Plenary Speakers
(In order of appearance)

This page provides you with a brief introduction to the plenary speakers and presenters at this year's meeting.

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Ruth Curran Neild

Deputy Director for Policy and Research Delegated Duties of the Director

IES

Bio

Ruth Curran Neild is the Deputy Director for Policy and Research, Delegated Duties of the Director, at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), within the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to taking this role in July 2015, she was the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE). Neild’s scholarly interests focus on the transition to ninth grade; high school graduation and dropout; high school reform; high school choice; and teacher quality. Much of her work involved analyses of longitudinal administrative data sets from school districts and data merged across agencies. Before joining IES in 2011, she was a Research Scientist at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the standing faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Related Sessions

  • Thursday, December 10, 2015 8:45 AM International Ballroom Center
    Welcome and Introduction
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Ruth Curran Neild

Deputy Director for Policy and Research Delegated Duties of the Director

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John B. King Jr.

Senior Advisor Delegated Duties of Deputy Secretary of Education

U.S. Department of Education

Bio

John B. King, Jr. is the Senior Advisor Delegated Duties of Deputy Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education, a position he assumed in January 2015. In this role, he oversees a broad range of management, policy, and program functions.

Prior to his arrival at the Department of Education, King served as the commissioner of education for the state of New York, having been appointed to that position by the New York State Board of Regents in May 2011. In this role, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the State Education Department and as President of the University of the State of New York (USNY). Before becoming commissioner, King served as Senior Deputy Commissioner for P–12 education at the New York State Education Department. In that role, King coordinated the development of the state's successful Race to the Top application, which earned the second-highest point total of the winning states in Round 2 and secured $696.6 million to support the P–12 education reform agenda of the Board of Regents.

King brings to his role extensive experience leading urban public schools that are closing the achievement gap and preparing students to enter, succeed in, and graduate from college. Prior to his appointment as Senior Deputy Commissioner, King served as a Managing Director with Uncommon Schools, a non-profit charter management organization that operates some of the highest-performing urban public schools in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Prior to joining Uncommon Schools, King was a Co-Founder and Co-Director for Curriculum and Instruction of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. Under his leadership, Roxbury Prep's students attained the highest state exam scores of any urban middle school in Massachusetts, closed the racial achievement gap, and outperformed students from not only the Boston district schools but also the city's affluent suburbs. Prior to founding Roxbury Prep, King taught high school social studies in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Boston, Massachusetts.

King earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies from Teachers College, Columbia University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Doctor of Education in educational administrative practice from Teachers College. King was a 1995 Truman Scholar and received the James Madison Memorial Fellowship for secondary-level teaching of American history, American government, and social studies. In February 2011, King was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to serve on the U.S. Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission. In addition, King served on the board of New Leaders for New Schools from 2005 to 2009, and is a 2008 Aspen Institute-New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellow.

Related Sessions

  • Thursday, December 10, 2015 8:45 AM International Ballroom Center
    Opening Plenary
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John B. King Jr.

Senior Advisor Delegated Duties of Deputy Secretary of Education

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Thomas Brock

Commissioner

NCER

Bio

Tom joined IES in 2013 as the Commissioner for NCER. Prior to joining IES, Tom served as director of the Young Adults and Postsecondary Education Division at MDRC. He led MDRC's higher education projects, which focused primarily on finding ways to increase academic achievement, persistence, and completion among low-income college students. Moreover, under the auspices of the IES-funded National Center for Postsecondary Research, Tom oversaw evaluations of learning communities and summer enrichment programs for students in need of developmental education. Tom also served in various other capacities at MDRC—including research associate, management associate, special assistant for operations and development, and senior research associate—leading and directing implementation research on welfare reform and anti-poverty programs. Before joining MDRC, Tom served as an evaluation officer at the Wallace Foundation, where he managed a portfolio of research and evaluation grants in education, youth services, and the arts, in addition to developing survey instruments and research protocols. Tom holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Pitzer College, a master's degree in Public Administration from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Related Sessions

  • Thursday, December 10, 2015 10:00 AM International Ballroom Center
    Meeting with NCER Grantees
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Thomas Brock

Commissioner

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Joan McLaughlin

Commissioner

NCSER

Bio

Joan McLaughlin joined the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) as Deputy Commissioner of the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) in 2009. In addition to her role as Deputy Commissioner, McLaughlin served as NCSER's program officer for the Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education grant program. In 2013, she was appointed Commissioner of NCSER. Prior to joining IES, she spent 16 years working in the Education and Family Services area of Abt Associates Inc., a research-consulting firm. While there, McLaughlin served as principal investigator or project director for numerous evaluations of federal education, food assistance, and early childhood programs. She also served as a program officer in the Office of Analysis and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service, where she oversaw design, process, and implementation studies of programs and initiatives focused on maternal and child health and child nutrition issues. In addition, McLaughlin served as a program analyst in the Program Evaluation and Methodology Division of the U.S. Government Accountability Office. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and her Master's and Doctoral degrees in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University.

