Modernizing Math for Student Success
Mathematical proficiency, including competence in quantitative reasoning, is increasingly important in the modern economy and in our democracy. The growing importance of mathematics is evident in the modernization of college curricula. Programs grounded in mathematics—such as computational neuroscience and data science programs—are growing quickly across institutions. While calculus remains important, other aspects of the mathematical sciences are increasingly crucial in today’s undergraduate and graduate curricula.
Our nation’s postsecondary systems are in the midst of several transformations that have gained traction and that, in particular, positively affect first and second-year college students. They include mathematics pathways, co-requisite courses of study, and policy advances in the transferability of coursework across institutions and the applicability of coursework to students' chosen degree programs.
Meanwhile, recent efforts in K–12 systems have strengthened alignment and coherence in grades K–10 while leaving the mathematics work in grades 11 and 12 largely unchanged. Now is the time to revisit and modernize the content and connections between the mathematics taught at the end of high school and that taught in higher education, so that students have legitimate opportunities to succeed in postsecondary education and career.
This is the mission of the Launch Years initiative.
Learn More About Launch Years
The Launch Years strategy focuses "on the ground" in several states and seeks to bring K-12 and higher education institutions together to ensure students have clear paths for success.Explore
Launch Years Consensus Panel
The Charles A. Dana Center is inviting key leaders and experts from higher education, K–12 education, equity advocacy, and industry to join us in creating a new paradigm that bridges the gaps between mathematics in high school and higher education. The Launch Years initiative is designed to create both the conditions and the tools to enable public high schools to provide rigorous and differentiated mathematics pathways that seamlessly articulate with postsecondary mathematics pathways.
While the work will begin in three states over three years in collaboration with Education Strategy Group, Achieve, Community College Research Center, and the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities, it will to scale up after this initial rollout. By collaborating with K–12 systems, institutions of higher education, and state agencies and policy makers to increase coherence between mathematics in high school and in higher education, we believe that rates of postsecondary readiness—and, ultimately, success—will increase, especially for students who have historically been underserved.
Consensus Panel Charge
The Launch Years Consensus Panel is charged with developing and advocating for recommendations that will help school districts, institutions of higher education, and state systems establish policies and structures that will:
- Increase student success in the last two years of high school and first year of college mathematics.
- Eliminate equity gaps in mathematics achievement and in successful transition to college mathematics.
- Prepare students with the mathematical skills and knowledge necessary to achieve their academic, career, and life goals.
- Allow students to transition from high school to college mathematics smoothly, without encountering unnecessary testing, duplicative course-taking, or other obstacles.
Consensus Panel Members
Jason Adair, Southern Regional Education Board
Jason Adair is the Program Director for Literacy and Mathematics at the Southern Regional Education Board. Since 2011, he has helped lead statewide initiatives like the Mathematics Design Collaborative. He was the lead developer of SREB’s Powerful Mathematics Practices and exemplar teaching videos, and he currently supports schools and districts as they use these practices to shift teacher instruction. Most recently, Adair has been collaborating with the West Virginia Department of Education to develop and implement their Ready4Life Math Initiative.
During his 21 years of experience, he has been a classroom teacher in middle school and high school, an instructional coach, and a district math supervisor. He believes that, in education, there are two different types of employees—teachers and those there to support teachers. Adair’s goal is to empower teachers to instill confidence, understanding, and a love of mathematics in their students.
Ary Amerikaner, The Education Trust
Ary Amerikaner is Vice President for P–12 Policy, Practice, and Research for The Education Trust.
Kerry H. Ballast, Texas Workforce Commission
Kerry H. Ballast is Deputy Director for the Workforce Development Division at Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). She oversees programs designed to support adults as they pursue education and training beyond the K–12 years. These programs includeAdult Education and Literacy, ApprenticeshipTexas, Career Schools and Colleges, and Texas Veterans Leadership.
Before joining the TWC, she served as Director of Digital Learning at the Texas Education Agency, as an instructional strategist and campus administrator at Hays Consolidated Independent School District, and as a secondary English Language Arts and Reading teacher in several Texas public school districts. Ballast earned her bachelor’s degree in English at Stephen F. Austin State University, her master’s degree in Educational Technology at Texas State University, and her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin.
