Education and Society Program
Education and Society Program
In this role Ross leads professional learning networks for urban school district leaders and senior Congressional Education staffers. The program assists policymakers and education leaders in strengthening human capital systems, supporting implementation of Common Core State Standards, and strategically reallocating financial resources. In addition to facilitating networks, the Education & Society Program hosts public conversations as well as off-the-record workshops, and publishes original research and commentary. From 2002 to 2009, Ross worked at the Education Trust, a national, non-profit organization dedicated to raising standards and closing achievement gaps in public education. As policy director and then as vice president for program and policy, Ross managed the Education Trust’s research/data analysis, policy development, conference programming, and technical assistance to educators and policymakers in both K-12 and higher education.
Prior to Education Trust, Ross served for five years as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section, where he represented the United States in cases dealing with desegregation, harassment, and the adequacy of services to limited-English proficient and disabled students.
The Aspen Education Program develops K-12 education leadership and public policy initiatives through a variety professional learning networks, case studies and policy reports, and public convenings.
Sheila Brown has been deeply involved in leading systemic reform and instructional improvement work in pK-12 urban settings since 1991. Dr. Brown currently serves as the Co-Director of the Aspen Institute’s Education and Society Program. She was recently the Director of the Boston Field Site for the Strategic Education Research Partnership. She has also recently provided consulting services in the Baltimore City Public School System as a trainer and executive coach to Area Academic Officers (Area Superintendents) and pK-12 principals. She also functioned as the lead consultant in the Baltimore City Public School System's high school reform work and was responsible for researching and recommending effective high school literacy curriculum, assessments, safety net intervention programs and professional development models.
Sheila is a board member for the Urban Teacher Center based in Baltimore MD and holds an Ed.D. in Organizational Management from Pepperdine University, an M.S. in Educational Administration from California State University, Fullerton and a B.B.A. in Industrial Marketing and Spanish from Western Michigan University.
Joaquín, a former high school teacher and principal, focuses on issues related to human capital in education, teaching effectiveness, and implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and aligned assessments for accountability. He is project manager and a lead author of Aspen’s professional development resources for educators – “Tools for Teachers” – on implementing the key instructional shifts in the CCSS. Joaquín also manages the Aspen Senior Congressional Education Staff Network, a network of senior congressional education committee staff that focuses on critical issues in federal K-12 policy, as well as the Education Program’s new work related to education innovation and technology.
Before joining Aspen, Joaquín served as high school principal with the César Chávez Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC., initiating a school-wide transformation to focus on student mastery as opposed to more conventional methods of student assessment. In 2005, Joaquín founded the Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law (AGL), a small, government and law-themed college preparatory high school in New York City’s Lower East Side. From 1998 to 2002, Joaquín served as a high school social studies teacher at Huntington Park High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Joaquín holds a B.A. in political science from Columbia University, a master in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and is a graduate (Cohort 4) of the New Leaders for New Schools urban principal residency program. In 2010, Princeton University honored Joaquín with the Edward P. Bullard Distinguished Alumnus Award in recognition of his contributions to the cause of excellence in public education.
Katrin Thomas is Senior Program Manager at the Aspen Institute Education and Society Program. In this role she handles all financial, administrative and meeting management details. She is a native of Switzerland and holds a masters degree in Secondary Education from the University of Berne, Switzerland.
Sarah McKibben is the Research Assistant for the Education and Society Program at The Aspen Institute. Sarah provides research and analytical support to the Aspen Education Program's leadership networks and manages the Digital Resource Library. Before joining the team at Aspen, Sarah coordinated the Business Environmental Alliance (BEA) for Sonoma County. California. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Sarah holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University in Public Policy Studies and a Master of Public Administration in education policy from American University.
Program Advisors and Consultants
Anthony Bryk, President, The Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching
Chris Cross, Chairman, Cross & Joftus, LLC; Project Director Aspen Senior Education Congressional Staff Network
Rachel Curtis, Consultant, Human Capital Strategies for Urban Districts
Jennifer O'Day, Managing Research Scientist, American Institutes for Research
Tom Payzant, Visiting Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Robert Schwartz, Academic Dean and Professor of Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
Warren Simmons, President, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform
Catherine Snow, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Uri Treisman, Director, the Dana Center, University of Texas, Austin