2010 REESE Plenary Speaker Bios

John Easton holds a Ph.D. in measurement, evaluation, and statistical analysis from the University of Chicago; a master’s degree from Western Washington University; and a bachelor’s degree from Hobart College. He is the author or coauthor of numerous reports and articles, and two books: Charting Chicago School Reform: Democratic Localism as a Lever for Change and Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2010. He is director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), where he started his six-year term on June 1, 2009. IES is the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. It encompasses the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, the National Center for Education Research, and the National Center for Special Education Research. Easton comes to IES from Chicago, where most recently he was executive director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. In 2008, he was awarded a presidential citation from the American Educational Research Association for “research leadership and evaluation studies focused on improving the nature and quality of education in a large urban city.

Barbara Schneider is the John A. Hannah Chair and University Distinguished Professor in the College of Education and Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. She worked for 18 years at the University of Chicago, holding positions as a Professor in Sociology and Human Development and as a senior researcher at NORC. Currently she continues to hold an appointment as a university faculty research associate at the University of Chicago and as Senior Fellow at NORC, where she is the principal investigator of the Center on Advancing Research in Communication in Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. She uses a sociological lens to understand societal conditions and interpersonal interactions that create norms and values that enhance human and social capital. Her research focuses on how the social contexts of schools and families influence the academic and social well being of adolescents as they move into adulthood. Currently she is working with the Michigan Department of Education on how to use their administrative education data to improve education decision making and is conducting a new research demonstration project on building a college going culture in high schools. Schneider has published 15 books and over 100 articles and reports on family, social context of schooling, and sociology of knowledge. She is the past editor of Sociology of Education and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. She holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

Myron Gutmann joined the National Science Foundation as Assistant Director of the Social, Behavioral and Economics Directorate in November 2009. Formerly Director of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, Dr. Gutmann has a broad range of interests in interdisciplinary historical population studies, especially relating population to agricultural, the environment, and health. He also studies ways that digital materials can be properly preserved and shared, and how the confidentiality of research subjects can be protected when data about them is made available for secondary use. He is an expert on historical demography and the social, demographic and economic history of Europe and the Americas.

Felice J. Levine is Executive Director of the American Educational Research Association. Previously she was Executive Officer of the American Sociological Association, a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, and Senior Research Social Scientist at the American Bar Foundation. Levine’s work focuses on research and science policy issues, research ethics, data access and sharing, the scientific and academic workforce, and higher education. An Associate Editor of the Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, she is on the Executive Committee of the Consortium of Social Science Associations and is Vice Chair of the Board of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics. She is also Interim Secretary General of the newly established World Education Research Association. She holds A.B., A.M., and Ph.D. degrees in sociology and psychology from the University of Chicago.

Steve Robinson is on assignment to the White House Domestic Policy Council from the Department of Education, where he served as a Special Advisor to Secretary Arne Duncan. Robinson served as the Legislative Assistant for education in the office of then-Senator Barack Obama, advised on policy development during the presidential campaign, and worked on education issues with the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team. Steve first joined the office of Senator Obama in July 2005, supported as a fellow through the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program. During his time as a Senate staffer, he also served as a mentor for students in the DC public schools, as a reading tutor for elementary grade students and as a math tutor with middle school students. Prior to joining Senator Obama's office, Steve was a high school science teacher in Eugene, Oregon. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, earned a degree in Biology at Princeton University, and then a Ph.D. at University of Michigan. On the Biology faculty at the University of Massachusetts, he headed a laboratory and mentored Ph.D. students. His teaching experience includes more than 15 years in the classroom at middle school, high school, and postsecondary levels.

Joan Ferrini-Mundy is the Acting Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Education and Human Resources (EHR). In 2009 she served as Acting Executive Officer for the EHR Directorate, and from January 2007 through December 2009 was Director of EHR’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL). While at NSF, Dr. Ferrini-Mundy continues to hold appointments at Michigan State University (MSU) as a University Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Education in the Departments of Mathematics and Teacher Education. She served as Associate Dean for Science and Mathematics Education in the College of Natural Science at MSU from 1999-2006. Ferrini-Mundy was a Visiting Scientist in NSF’s Teacher Enhancement Program from 1989-1991, and served as Director of the Mathematical Sciences Education Board and Associate Executive Director of the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education at the National Research Council from 1995-1999. She directed the Michigan Department of Education Teacher Preparation Policy Study Group (2006-2007) and chaired the MI Mathematics High School Content Expectations Development Committee. From 1983-1999 Ferrini-Mundy was a member of the Mathematics Department at the University of New Hampshire, and in 1982-1983 she was a mathematics faculty member at Mount Holyoke College, where she co-founded the SummerMath for Teachers Program. She has served on the Board of Directors of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), chaired the Writing Group for NCTM’s 2000 Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, and served on the Board of Governors of the Mathematical Association of America. In 2007-2008, representing NSF, she served as an ex officio member of the President’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel, and co-chaired the Instructional Practices Task Group. Ferrini-Mundy holds a Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of New Hampshire; her research interests include calculus teaching and learning, the development and assessment of teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching, and mathematics and science education policy.

Janice Earle has been at the National Science Foundation since 1991, and has worked with several of the Foundation’s education programs. She currently serves as the Cluster Lead for the Knowledge Building Cluster in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources’ (EHR) Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL). The Knowledge Building Cluster includes the Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE) program, the Foundation’s primary education research program and the CAREER program, a research program for young investigators. Dr. Earle works with the ARC Resource Network at NORC to work on issues of knowledge accumulation and portfolio analysis across the program portfolios. Dr. Earle also works with several of the agency’s policy-oriented efforts such as those with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), international studies, the National Academy of Science’s National Research Council (NRC), and collaborative efforts with the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Earle received a BA in history from the University of Michigan, a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in education policy and planning from the University of Maryland.

Sarah-Kathryn McDonald is Executive Director of the Center for Advancing Research and Communication in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education research (ARC) and Principal Research Scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago. At ARC Sarah-Kay works to support the accumulation, synthesis, and utilization of rigorous research for educational improvement by informing educational research, policy, and practice. Sarah-Kay received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Northwestern University, and an MBA from City University, London, England.