LSI Formative Assessment International Conference

Presenters and panelists

Dylan Wiliam

Dr. Dylan Wiliam

Dylan Wiliam, PhD, is one of the world’s foremost education authorities. He has helped to successfully implement classroom formative assessment in thousands of schools all over the world, including the United States, Singapore, Sweden, Australia, and the United Kingdom. A two-part BBC series, “The Classroom Experiment,” tracked Wiliam’s work at one British middle school, showing how formative assessment strategies empower students, significantly increase engagement, and shift classroom responsibility from teachers to their students so that students become agents of and collaborators in their own learning.

Tanji Reed Marshall, Ph. D

Tanji Reed Marshall, Ph.D., is the director of p-12 practice, leading Ed Trust’s Equity in Motion assignment analysis work.

Prior to joining Ed Trust, Tanji worked in the Office of Academic Programs at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University to prepare the school of education’s accreditation with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Before that, she supported prospective secondary English teachers who were working to obtain licensure through the school of education.

Before joining Virginia Tech, Tanji worked for as a district-level literacy specialist in Charlotte–Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, where she supported middle schools across the district to refine their literacy practices. She also worked to prepare the district as they transitioned to Common Core standards. Additionally, as a Title I literacy coach, Tanji worked with targeted schools to improve literacy instruction for traditionally underserved students. Her career also includes elementary and middle school classroom teaching in North Carolina and New Jersey, which has allowed her opportunities to consult with school districts across the country to refine and focus teacher practice on literacy and to strengthen student achievement — with an emphasis on traditionally underserved students.

Tanji holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis on teacher practice with high-achieving African American students, from Virginia Tech; a master’s degree in English education, with a focus on critical literacy, from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston College.

Michael D. Toth

Michael D. Toth

Michael D. Toth is founder and CEO of Learning Sciences International (LSI) and leads LSI’s Applied Research Center. He is the author of The Power of Student Teams: Achieving Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Learning in Every Classroom Through Academic Teaming with David Sousa; author of Who Moved My Standards? Joyful Teaching in an Age of Change; and co-author with Dr. Robert J. Marzano of The Essentials of a Standards-Driven Classroom, School Leadership for Results, and Teacher Evaluation that Makes a Difference.

Toth was formerly the president of the National Center for the Profession of Teaching, a university faculty member, and director of research and development grants. He is an expert in research-based school improvement models, shifting instructional methodologies, root causes analysis for school issues, and building 21st century skills in students; he gives public presentations and advises education leaders on these issues.

Jay McTighe

Jay McTighe

Jay McTighe brings a wealth of experience developed during a rich and varied career in education. He served as director of the Maryland Assessment Consortium, a state collaboration of school districts working together to develop and share formative performance assessments.

Prior to this position, Jay was involved with school improvement projects at the Maryland State Department of Education where he helped lead Maryland’s standards-based reforms, including the development of performance-based statewide assessments. He also directed the development of the Instructional Framework, a multimedia database on teaching.

Well known for his work with thinking skills, Jay has coordinated statewide efforts to develop instructional strategies, curriculum models, and assessment procedures for improving the quality of student thinking. In addition to his work at the state level, Jay has experience at the district level in Prince George’s County, Maryland, as a classroom teacher, resource specialist, and program coordinator. He also directed a state residential enrichment program for gifted and talented students.

Ken O'Connor

Ken O’Connor

Ken O’Connor is a staunch advocate for standards-based teaching, grading, and reporting. He has been a staff development presenter and facilitator in 46 states in the U.S., nine provinces and one territory in Canada, and 22 countries outside North America. Ken is the author of The School Leaders Guide to Grading, A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades, How to Grade for Learning: Linking Grades to Standards, and Fifteen Fixes for Broken Grades: A Repair Kit.

From 1990 to 1999, he served as a curriculum coordinator for student assessment and evaluation and geography for the Scarborough Board of Education, and later the Toronto District School Board and currently is an independent consultant who specializes in issues relating to communicating student achievement. Ken earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne and a Master’s of Education from the University of Toronto.

Deana Senn

With more than 15 years of education experience, Deana Senn, MS, is an expert in instructional strategies and classroom assessments. Her curriculum and instruction experience span the United States and Canada, in both rural and urban districts, from the school level to regional level. She actively develops content with the Marzano Center team and trains nationwide. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and received her master’s degree from Montana State University. Ms. Senn recently co-authored three books with Dr. Robert J. Marzano: Identifying Critical Content, Engaging in Cognitively Complex Tasks: Classroom Techniques to Help Students Generate & Test Hypotheses Across Disciplines; Engaging in Cognitively Complex Tasks: Classroom Techniques to Help Students Generate & Test Hypotheses Across Disciplines; and Organizing for Learning: Classroom Techniques to Help Students Interact Within Small Groups.

Ken O'Connor

Kaija Dupoux

Kaija Dupoux graduated from FAU in Elementary Education and WGU with a Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction. She has been serving in K-12 education for 10 years. Kaija has been an educator, educational researcher, and educational consultant for districts throughout Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Connecticut. Her focus has been on increasing student achievement in urban school districts through rigorous curriculum construction while designing and facilitating professional development systems for teacher and administrative advancement. 

Most recently she served as a Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment where she led the redesign of the district Strategic Plan with a focus on Equity and Diversity, developed the District Administrative & Superintendent Evaluation with accountability for student achievement and launched the initiative for High-Quality Curricular Resources & Professional Development. Kaija believes her greatest accomplishment of all is to have positively served the children and families of every community she touches.

Ken O'Connor

Paul Zavitkovsky

Paul Zavitkovsky spent most of his career as an elementary and middle school teacher and principal. Over the past decade and a half, he has worked as a leadership coach and assessment specialist at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Ed.D. program for urban school leaders. A particular focus of this work has been making assessment reportage more actionable and user-friendly for school and district leadership teams. Zavitkovsky’ academic background includes a B.A. from Wesleyan University and advanced degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Laquita Louie

Laquita M. Louie is the current principal at Curtis School of Excellence. She has been in administrative leadership for 10 years. It is her belief that education provides access and opportunity for students.

Her vision is that all students receive an equitable education, providing them with the necessary skills to compete globally. Laquita holds a doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Paul McNeil

Paul facilitates teacher and leader instructional growth through coaching, onsite professional learning, PLC support, and instructional planning.   

Prior to joining LSI, he acted as a multi-classroom leader and teacher for Fulton County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, and Public Schools of Robeson County. Mr. McNeil earned his Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education, from North Carolina Central University. He has experience designing curriculum for 3rd-5th grades around the school’s goal of increasing student engagement, content relevancy, and current framework. He has successfully coached ELA teachers using research-based strategies and frameworks on best practices for instruction and facilitated PLCs to identify student learning gaps, adapt instruction, analyze data, and co-plan lessons.

Bindu Sunil, Ed.S.

Bindu has been an educator for 17 years. She has served as a middle school teacher, content specialist, district content coach, and district content coordinator. Her teaching and learning effort focus on building instructional leadership in schools that empower principals, coaches, and teachers to implement curriculum, instruction, and assessment to improve student learning. Her work around student-centered coaching utilizes student work and action to enhance standards-based instruction aligned to equity and rigor by supporting its implementation through job-embedded professional learning.

Bindu has worked in public schools, the university system, and educational research organizations across three different states. Students from different demographics in urban schools interest her due to their resilience and unlimited learning capacity. She has skills in implementing UDL, PBL in instructional planning and values standards-based curriculum & grading, and data-driven instruction. While in Kentucky, she worked with schools to implement high-leverage instructional strategies to improve student achievement. She guides teachers and coaches through the backward planning model, facilitating open-ended tasks and utilizing student work and actions as formative assessments to improve student achievement.

Mtetwa Ramdoo

Mtetwa is a passionate teacher, coach, mentor, and leader in improving job skills, guiding professional development, and increasing productivity for adults and students. Her experience includes instructing the instructor and analyzing and evaluating performance in a variety of learning environments.

Prior to joining LSI, she worked for Hillsborough County Public Schools, one of the top 10 largest districts in the nation, as a Coordinator and Peer Evaluator. Her experience includes evaluating instruction and student learning and offering recommendations to teachers to improve core instruction pedagogy. She also taught 6th-grade science and high school ELL.

She also is an author and earned her Masters, Educational Leadership from the American College of Education and her Bachelors, English from the University of South Florida.

Sherry Bennett

Sherry Bennett is currently a PhD student at the University of Alberta, Canada, studying educational policy studies and leadership. Her research seeks to understand the value stakeholders place on formative assessment within the totality of the current assessment milieu, and how system leaders can leverage that understanding as they develop effective assessment policy. 

Prior to returning to university, Sherry served as the Executive Director of the Alberta Assessment Consortium (AAC), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing classroom assessment practices. In addition to supporting the governance of the organization, her work involved developing and curating a collection of performance assessments for classroom use, facilitating extensive professional learning opportunities and resources for teachers and leaders, and co-authoring five publications along with several articles for education stakeholder organizations in Alberta. 

Sherry proudly identifies as a teacher, having spent many years in the classroom, including supporting pre-service teachers. She is passionate about the potential formative assessment has to transform learning for students.

Shakira B. Fetherolf, M. Ed.

As a Learning Sciences International Consultant Faculty Coach, Mrs. Shakira Fetherolf supports rigorous and equitable education for scholars by delivering professional development, supporting PLCs, coaching implementation, modeling lessons, and using current formative and summative data to drive standards-based instruction. Holding herself and her team to the highest of standards with intellectual curiosity, grace and vulnerability is how she travels the path to success.

Before coaching, Mrs. Fetherolf taught in a wide range of environments; from the emotionally disturbed, autistic, and learning-disabled students of District 75 in the South Bronx, to private schools and university-level abroad, as well as public schools in Florida in a variety of neighborhoods. These diverse experiences have led to an informed and widened perspective.

Mrs. Fetherolf began her education at The State University of New York at Albany with a degree in Sociology and then earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Mercy College.

James Payne, Ed.S

James Payne, Ed.S, serves as a School Leadership Coach with Learning Sciences International. James has a track record of increasing student achievement and improving teacher practices as an instructional leader. He gained his first experience in school leadership in the Fulton County School System. As principal, assistant principal, data support specialist, and teacher leader, he affected positive change for students in the classroom and built the capacity of teachers throughout the Fulton County School District. In 2011, he was named a Georgia Master Teacher for demonstrating excellence in student achievement and student growth on state-mandated standardized tests.

As a principal, he led the efforts to remove his school from Georgia’s failing schools list. Under James’ leadership, the school improved its overall letter grade from a 58.6 (F) rating to an 83.5 (B) rating. The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement named the school a Beating the Odds school for four consecutive years (2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019). In 2019, the school received the Title I Reward School designation for the first time in school history. More specifically, the school improved the percentage of students reading on or above grade level from 52% to 70%. The percentage of students scoring at the proficient level or higher on the state’s end-of-grade reading assessment increased from 23% to 41% as a result of his leadership over time

Jody Honaker

Jody Honaker is a Faculty Coach and Staff Developer with Learning Sciences International.  Jody has extensive experience working in District Managed Turnaround Schools, with an unwavering focus on increasing and supporting standards-based, rigorous instruction through PLCs, professional development, and classroom support. Jody has devoted the last 2 decades in Educational Transformation, advocating her core belief that all children deserve a chance for a successful future.

Camile Earle-Dennis

For over twenty years, Camile Earle-Dennis has served districts and schools as a teacher, literacy coach, district trainer, curriculum writer, national mentor, regional instructional coach, and leadership advisor. She is a nationally awarded Milken Educator and published author who uses a strength-based lens to build confidence and rebuild school and classroom communities to create a thriving culture of learning that maintains high expectations for all. She is known best for her ability to develop teams that reverse underperforming schools, teachers, and students. She relies heavily on her cognitive sciences and instructional leadership backgrounds to empower leaders and their teams by aligning social emotional learning and the power of foundational relationships to transform, transcend, and further drive learning and teaching. She believes that this essential work is a call to action to reverse underachievement, disrupt poverty, and ultimately and permanently shift trajectories for children, families, and school communities.

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