Stephen Barkanic, Business–Higher Education Forum (BHEF)
Stephen Barkanic is senior vice president and chief program officer of the Business–Higher Education Forum (BHEF), a national membership organization of corporate CEOs and university presidents. In this role, Barkanic provides overall leadership for BHEF’s National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative, which is aimed at bridging industry and higher education to increase the persistence and diversity of students who go on to earn degrees or credentials in key emerging fields, and at aligning undergraduate education with workforce needs.
Prior to joining BHEF, Barkanic was a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, director of undergraduate science education and grants management at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, program officer and director of grants management at the Charles A. Dana Foundation, and a consultant to the Ford Foundation and other organizations, as well as chair of Grantmakers for Education. Barkanic was also a member of the CBE-Life Sciences Education editorial board.
Robert Q. Berry III, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
Robert Q. Berry III, Ph.D., is President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and is a Professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia, with an appointment in Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education. Equity issues in mathematics education are central to Berry’s research efforts within three related areas: (a) understanding Black children’s mathematics experiences; (b) measuring standards-based mathematics teaching practices; and (c) unpacking equitable mathematics teaching and learning. Berry has over 100 publications, and his articles have appeared in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Journal of Teacher Education, and the American Educational Research Journal. Berry received his Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University, his master’s degree from Christopher Newport University, and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
David Bressoud, Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences
David Bressoud is Director of the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences and the DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics at Macalester College. He has served as President of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), as Chair of the AP Calculus Development Committee, and as Principal Investigator for the MAA's national studies of college calculus and for the NSF-sponsored workshop on “The Role of Calculus in the Transition from High School to College Mathematics.”
He chaired the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Macalester from 1995 until 2001 and has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the University of Minnesota, Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg, France), and the State College Area High School. He has published seven textbooks and over sixty research articles in number theory, combinatorics, special functions, and mathematics education.
Pamela Burdman, Just Equations
Pamela Burdman, Senior Project Director, Just Equations, is an expert on college access, readiness, and success and is the founder of the Just Equations project. Working at the intersection of education research, policy, and practice, Burdman synthesizes knowledge from the field to define problems and advance strategies that support student success. A recognized authority on the role of mathematics in education equity, she has authored numerous reports and articles on math opportunity issues. This work helped lay the groundwork for new policies designed to improve postsecondary success and diminish equity gaps in California.
Burdman has also been a speaker, convener, and advisor to education leaders, policy makers, foundations, and think tanks. She began working on issues of postsecondary readiness and success as a reporter covering education for the San Francisco Chronicle. She subsequently served as a program officer for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she created and implemented investment strategies for strengthening college readiness and student success.
Diana Ceja, TODOS: Mathematics for ALL
Diana Ceja is a mathematics educator. During her 22 years of experience, she has been a classroom teacher, bilingual resource teacher, instructional coach, intervention specialist, school-site administrator, and county administrator. She believes in servant leadership and strives to learn and act in ways that produce a more just and caring world.
Ceja is the current president of TODOS: Mathematics for ALL, an equity-based international professional organization affiliated with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). The mission of TODOS is to advocate for equity and high-quality mathematics education for all students—and in particular, for Latina and Latino children. Ceja has represented mathematics educators on the board of California Mathematics Council. Currently, she is serving as a member of the Development Panel for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessment framework.
Michael Cohen, Achieve
MIchael Cohen is President of Achieve.
Philip (Phil) Daro
Philip (Phil) Daro was a lead writer of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, and continues to work to advance the design and use of leadership tools for improving mathematics instruction and assessment. As Director of Mathematics for the Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP), Daro organized partnerships between the University of California, Stanford, and other universities with the Oakland and San Francisco Unified School Districts. During 16 years at the University of California, he directed several large-scale teacher professional development programs.
In 2012, Daro received the Walter Denham Memorial Award from the California Mathematics Council for leadership, and in 2014, the Ross Taylor / Glenn Gilbert National Leadership Award from the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics. He serves on the Executive Committee of the International Society for Design and Development in Education. Daro serves on many boards, including those of Open Up Resources, SERP, and the Shell Centre for Mathematical Education Publications at the University of Nottingham.
Tristan Denley, University System of Georgia
Tristan Denley serves as Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at the University System of Georgia. Before moving to Georgia in May 2017, he served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Tennessee Board of Regents, from August 2013 to May 2017, and as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Austin Peay State University, from January 2009 to August 2013. Originally from Penzance, England, Denley earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Trinity College Cambridge.
