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We are proud to work with these respected educational leaders:


Sybilla Beckmann, Ph.D., is a professor of mathematics at the University of Georgia. She has a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and taught mathematics at Yale University. She wrote Mathematics for Elementary Teachers, published by Addison-Wesley, was the member of the writing team for the NCTM's Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics, and has worked on the development of several state mathematics standards. (Consulted on Mathematics.)

Damian Betebenner, Ph.D., is an associate at The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment in Dover, New Hampshire. His areas of specialization include applied statistics, particularly with regard to large-scale data analysis. His current research interests center around longitudinal data analysis, specifically with regard to state and federal performance mandates. (Consulted on Educator Effectiveness and STAR Assessments.)

Joseph E. Betts, MMIS, Ph.D., NCSP, is the former senior measurement statistician at Renaissance Learning. He has specialized in the statistical analysis of longitudinal and time series data, latent variable modeling, item response theory, and computerized-adaptive testing. He has contributed to numerous professional papers in peer-reviewed journals, technical reports, and professional presentations. (Consulted on STAR Assessments.)

Richard Bisk, Ph.D., is chair and professor of mathematics at Worcester State College in Massachusetts. He developed numerous professional development courses on improving teacher understanding of mathematics, including the Singapore Math Project which was developed in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Education. He also assisted in the development of Massachusetts guidelines for the mathematical preparation of elementary teachers. (Consulted on Mathematics.)

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Jan Bryan, Ed.D., is Vice President, National Education Officer at Renaissance Learning. She taught courses at the University of North Texas on ESL-student literacy instruction, assessment, and instructional strategies using cross-cultural resources. She also taught content-area reading and children's literature courses at Texas Tech and Missouri State universities. She holds an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Texas Tech University. (Consulted on Writing.)

Matthew K. Burns, Ph.D., is a professor of educational psychology, coordinator of the School Psychology program, and co-director of the Minnesota Center for Reading Research at the University of Minnesota. He has published over 150 articles and book chapters in national publications, and has co-authored or co-edited several books. He is also editor of School Psychology Review and past editor of Assessment for Effective Intervention. (Consulted on RTI and STAR Assessments.)


Catherine N. Close, Ph.D., is a psychometrician for Renaissance Learning. She has extensive background in both classical and modern test theories and their application to computerized adaptive tests (CAT) and conventional non-adaptive tests. At Renaissance Learning, Close researches, develops, and evaluates the STAR Assessments. She is responsible for ensuring that the assessments meet professional standards for reliability and validity for use in grades K–12. Close has co-authored research articles and published in peer-reviewed journals of measurement. (Consulted on STAR Assessments.)

Ellen Cree, Ph.D., is director of services development for Renaissance Learning. She has over a decade of experience designing, writing, and producing educational products and has worked as an educator at the college level where she taught literature and writing, developed curriculum materials, and directed a remedial writing program. She has a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina and a Ph.D. in literature from Indiana University. (Consulted on Professional Development.)

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Roger Farr, Ed.D., is the Chancellor's Professor Emeritus of Education at Indiana University and past president of the International Reading Association, which has awarded him a citation for outstanding lifetime contributions to the teaching of reading as well membership in the IRA Reading Hall of Fame. He has a B.S. in English education, M.S. in secondary English education, and Ed.D. in reading and education psychology from the State University of New York. (Consulted on Reading and Language Proficiency.)

Robin Fogarty, Ph.D., is president of RFA, a Chicago-based educational publishing/consulting company. She received her B.A. in early childhood education at SUNY, Potsdam, NY and her master's degree in instructional strategies from National Louis University in Evanston, IL. She received her doctorate in curriculum and human resource development from Loyola University of Chicago. (Consulted on Professional Development.)

Steve Graham, Ed.D., is the Currey Ingram Professor of Special Education and Literacy in the Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. He is editor of Exceptional Children, co-author of several books on writing, and the recipient of career research awards from the Council for Exceptional Children and Special Education Research Interest Group in the American Educational Research Association. (Consulted on Writing.)

