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About 2017-06-17T23:54:51+00:00

Challenging the Status Quo

US PREP was the vision of Texas Tech University College of Education Dean Scott Ridley long before it became a reality. With a career-long commitment to improving the quality of teacher education in the United States, he has been instrumental in creating and implementing a new approach to teacher preparation. Having learned much and experienced both successes and challenges, Ridley was determined to take the lessons learned and impact education in his home state of Texas when he was selected to take the reins as Dean of Texas Tech’s College of Education in 2012.

The TechTeach program was born in short order. And with the success of this reformed approach to teacher preparation came the desire to take what was working well in West Texas and extrapolate it across Texas and ultimately the United States.

About the same time, Bill and Melinda Gates were looking for innovative approaches to change the face of education in our country. TechTeach and other programs in the Texas Tech College of Education caught their eye. Along with a team of experts in the field of teacher education and a few forward thinking university administrators willing to pilot the program, Dean Ridley wrote a grant proposal and ultimately received 7 million dollars from the Gates Foundation to launch US PREP, the only university based center for educational transformation in the nation.

Today a faculty and staff of committed leaders in the field of education are implementing the work of US PREP and growing its scope and vision to truly change the face of education in our 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 - US PREP National Center
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.
Kathryn Button, Ph.D.Associate Professor - Teacher Education
Kathryn (Katie) Button is an Associate Professor in the Teacher Education Department at Texas Tech University where she teaches courses in Children’s Literature, Writing Acquisition and Early Literacy. She leads study abroad trips to the Dominican Republic teaching and coaching Texas Tech students in a bilingual school in Santiago. She serves a Professional Development Facilitator for the 2+1 TechTeach Program, the online teacher education program based in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston. Dr. Button is the curator for the Sitton-Burkhart Reading Collection, housed in the College of Education. She was elected to the Texas Tech University Teaching Academy in 2005 and received the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. Her teaching career with the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) took her to Germany and Okinawa for eleven years as a primary teacher and as a reading specialist. She was a National Writing Project trainer for DoDDS in Germany and trained as a Reading Recovery® teacher at The Ohio State University. For seven years Dr. Button served as Director of the Texas Tech University training site for the Literacy Collaborative®. She has chaired the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Children’s Literature Assembly Master Class and is currently serving a three-year term on the NCTE Excellence in Poetry Committee. Dr. Button’s research has been published in The Reading Teacher, National Reading Conference Yearbook, Journal of Teacher Education, English Education and the Journal of Children’s Literature.
Jian Wang, Ph.D.Professor & Helen DeVitt Jones Chair in Teacher Education - Department of Curriculum & Instruction
Jian Wang received his Ph.D. in 1998 in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy at Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University (MSU). He then worked a faculty member at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) for 15 years during which he was tenure track assistant professor, tenured associate, and full professor of teacher education. Since 2013, he has been serving as a tenured full professor and Helen DeVitt Jones Chair in Teacher Education at Texas Tech University (TTU) leading the development and implementation of a systematic research and evaluation program for Tech Teacher Preparation Program.
Before coming to United States from China, Dr. Wang worked as a secondary school English and homeroom teacher for 3 year after he received his undergraduate degree in English Teaching at Nanchang Vocational and Technological Teachers College in 1983, . He also worked as a policy analyst and journal editor at Jiangxi Education Research Institute for 4 years after he received his Masters Degree in Education Foundations at Northeast Normal University in 1988. During his doctoral program at MSU, he worked for the cross-national curriculum research project of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the cross-national research project, Learning from Mentor, at the National Center for Research on Teacher Learning (NCRTL).
Dr. Wang’s major research interests include (1) teacher mentoring and its role in teacher learning in the context of teaching reform, (2) relationship between reform-minded teaching, contexts of curriculum, and teaching organizations, and (3) comparative study about student’ mathematics learning under the influence of teaching and non-teaching contexts. He conducted a series of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method empirical studies, literature reviews, and conceptual analyses on the important issues in the above fields. His publications appeared in the top peer refereed academic journals in education in general and in teacher education in specific, such as Review of Educational Research, Educational Researcher, Education Research Review, Evaluation and Research in Education, Teachers’ College Record, Journal of Teacher Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, Research in the Teaching of English, and Journal of Curriculum Studies. His research activities led him to the Distinguished Research Awards for faculty twice at College of Education, UNLV.
He served as a co-editor of Journal of Teacher Education, the top academic journal in teacher educationand during his co-editorship, the journal moved from top 18 to top 10 among all the professional journals in education and educational research worldwide in light of the impact factors based on the Annual Journal Citation Report of Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI). His co-edited book, Past, Present, and Future Research on Teacher Induction: An Anthology for Researchers, Policy Makers, and Practitioners, is the first book synthesizing comprehensively the research in the field of teacher induction. He received the prestigious Spencer Research Grant conducting a study on the relationship between teachers’ mathematics knowledge, teaching practice, and student learning in China. He served extensively for various professional associations including American Education Research Association (AERA), Association of Teacher Educators (ATE), Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), and National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST) as a program and award committee chair, taskforce member, conference session chair, discussant, and reviewer. He also worked actively as a quest editor and reviewer for professional journals and grant organizations. He is a frequent invited speaker for international professional conferences and education institutions.
Raymond Flores, Ed.D.Assistant Professor - Teacher Education Department
Raymond Flores is an assistant professor of mathematics education in the Department of Teacher Education. Since the fall of 2013, he has served as anchor for undergraduate mathematics education at the College of Education. Prior to coming to Texas Tech, he was program chair of the middle/secondary mathematics education program at Wichita State University, 2011-2013.
Todd D. Little, Ph.D.Professor - Educational Psychology and Leadership
Todd D. Little, PhD is a Professor of Educational Psychology at Texas Tech University (TTU) where, in 2013, he became the founding director of the Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis and Policy (IMMAP). The IMMAP at TTU is a university-designated research and support center that provides expert consulting and assistance on all manner of data collection, data management, and advanced statistical analyses. Little is internationally recognized for his quantitative work on various aspects of applied SEM (e.g., indicator selection, parceling, modeling developmental processes) as well as his substantive developmental research (e.g., action-control processes and motivation, coping, and self-regulation). Prior to joining TTU, Little has guided quantitative training and provided consultation to students, staff, and faculty at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development’s Center for Lifespan Studies (1991-1998), Yale University’s Department of Psychology (1998-2002), and researchers at KU (2002-2013, including as director of the RDA unit at the Lifespan Institute and as director of the Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis). In 2001, Little was elected to membership in the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology, a restricted-membership society of quantitative specialists in the behavioral and social sciences.
In 2009, he was elected President of APA’s Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics). He founded, organizes, and teaches in the internationally renowned ‘Stats Camps’ each June (see statscamp.org for details of the summer training programs) and has given over 150 workshops and talks on methodology topics around the world. As an interdisciplinary-oriented collaborator, Little has published with over 280 persons from around the world in over 65 different peer-reviewed journals. His work has garnered over 11,000 citations. He published Longitudinal Structural Equation Modeling in 2013 and he has edited five books related to methodology, including the Oxford Handbook of Quantitative Methods and the Guildford Handbook of Developmental Research Methods (with Brett Laursen and Noel Card). Little has served on numerous grant review panels for federal agencies such as NSF, NIH, and IES, and private foundations such as the Jacobs foundation. He has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on over 15 grants and contracts and he have served as a statistical consultant on over 70 grants and contracts. In the conduct of his collaborative research, he has participated in the development of over 12 different measurement tools, including the CAMI, the Multi-CAM, the BALES, the BISC, the I FEEL, and the form/function decomposition of aggression.

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