What makes the CTSC team unique is that everyone has both classroom experience and content expertise in using technology in their discipline. Center staff come from a variety of different backgrounds, ranging from elementary teachers to high school math teachers and researchers studying the impact of technology in classrooms. CTSC staff are not necessarily pure “techies,” but they are education professionals who share a vision and deep understanding of how technology can be used effectively in the classroom.
By complementing everyone’s experience, the Center is able to explore the relationship between research theory and practice in order to gain a better understanding of what it means to integrate technology into schools.
Dr. Ellen Meier, Director and Co-Founder
Dr. Meier is the Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Technology and School Change and a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is also Co-Chair of the University of the State of New York Council on Technology Policy and Practice, a panel appointed by the Regents to examine technology use in public schools, libraries, museums and other similar state agencies. She began her career as a teacher in a federal experimental school program in Minnesota with an interest in school reform and equity, and soon pursued school change issues more broadly in a succession of regional and national responsibilities. Over the past dozen years, in collaboration with the Center’s professional developers, she has shaped the Center’s successful approach for integrating technology, using a design process focused on essential questions. Dr. Meier also directs the Center’s numerous evaluation and research grants related to technology integration. She holds an Ed.D. in Leadership and Organization from Teachers College, Columbia University, an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. in English Education from the University of Iowa.
Caron Mineo, Assistant Director for Professional Development
Caron oversees several of the Center’s long-term grant projects, serves as a liaison between the Center and the schools, and participates in the development of the Center’s research-based model. She has prior experience as an elementary teacher and instructional specialist in both public and private school settings, and has worked at the Center since early 2005, as a facilitator and researcher. Caron is a doctoral student in the Instructional Technology and Media program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her dissertation work focuses on issues of leadership surrounding innovation in schools. Caron holds an Ed.M. in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.S. in Computer Science from Boston College.
Dr. Dawn Horton, Assistant Director for Research & Evaluation
Dr. Horton manages several of the Center’s evaluation grants and research projects and participates in the development of the Center’s research model. Dawn holds an Ed.D. from the Curriculum and Teaching program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interest focuses on the epistemology of knowledge.
Dr. Sharmin Hakim, Research Associate
Dr. Hakim works with Dr. Meier in the Technology Specialist Certification program and assists on various research and evaluation projects. She has provided professional development to support K-12 teachers in designing and implementing technology-based projects in their classrooms for over ten years. Prior to joining CTSC, Dr. Hakim worked as a professional developer in a variety of New York City public schools through Media Workshop New York (part of the Bertelsmann Foundation), a professional development organization specializing in media and technology integration. She recently researched how prepared preservice mathematics teachers are for integrating technology into the classroom. Her other interests lie in the use of computer manipulatives, apps, and digital tools for the teaching and learning of mathematics. Sharmin holds an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University, an M.A. in Secondary Mathematics Education from New York University and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Rita Sánchez, Coordinator of International Professional Development
Dr. Sánchez is the lead professional developer at the Center, specializing in STEM. Her areas of expertise include designing for understanding, rethinking interdisciplinary approaches to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), unpacking standards, and developing opportunities for authentic assessment. Before working with the Center, she worked as a mathematics and physics high school teacher in the Universidad de Monterrey for over eight years. She also served in a leadership position, as the Department Head, overseeing the development of curriculum for her division. Dr. Sánchez brings a unique perspective on international education to the Center team. She holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, an M.S. in Mathematics Education from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and a B.A. in Industrial Engineering from the Technical Institute of Monterrey.
Dr. Denise Mahfood, Professional Development Facilitator
Dr. Mahfood works on the Center’s professional development team, specializing in the sciences. Her professional experiences are strongly engrained in the sciences and education that spans over a 10-year period. These experiences range in curriculum development, teaching science content in the areas of Physical, Life, and Earth Sciences & Mathematics, and science professional development for teachers. She has also participated in several after-school science/mathematics enrichment programs in chemistry, physics, robotics and engineering, statistics and data analysis at different schools and institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History and the School of Engineering at Columbia University. Dr. Mahfood holds a Ph.D. in Science Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds an M.S. in Science Education from New York University and a B.S. in Biology/General Science from The University of the West Indies in Trinidad.
Seth McCall, Senior Research Assistant
Seth collects, codes, and analyzes qualitative data related to the Center’s research on facilitating inquiry-based learning environments. He is interested in educational change, intellectual equality, issues related to social class, and power relations in education. He holds a BSE in Social Studies Education and an MSE in Adaptive Special Education from the University of Kansas. He taught for eight years in Kansas City, Austin, Saint Louis, and Harlem. Seth is completing an educational doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Wan Park, Research Assistant
Wan works on the research team, specializing in media production and technology implementation. Wan has taught middle and high school students mathematics in New York City public schools for ten years while serving as the department chair and the technology group leader, which compelled him to provide professional development and coaching on technology integration. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Instructional Technology and Media at Teachers College, studying the role of technological pedagogical content knowledge for secondary mathematics teachers. He holds an M.A. in Secondary Mathematics Education from City College of New York, an M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University.
Mary Metzger, Professional Development Facilitator
Mary works on the Center’s professional development team, assisting on various projects. Mary collaborates with educators to provide valuable learning experiences for their students. She helps teachers create technology projects that will meet the needs of the students and state standards using the Understanding by Design model. Discovering that technology expanded learning experiences when she was a New York City classroom teacher in Harlem, she attended Bank Street College of Education to master how to use the computer as a tool for different ages and different subject areas. For the past 12 years, Mary has created technology workshops (PreK-12) that prepare teachers to address state curriculum standards and to implement the technology project into their classroom. Mary has provided support in over 200 classrooms in the both public and private schools in Brooklyn, Queens, and Yonkers. Mary is a graduate of Boston University and Bank Street College of Education.
