2018 Professional Learning Institute

Aneesha Badrinarayan

Aneesha Badrinarayan is the Associate Director for Science at Achieve, where she leads several initiatives to support the development, adoption, and implementation of materials—both instructional and assessment—for the Next Generation Science Standards and similar standards based on A Framework for K–12 Science Education. Aneesha focuses on helping states and districts balance alignment considerations and practical realities to implement coherent assessments that provide accurate and actionable information to educators about student progress toward the knowledge and abilities envisioned by the standards. Prior to her role at Achieve, Aneesha studied neural circuits underlying anxiety and decision-making as a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan before leading education, outreach, and professional learning at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

Jody Bintz

Jody Bintz, MA, is Director of Professional Learning with BSCS. She works primarily in the areas of leadership development and teacher professional development. Ms. Bintz has designed and led a variety of programs to develop organizational leadership capacity and enhance the knowledge and skills of professional development leaders in various sites across the country, particularly as related to implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). She directs the BSCS National Academy for Curriculum Leadership (NACL). This work included a six-year partnership with Washington State LASER and involving nearly 30 secondary science leadership teams and 20 statewide leaders. She is currently the principal investigator for a research study to test the influence of the NACL model on student achievement. She serves as the principal investigator of a synthesis study focused on teacher leadership development. Bintz serves as co-principal investigator of an efficacy study of the professional development program, Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis (STeLLA), and its impact on high school biology student learning and teacher practice. She leads a project involving collaborators from the K–12 Alliance at WestEd, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Learning Innovations at WestEd, and Achieve, Inc. to develop tools and processes to advance the implementation of the NGSS.

Kathy DiRanna

Kathy DiRanna is the statewide director of WestEd's K–12 Alliance, a professional development organization focused on improving science education grades K–12 through content, instructional strategies, assessment and leadership. She is the Director of the CA NGSS K–8 Early Implementation Initiative funded by the S.D. Bechtel Jr., Foundation. She has extensive experience having been served as a PI or Project Director for several NSF funded projects including the California Systemic Initiative, the Center for the Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning (CAESL) and Science Partnerships for Articulation and Networking (SPAN). Ms. DiRanna helped shape California's science reform efforts for the past 30 years and continues to be an advocate for the reform efforts actively serving on state committees for the implementation of NGSS and through the California Mathematics and Science Partnership Program. Nationally, Ms. DiRanna has served as the Mentor Coordinator for the National Academy of Science and Mathematics Education, co-developed the professional development design of the BSCS SCI Center, FOSS Leadership Academy, and the Using Data Project, and has provided technical assistance to programs like the Washington University St. Louis MSP program. She serves on a variety of advisory boards, has been a consultant on instructional materials and multi-media productions, is a featured speaker at state and national conferences, served as the Program Coordinator for NSTA's 2006 National Conference and for Learning Forward's 2011 National Conference. She is the co-author on several publications, including Assessment-Centered Teaching: A Reflective Practice, A Data Coaches Field Guide: Unleashing the Power of Collaborative Inquiry, and a chapter in Professional Learning Communities for Science Teaching: Lessons from Research and Practice. Ms. DiRanna has received awards including the Cal Alive Educator-of-the Year; WestEd's Paul Hood Individual Award and Paul Hood Team Award for making significant contributions to the field, Learning Forward's Susan Loucks Horsley Award for building learning communities, the California Science Teachers Association's Margaret Nicolson Award for distinguished service to science education and the National Science Education Leadership Association's (NSELA) Outstanding Leadership in Science Education Award for making significant contributions to the field. The K–12 Alliance was just nominated by for the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award that honors an organization which has made a sustained, significant impact to science education in the state and which, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching and learning.

Audrey Mohan

Audrey Mohan is a research scientist with BSCS. Her work is primarily focused on the design of instructional materials and professional development in science. Audrey has worked on several national synthesis studies to put forth recommendations for instructional materials and professional development in the fields of science and geography, serving as co-PI on an NSF-funded project at BSCS, Guidelines for Assessing the Quality of Instructional Materials in Science (BSCS, 2017) and research director on the Road Map for 21st Century Geography Education project (Schell, Roth, & Mohan, 2013). She is currently a key contributor to the work on developing and revising NextGen AIM Tools and Processes. She also facilitates professional development using the Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis (STeLLA) framework and has recently focused her work on how students analyze, visualize, and interpret data. Audrey has a BA from the University of Notre Dame, an MEd from the University of Texas–Austin, and a PhD in geography from Texas State University–San Marcos.

Jo Topps

Jo Topps is a WestEd K–12 Alliance Regional Director serving the greater Los Angeles area. Her work is focused on how all of us, from the teacher to the state department of education, can help teachers reflect on their practice and its impact on student learning. In her position, Topps directs the development, coordination, and implementation of professional development programs in STEM fields, kindergarten through postsecondary, on a regional, statewide, and national basis. Topps has served as professional development and technical assistance provider for the California adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the ABC STEM Initiative, the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) program, Math Pathways and Pitfalls, Improving Teacher Quality/California Postsecondary Education Commission (ITQ/CPEC) and as a design team member for the following: the Carnegie Foundation American Museum of Natural History NGSS tools project, FOSS Leadership Academy, the National Science Foundation State Systemic Initiative (SSI), the Center for Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning (CAESL), and the St. Louis Math Science Partnership (MSP). She is a frequent presenter at Learning Forward, NSTA, NSELA, and CSTA. Topps helped develop California's science reform effort as a writer of the California Science Content Standards (2000). She coauthored Assessment-Centered Teaching: A Reflective Practice, The Science Assessment Facilitator Guide, and The Guide to Selecting and Purchasing Instructional Materials, and contributed to CSTA's Making Connections. As a lecturer and instructor at California State University-Long Beach, Topps is a thesis committee member and supervisor of secondary student teachers. Her publications include Assessment-Centered Teaching: A Reflective Practice; a chapter in Professional Learning Communities for Science Teaching: Lessons for Research and Practice; and an article in Principal Leadership. Topps received a BS in social science from the University of California-Irvine, an MS in education from California State University-Fullerton, and is a Doctoral Candidate in educational leadership at the University of La Verne.

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