Karin Hess, Ed.D., a Center for Assessment senior associate, is recognized for research and guidance on learning progressions, text complexity, performance assessment, and cognitive rigor. She served as program evaluator for the Vermont Mathematics Project, content specialist for the New England Common Assessment Program, and developer/editor of Science Exemplars K-8 performance assessments. Hess is principal author of the content specifications for the CCSS ELA/Literacy standards and a contributor to the mathematics content specifications for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. (Consulted on Learning Progressions, cognitive rigor in assessment items.)


Margaret Heritage, Ph.D., is assistant director for professional development at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at UCLA. Her current work focuses on the development of academic language for EL students and formative assessment, including teachers' use of formative assessment evidence. She has made numerous presentations on these topics in the U.S., Europe, and India. (Consulted on Educator Effectiveness and Core Progress for Reading with STAR Assessments.)

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Thomas P. Hogan, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and a Distinguished University Fellow at the University of Scranton. He has more than 40 years of experience conducting reviews of mathematics curricular content. He has published articles in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education and Mathematical Thinking and Learning and has authored two textbooks and more than 100 scholarly publications in the areas of measurement and evaluation. (Consulted on Mathematics and STAR Assessments.)

Asha K. Jitendra, Ph.D., is the Rodney Wallace Professor for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. Her scholarly contributions comprise over 90 peer-reviewed articles in top tiered journals in special education, education, and school psychology. She is a Research Fellow of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities and has a published book entitled, Solving math word problems: Teaching students with learning disabilities using schema-based instruction. (Consulted on Mathematics.)

Carol M. Johnson, Ph.D., has held adjunct faculty positions at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College where she taught English as a second language and French, as well as linguistics and second language methodologies. She speaks at conferences related to second language learning, including the National Association for Bilingual Education, California Association for Bilingual Education, and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Gene M. Kerns, Ed.D., is a third-generation educator with teaching experience from elementary through the university level, in addition to K12 administrative experience. He is currently Chief Academic Officer for Renaissance Learning. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from Longwood College in Virginia and a doctor of education degree from the University of Delaware. Informative Assessment: When It's Not About a Grade is his first publication. (Consulted on Professional Development.)

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Joseph F. Kovaleski, Ed.D., is professor of educational and school psychology and director of the Program in School Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is also co-principal investigator for the Pennsylvania RTI Project through the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network. He earned his doctorate in school psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. (Consulted on RTI and STAR Assessments.)

James R. McBride, Ph.D., is vice president and chief psychometrician for Renaissance Learning. He has been instrumental in the practical application of item response theory and has conducted test development and personnel research for a variety of organizations. He is co-editor of a leading book on the development of CAT and has authored numerous journal articles, professional papers, book chapters, and technical reports. (Consulted on Educator Effectiveness, Common Core State Standards, and STAR Assessments.)

Dr. Rick Melmer, Ph.D., is currently assisting the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) on national initiatives and is working with two agencies in South Dakota on statewide issues involving teacher and administrator pre-service programs and Indian Education. He was the Dean of the School of Education at the University of South Dakota and Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education. Prior to that, he was Superintendent in the Watertown South Dakota School District and Superintendent of the Sioux Center Community School District in Sioux Center, Iowa.

R. James Milgram, Ph.D., is an emeritus professor of mathematics at Stanford University. He has helped author several states' standards and recently served on the Validation Committee for the Common Core State Standards. He has published over 100 research papers in mathematics and four books. He received his undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Minnesota. (Consulted on Mathematics and STAR Assessments.)

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Michael Milone, Ph.D., is a research psychologist, award-winning educational writer, and consultant to publishers and school districts. He earned a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University and has served in an adjunct capacity at Ohio State, the University of Arizona, Gallaudet University, and New Mexico State University. He served on the board of directors of the Association of Educational Publishers and was a past chair of the Technology and Literacy Committee of the International Reading Association. (Consulted on Reading and Language Proficiency and STAR Assessments.)

Kimberly Munroe, M.Ed., has taught English language arts at the intermediate, middle, and high school levels. She has led a number of training programs and large-scale projects for districts, state departments of education, and elementary and secondary school publishers to develop curriculum and assessment materials. She was also the director of projects at Indiana University's Center for Innovation in Assessment. (Consulted on Reading and Language Proficiency.)


