The Reading Apprenticeship team combines decades of expertise in the areas of adolescent literacy, teacher professional learning, and education research. We are committed to building academic and social-emotional learning for students nationwide.
In addition to our WestEd team, we consistently partner with a wide network of experts from across the country, including content area teacher leaders, researchers, literacy coaches, community college instructors, site administrators, district literacy directors, and regional service agencies.
Linda Friedrich, Literacy Director
Linda is the Director of Literacy at WestEd and leads the Reading Apprenticeship team, which has a proven track record in improving disciplinary literacy in middle school, high school, and college.
For nearly three decades, Linda has worked at the intersection of practice and research to engage teachers in collaboratively improving teaching and learning with a strong focus on literacy.
Most recently she served as the National Writing Project’s (NWP) Director of Research and Evaluation, where she led writing assessment efforts and developed and co-facilitated an initiative that engages young people in crafting civic arguments and improving academic arguments. Prior to joining NWP, she served as Research Director at the Coalition of Essential Schools and as a program officer at the Philadelphia Education Fund.
She has won competitive program and research grants, coauthored peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, edited collections of teachers’ research including Working Toward Equity, and, with Ann Lieberman, coauthored How Teachers Become Leaders: Learning from Practice and Research (Teachers College Press, 2010).
She earned her PhD in Administration and Policy Analysis at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and holds an AB in History from Bryn Mawr College.
Irisa Charney-Sirott, Director of Professional Learning
Irisa began working with Reading Apprenticeship as an 8th grade teacher. She currently coordinates and supports the national cohort of Reading Apprenticeship facilitators. Additionally, she designs and facilitates Reading Apprenticeship professional learning both face-to-face and digitally. Irisa earned a BA from Brown University.
Cynthia Greenleaf, Senior Research Scientist
As a Co-Founder of the Strategic Literacy Initiative, Cyndy is recognized for her work conducting cutting-edge research in adolescent literacy and translating it into powerful teacher professional development. In her current role as Senior Research Scientist, Cyndy leads design-based research to support the ongoing development of Reading Apprenticeship and contributes to national and international efforts to advance the academic and disciplinary literacy of adolescents.
Awards and honors for her work in language and literacy teaching include the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Conference on Research, the Arthur Applebee Award for Excellence in Research on Literacy, and recognition from the American Educational Research Association; the University of California, Berkeley; and the National Council of Teachers of English. She received a PhD and an MA in language and literacy education from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in linguistics from the University of California, San Diego, where she graduated magna cum laude.
Emma Fujii, Conference Coordinator
Emma’s responsibilities include financial and travel paperwork processing, data organization, and materials management. She also supports in-person events and Supporting Effective Teaching with Disciplinary Inquiry (SETDI). Prior to joining WestEd, Emma worked as an Administrative Assistant at Community Focus – a Project of the Tides Center. She received her BA in Psychology and Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara.
Nika Hogan, College National Coordinator
In addition to her national role managing Reading Apprenticeship outreach to college educators, Nika is an Associate Professor of English at Pasadena City College (PCC) and lead designer for the California Community College Success Initiative (3CSN). Her work is focused on developing transformative inquiry-based learning opportunities that help educators and students alike reach their full potential. She helped to develop the First Year Pathways program at Pasadena City College, which was awarded the California Community College’s Chancellor’s Office Award for a Student Success Initiative. Nika holds a PhD in Multiethnic U.S. Literatures from the University of Massachusetts.
Heather Howlett, Learning Architect
Heather designs and facilitates face-to-face and digital Reading Apprenticeship professional learning with teachers and serves as an instructional coach in schools. Prior to that she was an instructional coach in Reading Apprenticeship for her district and an eighth grade science teacher. Her classroom work is featured on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, Doing What Works. She has co-authored articles about Reading Apprenticeship for Mathematica Policy Research, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, American Educator, and a chapter in Teacher Learning in the Digital Age: Online Professional Development in STEM Education. Heather holds a BS in Biology from Madonna University and an MA in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University.
Diane Lee, Finance & Project Manager
Diane’s responsibilities include fiscal management of Reading Apprenticeship’s budgets, cost reports, and forecasting, as well as other financial analysis work. Her role also includes project management around contracts and federal grants. Prior to her work at WestEd, Diane served as a Program Specialist in the Curriculum Office at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. She received a BA in Economics from the University of Southern California.
Bill Loyd, Michigan State Coordinator
As Reading Apprenticeship Michigan State Coordinator since 2010, Bill has been instrumental in shepherding broad implementation of Reading Apprenticeship across the state. Bill first became involved with Reading Apprenticeship as Literacy Coordinator for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, where the successful implementation of Reading Apprenticeship was featured on the U.S. Department of Education’s “Doing What Works” website. Over a period of 38 years, Bill’s educational career has encompassed teaching at all levels—from second graders to doctoral candidates—administration at the school and district levels, and project management.
Sam Peters, Program Coordinator
In Sam’s role as Program Coordinator, she coordinates and supports projects and ensures successful day-to-day operations of Reading Apprenticeship. She primarily supports the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant in North Carolina that launched in 2020. Prior to joining WestEd, Sam served as the Program Specialist at the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Sam received her BS in Sociology from Clemson University and her Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Georgia.
Sharon Sáez, Partnership Development Director
In her role as Partnership Development Director, Sharon works with organizations and schools to increase the awareness and use of Reading Apprenticeship’s evidence-based professional development services. She is an accomplished leader and demonstrated change agent within the national K-16 education community; for over 20 years, she has served as a core member of several organizations’ leadership teams, contributed knowledge and expertise in the area of standards-based accountability in K-12 education policy, and oversight of the implementation of projects to enhance education practices. Prior to joining WestEd, she worked as Senior National and International Sales Accounts Consultant with CTB-McGraw Hill Education and Educational Testing Services K-12.
Mary Stump, Associate Director
Mary’s areas of work include project management, communications, and resource development. She works with WestEd’s Reading Apprenticeship team and external partners to develop and manage large grant-funded projects that bring professional learning to thousands of teachers every year across the country. She has 25 years of managerial experience in education service and research organizations. Prior to working in the non-profit sector, she taught college composition and conducted research in the teaching of writing. At the CRESS Center at the University of California, Davis, she evaluated programs focused on school district improvement, science education, and teacher professional learning. She holds an MA in English Composition from San Francisco State University.
Lorelle Wien, Project Manager
Lorelle manages projects and events for the Reading Apprenticeship College Program and online services. Additionally, she leads digital marketing efforts and communications for the team, including management of the Reading Apprenticeship website. Previously, Lorelle was an Events Manager and Executive Assistant to the Office of the President at the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund. She received a BA in American Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Post-Baccalaureate Marketing Certificate from UC Berkeley Extension.