, DC area. After graduating from STEP, she worked as an assistant head of the Montessori School of Tokyo, served as a board trustee for the American School in Japan, and taught Spanish and French at the middle school and high school levels in Evanston, IL and St. Paul, MN.

John Sheehan

John Sheehan, PhD ’89, is a senior data analyst for Complete Genomics, a biotech company in Mountain View, CA. He has worked in the educational software industry as a data analyst and programmer for a decade. Before that, Sheehan taught math at the middle school, high school, and community college levels, and was a computer science instructor at San Francisco State University. He volunteers as an Advanced Placement computer science teacher at Woodside High School in Woodside, CA through the Technology Education And Literacy in Schools program (TEALS).


Celia Esposito-Noy

Celia Esposito-Noy, MA ’93, is the new vice chancellor of educational services and student success at the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District in Dublin, CA.  Previously, she served as the vice president of student services and enrollment management at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento.

Josh Sheldon

Josh Sheldon, MA ’99, writes, “Along with my wife Arlene, I’m learning about early childhood and elementary education in a very personal way—raising two amazing daughters.” He is also the director of strategic programs for the MIT App Inventor Project, where he strives to bring excellent computing education and educational technology to students and youth.

Brian Karadashian

Brian Karadashian, MA ’90, wrote his first novel, A Flag in the Window (Dog Ear Publishing, 2012), which was selected as a finalist in the published children’s fiction and picture book category for the 2013 San Diego Book Awards. The children’s historical novel follows Billy Roarke, a 12-year-old boy living in Pasadena who yearns for his father, a paratrooper stationed in England during World War II. Karadashian teaches elementary school for the Poway Unified School District in San Diego, and has published articles in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and the Dallas Times Herald. He lives in Escondido, CA with his wife Marcia, and has two grown stepchildren.

Ana Villalobos

Ana Villalobos, MA ’90, is an assistant professor of sociology at Brandeis University. She is completing a book titled Motherload, which examines how American families rely on intensive mothering to remedy economic, physical and emotional threats. Using detailed case studies, Villalobos shows how women's attempts to becoming a “perfect mother” often backfire, creating more stress and deflecting their focus from other possible sources of security. The book is due out this September and will be published by University of California Press. After graduating from STEP, Villalobos taught high school math for nine years before returning to school to earn a PhD in sociology at UC Berkeley.

Kelly Amis

Kelly Amis, MA ’94, has produced TEACHED, a short film series that examines the racial achievement gap in the U.S. school system. She founded Loudspeaker Films, an independent production company focused on educational equity and other social justice issues. Since graduating from Stanford, Amis researched the Australian education system as a Fulbright Scholar, served as a legislative aide for Senator Dianne Feinstein, and directed strategic initiatives for the Cesar Chavez Charter Schools for Public Policy in Washington, DC. She also worked for the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Building Hope, among other organizations.

Anand Reddy Marri

Anand Reddy Marri, MA ’96, was named Vice President and Head of Economic Education for the
Federal Reserve Bank of New York, becoming the highest ranking officer for education in the Federal Reserve System nationwide.  Marri is an associate professor of social studies and education at Teachers College. His research focuses on economics education, civic education, multicultural education, and social studies education. In 2010, he led the creation of “Understanding Fiscal Responsibility: A Curriculum for Teaching About the Federal Budget, National Debt and Budget Deficit” to improve the economic literacy of K-12 students. At the Federal Reserve Bank, Marri oversees programs in public education, professional development for university faculty, and career learning for young people in the fields of economics and finance.  He also directs the Bank’s museum.


Ikuko Shimizu

Ikuko Shimizu, MA '00, is deepening her knowledge of pedagogy and classroom dynamics to complement her experience in education policy and management. Currently on special leave from UNICEF, she lives in Tanga, Tanzania, where she is studying online, teaching at a secondary school, and supporting a start-up NGO aimed at improving teaching and learning in local secondary schools. 

Clifford Lee

Clifford Lee, MA ’01, is an assistant professor in the Single Subject Teacher Education program at the Kalmanovitz School of Education at Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga, CA. 

Marysol de la Torre-Escobedo

Marysol de la Torre-Escobedo, MA ’03, received the Golden Apple Teachers Are Heroes Award in recognition of her outstanding service and dedication in education. She teaches US History, AP US History, and Economics in Chico, CA at Inspire School of Arts and Sciences, which empowers students to reach their intellectual, creative, personal, civic, and social potential in a supportive and personalized environment. A STEP graduate, she started her teaching career at East Palo Alto Academy. Her experiences at EPAA have been invaluable in helping to found Inspire, the first in-district charter high school in Chico. 

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Anthony Dinh, MA ’04, is happy to be back on the Farm after spending a few years working at the U.S. Department of Justice. Now the assistant director of admission for international outreach and athletics at Stanford, he coordinates admissions efforts in Asia and Latin America.


Elizabeth Canfield Zajac

Elizabeth Canfield Zajac, MA ’05, married in July, earned a National Board Certification for the Teaching of World Languages last fall, and is currently a lead teacher and AP French teacher in the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in the Boston Public Schools. She has worked as a professional educator for ten years. Zajac is a doctoral candidate at Boston University in the Department of Educational Leadership and Development.

Kate Rennie (née Trimlett)

Kate Rennie (née Trimlett), MA ’05, teaches high school science for the Berkeley Unified School District. She serves as a career technical education liaison, an internship program coordinator, and a teacher in her school’s Bridge Program. The Bridge Program supports students struggling with academics or life challenges, beginning the summer before they begin high school through graduation.

