Join AERDF at ISTELive 24 from June 23-26!

Rebecca Merkley is the Executive Functions Consultant for EF + Math and an Adjunct Research Professor in Cognitive Science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Her multidisciplinary research explores how executive functions influence the acquisition of foundational numeracy skills. Her recent projects have focused on research-practice partnerships in early mathematics education. She also worked as a Research Fellow for UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development synthesizing evidence from the science of learning to inform international policy recommendations for advancing education equity. She earned an EdM from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a DPhil in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford.

Josh Stewart, PhD., is a senior researcher at Mathematica with a focus on evaluation design and evidence-based practice implementation in the field of education. Recently, he supported Colorado partners in the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Diverse and Learner-Ready Teachers (DLRT) Initiative, helping state and local education agency staff in Colorado develop an action plan to implement culturally responsive pedagogical practices in the classroom. This work also included creating a framework to aid districts and schools throughout Colorado to attract a more diverse and inclusive teacher workforce. Stewart also served as co-author on the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded tool, Guide to Conducting a Needs Assessment for American Indian Students. This tool prompts teachers and school administrators to assess the unique needs of their American Indian students, and address those needs through changes in climate, culture, instruction, and social-emotional supports at the classroom and school levels. Stewart also led the creation of the IES-funded Program Evaluation Toolkit, a self-paced online learning framework design to help education practitioners plan and carry out their own evaluations of locally implemented interventions. Serving as the lead researcher and author in 2019, Stewart led a study examining the associations between the qualifications of middle school Algebra I teachers and student math achievement for the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central. Findings highlighted the connection between teacher qualifications and student success in Algebra I, emphasizing the significance of certification exam performance and years of experience teaching math, particularly benefiting underrepresented and disadvantaged student subgroups. Earlier in his career, Stewart significantly contributed to an experimental efficacy study on the “Every Day Counts Algebra Readiness” program, focusing on assessing the program’s impact on the algebra readiness of 7th-grade students in rural Mississippi schools.

Yesmi Rios is a K-12 Coordinator of English Language Learner Services in a school district that serves over 55,000 English Language Learners. Previously, she coordinated translation and transcript services for 350 plus K-12 grade schools, and collaborated closely with the district’s math department to bring about major improvements in student outcomes. Until she moved to Las Vegas in 2005, she served as a high school administrator, a teacher mentor, a Math Department Chair, a Director of Technology in a construction management firm, a math lecturer at various universities, and a math migrant education teacher consultant of school districts in Northern California. Rios has received awards from professional associations and school districts for her commitment and contributions to education. In 2010, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund awarded her the Altruistic award and inducted her into the national HSF Alumni Hall of Fame. Rios earned her undergraduate degrees in math and Spanish from the University of California, Davis, a master’s degree in education administration from San Francisco State University, a master’s degree in education in math from Harvard University, and completed a Doctorate in Education, Policy, Leadership, and Change from Walden University.

Teomara (Teya) Rutherford is an Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Delaware School of Education. Her research focuses on the affordances of digital technologies for improving educational opportunities and for providing insights into student learning and motivational processes. For this work, she partners closely with educators and platform developers to ensure that goals, methods, and communication of results are meaningful and interpretable by stakeholders. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and has been published in outlets such as Contemporary Educational Psychology, Learning and Instruction, and Computers and Education. Her most recent National Science Foundation-funded project examines students’ in-the-moment motivations and emotions as they work within a digital mathematics learning tool. Teya received her PhD in Learning, Cognition, and Development from the University of California, Irvine, her JD from Boston University School of Law, and her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Computers in the Classroom from Florida International University.

​​Tyron Young, Senior Program Manager at The Center for Inclusive Innovation, excels in co-designing and scaling workforce, curriculum, and product solutions. As a K–12 teacher and school leader, Young served students in math and science in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, and Atlanta. He also contributed to Oakland, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis communities as a Board Member for Thrival World Academies and Black Men Hike LA. Young holds a BA in Child Development from Morehouse College and an MSEd in Math and Science Education from Temple University.

Dr. Stephen AguiIar is an Assistant Professor of Education in the Educational Psychology concentration. His areas of expertise include educational data science and the implementation of educational technologies. He specializes in learning analytics, data visualizations, and gameful approaches to teaching and learning.

His research focuses on the design, efficacy, and motivational implications of learning analytics-based applications, and how they can be used in ways that promote social justice and educational achievement among minority students. Specifically, Aguilar studies how data visualizations of academic achievement influence students’ academic motivation and self-regulated learning strategies.

Aguilar received a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Georgetown University, a M.A. in the Humanities (Philosophy) from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan. Previously, he taught sixth and seventh grade in East Palo Alto, California and served as the Director of Institute Technology for Teach For America-Los Angeles’s summer institute.

Rose Kendrick currently serves as a Program Manager where she provides math and computer science professional learning for teachers of students in grades 3-9 with a focus on the learning process. She has served as an instructor with several Louisiana Math and Science Partnership projects and directed a STEM-focused 21st Century Learning Center. During Kendrick’s 23 years of education experience, she has served as a classroom teacher, mentor teacher, master teacher, curriculum writer, instructional coach, content seminar leader and curriculum implementation specialist. She also received her NBPTS certification in Early Adolescence Math and her Education Leader Level I certification.

Sofia Guerrero is the Middle School Lead for the math instructional specialists department in her district. Her responsibilities encompass diverse aspects, including curriculum development, educational coaching, and the cultivation of innovative math strategies aligned with optimal pedagogical approaches.

Guerrero’s passion for growth led her to participate in a district-wide aspiring leadership program. Followed by earning a Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Instruction, a testament to her commitment to refining and enhancing the educational experience. Furthermore, she pursued a Personalized Learning and Blended Learning Graduate Certificate from Texas Tech University, solidifying her expertise in cutting-edge educational methodologies.

Sofia Guerrero’s professional commitments are centered on building teacher capacity to expand the reach for student learning and success. From the classroom to district-wide initiatives, she is committed to transforming learning and dedicated to serving students.

Pedro Rodriguez is a Middle School Dual Language Math and Science teacher serving the neighborhood of Harlem, NY. Mr. Rodriguez also serves as a Peer Collaborative Teacher and is spearheading Yale’s RULER approach into the school community. As a Peer Collaborated Mr. Rodriguez converts his classroom into a lab classroom where his peers can observe some of his practices and provide reflecting sections. Furthermore, Mr. Rodriguez provides mentoring and coaching support for some of his colleagues. Also, he’s using Yale’s RULER approach as a systemic method to SEL development. The approach not only focuses on supporting the students SEL but also their families and the rest of the school community.

Melynee Naegele serves as the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Academic Success Coach and Field Coordinator at Oklahoma State University, based at East Central Middle School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With a diverse professional background ranging from case management for adults with disabilities to roles as a preschool director, co-teacher and collaborator, K–5 teacher, and middle school math interventionist, Naegele offers unique insights into effective teaching across various abilities and age groups.

Naegele actively engages in the mathematics education community at both local and national levels. Her contributions encompass serving on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics, presenting expertise at state, local, and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conferences, and co-creating/moderating the #ElemMathChat on Twitter.

She earned a BA in Special Education from Oklahoma State University and an MA in Teaching Learning and Leadership with an emphasis on K–8 Math from Oklahoma State University. As Immediate Past President of the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Naegele’s leadership underscores her significant impact in the field of math education.

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