Romina Peschiera, Professional Development Associate
Romina works at the Center as a professional development associate. As a former history and geography teacher, Romina has previous experience training teachers in diverse topics, such as technology integration and reading comprehension. She also has experience in developing materials and texts for indigenous teachers, youth, parents and children. Some of her research interests include application of educational policy, technology integration in schools, and reading, literacy, and intercultural education, particularly intercultural projects with indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon Forest. Romina holds an M.A. in Instructional Technology and Media program at Teachers College, Columbia University and an M.A. in Education Policies from Catholic University in Peru.
Leonardo Barros, Professional Development Assistant
Leonardo works at the Center as a project assistant on the professional development team. Before coming to New York, Leo worked as a co-instructor in the Catolica University from Chile, where he co-taught an interdisciplinary course for the School of Arts and Engineering, with the aim of teaching digital skills to literature students. His research interests are the development of educational technologies and the evaluation of models to support teachers use of technology effectively in classroom. Leonardo is a Civil Engineer with a certification in Communication and Information Technologies, and has a masters in Engineering Science with specialization on Computing from the Catolica University from Chile. He holds an M.S. in Instructional Technology and Media program at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Alexandra Thomas, Professional Development Facilitator
Alex works on the professional development team, specializing in curriculum design and interdisciplinary pedagogies. She taught 10th Grade Global Studies in Harlem as well as science in Brooklyn schools at the secondary level. Alex’s research interests lie within multimodalities, specifically the use of digital media in and out of the classroom. She is interested in the ways students use technology and digital media formally and informally to communicate their ideas and negotiate their identities. Alex is currently a doctoral student in the Curriculum and Teaching department at Teachers College, Columbia University. She holds an M.S. in Childhood Education from Lehman College and a B.A. in International Affairs from Georgia Tech University.
Joanne Beckwith, Professional Development Facilitator
Joanne works as a facilitator on the professional development team at the Center. She is currently completing her MA in Instructional Technology and Media at Teachers College. She also holds a BSocSci in Psychology, Organizational Psychology and Business French from the University of Cape Town and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of South Africa. Prior to working at CTSC, Joanne has taught in a variety of educational settings – teaching Second Language English in South Korea and France, as well as Mathematics to middle school students in her home country, South Africa. She also wrote Math curriculum focused on problem-based learning and peer-learning for an innovative, low-cost private school in Gauteng, South Africa. Joanne is passionate about the use of technology in education to improve education outcomes, curriculum and teacher development. She believes technology is a powerful lever to promote social justice and opportunity.
Kevin Alster, Professional Development Facilitator
Kevin works on the Center’s professional development team, assisting on various projects. Kevin taught Kindergarten and First Grade in Helena, Arkansas and in Brooklyn, New York at KIPP and Uncommon charter schools. Kevin’s research interests lie in mobile and blended learning opportunities to bring learning to underserved communities and allow students to build their own understanding through play and tinkering with 21st century literacies. Kevin is currently a Masters student in Instructional Technology and Media at Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds a BA in English/Italian Studies from Emory University and a MA of Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education.
Jessica Yusaitis Pike, Senior Research Assistant
Jessica works on the Center’s research and evaluation team, serving as the senior research assistant on the Center’s numerous research studies. Jessica has several years of experience in PK-12 education research and evaluation and has examined such topics as 1:1 computing in classrooms, data-driven decision making, and teacher merit pay. Other interests include geographical shifts in educational access and television’s influence on youth development. Jessica has an M.A. in Communication and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a dual B.A. in Political Science and Television/Radio/Film from Syracuse University.
Kenneth Graves, Web Associate / Temporary Professional Development Facilitator
Kenny works at the Center as a professional development facilitator at times. He is currently serving as a technology director at an independent school in New York City. He had worked as a professional development facilitator for three years at the Center in various projects involving local school district teachers. He is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology and Media at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Steven Azeka, Back-End Web Developer
Steven maintains the back-end of the Center’s website. He is currently also working as a technology specialist at an independent school in New York City as a graduate of Technology Specialist program from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Dr. Fiona Hollands, Research & Evaluation Consultant
Dr. Hollands has been conducting research in education, primarily on the impact of technology on K-12 teaching and learning, for over ten years. Fiona is also investigating successful models of education for disadvantaged students and the issue of how to scale up effective practices, including the provision of comprehensive support services for low income students. More recently, given the negative impact of a weak U.S. economy on education budgets, Fiona has been focusing on the cost-effectiveness of various educational interventions, including online and blended learning. Between finishing an M.A. in Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and beginning a Ph.D. in Politics and Education at the same institution, Fiona taught mathematics at Rice High School in Harlem, NY. Fiona was awarded her Ph.D. in 2003 and her dissertation focused on whether and how computer use allows for greater individualization of students’ learning experiences. Prior to entering the field of education, Fiona worked for several years in the international financial securities industry for JPMorgan in London, Paris and New York. Fiona completed her undergraduate studies at Oxford University, England where she earned a B.A. Honours Degree in Pure and Applied Biology.
Dr. Howard Budin, Co-Founder
Dr. Budin is a Senior Lecturer in the Program in Computing and Education. He taught in New York City schools for ten years, and has worked with schools on integrating technology for over thirty years. Since 1983, he has directed the Intensive version of the M.A. program in Computing and Education, which brings teachers from all over the world to Teachers College for July class sessions, and in 2007 he started, and directs, an all-online version of this M.A. program. From 2000 to 2004 he directed the federally funded project Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology, which seeks to ensure that all prospective teachers at the College graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to use technology well in their teaching.