Charlotte Cheng

Charlotte Cheng, MA ’06, has worked as a curriculum designer for several edtech companies, including Disney, LeapFrog, Meemli, and Gazillion Entertainment, as well as various startups. She is also a freelance illustrator. Her picture books, A Moment in Time and Silly McGilly, have attracted media attention from The New York Post and Real Simple, and garnered multiple awards. 

Julie Elis

Julie Elis, MA '06, Clara Bennett, MA '07, and Kerri Thomsen, MA '12, recently returned from a workshop in Bangkok, where they helped develop and launch new training tools and workshop session plans for Room to Read's Literacy Program. The materials will guide effective library and early grade literacy instruction programs around the world. Room to Read, a global nonprofit with offices around the world, collaborates with NGOs and local governments across Asia and Africa. 

Clara Bennett

Clara Bennett, MA '07, pictured here. See the item above for Julie Elis ’06 to read what Clara has been doing lately.

Debbie Heimowitz

Debbie Heimowitz, MA ’07, develops streaming video content and television shows for youth and pre-teens. 

Jenna Wachtel

Jenna Wachtel, ’06, MA ’07, is the program director of the Early Learning Initiative at the New Teacher Center, a national nonprofit that accelerates the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders to improve student learning. She supports teachers and systems that serve students from ages 3 to 5 to ensure that all children have an equitable start in life. 

Jessie Arora

Jessie Arora, MA ’08, recently launched Embark Labs, which teaches computer science and design thinking to elementary and middle school students in hands-on, collaborative ways. Embark Labs is running pilots throughout the South Bay and Peninsula areas. It will open its first pop-up lab in Menlo Park, CA this summer. 

Sandhya Sabhnani

Sandhya Sabhnani, MA ’00, works as an educational consultant for Nepris, an online virtual platform that connects teachers with high tech industry experts to engage students to learn more about STEM subjects and careers. Educators who are interested in using Nepris for their school or those who are interested in volunteering online for Nepris are encouraged to contact Sabhnani at She lives in Houston with her four-year-old son Avi and one-year-old daughter Arya. 

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Bernardo Naranjoy Pinera, PhD ’02, is Director General of Proyecto Educativo, a research and consulting firm working to improve public education in Mexico. Proyecto Educativo organized a group of GSE students and recent graduates from Mexico to present their work to high officials from Mexico’s Ministry of Education and the National Institute for Education Assessment and Evaluation last year. Pinera reports that most of the graduates who presented received job offers. Proyecto Educativo intends to repeat the event every August.

Viki Young

Viki Young (MA ’95, PhD ’05), received the 2013 Mimi Award from SRI International, the center’s highest recognition of its staff members. SRI cited Young “for giving selflessly of her time and expertise to mentor others, never shying away from giving honest feedback, and inspiring her colleagues to continually grow professionally while taking a sincere interest in their lives outside of work.” A principal scientist in SRI International’s Center for Education Policy, Young conducts national, state, and local research and evaluation projects on K–12 policy and reform. She serves as the principal investigator for two studies. The first investigates the effects of training on teacher and student outcomes at the Rio Grande Valley Center for Teaching and Leading Excellence, and the second examines successful strategies for preventing high school dropout and preparing at-risk youth for postsecondary education.

Angela Booker

Angela Booker, PhD ’07, won the AERA Division C Jan Hawkins Award with Victor Lee of Utah State University. The award recognizes early career individuals who best demonstrate the intersection of humanist activism, theoretical scholarship, and technological innovation. She presented “Legitimate Peripheral Technology: When Youth Act to Disrupt Social Patterns” at the award session in April. An assistant professor of communication at the University of California, San Diego, Booker studies how youth, families, and schools use media and technology for civic and political participation, learning, and community development. She is particularly concerned with addressing barriers to public participation among underrepresented and disenfranchised communities.


Q. Tien Le

Q. Tien Le, MA ’10, taught sixth grade in South Los Angeles for three years after graduating from STEP-Elementary. She is now pursuing a PhD in Urban Education Policy at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. “Two years into my PhD program, I can still say with 100 percent confidence that teaching is the hardest job I've ever had. Much respect to those teachers still on the frontlines,” she writes. 

Katie Kormanik

Katie Kormanik, MA ’11, designs and sometimes delivers online courses. She collaborates with subject-matter experts to design online curricula, including determining appropriate modes of instruction (typically video and text), activities, exercises, and graphics, and organizing them into a logical flow.

“Videos might be interviews with the experts, a fictional scenario with actors, or interviews with guest speakers,” she explains. “They could be anything. Exercises could be quick quizzes, complex case studies, or a group activity—again, possibilities abound.”

Kormanik designed and delivered Statistics: The Science of Decisions, a MOOC through Udacity that has enrolled over 50,000 students to date. “(While) the debate over credentialing rages on, there’s no doubt that online education is quickly becoming an integral part of how we learn,” she says. Those interested in “geeking out about online education” may contact her on LinkedIn

Heather Charles

Heather Charles, MA ’12, writes, “After taking a year off to recover from injuries sustained while classroom teaching, I am happy to report that I am entering a PhD program in fall in the history of education. I haven't committed anywhere yet, but I am excited about the University of Washington’s program in cultural and social foundations.” Charles’ research focuses on the recent history of funding, segregation, and equity in schools in the American West. She intends to examine how the current state of Sacramento schools illustrates the failures of reform in the last few decades since the passage of Proposition 13 and the San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez ruling. “I’m excited to enter the next phase of my work as an educator and activist,” she says. 

Sophie Lambert State

Sophie Lambert State, MA ’12, teaches AP Biology, freshman biology, and English support at a high school in Ventura County, California. 

