Blogging can be an anonymous endeavor. And just to prove that we’re not blogging from our parents’ basements in our underwear, here are some brief biographical sketches of our regular contributors. We will update this roster as bloggers send in photos and bios. We are always searching for new bloggers representing diverse points of view. Contact Julie Poppen at email@example.com for more information.
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Vinny Badolato is the vice president of public affairs at the Colorado League of Charter Schools, the non-profit membership organization for the approximately 170 charter schools in Colorado. He previously served as an education policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures and as the Program Associate at the Alliance for Quality Teaching in Colorado. Before moving to Colorado in 2003, Vinny was the research director at The Performance Institute and research associate with the Reason Foundation, both in Washington, DC. He was also a professional stagehand with the IATSE, Local 22.
Vinny was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and graduate of NYC public schools. He earned a B.A. in History from The George Washington University and a M.A. in Education Foundations, Policy and Practice from the University of Colorado – Boulder. He and his wife Vanessa have two boys, two dogs and live in Northwest Denver.
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Ben DeGrow is a Colorado-based public policy analyst with a focus on education labor issues. Since joining the Independence Institute in 2003, Ben has advanced its research in the areas of collective bargaining, teacher unionism, teacher employment, and school finance. He oversees the Education Policy Center’s informational Web site for teachers and coordinates the Institute’s outreach to teachers.
Ben was born in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1977, and grew up in the greater Detroit metropolitan area. He graduated summa cum laude from Hillsdale College in 1999 with a B.A. in History (Political Science minor) and received an M.A. in History in 2001 from The Pennsylvania State University.
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Kristin Klopfenstein, a native Coloradoan, is the executive director of the Education Innovation Institute at the University of Northern Colorado. The EII’s mission is to connect researchers, policymakers, and educators to improve education in Colorado and beyond.
Dr. Klopfenstein was previously Interim Director at the Texas Schools Project where she used the state’s longitudinal education database to conduct and manage policy research. She also taught economics for ten years at Texas Christian University.
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Alexander Ooms is a senior fellow at the Donnell-Kay Foundation. He was the founding president and is a current member of the Board of Trustees at West Denver Preparatory Charter School, an appointed member of the Board of Directors at the Colorado Charter Schools Institute, a member of the Board of Directors at both the Charter Schools Development Corporation and the Colorado chapter of Stand for Children. He has authored several op-eds and appeared on both television and radio programs devoted to education topics.
Alex holds a BA from Vassar College, an MA from Georgetown University, and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. He lives in central Denver with his wife, three children and a big furry dog.
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Mark Sass has been a public high school teacher since 1994. He currently teaches at Legacy High School in the Adams Five Star School District, where he has been a lead facilitator in reform issues, including Professional Learning Communities, curricula audits, and assessments. Mark was also a member of the Executive Committee of the district’s teachers’ association.
He lives in Denver with his wife and two children, who attend a Denver public elementary school.
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Van Schoales is chief executive officer of A+ Denver, a non-partisan education advocacy group.
He has previously been a foundation program officer, high school science teacher, principal and school non-profit leader working as an education reform advocate. Van has launched or help start a number of non-profits including the Odyssey Charter School, Bay Area Coalition of Equitable (formerly Essential) Schools, Denver School of Science and Technology, A + Denver, EdNewsColorado and Get Smart Schools.
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Paul Teske spent most of his life in New York and New Jersey before moving to Denver in 2003 and is therefore still subject to an East Coast bias in his blogging. He is Dean of the School of Public Affairs at UCD and is a University of Colorado Distinguished Professor. His recent research has focused on school governance, finance, and leadership, as well as parents and school choice. His latest education book is about ProComp in Denver (Pay-for-Performance Teacher Compensation, Harvard Education Press, 2007, with Phil Gonring and Brad Jupp).
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Marc Waxman has been involved in urban public education since 1994 as a teacher, school founder, school leader, and district administrator. Even though Marc’s roles over the past several years have been in school leadership or district administration, Marc thinks of himself as a teacher first and continues to work directly with students as much as he can.
Marc was a Teach for America Corps Member, a teacher and administrator in a small new school in the South Bronx, a co-founder and co-director of a public school that converted to become a charter school in Harlem, NY, the Executive Director of the Office of School Reform and Innovation in DPS, and is currently working to open a new network of public elementary charter schools. Marc is a National Board Certified Teacher and has a Masters in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College Columbia University.
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Holly Yettick is a doctoral student in the Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice program at the School of Education at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her dissertation will examine how journalists decide which educational research to cover.
Before attending graduate school, Holly spent 11 years writing about education for newspapers, including the Rocky Mountain News. She has a bachelor’s degree from Yale and was a 2003-04 Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan.