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About2018-03-16T14:01:19+00:00

Challenging the Status Quo

“In the world of education reform, where cities like D.C., Denver and New York City are often recognized for their innovative leaders and groundbreaking policies, the work of a Texas college of education and its partner districts has quietly, but surely begun to shine a light onto a masterful new model of teacher preparation and district reform”(How a Texas College of Education Is Building Meaningful Partnerships with Schools, n.d.).  Over the past decade, Texas Tech University has created a unique model for teacher preparation programs that centers around authentic partnerships with school districts and focuses closely on teacher preparation and student success.  The collaboration between university and schools has sparked innovation and change that benefits the whole community.  From this innovation, new practices in teacher preparation have been developed that support the training and growth of new teachers.

Over the past few years, other universities have joined in the work to move their teacher preparation programs forward and work closely with districts to improve education. In spring 2017, the US PREP coalition was created to support the work of partner universities and their school districts.  Through US PREP, university leaders are able to collaborate and learn from one another as they work to create high-quality and sustainable relationships with school districts; improve clinical experiences of teacher candidates; and prepare classroom-ready teachers who are equipped to address the academic and social/emotional needs of their students.

Today, the coalition consists of eight universities whose stellar faculty and staff are engaged with district partners to support the growth and development of strong, capable teachers who have the potential to positively impact the lives of countless students across the nation.

“I believe the historical lack of deep and authentic university-school partnerships has been the cause of some of today’s challenges in American education. Now we have the opportunity to demonstrate how alignment can be a solution. We rise or fall together.”

Dr. Scott Ridley

Our Team

SARAH BEAL

Executive Director
As Executive Director, Sarah oversees all operations of US PREP. She works closely with the US PREP staff and university partners to set the vision.

SARAH BEAL

Executive Director

Sarah Beal received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Innovation. Her research area is teacher educator effectiveness. After completing her undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies and Spanish from St Mary’s College in California, Sarah earned her teaching certification through ASU’s first Professional Development School. Sarah spent ten years as a classroom teacher and an instructional coach, and earned her Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in mathematics. Over the last six years, Sarah held several positions at Arizona State University. Sarah was involved in every phase of the reform process from designing the key features of the iTeachAZ Program to leading the change and scaling process with faculty. She has served as an iTeachAZ Site Coordinator and as an iTeachAZ Program Specialist. While in these roles, Sarah assisted with the development of the year-long student teaching residency, the iTeachAZ Performance Assessment process, the mentor selection and training process, the course reform process, the iTeachAZ Program Review process, as well as the iTeachAZ data suite consisting of a mobile application, data dashboard, and professional learning library. Sarah designed and implemented a structure called “Program Alignment Teams” which fostered a culture of collaboration, accountability, and professional development amongst all the teacher educators at ASU.

MICHELLE R FRANCO-WESTACOTT

Regional Transformation Support Specialist
As a Regional Transformation Support Specialist, Shelly works directly with university partners to support all aspects of transformation. Shelly works with the deans and leadership teams to create and implement strategic plans for improvement.

MICHELLE R FRANCO-WESTACOTT

Regional Transformation Support Specialist

Michelle R. Franco-Westacott is a Regional Transformation Specialist for U.S. PREP National Center. Michelle has extensive background in the field of educational leadership and brings this wide-ranging background experience and expertise to her role within U.S. PREP. Michelle is deeply committed to positively impacting the transformation of teacher preparation programming, on behalf of ALL children, across the United States.

Michelle’s 30 years of experience in the field of education include:

  • Classroom Teacher Leader (17 years),
  • Instructional Coach and Professional Developer (4 years),
  • K-8 Administrator (3 years),
  • iTeachAZ Coordinator and Clinical Instructor, Arizona State University (2.5 years)
  • Management Research Analyst Principal, Arizona State University (3 years)
  • Regional Transformation Specialist, U.S. PREP National Center (Current)

In her role as a Regional Transformation Specialist, Michelle supports multiple universities as they strive to transform their teacher preparation programming. This support is frequent and ‘heavy-touch’ and includes the provision of professional development support for leadership and faculty as well as explicit consulting with university leadership teams as they work to achieve program transformation, at scale. Additionally, Michelle has taken the lead in managing a number of special projects for the Center. Included is the development and implementation support of a Program Review Process (an internal, formative assessment process used to measure the integrity of program delivery) and, the development, training, and support for the administration of a student perception survey (SPS). During the clinical placement, the SPS is administered by all teacher candidates (TCs) to all of their PK-12th grade students in partner districts. The SPS results are used by TCs to develop goals and implement strategies with the intent of improving their teaching and their relationships with their students.  Furthermore, Michelle has joined other U.S. PREP Center colleagues, and university partners in developing proposals and presenting at national conferences.

Michelle received her Master's Degree from State University of New York, Brockport and subsequently through additional advanced studies in Educational Leadership, acquired certification as a Supervisor and an Administrator.

Finally, Michelle sustains the following certifications:

  • State of New York K - 8 Teaching Certificate
  • State of Arizona K - 6 Teaching Certificate
  • State of Arizona K - 8 Supervisory Certificate
  • State of Arizona K - 8 Administrative Certificate
  • *Endorsements: State of Arizona SEI, and Early Childhood
  • TAP Certified Evaluator
  • TPI Certified Inspector

LYNDA SCOTT

Regional Transformation Support Specialist
As a Regional Transformation Support Specialist, Lynda works directly with university partners to support all aspects of transformation. Lynda works with the deans and leadership teams to create and implement strategic plans for improvement.

LYNDA SCOTT

Regional Transformation Support Specialist

Lynda Scott recently joined US PREP as the Communications & Outreach Specialist.  She was a Clinical Assistant Professor and a Site Coordinator at Arizona State University in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.  She has her Bachelor of Arts in Education and earned her Masters in Administration and Supervision and principal certification in 2013. She has experience as an 8th grade ELA teacher, 4th grade teacher and instructional coach. Lynda recently planned and implemented a Technology Infusion Project at ASU that promoted the infusion of technology in the iTeachAZ Avondale Senior Year Residency. She was presented the 2016 AzTEA Innovation Award for Teacher (Pre-Service Faculty) of the Year for her work with technology infusion in denteacher preparation. Lynda has also served on faculty teams to help align curriculum and best practices in the iTeachAZ program with SEED and ELL Grant initiatives.

Lynda is currently in the doctoral program at ASU—researching the use of educational technology in teacher preparation. She has presented at conferences for various organizations— including Arizona Technology in Education Association and International Society for Technology in Education. Lynda was awarded Westside Impact Teacher of the Year and was presented with the Dr. Cathy Stafford Passion and Commitment Award for Desert Thunder during her time as a Master Teacher in the Avondale School District.

NICOLE AVENI

Regional Transformation Support Specialist
As a Regional Transformation Support Specialist, Nicole works directly with university partners to support all aspects of transformation. Nicole works with the deans and leadership teams to create and implement strategic plans for improvement.

NICOLE AVENI

Regional Transformation Support Specialist

Nicole Aveni serves as a Regional Transformation Support Specialist for US PREP National Center.  She has also served as a Clinical Assistant Professor and a Site Coordinator at Arizona State University in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.  As a Site Coordinator of a long-standing district partner, she facilitated the ongoing growth of a Masters and Certification teacher residency program. While at ASU, Nicole planned and implemented a Technology Infusion Project that promoted the infusion of technology in the iTeachAZ Osborn MAC program.  She also served as an Emotional Intelligence (EQ) trainer and coach for teacher candidates in their first year of teaching. She has experience teaching in grades Preschool through 2nd, as well as leading and supporting educators teaching in grades K-6 as a TAP Master Teacher.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Masters degrees in both Early Childhood Education (with an emphasis on being an educator of early childhood teachers) and Educational Leadership (principal certification).

RAYMOND FLORES

Design Based Research Leader
As a Design Based Research leader, Raymond provides coaching and support to the Design Based Research Coaches. Raymond oversees the coursework reform process and supports universities with examining the impact of the coursework on teacher candidate development.

RAYMOND FLORES

Design Based Research Leader

Raymond Flores is an assistant professor of mathematics education in the Department of Teacher Education. Since the fall of 2013, he has served as an anchor for undergraduate mathematics education at the College of Education. In addition, he is currently co-leading Design-Based Research efforts associated with USPREP National Center with Dr. Jian Wang. Prior to coming to Texas Tech, he was program chair of the middle/secondary mathematics education program at Wichita State University, 2011-2013.