José Ramón Lizárraga

José Ramón Lizárraga, MA ’12, researches the role of digital media in the education of Latinos. He co-authored a book chapter in Multilingual Learners and Academic Literacies: Sociocultural Contexts of Literacy Development in Adolescents (Routledge, 2015) titled, “Academic Literacies in a Social Media Age: Lessons Learned from Youth’s Transnational Communication Online.” His study examines how multilingual learners in the United States. and Mexico strategically and ingeniously use image, audio, and texts to establish and maintain online relationships with each other across geographic, cultural, and linguistic barriers.

Lizárraga and Bruce Fuller, PhD ’84, co-authored the recent report, “Digital Media and Latino Families: New Channels for Learning, Parenting, and Organizing” for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. They found that while Latino families purchase and use tech tools almost as much as their white counterparts, they use them less often for school work or educational tasks. The report also examines the barriers faced by foreign-born or low-income Latino families in accessing digital technology, how technology positively and negatively disrupts family and community ties, and how community organizations are using these tools in their work to empower children and families.

Lizárraga is third-year doctoral student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education, where he is a Distinguished Fellow and a senior editor for the Berkeley Review of Education. He is a research director of Xóchitl Justice Press and on the advisory board of Academia Cultural, an organization providing culturally and linguistically authentic art and literary programs for youth. He lives in San Francisco with his partner Arturo Cortez and their pet chihuahua Xóchitl. 

Chris Spetzler

Chris Spetzler, MA ’12, is executive director of Decision Education Foundation, a nonprofit in Palo Alto. The foundation recently offered a course in decision leadership through the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies Summer Institute, as well as a MOOC on decision skills through NovoEd.  

Kerri Thomsen

Kerri Thomsen, MA '12, pictured here. See the item above for Julie Elis ’06 to read what Kerri has been doing lately.

Rasha ElSayed

Rasha ElSayed, MA ’13, leads program development for a high school in Fremont, CA. She is guiding a school-wide evaluation of all programs to prepare the school for accreditation review. She also teaches a year-long design thinking class to juniors. “This has been a great experience for me so far. I am learning to apply what I learned at Stanford in real and complex settings,” she says. 

Joe Segal

Joe Segal, MA ’13, teaches second grade at Vargas Elementary School in Sunnyvale, CA. 

Marwa Abdel Fattah

Marwa Abdel Fattah, MA ’14, is a preschool teacher, and teaches child development for early education at the American University in Cairo. “My two jobs are very compatible and I see myself growing everyday as I combine theory and practice,” she writes. She is collaborating with professors and professionals at the American University in Cairo on a project aimed at setting standards for early childhood education in Egypt. 

Jun Du

Jun Du, MA ’14, launched the first Mandarin language program at Napa Valley Unified School District in Napa County, CA this school year. The course is offered as an elective to middle school and high school students in American Canyon. Du and his students performed at the 2015 San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade 

Kathy Peng

Kathy Peng, MA ’14, loves teaching middle school science in San Jose. “I feel incredibly lucky to work with this age group, the subject matter, and this school,” she says. 

Cody Sigmon

Cody Sigmon, MA ’14, teaches seventh grade language arts at Carver Middle School in Chester, VA. 

Vipul Redey

Vipul Redey (MA ’12) collaborated with Colin Meltzer (MA ’11) on a joint project between eighth grade students of Global Discovery Academy School in Vadodara, India and the Boston-based Carroll School to design and build mobile games. Over a period of three months, the students—10 from Vadodara and 12 from Boston—collaborated online via Scratch and Skype to share ideas, plan and design video games. The students presented and demonstrated their final projects at an event at Global Discovery Academy School. Redey is the chief product officer for Global Discovery Academy Schools, and Meltzer is the Fab Lab and Learning Commons Director for the Carroll School, a school for children with language-based learning disabilities. Redey is now exploring possible collaborations with LDT alumni in Singapore, Mongolia and Mexico.


Roy Davis

Roy Davis, MA ’47, earned an MA in public health at UC Berkeley after graduating from Stanford. He then worked for 10 years at the Office of Marin County Superintendent of Schools, where he directed a wide variety of public health education programs and services for the school district. His efforts attracted the attention of US Public Health Service representatives, who offered him a position developing a school health initiative at the federal level. During his 27-year tenure at the US Public Health Service, he created a model health education curricula and established partnerships with the then-named Department on Health, Education, and Welfare; the US Food and Drug Administration; and numerous federal and state agencies and nonprofit organizations. Since retiring in 1986, he has traveled to over 100 countries. He enjoys playing the piano and organ and pursues genealogical research.

Alice Stephens

Alice Stephens, BA ’48, is a painter whose mission “is to promote awareness of the beauty that surrounds us, and to inspire conservation of our world.” An acrylic painter, she shows locally at the Portland Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery, the Oregon Society of Artists, and in her studio in the Oregon Society of Artists building.  She and her grandson attended her 65th class reunion at Stanford last November.


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Phyllis Peterson, EdD ’59, served as president of Diablo Valley College in Concord, CA for the last 15 years of her career before retiring in 1996. She began her career as a high school French teacher, and was later recruited as an administrator for De Anza College in Cupertino, CA and Cuyamaca College in San Diego County. At Diablo Valley College, Peterson helped develop the Center for Higher Education, and led the college to its highest enrollment of 23,000 students. She served as head of Chief Executive Officers of the California Community Colleges, and has received awards for her leadership in higher education from the Association of California College Administrators and the University of Texas Community College Leadership Program.