Throughout his career, he has taken a hands-on approach in a variety of initiatives impacting student success. His most recent work has been to transform developmental education and advising at a system scale. His work continues in using a data-informed approach to implement a wide variety of system-scale initiatives surrounding college completion, stretching from education redesign in a variety of disciplines, to the role of predictive analytics and data mining in higher education.
Megan Fasules, Georgetown University Center on Education
Megan Fasules is an Assistant Research Professor and Senior Research Economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW). Her research, which uses the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), focuses on connecting work competencies with the labor market.
She also supports research efforts to help states integrate education and workforce data systems for evaluation and improved feedback between labor markets and education. Prior to joining CEW, Fasules worked as a Researcher at the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
She also worked as a head Research Assistant at American University, where she conducted research on bankruptcy. Fasules earned her B.A. in Mathematics and Economics at Lake Forest College in Illinois and her doctorate in Economics at American University. Her dissertation focused on evaluating the extent to which the implementation of Medicare affected personal bankruptcy. This dissertation looked specifically at the impact of Medicare on personal bankruptcy rates, medical debt at filing, and petitioner characteristics.
Howard Gobstein, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
Howard Gobstein is the Executive Vice President of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). He contributes to the strategic direction and management of the association, directs work on STEM education and research and technology policies, and works with research officers through the APLU Council on Research. He has been Principal Investigator or Co-PI on more than 15 NSF or foundation-funded projects, totaling over $15 million.
Past positions include Vice President of the Association of American Universities; Senior Policy Analyst with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Associate VP for governmental affairs for federal relations, Michigan State University; and Director, Federal Relations/Research, University of Michigan. He holds a master's degree in science, technology, and public policy from George Washington University and a bachelor's in interdisciplinary engineering from Purdue University. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2010 he was selected outstanding alumni of the Purdue School of Engineering Education.
Dwayne Hobbs, Georgia Department of Education
Dwayne Hobbs is the Work-Based Learning Specialist at the Georgia Department of Education. His responsibilities involve development and implementation of the Work-Based Learning (WBL) program, which involves continually assessing program status, conducting research, holding meetings with all stakeholders, providing professional learning for WBL coordinators, managing data and records for WBL students, producing reports for accountability purposes, and carrying out public relations activities to promote and recognize exemplary results.
Hobbs began working for the Georgia Department of Education in 2006 after completing a 30-year career with Clayton County Public Schools, the fifth-largest school district in Georgia. His career in Clayton County included 22 years in the classroom, 2 years as Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) supervisor/assistant principal, 5 years as the Youth Apprenticeship Program coordinator/system CTAE coordinator, and 1 year as the system CTAE director. His goal is to provide guidance for world-class work-based-learning experiences that help students become successful contributing members of society.
Heather Justice, Texas Education Agency
Heather Justice currently serves as the Division Director for College, Career and Military Preparation within the Texas Education Agency (TEA). In her role, she oversees Career and Technical Education, Work-Based Learning, industry certifications, and College and Career Readiness School Models such as Early College High Schools, Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools, Industry Cluster Innovative Academies, and Texas STEM Academies. She also serves on the Board of Advance CTE.
Before joining TEA, Justice was the Executive Director of Career and Technical Education for the Tennessee Department of Education, where she managed the comprehensive reform of career and technical education programs of study, instituted data sharing agreements to obtain industry certification data, overhauled licensing of CTE educators, and established a statewide professional development model for CTE educators.
Justice previously taught high school accounting and marketing. She holds a bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s in education.
William E. “Brit” Kirwan, Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education
William E. “Brit” Kirwan is chancellor emeritus of the University System of Maryland (USM) and a recognized authority on higher education. He served as chancellor of USM (2002–2015), president of the Ohio State University (1998–2002), and president of the University of Maryland, College Park (1988–1998).
Kirwan chairs the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences and serves as executive director of Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics. He chairs the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education and is past chair of the American Council for Higher Education and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Kirwan received the 2010 TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence and the 2009 Carnegie Corporation Leadership Award; in 2002 he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Kirwan holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Kentucky and master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
Kate Kozak, American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC)
Kathryn (Kate) Kozak is a mathematics faculty member at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, Arizona. In that role, she has been involved in many college committees and several statewide committees that pertain to articulation, to the common general education program, and to transfer policies. She is the President of AMATYC (American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges) for the years 2020–2021. As president, she interacts with many different organizations. As a member of the AMATYC board, she has served on numerous committees, including the steering committee of AMATYC’s IMPACT Live. She was one of the authors of IMPACT: Improving Mathematical Prowess and College Teaching, the latest AMATYC standards document. She is the Co-Principal Investigator and workshop leader for the National Science Foundation (NSF)–funded StatPREP project, which teaches instructors ways to use data-centric techniques in their introductory statistics courses. Kozak is a former school board member of the Flagstaff Unified School District.
