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 Director 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, a M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. in English Education from the University of Iowa.
Dr. Fiona Hollands, Research and Evaluation
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.
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 candidate 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 and Evaluation
Dr. Horton manages several of the Center’s evaluation grants and had previously worked on the PT3 Catalyst Grant. Dawn holds a Ed.D. from the Curriculum and Teaching program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interest focuses on the epistemology of knowledge.
Greta Keltz, Projects Coordinator
Greta helps coordinate several of the Center’s ongoing projects. She brings both international and public school experience to her work at the center. Most recently, she was the Head of the Middle School at the International School of Latvia, where she also taught science and math and coordinated the IB Middle Years Program. Before going abroad, she taught biology and general science at a large urban high school in Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Cognitive Studies in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Greta holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Educational Leadership and a B.S. in Secondary Education with certifications in Biology and General Science from Pennsylvania State University.
Sharmin Hakim, Research Associate
Sharmin assists Dr. Meier with the Technology Specialist Certification and assists on various research and evaluation projects. Sharmin 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, Sharmin 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 is currently pursuing her doctorate in Instructional Technology and Media at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is researching 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 a M.A. in Secondary Mathematics Education from New York University and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jessica Yusaitis Pike, Senior Research Assistant
Jessica works on the Center’s research team, serving as the primary research assistant on the Center’s research studies and evaluation grants. 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.
Rita Sánchez, Professional Development Specialist
Rita is the lead professional developer at the Center, specializing in STEM. Her areas of specialization 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, Rita 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. Rita brings a unique perspective on international education to the Center team. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education at Teachers College. Rita earned her B.A. in Industrial Engineering from the Technical Institute of Monterrey and her M.S. in Mathematics Education from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
Kenny Graves, Professional Development Associate
Kenny works on the Center’s professional development team, specializing in literacy and English / Language Arts. Kenny also helps maintain the front-end of the Center’s website and also manages the Center’s Twitter feed and YouTube channel. Kenny has prior experience as an English / Language Arts teacher in a one-to-one laptop school district where he helped his grade level team redesign the curriculum to include technology-infused projects. Some of his research interests include technology-infused curriculum design, preservice teacher preparation, professional development, the teaching of computer programming, and educational technology policy and implementation. Kenny is currently a doctoral student in the Instructional Technology and Media program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Kenny holds an M.A. in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.A. in English with minors in Secondary Education and Latin American & Iberian Studies from the University of Richmond.
Denise Mahfood, Professional Development Facilitator
Denise works on the Center’s professional development team, specializing in the sciences. Denise’s 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. Denise 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. Denise is currently an advanced doctoral student in the Science Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She earned 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.
Mary Metzger, Professional Development Facilitator
Mary works on the Center’s professional development team 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.
Wan Park, Professional Development Facilitator
Wan works on the professional development team, specializing in mathematics. Wan has taught middle and high school students mathematics in a large urban school district for nine years while serving as the department chair and the technology group leader, which compelled him to provide professional development on technology integration. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Instructional Technology and Media at Teachers College, studying the role of multiple representations and technology integration in mathematics teacher education.
Alexandra Thomas, Professional Development Facilitator
Alex works on the professional development team, specializing in interdisciplinary curriculum. 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 a M.S. in Childhood Education from Lehman College and a B.A. in International Affairs from Georgia Tech University.
Romina Peschiera, Professional Development Intern
Romina works at the Center as an intern on the professional development team. 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 is currently a master’s student in Instructional Technology and Media program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Romina holds a M.A. in Education Policies from Catholic University in Peru.
Linlin Xia, Research Intern
Linlin works as an intern on the Center’s research and evaluation team. Linlin has experience in the design and development of distance education for rural elementary schools in China. Her research interests include online schooling, MOOCs, and learners’ motivation. Currently, she is an Ed.M. student in the Instructional Technology and Media program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Linlin holds a B.A. in Educational Technology from Beijing Normal University in China.
Steven Azeka, Back-End Web Developer
Steven assists in managing the back-end development of the CTSC website. He also teaches lower school technology at the Stephen Gaynor School, an independent school, serving students with learning differences. Steven is a doctoral student in the Instructional Technology and Media program at Teachers College, Columbia University where he focuses on the integration and development of technology throughout content areas. Steven holds a M.A. as a Technology Specialist from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University.
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.