Dick Gould

Dick Gould, MA ’60, has worked as a teacher, coach, and administrator in the San Francisco Peninsula, including two years at Mountain View High School, four years at Foothill College, and most famously, 48 years at Stanford. From 1966 until his retirement in 2004, he coached the Stanford men’s tennis team and led his teams to 17 NCAA Team Championships and coached 50 All-American champions.  He mentored and coached numerous tennis greats, including John McEnroe, Roscoe Tanner, Sandy Mayer, and the Bryan Twins. Gould helped develop the East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring Program and has led significant fund-raising efforts for Stanford tennis, including the $18 million facility renovation of the Taube Family Tennis Center. He is the author of the best-selling Tennis Anyone? (Mayfield Publishing, 1999) and has made several videos on playing tennis. Gould is the John L. Hinds Director of Tennis at Stanford.

Joseph Cronin

Joseph Cronin, EdD ’65, teaches courses in educational policy, and governance and decision making at Boston University’s School of Education. He currently advises the Sea Research Foundation’s Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut on several planning projects, including the S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore, the world’s largest aquarium. Cronin served as a consultant to the World Bank on Iraqi higher education accreditation, and recently gave two lectures in Dubai to Iraqi educators.

Janet Rooker

Janet Rooker, MA ’67, is the author of Nail Your College Essay (Rooker Associates LLC, 2009), a guide for students about the process of college essay writing. An educational consultant for the past 12 years, she regularly mentors other adult professionals who want to become educational consultants at the college level.


Lan Smith

Ian Smith, PhD ’71, wrote, “I am extremely grateful to the GSE and its faculty for giving me the intellectual skills to share my knowledge with many students and colleagues, both locally and internationally, in my 34-year career on the faculty of the Education and Social Work program at the University of Sydney, Australia.” Smith specialized in educational psychology and human development, and retired from the University of Sydney in 2006. He is now a visiting professor at Thailand’s Burapha University, where he supervises PhD students in an international human resource development program.

Tom Hoskins

Tom Hoskins, MA ’72, has authored and self-published When I Was a Kid: Looking Back and Reaching Forward, with the aim of inspiring others to mentor young people toward fulfilling lives. In the book, Hoskins revisits his memories of growing up in Davis, CA in the 1950s and running away from home at age 15, and reflects upon his 30-year career teaching junior high school in Northern California and the Central Valley. Hoskins is retired and lives in Mount Shasta.

William Scott

William Scott, MA ’72, is a campus minister for the Vedanta Society of Southern California. For three years, he taught weekly classes at the University of Southern California on Vedanta philosophy and its connections to other faiths and to astronomy, cosmology, neuroscience, mathematics, and psychology.

Posted February 2014


Merrill Newman

Merrill Newman, MA ’55, is the subject of a new ebook, The Last P.O.W., which tells how he was detained in North Korea in 2013. Written by journalist Mike Chinoy, it is the exclusive account of Newman’s harrowing experience that began when he was taken off a plane in Pyongyang after completing a tourist trip. According to the summary on, “For nearly two months, he was held by North Korea’s fearsome security services, subjected to intensive interrogation and repeatedly warned that if he did not confess his ‘crimes,’ he might never be allowed to return home.” Apparently, the North Koreans viewed this retired technology executive and grandfather, who lives in Palo Alto, as an ”enemy agent,” because of his service as a U.S. military advisor in Korea in 1953. Newman’s wife, Lee, and his son and daughter-in-law worked tirelessly with the State Department and many others to obtain his release. The Amazon summary calls the story “an inspiring tale of an ordinary American family’s courage and resilience in a situation as frightening as it was bizarre.” 


Marcos Najera

Marcos Najera, ’94, MA ’95, describes himself as a “hybrid storyteller”: an actor/director/journalist/teacher. He is a teaching artist for Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles and a recipient of its Dana Fellowship, as well as a directing assistantship from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  He is a company member of East LA Rep, a rebel performance artist for Guillermo Gomez Peña's La Pocha Nostra troupe and a long time artistic associate of playwright Anna Deavere Smith. "I would describe myself artistically as Marcos Deavere Peña, the imagined bastard offspring of Gomez-Peña and Smith," he jokes. Najera is currently crafting curriculum with Smith at the Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue at New York University. He has created as one-man show, Neuroplasticity: The Brown Brain, which explores mental health issues in communities of color. Researchers from the USC Translational Neuroscience Research Group served as consultants for his solo project.  Other recent theater credits include directing ¡Ser! at the Los Angeles Theater Center and Sueños Sin Fronteras at Cornerstone Theatre Company. As a reporter, Najera has filed stories for NPR, the BBC, CNN and NPR’s Latino USA.   

Catherine Casserly

Catherine Casserly, PhD ’96, is the new vice president of learning networks of EdCast, a Stanford StartX company that creates Knowledge Cloud platforms for institutions, educators, enterprises and governments to collaborate with each other. She is a fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the technical working group developing the 2015 National Education Technology Plan for the U.S. Department of Education. She previously served as the CEO of Creative Commons, a Silicon Valley nonprofit that provides legal and technological tools for sharing and collaboration. 


Jennifer Chan

Jennifer Chan, MA ’99, PhD ’01, is author of the new book, Politics in the Corridor of Dying: AIDS Activism and Global Health Governance (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), an examination of global AIDS activism in the last 25 years. The book documents the emergence of nongovernmental organizations and civil society groups engaged in AIDS advocacy worldwide, and critically evaluates how they have influenced global AIDS governance. The book analyzes the interventions of AIDS activists in four areas—science, market, governance, and community.

“I wouldn’t have been able to conceptualize and carry out such an ambitious project without my interdisciplinary training at GSE,” said Chan. “My broad training in international human rights law, international relations, feminism, anthropology and political sociology at Stanford over a decade ago sowed the seeds for this research on global AIDS activism, advocacy education, and governance. “

Chan is an associate professor in the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. She is the editor of Another Japan Is Possible: New Social Movements and Global Citizenship Education (Stanford University Press, 2008) and the author of Gender and Human Rights Politics in Japan: Global Norms and Domestic Networks (Stanford University Press, 2004).  

Travis Bristol

Travis Bristol, MA ’04, who received his PhD in education policy from Columbia, recently gave testimony for a public hearing in Boston on black male teachers in Boston Public Schools and how the district could increase teacher diversity. Currently a research and policy fellow at Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, he wrote a blog for Edutopia about what administrators and teachers could do to address the issues of race and violence in schools, following the Ferguson grand jury decision in November on the Michael Brown shooting. Both Education Week and Teach for America recommended his blog as a resource for teachers looking to address Ferguson in the classroom. In January, he published “Teaching boys: Towards a theory of gender-relevant pedagogy” in Gender and Education. The article reframes the public discourse around improving the negative school outcomes of black boys by exploring how educators’ socialized views around gender influence the ways they teach boys.

Hector Camacho

Hector Camacho, MA ’07, was appointed in June to be a trustee of the San Mateo County Board of Education. In November he ran unopposed for the position and was elected to a four-year term. He is currently a high school teacher and guidance counselor in Mountain View, Calif., and previously taught in both comprehensive and alternative high school programs in San Mateo County.  

Josefino Rivera

Josefino Rivera, MA ’07, recently started a new position teaching secondary English at Asociación Escuelas Lincoln, an American school in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Prior to moving to Argentina, Rivera taught English at Bonn International School in Germany, where he also coordinated community and service projects in its Middle Years Program, organized TEDxYouth events and founded the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.  

Piya Sorcar

Piya Sorcar, MA ’06, PhD ’09, founder and CEO of TeachAIDS, can be seen in a video on YouTube that gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the nonprofit social venture worked with the leading lights of Indian entertainment to create 12 new animated versions of it software. Developed at Stanford as part of Sorcar’s graduate work, TeachAIDS produces interactive HIV prevention software specifically targeted to individual cultures. Its materials are now used in 78 countries, including regions where no other HIV-related educational materials were previously allowed. Last year the group rolled out its 12 new segments, partnering with numerous governments, NGOs and celebrities, including legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan. 

Tseh-sien Kelly Vaughn

Tseh-sien Kelly Vaughn, PhD ’09, is an associate professor in education and leadership at Notre Dame de Namur University and recently completed a sabbatical. She co-authored the study “Summative as formative: Reflective practices from pre-service to in-service through teaching performance assessments,” which appears in the book, Reflectivity and Cultivating Student Learning: Critical Elements for Enhancing a Global Community of Learners and Educator (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2014).  She is currently conducting a case study comparison of Performance Assessment for California Teachers and master teacher scores, and examining the implementation of reflective tech activities aligned with K-5 Common Core Math standards.  She is also exploring social emotional learning in teaching performance assessments with San Jose State University Professor Nancy Markowitz. “But most of all, I am enjoying the time with my husband Dennis (a veteran teacher at Sunnyvale School District and a great baker), daughter Talitha (8-year old math whiz with a beautiful smile who loves Japanese anime), and son Zacchaeus (adorable soon-to-be 5 year old with an artistic imagination and determination),” she writes. 


Katy Kavanaugh

Katy Kavanaugh, MA ’10, recently repatriated from Germany, where she researched the impact of foreign-language films on childhood autobiographical memory. She received funding support for her research from Stanford, Free University Berlin and the Berlin International Film Festival’s Generation section.  Her research efforts inspired her to develop a rough cut documentary about her search to find Felix — an 11-year-old international film buff Kavanaugh met in 2001 — and to learn how a childhood spent watching international films has influenced his life. The film is now in post-production. Kavanaugh is raising funds through fiscal sponsor to complete the project.

In Germany, Kavanaugh also worked with several education, health care, government and finance firms as a design thinking coach. She produced “d.confestival,” the first international conference of design thinkers, at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam in September, and served as a guest expert at Design Thinking Week Poland in October. To learn more about her work supporting planning and innovation teams, visit  

Daniela Rubio

Daniela Rubio, MA ’10, is a founding board member of Enseña por México (Teach for Mexico), an initiative to improve Mexico’s educational system by transforming its top graduates into lifelong leaders committed to improving the lives of students across Mexico. The organization placed its first cohort of 100 members in public secondary and upper secondary school in the Puebla state in 2013, and will launch its third cohort this September. Rubio helped establish the Interdisciplinary Program on Education Policy and Practice, a program of Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas in Mexico City. PIPE is conducting research with Mexico’s Secretary of Education and the National Council of Science and Technology.

David Knight

David J. Knight, MA '11, is an affiliated researcher with the Justice in Schools Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a public school teacher in Boston. He writes on issues related to urban adolescent development, the intersection of racial and gendered identities among young males and teaching for social justice. He recently published the article, “Beyond the Stereotypical Image of Young Men of Color,” in The Atlantic. The Atlantic also featured a short documentary Knight produced and co-directed on the legacy of Boston busing and school desegregation and a Q&A interview about the film on its website. Knight published “Toward a Relational Perspective on Young Black and Latino Males” in the Winter 2014 issue of the Harvard Educational Review. 