Allan Odden, Ph.D., is co-director of Strategic Management of Human Capital in education, a project of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. He is also professor of educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an expert on the strategic management of human capital in education, teacher compensation, teacher evaluation, education finance, effective resource allocation and use, and educational policy.

James B. Olsen, Ph.D., is a psychometrician with Renaissance Learning. He serves on the Technical Advisory Committees (TAC) for the Graduate Management Admissions Council, the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System and the Utah State Office of Education. For the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) he has served for two terms on the Board of Directors and the five years as Innovations Chair for the annual Innovations in Testing Conference.

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Alexa Posny, Ph.D., has over three decades of experience in education spanning from classroom teacher to Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Posny also served as Commissioner for the Kansas State Department of Education. She is currently Senior Vice President of State and Federal Programs for Renaissance Learning. (Consulted on CCSS and RTI.)

Sharif M. Shakrani, Ph.D., is a private consultant and researcher specializing in measurement and quantitative methods. He is former co-director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University and professor of measurement and quantitative methods in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education. He also served 8 years as the deputy executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board in the U.S. Department of Education. (Consulted on Mathematics.)

Edward S. Shapiro, Ph.D., is professor of school psychology and director of the Center for Promoting Research to Practice in the College of Education at Lehigh University. He has authored 10 books and is best known for his work in curriculum-based assessment and non-standardized methods of assessing academic skills problems. He has collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Education on the state's RTI methodology. (Consulted on RTI and STAR Assessments.)


Ray Simon has been involved in public education for over 40 years, working at all levels from the classroom to the federal government. He recently formed his own company to provide consulting services at the national, state, and local levels on topics relating to education policy and practice. Prior to his current practice, he served as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. He also served as the Chief State School Officer for Arkansas and Superintendent of the Conway School District in Arkansas.

Keith J. Topping, Ph.D., is professor of educational and social research at the University of Dundee, and director of the Centre for Peer Learning. He is also director of Doctoral Programmes in educational psychology (Ph.D. and Professional Doctorate). His published works are approaching 300 and in 2011 he received the Outstanding Contribution to Cooperative Learning Award from the American Educational Research Association. (Consulted on Reading and Language Proficiency.)

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Roy Truby, Ed.D., is the former senior vice president of state and federal programs for Renaissance Learning. He served as an ambassador for the National Center for Education Statistics and for the research organization Westat, to chief state school officers and urban school superintendents, advising on National Assessment of Educational Progress and assessment issues. He has held positions as state school superintendent for Idaho and West Virginia. (Consulted on Educator Effectiveness and Common Core State Standards.)

Amanda M. VanDerHeyden, Ph.D., has worked as a researcher, consultant, and national trainer in a number of school districts. She has published more than 60 scholarly articles and book chapters related to RTI. She is associate editor of School Psychology Review, serves on the editorial boards of several journals including School Psychology Quarterly and Journal of Early Intervention. (Consulted on Mathematics, RTI and STAR Assessments.)

Kenneth E. Vos, Ph.D., is professor of education at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. For the last 35 years, he has been preparing undergraduate and graduate students to teach mathematics, and in tandem working with classroom teachers. He has directed numerous programs and institutes for teachers on mathematics, best practices in the mathematics classroom, and assessment. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. (Consulted on Mathematics and Common Core State Standards.)

Michael Ward, Ed.D., served two terms as State Superintendent of the Public Schools of North Carolina and is past President of the Council of Chief State School Officers. Today he consults extensively with education leaders on matters of assessment, school improvement, leadership, professional growth, strategic planning, and educator performance. He is an associate member of the graduate faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi. (Consulted on Educator Effectiveness and Common Core State Standards.)

James Ysseldyke, Ph.D., is Emma Birkmaier Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. He has served as director of the Minnesota Institute for Research on Learning Disabilities, director of the National School Psychology Network, director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes, director of the School Psychology Program, and associate dean for research. (Consulted on RTI and STAR Assessments.)

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© Copyright Renaissance Learning, Inc. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Site Map