Blogging can be an anonymous endeavor. And just to prove that we’re not blogging from our parents’ basements in our underwear, here are some brief biographical sketches of our regular contributors. We will update this roster as bloggers send in photos and bios. We are always searching for new bloggers, representing diverse points of view. Contact Alan Gottlieb at email@example.com for more information.
Ben DeGrow is a Colorado-based public policy analyst with a focus on education labor issues. Since joining the Independence Institute in 2003, Ben has advanced its research in the areas of collective bargaining, teacher unionism, teacher employment, and school finance. He oversees the Education Policy Center’s informational Web site for teachers and coordinates the Institute’s outreach to teachers.
Ben was born in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1977, and grew up in the greater Detroit metropolitan area. He graduated summa cum laude from Hillsdale College in 1999 with a B.A. in History (Political Science minor) and received an M.A. in History in 2001 from The Pennsylvania State University.
Alan Gottlieb is publisher of Education News Colorado. He spent 15 years as a newspaper journalist before moving into the world of education policy. From 1997 until June 2007, Alan served as education program officer at The Piton Foundation in Denver.
Alan is the author of In the Shadow of the Rockies (Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1994), a book about the inaugural season of Denver’s Major League baseball team. His first novel, Ultimate Excursions, was published in 2008. A native of Chicago, Alan has a B.A. in English from The Colorado College and an M.S.J. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Sari Levy works in education for Get Smart Schools. Previously, she worked on the Colorado Small Schools Initiative at the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Sari moved to Colorado from Washington, DC, where she worked on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and for PodestaMattoon, a government relations firm. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in English and an MBA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. In her spare time, Sari likes to ski, read, and paint.
Scott Mendelsberg, as the principal of Denver’s drop-out retrieval high school, created a program putting his students into college classes. While leading Abraham Lincoln High School, another high-poverty high school, he launched College Now, a dual enrollment high school/college program that state lawmakers have voted to expand across Colorado. He is now executive director of Colorado GEAR UP.
Alexander Ooms was the founding President and is a current member of the Board of Trustees at West Denver Preparatory Charter School, an appointed member of the Board of Directors at the Colorado Charter Schools Institute, a member of the Board of Directors at both the Charter Schools Development Corporation and the Colorado chapter of Stand for Children. He has authored several Op-Eds and appeared on both television and radio programs devoted to education topics.
Managing Partner at ClearCreek Partners, Alex holds a BA from Vassar College, an MA from Georgetown University, and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. He lives in central Denver with his wife, two sons, and a big furry dog.
Mark Sass has been a public high school teacher since 1994. He currently teaches at Legacy High School in the Adams Five Star School District, where he has been a lead facilitator in reform issues, including Professional Learning Communities, curricula audits, and assessments. Mark was also a member of the Executive Committee of the district’s teachers’ association.
He lives in Denver with his wife and two children, who attend a Denver public elementary school.
Van Schoales is the Executive Director of Education Reform Now, a national education policy and advocacy non-profit organization fighting to dramatically improve the quality of public education for America’s most disadvantaged children. He was most recently a program officer at the Piton Foundation where he oversaw a portfolio of investments on state policy, district reform and new school development.
He has previously been a high school science teacher, principal and school non-profit leader working as an education reform advocate. Van has launched or help start a number of non-profits including the Odyssey Charter School, Bay Area Coalition of Equitable (formerly Essential) Schools, Denver School of Science and Technology, A + Denver, EdNewsColorado and Get Smart Schools.
Sabrina Stevens Shupe is a teacher, writer, and activist who has worked with students in struggling communities in Philadelphia and Denver. She recently launched the Failing Schools Project, which aims to empower teachers, students, and parents in so-called “failing” schools to share their perspectives on what it’s really like to work and learn in such schools, and to promote alternative ways of thinking about and solving the problems these schools face. She is currently working with several grassroots education organizations in Denver and around the country to advance democratic solutions to educational and social problems.
Sabrina was born in New York City and raised in New Jersey. She is a proud alumna of Edison Township Public Schools, as well as Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
Paul Teske spent most of his life in New York and New Jersey before moving to Denver in 2003 and is therefore still subject to an East Coast bias in his blogging. He is Dean of the School of Public Affairs at UCD and is a University of Colorado Distinguished Professor. His recent research has focused on school governance, finance, and leadership, as well as parents and school choice. His latest education book is about ProComp in Denver (Pay-for-Performance Teacher Compensation, Harvard Education Press, 2007, with Phil Gonring and Brad Jupp).
Marc Waxman has been involved in urban public education since 1994 as a teacher, school founder, school leader, and district administrator. Even though Marc’s roles over the past several years have been in school leadership or district administration, Marc thinks of himself as a teacher first and continues to work directly with students as much as he can.
Marc was a Teach for America Corps Member, a teacher and administrator in a small new school in the South Bronx, a co-founder and co-director of a public school that converted to become a charter school in Harlem, NY, the Executive Director of the Office of School Reform and Innovation in DPS, and is currently working to open a new network of public elementary charter schools. Marc is a National Board Certified Teacher and has a Masters in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College Columbia University.
Holly Yettick is a doctoral student in the Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice program at the School of Education at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her dissertation will examine how journalists decide which educational research to cover.
Before attending graduate school, Holly spent 11 years writing about education for newspapers, including the Rocky Mountain News. She has a bachelor’s degree from Yale and was a 2003-04 Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan.
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