David Yeager

David Yeager, MA ’10, PhD ’11, assistant professor of developmental psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, is currently a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, where he is conducting research on adolescent behavior change. Last year he was featured prominently in a New York Times Magazine cover article about his work to help disadvantaged students succeed at UT Austin, as well as in a story in The Atlantic about the impact of positive, affirming messages on student achievement. National Public Radio also reported on his interventions to foster purposeful learning and reduce depression among teenagers.

Wong Elizabeth

Elizabeth Wong, MA ’12, became a National Board Certified Teacher in English as a New Language in November.  National Board certification is an advanced teaching credential granted to teachers who demonstrate a strong command of the content they teach; design appropriate learning experiences for students; make instructional decisions using assessments; and partner with parents, colleagues and the community. Certification is based on the National Board for Professional Teaching standards.

“What most excited me about the National Boards certification process was examining my own teaching practices vis-a-vis the National Board Standards created by teachers, researchers and experts in the field,” said Wong, who is a 17-year veteran teacher for the New York City Public Schools system.  

The National Board certification process required Wong to reflect on and analyze her teaching practice, submit video recordings of her teaching and provide evidence in meeting National Board standards.

“What surprised me in watching videos of my own teaching was how much more talking I did in my lessons than my students,” she said. “It reminded me to balance the scaffolding of learning for students without depriving them of opportunities to process and express their ideas.”

For those thinking of pursuing National Board certification, she offered some words of advice: “Know that it will be time-consuming work, but the kind that is ultimately rewarding and satisfying.  You will investigate your own practices as a teacher in relation to a set of standards agreed upon by your field, which will provide you a solid foundation in your daily work as you engage with students, colleagues, and anyone with whom you discuss education.”

In addition to teaching, Wong leads book study groups for educators and delivers professional development workshops on teaching English as a Second Language in her school and other New York City public schools. She served as a 2012-2014 Common Core Fellow with the New York City Department of Education. 

Leigh Anne Miller

Leigh Anne Miller, MA '12, is the west coast director of Pratham, an education NGO serving nearly 5 million children in nine countries. She is also a board member of Pratham’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter and welcomes inquiries about Pratham’s work. She serves as an advisor for the Texas-based Strategic Insight Group, which provides private businesses with intelligence analysis. Miller also advises C4ADS, a nonprofit that provides governments and international bodies with analysis and reporting on illegal movements of goods and money in conflict zones. She is passionate about the intersection of technology and development, and has a strong interest in youth populations in fragile and post-conflict states that suffer from high rates of illiteracy and unemployment. 

Amy Ahearn

Amy Ahearn, MA ’13, works as a senior innovation associate at the Acumen Fund, where she designs courses for its growing online academy of social change. The courses aim to equip emerging global leaders with new approaches to tackling poverty. Prior to joining Acumen, she built online courses for the Stanford School of Medicine and managed U.S. Department of State teacher fellowship programs. 

Carrie Oelberger

Carrie Oelberger, MA ’10, PhD ’14, is an assistant professor of management and leadership at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Her research examines norms and structures within the nonprofit sector, drawing upon and contributing to the sociology of work, organizational theory, economic sociology, the study of social movements and social psychology. 

Posted October 2014


Suzanne Lewis

Photo of Lewis, Acedo, Weiler

Suzanne Grant Lewis, PhD ’88, and Clementina Acedo, MA ’84, MA ’88, PhD ’97, met with Professor Emeritus Hans Weiler at the 50th anniversary celebration of the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) in Paris. Lewis is the deputy director of IIEP, where she helped launch the International Education Funders Group, a collaborative of over 60 foundations helping private funders advance UNESCO’s Education for All initiative. Acedo directed the International Bureau of Education in Geneva from 2007 to 2014, and is now director of Webster University’s Geneva campus.


Mary Lou Harbison

Mary Lou Harbison, MA ’67, works as a program specialist for MOUSE Squad of California, a youth development program that trains and supports underserved youth to become digital media and technology experts in their schools. MOUSE Squad provides youth with opportunities to deepen their skills and interests in tech innovation, including robotics, game design and website building, and gives them the chance to lead and build confidence in their ideas. Prior to working at MOUSE Squad, Harbison developed and ran a technology-training program for teachers, administrators and technology coordinators through the Los Angeles County Office of Education for 15 years. 


Susan Murphy

Susan Murphy, MA ’74, will retire as vice president for student and academic services of Cornell University in June after more than 20 years of service. As vice president, she has headed a division that oversees most aspects of Cornell student life outside the classroom, including athletics and physical education, the public service center, dean of students, health services, registrar and career services, among others.  Prior to her current role, she worked for 16 years in admissions and financial aid, including nine years as dean of admissions and financial aid. Murphy will remain at Cornell assisting with fundraising and alumni engagement through June 2016. 


Jim Shelton

Jim Shelton, MA/MBA ’93, is planning to step down from his position as second-in-command at the U.S. Department of Education at the end of this year. Shelton joined the department in 2009 to lead its innovation and improvement programs, including the Investing in Innovation Fund; Promise Neighborhoods, a grant program providing “cradle to career” educational and social services to youth in underserved communities; and other initiatives focused on teacher and leader quality, school choice, and education technology. He has served as deputy secretary since May 2013.

In a written statement, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “Jim has brought a profound understanding of how to encourage innovation to address some of the biggest challenges faced by our education system and, more broadly, our country. From developing and managing signature reform programs such as the Investing in Innovation fund and Promise Neighborhoods to being a key leader on the President's My Brother's Keeper initiative and strengthening the Department's operations as deputy secretary, Jim has helped shape so much of this administration's education policy, programs and strategy over the last five-and-a-half years. Jim has earned a break, and we're so grateful to Jim for all he has contributed at ED, and to his family for letting him be part of the Education Department team for this long.”

Before joining the Department of Education, Shelton worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as program director for education, managing a portfolio of programs and grants targeting increased high school and college graduation rates. He also headed the East Coast office of the New Schools Venture Fund and co-founded LearnNow, a school management company that eventually merged with Edison Schools. 

David Cohen

David B. Cohen, MA ’95, a 20-year teaching veteran and education consultant who has taught English for the last 12 years at Palo Alto High School, is taking a year-long sabbatical to travel around California writing about teachers and schools. He seeks to highlight the positive stories occurring at public schools throughout the state, visiting many of the teachers he has met as a co-founder and former associate director of the group Accomplished California Teachers. Cohen, a National Board Certified Teacher, is also blogging about his experiences on his website and at EdWeek Teacher


Marciano Gutierrez

Marciano Gutierrez, MA ’06, was profiled for his teaching achievements by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in honor of Hispanic Heritage month. A STEP graduate, he teaches social studies at Alta Vista High School in Mountain View, CA. In 2012, Gutierrez was awarded a White House Teaching Ambassador fellowship in Washington D.C., and worked with Secretary Arne Duncan and his senior staff on teacher retention and recruitment issues. In 2011, he received a Fulbright Study fellowship to China and a National Teacher Fellowship from the Hope Street Group, and in 2009, a Bay Area Teacher of the Year award from the California Continuation Education Association. Several of Gutierrez’s lessons have been featured in the CCEA state newsletter and in the Alternative Education Principal’s Institute Handbook. 

Daphna Bassok Kihyun Ryoo

Daphna Bassok (MA ’03, MA ’05, PhD ’09) and Kihyun Ryoo (MA ’04, PhD ’09), have been named 2014 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellows. Bassok and Ryoo are among 24 career scholars chosen from around the world for the prestigious award, one of the most competitive in the field of educational research. 

Bassok received the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship for her research project, “Early parental investment and the emergence of school readiness gaps: Changing patterns over the past two decades.” Her study examines how changes in parenting practices since the early nineties are contributing to the early emergence of achievement gaps between children from low- and high-income families.  Bassok is an assistant professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia and an associate director of EdPolicyWorks, a joint project between the Curry School of Education and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. She specializes in early childhood education policy, focusing on the effects of policy interventions on the academic and social well-being of low-income children.

Ryoo was awarded the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship for her research project, “Designing effective guidance for visualization technologies to help English Language Learners succeed in mainstream science classrooms.” Her study explores how to design effective guidance to help English Language Learners benefit from dynamic visualizations and develop an integrated understanding of the scientific concepts of energy and matter transformations. She joined the education faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an assistant professor of learning sciences in 2012. Ryoo studies how technology can support science teaching practice and facilitate instruction for diverse learners, particularly ELLs and language-minority students. 

Pamela Levine

Pamela Levine, MA ’09, returned to Stanford GSE in 2012 as an education technology specialist. Last spring, she designed and taught “The digital classroom: Technologies and practices for educators," a graduate-level course on how educators can use technology to emphasize communication and higher-order thinking, drive inquiry, and create engaging learning opportunities. The course's paperless classroom model for instruction and sharing student work was featured at Stanford's 2014 Academic Technology Expo, which took place in October. After graduating from the POLS program, Levine taught at the elementary level in both traditional public and charter schools in Washington, D.C. and co-taught “Designing a new learning Environment,” a MOOC on the NovoEd platform. 

Vridhi Tuli

Vridhi Tuli, MA ’09, is teaching her first massive open online course at The course, Introduction to business communication, teaches students how to speak at business meetings, explain products to clients, lead virtual and in-person presentations, and convince clients to buy their products. To date, entrepreneurs, designers, web designers, social media business owners, and college students from India, South America and the United States have taken the course.


Brian Lukoff

Brian Lukoff, PhD ’10, co-founded Learning Catalytics, a cloud-based educational assessment and engagement platform, as part of his work as a postdoctoral fellow in technology and education at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. The Learning Catalytics system provides teachers with real-time student responses to open-ended or critical thinking questions, determines which areas require further explanation, and then automatically groups students for further discussion and problem solving.  In 2013, Pearson Education acquired the platform and hired Lukoff as the program director for Learning Catalytics. Lukoff now leads its product development in the areas of design, strategy and scaling. 

Abby Reisman

Abby Reisman, PhD ’11, was appointed assistant professor of teacher education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in July. Her work focuses on the pragmatics of translating engaging, text-based historical inquiry into classroom instruction with struggling readers. Currently, she studies the influence of professional development on social studies teachers’ practice in two school districts: Newark Public Schools and Prince William County Public Schools. Prior to her arrival at Penn, she was a visiting professor at Columbia University’s Teacher College and a researcher at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing at UCLA. As a doctoral student at Stanford, Reisman directed the “Reading Like a Historian” project in San Francisco, and her 2011 dissertation won the Larry Metcalf Award from the National Council of the Social Studies. An article that emerged from her dissertation won the 2013 William Gilbert Award from the American Historical Association.

Posted June 2014


Jackie (Wities) Levy

Jackie (Wities) Levy, MA ’70, was elected president of the Sacramento County Board of Education last July, and is serving her second term on the board as a trustee. Prior to her election, Levy was a high school teacher and principal for 35 years, most recently serving as principal at Cordova High School in Rancho Cordova, CA. 


Jim Mathrusse

Jim Mathrusse, MA ’81,  works for Polycom, Inc., where he manages a sales enablement team and runs learning management system training projects and operations. Prior to Polycom, he developed trainings and managed learning teams at Microsoft for several years. He and his family travel to Asia often and have homes in both the U.S. and China. He looks forward to connecting with GSE alums for community and networking. 

