July 15-17, 2015 Berkeley, CA

ANDRES ALONSO is Professor of Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Alonso practiced law in NYC after receiving his J.D from Harvard Law School. He then changed course to become an educator. He spent 12 years as a teacher of English Language Learners and students with disabilities in Newark, NJ. He would then go on to work for the New York City Department of Education, serving in various capacities. Alonso was then named CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools in 2007 before becoming a Professor of Practice at Harvard.

PRUDENCE CARTER is Professor of Education and Sociology and Faculty Director of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University. Professor Carter’s research and teaching expertise are in the areas of inequality and the sociology of education, with a particularly focus on race, ethnicity, class, gender, culture and identity. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty in 2007, Dr. Carter was Associate Professor of Sociology at Harvard University and a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow with the Program on Poverty, the Underclass and Public Policy and the Program for Research on Black Americans at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

GEOFFREY COHEN is the James G. March Professor of Organizational Studies in Education and Business at Stanford University. His research examines how identity is maintained and the implication of this for social problems. His lab addresses theoretical and practice issues in social psychology in general and in education in particular. Cohen received his PhD from Stanford.

DAVID COLEMAN is the president and CEO of the College Board. While an undergraduate at Yale, Coleman started Branch, an innovative community service program for inner-city kids in New Haven. He returned to the U.S. after studying in the U.K. to work at McKinsey & Company for five years, where he led much of the firm’s pro bono work in education. Coleman then founded Grow Network, an organization that made assessment results truly useful for teachers, parents, and students. McGraw-Hill acquired the Grow Network in 2005. In 2007, Coleman left McGraw-Hill and co-founded Student Achievement Partners, a nonprofit that brings educators and researchers together to design actions to improve student outcomes. In 2012 he became president of the College Board.

Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, Ph.D., is the CEO for Educational Services at Los Angeles Unified School District. Until recently, she was the Superintendent of Schools for the Santa Ana Unified School District. Dr. Meléndez previously held the position of Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the United States Department of Education. During her tenure as the Assistant Secretary, Dr. Meléndez served as the principal advisor for Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education. Prior to arriving at the USDOE, Dr. Meléndez served as superintendent for the Pomona Unified School District in Pomona, Calif.

JEANNIE OAKES was a Presidential Professor in Educational Equity in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. In addition, she was also the founder and former director of UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access (IDEA), which seeks to understand and challenge pervasive racial and social class inequalities in education. Oakes’ research focuses on schooling inequalities and followed the progress of educators and activists seeking socially just schools. In 2008, Oakes left UCLA to join the Ford Foundation as its Director of Education and Scholarship.

MICHAEL PETRILLI is the president of the Thomas B. Fordham, one of the country’s leading education-policy think tanks. Petrilli is also a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and executive director of Education Next. In addition, he helped to create the U.S Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, the Policy Innovators in Education Network, and the Young Education Professionals.

MEREDITH PHILLIPS is an associate professor of public policy and sociology at UCLA where she studies the causes and consequences of educational inequality. Her research focuses in particular on the causes of ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in educational success and how to reduce those disparities. Her current research projects include a random-assignment evaluation of the efficacy of two low-cost college access interventions and an ethnographic longitudinal study of adolescent culture, families, schools, and academic achievement.

ROBERT PUTNAM is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. He has written fourteen books, translated into more than twenty languages, including Bowling Alone and Making Democracy Work, both among the most cited publications in the social sciences in the last half-century. He has consulted for the last three American presidents, the last three British prime ministers, the last French president, prime ministers from Ireland to Singapore, and hundreds of grassroots leaders and activists in many countries. His latest book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, on the growing class gap among American young people, was published in March 2015.

SEAN REARDON is the Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education and Professor of Sociology at Stanford University. His research focuses on the causes, patterns, trends, and consequences of social and educational inequality, the effects of educational policy on educational and social inequality, and in applied statistical methods for educational research. In addition, he develops methods of measuring social and educational inequality (including the measurement of segregation and achievement gaps) and methods of causal inference in educational and social science research.

TOM SANDER is the Executive Director of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, a program at Harvard Kennedy School that has brought together leading practitioners and thinkers for a multi-year discussion to develop broad-scale, actionable ideas to fortify our nation’s civic connectedness. He managed the research teams (and often served as senior researcher) for the research projects culminating with the books Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis (2015), American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (2010), Better Together (2003) and Bowling Alone (2000). He was the project manager on the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey – the largest survey of social capital to-date (surveying over 30,000 Americans in 41 communities in 2000) – and on two panel surveys on social capital after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

CLAUDE STEELE is the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at UC Berkeley. He also serves as Professor in the Department of Psychology and Graduate School of Education. Prior to working at UC Berkeley, Steele served as James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University, and earlier, served as the 21st provost of Columbia University and was a faculty member at numerous universities. His research focuses on the psychological experience of the individual and, particularly, on the experience of threats to the self and the consequences of those threats. Steele serves on numerous boards including the Russell Sage Foundation.

PAUL TONER is president of Cambridge Strategic Partnerships. He recently served as President of the VIVA Project, a nonprofit seeking to dramatically increase classroom teachers’ participation in important policy decisions about public education. Previously, he was president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), where he oversaw its efforts to shape policy as the state developed its Race to the Top application, educator evaluation, new PARCC assessments and rolled out the Common Core standards. Paul also served as Vice President of MTA from 2006-10, president of the Cambridge Teachers Association from 2001 to 2006 and president of the National Council of State Education Associations from 2013-14, and spent ten years as a middle school teacher in the Cambridge, Mass., public schools.