Related Sessions

  • Thursday, December 10, 2015 10:00 AM Lincoln East
    Meeting with NCSER Grantees
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Joan McLaughlin

Commissioner

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Jonathan Schwabish

Senior Research Associate

The Urban Institute

Bio

Jonathan Schwabish is a Senior Research Associate in The Urban Institute’s Income and Benefits Policy Center. He is also a member of the Institute’s Communication team where he specializes in data visualization and presentation design. His research agenda includes such areas as earnings and income inequality, immigration, disability insurance, retirement security, data measurement, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other aspects of public policy. 

Schwabish is also considered a leader in the data visualization field and is a leading voice for clarity and accessibility in research. He has written on various aspects of how to best visualize data including technical aspects of creation, design best practices, and how to communicate social science research in more accessible ways. He was named a “visualization thought leader” by AllAnalytics in 2013 and speaks widely on the issues of data visualization, open data, and data use in organizations.

He also teaches data visualization and presentation skills at Georgetown University and the Maryland Institute College of Art, as well as in public workshops and for private clients through his consulting firm, PolicyViz. Schwabish also co-hosts the Rad Presenters Podcast that aims to improve people’s presentation skills. Additionally, he hosts the PolicyViz podcast, which focuses on data, open data, and data visualization. He is currently writing a book on presentation skills and design with Columbia University Press. He is on Twitter @jschwabish.

Related Sessions

  • Thursday, December 10, 2015 12:15 PM International Ballroom Center
    Luncheon Plenary: Data Visualization for Education Research
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Jonathan Schwabish

Senior Research Associate

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Kavitha Cardoza

Special Correspondent

NPR, WAMU Radio

Bio

Kavitha Cardoza is a special correspondent for WAMU radio, a National Public Radio-affiliated station, where she covers area news, with a special focus on children, education, and poverty. Cardoza has won numerous awards for her work. In 2012 she received the regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Hard News. That same year, her five-part series on childhood obesity won first place in the Series category in the National Awards for Education Reporting. Prior to joining WAMU in 2008, she was the Springfield Illinois bureau chief for WUIS, and served as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Illinois Springfield’s Department of Communication.

Related Sessions

  • Friday, December 11, 2015 11:30 AM International Ballroom Center
    Luncheon Plenary: Communicating Education Research: A Discussion with Journalists
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Kavitha Cardoza

Special Correspondent

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Emily Richmond

Public Editor

Education Writers Association

Bio

Emily Richmond is the public editor of the Education Writers Association (EWA). In that position she coordinates programming and training for EWA members, provides individualized writing support to journalists, and writes “The Educated Reporter” blog. Prior to joining EWA in 2011, she was an education reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, where she covered local, state, and national issues. Recognition of her work includes a first-place award for feature writing from the Associated Press News Executives Council of Nevada-California. She also received the distinction of Outstanding Journalist of the Year in 2007 by the Nevada State Press Association and was awarded the Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan in 2011.

Related Sessions

  • Friday, December 11, 2015 11:30 AM International Ballroom Center
    Luncheon Plenary: Communicating Education Research: A Discussion with Journalists
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Emily Richmond

Public Editor

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Fredreka Schouten

Reporter

USA Today

Bio

Fredreka Schouten is a reporter for USA Today, where she covers money and politics. Schouten is a veteran journalist who has also covered Congress, national political conversations, and presidential politics. Previously, she was the national education correspondent for Gannett News Service. She is a former city editor of Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho and a reporter and bureau chief with the Virgin Islands Daily News.

Related Sessions

  • Friday, December 11, 2015 11:30 AM International Ballroom Center
    Luncheon Plenary: Communicating Education Research: A Discussion with Journalists
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Fredreka Schouten

Reporter

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Sarah Sparks

Assistant Editor

Education Week

Bio

Sarah D. Sparks is an assistant editor and research reporter for Education Week and the writer for Inside School Research. She has covered education research and the science of learning for more than a decade, and has written two guidebooks for districts on educating homeless students and English-language learners. Sparks joined Education Week in 2010, and has published on education and other issues in Education Daily, the Waterbury, Conn. Republican-American, the Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Traveler, and others.

Related Sessions

  • Friday, December 11, 2015 11:30 AM International Ballroom Center
    Luncheon Plenary: Communicating Education Research: A Discussion with Journalists
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Sarah Sparks

Assistant Editor