Kate Blosveren Kreamer, Advance Career Technical Education (CTE)
Kate Blosveren Kreamer serves as the Deputy Executive Director of Advance Career Technical Education (CTE), leading policy and communications efforts to ensure all students have access to high-quality CTE. From 2006 to 2013, she worked at Achieve in several roles. As the associate director of strategic initiatives, she led projects to support states’ adoption and implementation of the college- and career-ready agenda. She also managed Achieve’s career readiness and CTE-related research, resources, and partnerships.
Before that, she was a policy advisor at Third Way and a research assistant at the Progressive Policy Institute, focusing on education issues. In 2007, Kreamer cofounded and was the first president of Young Education Professionals-DC (YEP-DC), which connects tomorrow’s education leaders to improve education. She also cofounded and acts as a strategic advisor to YEP National. Kreamer received her bachelor's degree in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University, and her master's of public policy from Georgetown University.
Rachel Levy, Mathematical Association of America (MAA)
Rachel Levy, Ph.D., is Deputy Executive Director of the Mathematical Association of America, a membership organization with the mission to advance the understanding of mathematics and its impact on the world. Previously she served as Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Harvey Mudd College. Levy has worked for decades to help people engage in mathematical modeling at all levels, from kindergarten to industry. She is coauthor of a textbook, Partial Differential Equations: An Introduction to Theory and Applications, and also coauthored the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Mathematical Modeling Education (GAIMME), Math Modeling: Computing and Communicating, and the BIG Jobs Guide: Business, Industry, and Government Careers for Mathematical Scientists, Statisticians, and Operations Researchers. Levy is also a cocreator of the BIG (Business, Industry and Government) Math Network and has represented MAA on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Data Science Roundtable.
Andrew Lofters, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)
Andrew Lofters, Ph.D., is a Program Director with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) within the division of Academic Quality and Workforce. Over the past six years, he has been responsible for monitoring, maintaining, and recommending dual-credit, early college high school, distance education, and educator preparation policy for the division. Lofters received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry—Teaching from The University of Maryland Eastern Shore and his Master’s in Education degree in Educational Administration—Principalship and Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Administration—Community College Leadership from The University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation research focused on academic practices utilized by selected Texas early college high schools that promote academic success. Prior to working with the THECB, Dr. Lofters served for five years with Huston-Tillotson University as the Director of the Center for STEM Success and as Assistant Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Honors Program, and for 20 years with Austin Independent School District as a science teacher and assistant principal.
Rebecca Martin, National Association of System Heads (NASH)
Rebecca Martin is the Executive Director of the National Association of System Heads (NASH), an association of chief executives of the 44 college and university systems of public higher education in the United States. NASH supports leaders and their peers in the unique roles they play.
Martin served as Director or Higher Education and Senior Fellow at the U.S. Education Delivery Institute from 2010 to 2015. Before joining EDI, she served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Wisconsin System. Prior to that, she was the Provost and Vice Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She earned her doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, her master’s degree in Librarianship from San José State University, and her bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and history from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Tia Brown McNair, Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
Tia Brown McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and the Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers for the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). She oversees AAC&U’s programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact educational practices, and student success, including AAC&U’s Network for Academic Renewal series of working conferences, the Summer Institutes on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, and TRHT Campus Centers.
McNair is the project director for several AAC&U initiatives, including "Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation," “Strengthening Guided Pathways and Career Success by Ensuring Students are Learning,” and “Purposeful Pathways: Faculty Planning for Curricular Coherence.” She is lead author of Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success (July 2016). McNair earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and English at James Madison University, her M.A. in English from Radford University, and a doctorate in higher education administration from George Washington University.
George L. Mehaffy, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
George L. Mehaffy is Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).
Michaela W. Miller, NBCT, Washington OSPI
Michaela W. Miller, Ed.D., NBCT, is the Deputy Superintendent at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in the state of Washington. She oversees divisions that help districts and schools prepare students for postsecondary aspiration, careers, and life. Previously, Miller was the Director of Outreach and Engagement for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. From 2007 to 2013, she was the Director of Washington’s Teacher and Principal Evaluation Project, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification Program, and the Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST) for OSPI.
