Our Team

About Us

Our Team

Our team of expert teachers, curriculum and resource developers, and research and operations professionals is based primarily in the San Francisco WestEd office. In addition, we work with a group of over 50 highly experienced consultants from across the country who hold or have held positions including content area teacher leaders, literacy coaches, community college instructors, site administrators, and literacy directors for large urban districts and county offices of education.


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Cynthia Greenleaf

Strategic Literacy Co-Director

cgreenl@wested.org

For more than two decades Cyndy has conducted cutting-edge research in adolescent literacy and translated it into powerful teacher professional development.

Her work co-developing the Reading Apprenticeship Instructional Framework has changed classrooms for hundreds of thousands of secondary and college students and their teachers. As Co-Director of the Strategic Literacy Initiative at WestEd, Dr. Greenleaf oversees ongoing R&D for the project, design of learning engagements for teachers and students, and studies of the effects of this work in order to increase its efficacy and impact.

She has published major research papers, won highly competitive grants, authored peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and co-authored two books, Reading for Understanding, describing Reading Apprenticeship in classrooms across the United States, and Leading for Literacy, which guides teacher leaders, coaches, and administrators through the nuts and bolts of implementing the Reading Apprenticeship Framework. With SLI colleagues, she also developed the Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy Course.

Awards and honors for her work in language and literacy teaching include 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.

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Ruth Schoenbach

Strategic Literacy Co-Director

rschoen@wested.org

Ruth founded the Strategic Literacy Initiative 1995 and has nurtured it into a vital force for improving subject area literacy in middle school, high school, and community college.

Her early work in the San Francisco school system as a teacher, curriculum developer, and humanities and language development project director informs her leadership and contributed to the development of the Reading Apprenticeship Instructional Framework that is the core of all SLI work.

Her experience developing online professional development includes a suite of courses for community college instructors: a popular introductory course in Reading Apprenticeship, and courses for instructors who want to deepen their Reading Apprenticeship instruction and coaching skills or participate in a leadership community of practice.

She is co-author of the best-selling, Reading for Understanding, now in a second, revised and expanded edition, and Leading for Literacy, which provides clear, on-the-ground guidance, tools, and examples for improving student reading across secondary schools and colleges. In addition, she is a co-developer of the Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy Course curriculum and co-editor of an anthology that supports that course. With SLI colleagues, she has also published numerous articles in journals and other professional publications.

Schoenbach received a BA in social sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, a bilingual multiple subjects teaching credential from San Francisco State University, and an EdM in teaching, curriculum, and learning environments from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Willard Brown

Professional Development Associate

wbrown@wested.org

Will’s focus is science literacy, including teacher professional development, facilitator professional development, materials development, and collaborating in design-based research with science teachers. Previously, Will taught high school science in the Oakland Public Schools. His classes appear widely in Reading Apprenticeship print and video materials. He also taught pre-service math and science teachers at the University of California, Berkeley, and California State University, East Bay. Will holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Irisa Charney-Sirott

Director of Professional Learning

icharne@wested.org

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

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Gayle Cribb

Consultant

gcribb@wested.org

With a focus on history, Gayle works with the professional development team to facilitate professional development for secondary teachers and professional development providers. Gayle taught History and Spanish in the Dixon Unified School District for over 30 years. She holds a BA in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MA in Education from Stanford University.

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Nika Hogan

College National Coordinator

mihogan@pasadena.edu

In addition to her national role coordinating Reading Apprenticeship outreach to college educators, Nika co-directs two statewide Communities of Practice for the California Community College Success Initiative (3CSN): the Reading Apprenticeship Project and the Threshold Project. Her work is focused on developing pedagogical, curricular, and institutional approaches and structures that will maximize the retention and success of all students. As Associate Professor of English at Pasadena City College (PCC), she has been involved in many learning communities through PCC’s Teaching and Learning Center and helped to develop the First Year Pathways program, 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.

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Heather Howlett

Project Coordinator

hhowlet@wested.org

Heather has a background as an eighth grade science teacher and instructional coach in Reading Apprenticeship for Howell (MI) Public Schools. She has also served as an SLI consultant, facilitating professional development in Michigan and nationally. Her classroom work is featured on the U.S. Department of Education’s “Doing What Works” website. Heather is a graduate of Madonna University with a BS in Biology, and she earned an MA in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University.

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Mira-Lisa Katz

Associate Director

mkatz@wested.org

As an Associate Director of SLI, Mira-Lisa works closely with the SLI Management Team (MT), managing high-visibility research and development projects focused on professional learning and literacy at the secondary and postsecondary level, developing tools for student and teacher learning based on the Reading Apprenticeship instructional and professional development framework, and disseminating research findings. Previously, Mira-Lisa was professor of English at Sonoma State University, where she taught literacy studies, applied linguistics, English education, and literature to pre-service English teachers. She received a BA in French and linguistics from Mills College, graduating summa cum laude, and an MA and PhD in education in language, literacy, and culture from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Margot Kenaston

Program Associate

mkenast@wested.org

In her role as Program Associate, Margot has responsibility for leading the SLI Operations Team, coordinating sales operations, and managing contracting with clients for professional development services. Previously, Margot worked as an Executive Assistant supporting the Vice President of Education and Museum Services, and her department, at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. She graduated with honors from Haverford College, where she received a BA in English, with a concentration in Gender Studies.

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Diane Lee

Finance Manager/Sr. Program Coordinator

dlee2@wested.org

Some of Diane’s responsibilities include budgeting, cost reports, forecasting and other financial analysis work; as well as coordinating SLI’s efforts around the RAISE (Reading Apprenticeship Improving Secondary Education), RAWC (Reading Apprenticeship: Writing Connections) initiatives and RAAD (Reading Apprenticeship Across the Disciplines).

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Cindy Litman

Senior Research Associate

clitman@wested.org

As a member of SLI’s research team, Cindy has contributed to instrumentation, data collection, data analysis, and peer-reviewed publications about SLI research initiatives, including three multi-year experimental studies funded by NSF and IES. She is currently leading the analysis of classroom observation data from the IES-funded READi research initiative. She has an MS in Child Development from the University of California, Davis, and completed coursework there toward a PhD.

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Bill Loyd

Michigan State Coordinator

wjloyd@gmail.com

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.

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Kate Meissert

Senior Program & Development Coordinator

kmeisse@wested.org

Kate is responsible for coordinating all Reading Apprenticeship programs for college faculty, including seminars, online courses, and conferences. She also assists with grant proposal development and reporting and is the desktop publisher of SLI professional development materials. Kate has been with SLI since 2005, when she joined the team as an Administrative Assistant. She holds an MA in medieval history from King’s College, London.

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Sharon Sáez

Partnership Development Director

ssaez@wested.org

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.

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Mary Stump

Associate Director

mstump@wested.org

Mary works closely with SLI and WestEd management on strategic planning for sustainability, resource development, and organizational capacity building. Mary has 15 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.

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Lorelle Wien

Senior Program Coordinator

lwien@wested.org

Lorelle’s responsibilities include event, project, and account management for all SLI fee-for-service programs, Salesforce administration and database management, and technology coordination, as well as being a member of SLI’s communications team. Previously, Lorelle was the 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.