Ted Mitchell

Ted Mitchell, PhD ’83,  was appointed the top-ranking higher education official in the U.S. Department of Education. He was confirmed by unanimous vote on May 8 in the Senate. As under secretary of education, Mitchell, who previously was chief executive of the NewSchools Venture Fund, oversees all programs and policies in higher education at the federal level. For more about Mitchell, see


Damian Ewens

Damian Ewens, MA ’03, recently launched Achievery, a digital credential and badge platform for recognizing and verifying new and emerging skills and credentials of students. Achievery works exclusively with competency-based schools, colleges and high-quality learning models. He is most excited about supporting learning models that blend the soft and hard skills needed to be successful in college, career and life. Achievery clients include THIMUN Online Model United Nations and MOUSE Corps, a youth-centered design and technology program. Since its beta launch in October, the Achievery platform has been used in over 38 countries and has doubled its users every month.  Prior to founding Achievery, Ewens spent 14 years teaching, developing schools and running a citywide afterschool system in Providence, RI.

Travis Bristol

Travis Bristol, MA ’04, recently received his PhD from Teachers College, Columbia University. At his commencement ceremony, he and his family were photographed for Humans of New York, a popular photoblog featuring street portraits and interviews collected in New York City. Bristol returns to Stanford this fall as a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. 

Brian Kaplan

Brian Kaplan, MA ’07, is the new executive director of Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education. IISME is a nonprofit that connects Bay Area teachers with meaningful summer fellowships at high-tech companies and research institutions, including Google, Cisco, Agilent, Genentech, and Stanford. Each year, about 150 IISME fellows work to translate their professional summer experiences into engaging and relevant curriculum for their students.

Kaplan notes that many STEPpies have participated in the IISME fellowship program, including members of his ’07 STEP cohort: Craig Young, Christina Nawas and Kyle Moyer. Another STEP ’07 graduate, Renee Trochet, is participating in her first IISME fellowship this summer at Virtual Computing Environment Company. IISME placed a total of 18 teachers this summer with the Stanford Office of Science Outreach. Kaplan welcomes hearing from members of the Stanford community who have worked with IISME in the past, or who are working at a company with summer project needs. 

Diana Medina

Diana Medina, '06, MA ’07, earned an MA in Educational Administration at San Jose State University last year. A fourth grade teacher for the Gonzales Unified School District in Gonzales, CA, she plans to eventually pursue an administrative position. Medina will marry UC Davis alum Paul Dietrich in July and writes, “To accompany me in this joyous event, some of my Stanford besties will be a part of my wedding: Alexis Meeker ’06, Kelly Schmutte ’06, Prisilla Gonzales ’06, Kat Enfinger ’06, and Liz Romero ’05.” She proudly notes that her brother Omar Medina ’14 recently graduated from Stanford and has started working at Google. 

Jason Weeby

Jason Weeby, MA ’07, recently became senior fellow at Bellwether Education Partners, where he works with teams in policy and thought leadership, strategic advising and talent services to advance urban education reform efforts across the country on the state and city levels. Prior to joining Bellwether, Weeby worked for six years at Education Pioneers, building a nationwide network of high-caliber education leaders. Most recently, he was their senior director of new initiatives and led innovation efforts, including the launch of new programs and services. Weeby lives in San Francisco with his wife Ann and his son Asa. You can follow him on Twitter at @jasonweeby. 

Danielle Harlan

Danielle Harlan, MA ’09, PhD '11 (in political science), recently launched Rules For Alphas, an organization supporting outstanding leaders and entrepreneurs in living well and maximizing their impact. She is writing a book on the same topic and welcomes contributions and feedback from members of the GSE community on personal or professional advice they would give to a mentee, lessons they wish they had learned sooner, and topics that they wish to learn more about, including how to juggle career and children. Those interested in contributing may contact her at

Shane Moise

Shane Moise, MA ’09, is the founding director of Beyond the Checkbox at UC San Diego, a collaborative project that explores the diverse social identities of UC San Diego students, faculty and staff. The project features a series of portrait photographs with answers to the question, “Who are you?” The respondents are given the opportunity to tell their stories and experiences on their own terms, challenging preconceived labels and stereotypes. Moise is exploring ways to scale the project to other institutions, and is developing curriculum modules for self-reflection and the exploration of identity issues. Moise also plays rugby for the Pacific Rugby Premiership with Old Mission Beach Athletic Club.  He says, “OMBAC rugby has become what The Farm was for me in the Bay Area. Missing The Farm and wishing the best to the class of 2015 next year!” 


Helen Snodgrass

Helen Snodgrass, MA ’10, starts a new position next year as a science content specialist for Houston’s YES Prep Public Schools, where she also teaches AP biology. She won the Outstanding New BiologyTeacher Achievement Award, given by the National Association of Biology Teachers. The award recognizes an early-career biology/life science teacher who has developed an original and outstanding instructional program or technique and made a contribution to the profession. 

Reeta Banerjee

Reeta Banerjee, MA ’13, released Horse Sense, an app for the iPhone and iPad that aids in personal problem-solving. Horse Sense features an animated horse named Sage who helps users gain insight on a range of problems from dealing with career doubts to managing an interpersonal conflict. Sage the Horse simulates a mentor or life coach by asking questions in a safe, non-judgmental environment to generate ideas that address the problem. The structured questions blend problem-solving research from mathematics and science, expressive writing, counseling techniques and the Socratic method. Banerjee designed the app for her master’s project in the Learning, Design, and Technology Program. Horse Sense is now available on the Apple App Store