From 1995 to 2007, Miller taught high school, facilitated National Board candidates and mentored new teachers in the North Thurston Public Schools. She achieved National Board certification in 2002 and renewed in 2011. Miller earned her Master’s degree from Gonzaga University, and her Doctorate and Superintendent credential from University of Washington. Miller also holds a Washington state principal certification from Seattle Pacific University.
William S. Moore, Washington SBCTC
William S. Moore is the Director for K–12 Partnerships for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (Washington SBCTC). Since 1990 he has helped lead higher education assessment work in the state, most recently focusing his efforts on college readiness in mathematics and high school/college articulation issues.
Over the last decade Moore has led several collaborative K–16 statewide initiatives, including the Transition Math Project, Rethinking Pre-College Math project, and the ongoing Bridge to College initiative. He has a master's degree in counseling psychology from the University of Texas and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from the University of Maryland focused on higher education, organizational change, and college student development. His core “through lines” of interest in higher education have been the influence of student beliefs and personal epistemologies on their approaches to learning and the challenges of promoting and assessing deep and lasting learning in college.
Denise Pearson, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)
Denise Pearson, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Equity Initiatives for SHEEO, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, in which role she advances states’ and SHEEO’s academic affairs and equity agendas. Pearson produces research, analyses, recommendations, and reports on relevant policy areas, including educator preparation, equity-minded leadership, minority-serving institutions, and postsecondary education for incarcerated populations.
She is the principal investigator for Project Pipeline Repair: Restoring Minority Male Participation and Persistence in Educator Preparation Programs, a W.K. Kellogg Foundation–funded collaboration with policy leaders and educator preparation program faculty at four historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Previously, Pearson served as a professor of education, assistant provost for faculty affairs, interim dean of education, and senior associate dean. She earned her Ph.D. in Education Supervision and Administration from Marquette University; M.A. in Conflict Resolution from the University of Denver; M.S. in Education Administration from Concordia University Wisconsin; and B.A. in Human Services from Pace University.
Brea Ratliff, Me to the Power of Three
Brea Ratliff is the founder of Me to the Power of Three, LLC, a consulting company that develops programs and resources to support teaching and learning at all levels.
Ratliff has taught mathematics at the elementary, middle, high school, and collegiate levels; served as a high school academic coach for mathematics and science; as a Master Math Teacher; and as a K–12 District Mathematics Supervisor. She was also the Secondary Mathematics Research Coordinator for the SMU Research in Mathematics Education Unit and an adjunct lecturer at the university. She is currently a Ph.D. fellow in Secondary Mathematics Education at Auburn University.
Ratliff has written curriculum guides and teaching materials, published her first novel in 2017, and is developing a children’s book series about mathematics and science.
Ratliff is the immediate Past President of the Benjamin Banneker Association, Inc., a national organization established to advocate for high quality mathematics instruction for all students, with an emphasis on students of African ancestry.
Connie Schrock, National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM)
Connie Schrock was the 2017–2019 president of NCSM (the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics) and is now immediate past president. Before that, she served as an NCSM regional director as well as an NCSM 1st and 2nd vice-president. Schrock was the program chair for NCSM’s Annual Meeting in Boston. She was part of the author team for two books, NCSM Great Tasks for Mathematics 6–12 and NCSM Great Tasks for Mathematics K–5.
Schrock is Professor of Mathematics at Emporia State University, where she has received multiple awards, including the Xi Phi Outstanding Faculty Member Award, the Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching and Service Awards, and the ESU Outstanding Advisor 2017–2018. She teaches undergraduate and graduate mathematics classes, including the middle and secondary mathematics methods course, where she supervises mathematics student teachers and works with classroom teachers.
Hal Smith, National Urban League
Hal Smith is Senior Vice President of Education, Youth Development, and Health, National Urban League.
Elisha Smith Arrillaga, The Education Trust–West
Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga serves as the executive director of The Education Trust–West, a research and advocacy organization focused on educational justice and supporting the high achievement of all California students, with a particular focus on underserved students of color, low-income students, and English learners. Smith Arrillaga leads the organization’s work centering education as a key racial and economic justice issue. She has extensive expertise in leading initiatives using multiple strategies for impacting state policy—leveraging direct action, research, media and policymaker engagement. She has more than twenty years’ experience working in and partnering with education and workforce policy, research, and advocacy organizations, including the Career Ladders Project, First 5 LA, College Bound, the Hewlett Foundation, Mathematica Policy Research, and high schools and community colleges across California. Dr. Smith Arrillaga holds a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Princeton. She is the proud mother of a rising kindergartener.