Please see link below:

https://www.depts.ttu.edu/education/our-people/Faculty/raymond_flores.php

Also, for TTU folks, the link for all faculty is given below by clicking their names

https://www.depts.ttu.edu/education/our-people/Faculty/

JIAN WANG

Design Based Research Leader
As a Design Based Research leader, Jian provides coaching and support to the Design Based Research Coaches. Jian oversees the coursework reform process and supports universities with examining the impact of the coursework on teacher candidate development.

JIAN WANG

Design Based Research Leader

Jian Wang received his Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy, Michigan State University. He is currently Professor, Helen DeVitt Jones Chair in Teacher Education, and Chair of Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Texas Tech University. His research interests include (1) teacher learning and education, (2) teacher mentoring, (3) relationship between reform-minded teaching, contexts of curriculum, and teaching organizations, and (4) comparative study about student’ mathematics learning under the influence of teaching and non-teaching contexts. He published qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method studies, literature reviews, and conceptual analyses in the above fields, which appeared in the academic journals, such as Review of Educational Research, Educational Researcher, Education Research Review, Teachers’ College Record, Journal of Teacher Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, Research in the Teaching of English, and Journal of Curriculum Studies. He served as a co-editor of Journal of Teacher Education and a co-program chair for the AREA SIG: Research on Teacher Induction. His co-edited book, Past, Present, and Future Research on Teacher Induction: An Anthology for Researchers, Policy Makers, and Practitioners, synthesize comprehensively the research in the field of teacher induction. He received the Spencer Research Grant examining the relationship between teachers’ mathematics knowledge, teaching, and student learning in China. He worked for the cross-national curriculum research project of TIMSS and the cross-national research project, Learning from Mentor, at the National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. He is a Co-PI at the US PREP National Center working to transform teacher preparation in different institutions using design based research.

JESSICA MILLS

Program Coordinator
Jessica Mills is the Project Coordinator for US PREP National Center.

JESSICA MILLS

Program Coordinator

Jessica Mills is the Project Coordinator for US PREP National Center. Jessica received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a minor in Society Services along with a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Memphis. Her tenure has been working in Higher Education Administration with a focus in Grant and Contract Organization.

DEBRA LEE COLLINS

Senior Director of Content, Development and Programming
Dr. Dedra Lee-Collins is the Senior Director of Content Development and Programming for US PREP National Center.

DEBRA LEE COLLINS

Senior Director of Content, Development and Programming

Dr. Dedra Lee-Collins is the Senior Director of Content Development and Programming for US PREP National Center. Dedra received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Early Childhood Education from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Administration certification from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, TX. She also received her doctoral degree in Early Childhood Education from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. Dedra’s experience in education spans 20 years and she began her teaching career in the Dallas Independent School District in Dallas, TX as a Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st grade teacher. Dedra also served as an Instructional Coach and Master Teacher in the Lancaster Independent School District in Lancaster, TX. Dedra’s passion lies in early childhood education and she works with future educators as an adjunct faculty member in the Family Sciences department at Texas Woman’s University and the Curriculum and Instruction department at Tarleton State University.

LIZ ROGAHN

Business Manager
Liz Rogahn serves as the US PREP National Business Manager. Liz has been with Texas Tech University for over 12 years, serving at both the academic campus and at the Health Sciences Center in administrative roles facilitating multi-million fiscal activities at both a departmental and institutional level.

LIZ ROGAHN

Business Manager

Liz Rogahn serves as the US PREP National Business Manager. Liz has been with Texas Tech University for over 12 years, serving at both the academic campus and at the Health Sciences Center in administrative roles facilitating multi-million fiscal activities at both a departmental and institutional level.

MARCELO SCHMIDT

Director for Research and Continuous Improvement
Marcelo Schmidt is the Director for Research and Continuous Improvement for US PREP National Center. He also serves as Director of Assessment and Accreditation for the College of Education at Texas Tech University.

MARCELO SCHMIDT

Director for Research and Continuous Improvement

Marcelo Schmidt is the Director for Research and Continuous Improvement for US PREP National Center. He also serves as Director of Assessment and Accreditation for the College of Education at Texas Tech University. He has over ten years of experience preparing teachers to become physical educators and coaches. His research interests are focused on topics pertinent to special education and using data for continuous improvement. Marcelo received a Master’s Degree in education from the University of Texas- Pan American (now UT- Rio Grande Valley) and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Texas Tech University.

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