Lya Snell, Georgia Department of Education
Lya Snell serves as the Georgia Department of Education's Mathematics Program Manager, where she works to make mathematics relevant for students through STEM/STEAM education throughout Georgia. She has served in multiple leadership and teaching capacities advocating for equity in mathematics education.
Snell has participated in numerous outreach activities in a variety of settings and serves on a number of boards that deal with K–12 mathematics. She has provided 21st-century teacher professional learning in mathematics education and also helped develop and implement engaging and rigorous courses.
Snell earned a B.S. and an M.Ed. in Mathematics from Alabama State University, an Ed.S. in General Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Mercer University. Snell has dedicated her career to helping students master mathematics at high levels by serving on numerous state and national committees aimed at improving instruction through innovative teaching and learning.
Brian A. Sponsler, Education Commission of the States
Brian A. Sponsler, Ed.D., is vice president of policy for Education Commission of the States. In this role, he provides strategic leadership to the organization’s portfolio of policy products. He brings nearly two decades of experience in education policy research and practice, helping an array of policy decisionmakers craft sound policy to support student outcomes.
He earned his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the George Washington University, and prior to joining Education Commission of the States served as the vice president for research and policy at the student affairs administrators organization NASPA and as associate director for research at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP). Sponsler is dedicated to helping people develop and refine their ideas and believes wholeheartedly in the promise of good government and strong civic society to improve people’s lives. | www.ecs.org | Twitter: @BrianSponsler
Suzanne L. Weekes, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Suzanne L. Weekes is Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Former Consensus Panel Members
Kay McClenney, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
Kay M. McClenney, Ph.D., a partner in Mc2 Consultants, serves as Senior Advisor to the President & CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). She was founding Director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin, also serving as a faculty member in the UT Program in Higher Education Leadership, where she earned her Ph.D.
McClenney has led an array of national projects focused on student success and equity; authored numerous publications on student success, leadership, engaged learning, and institutional change; and received national awards including the national leadership award from the American Association of Community Colleges (2011), the Diverse Champions Award (2017), the PBS O’Banion Prize (2002) for contributions to teaching and learning in America, and Phi Theta Kappa’s Alliance for Educational Excellence Award (2014), recognizing the body of work to improve student success in community colleges. She was co-chair of AACC’s 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges.
Carrie Phillips, Council of Chief State School Officers
Carrie Phillips is Senior Program Director of Student Transitions, Council of Chief State School Officers.
Deborah A. Santiago, Excelencia in Education
Deborah A. Santiago is the cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of Excelencia in Education. For more than 20 years, she has led research and policy efforts from the community level to national and federal levels to improve educational opportunities and success for all students.
She helped found Excelencia in Education to inform policy and practice, compel action, and collaborate with those committed and ready to act to increase student success.
Santiago’s work has been covered in numerous publications, including The Economist, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Santiago also serves on the advisory board of TheDream.US and the board of directors of Higher Achievement.
John Squires, Whitfield County Schools
John Squires currently teaches math at Phoenix High School in the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy at Whitfield County Schools. Prior to joining Phoenix, he served as the Director of College and Career Readiness at the Southern Regional Education Board. Squires also taught college math for over 25 years at Cleveland State Community College and Chattanooga State Community College in the Tennessee Board of Regents system.
In 2012, he launched the Tennessee SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program, and in 2016 he served as a coauthor of the Institute of Educational Sciences What Works Clearinghouse practice guide on developmental education. Squires holds a Ph.D. in Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands, an M.S. in mathematics from the University of Tennessee, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Drake University, and a B.S. in Economics from Iowa State University.
The Launch Years Resources
A Perfect Storm: Ten Years of Mathematics Pathways (April 2019) – What’s next for math pathways, featuring the monograph Emerging Issues in Mathematics Pathways.
Rigor: Evolving Definitions in a Changing Landscape (March 2019) – A roundtable discussion about what rigor really means, and why it matters.
From College-Ready Students to Student-Ready Colleges (December 2018) – Press release about the Launch Years initiative.
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