The Community Training and Assistance Center

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William Slotnik

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Bio:
William J. Slotnik is the Founder and Executive Director of the Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC). CTAC builds capacity and addresses root causes of poverty at local, state, and national levels by providing technical assistance, conducting research and evaluation, and supporting public policy initiatives. Since 1979, Slotnik has led CTAC in assisting and partnering with hundreds of school systems, states, unions, nonprofit organizations, coalitions, and philanthropic institutions to achieve positive and lasting results in low-income communities. This includes catalyzing major innovations throughout the United States in such areas as performance-based compensation, teacher and administrator evaluation, school and district turnarounds, state-to-district assistance, and community development.

Slotnik leads the CTAC teams that assist districts and states in incorporating compensation changes, evaluation, and evidence-based school improvement as core elements of broader systemic reform. This includes providing the technical assistance and conducting the comprehensive research study that supported the Denver Public Schools in implementing the groundbreaking Pay for Performance system for teachers, which successfully linked student achievement to teacher compensation for the first time in the United States. Denver’s new compensation system was subsequently approved by the teachers’ union and the Board of Education and supported by $25 million of new public funding. At the request of the U.S. Department of Education, Slotnik serves as technical expert to the Race to the Top–funded states, focusing on both tested and non-tested grades and subject areas. He also serves as the nation’s leading expert practitioner and evaluator of Student Learning Objectives for purposes of teacher evaluation and/or compensation reform at district and state levels.

Slotnik has provided extensive technical assistance to superintendents, boards of education, unions, and leadership teams and has designed and coordinated services in all phases of management, organizational, and leadership development. He has guided and supported the development of replicable systems of assessment, evaluation, and accountability to determine the performance and effectiveness of school districts. He has led national technical assistance and evaluation initiatives that address such issues as Student Learning Objectives, teacher and administrator evaluation, systemic reform, compensation reform, professional development, and the transformation of underperforming schools, as well as leadership development and organizational capacity in community-based organizations. This includes supporting state-to-district and state-to-school interventions in numerous states, including New Jersey, Ohio, and California, with student achievement increases in all participating districts.

One of Slotnik’s other accomplishments is the creation of the Standard Bearer Schools (SBS) process, a nationally acclaimed initiative that develops the capacity of urban districts to implement and evaluate systemic school reform and to turn around underperforming schools. The SBS process has been implemented with increases in student achievement in many districts nationally.

Slotnik has been the lead or colead author of numerous articles and evaluations (including Pathway to Results and Catalyst for Change, the first comprehensive, longitudinal evaluative studies of the impact of performance-based compensation on student achievement, teacher effectiveness, and systems change), and he regularly provides briefings to members of the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, state legislatures and departments of education, and the media.
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Jeffrey Edmison

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Bio:
Jeffrey Edmison, Senior Manager of National School Reform at CTAC, provides organizational leadership for CTAC’s engagements around the nation and is responsible for key education initiatives relating to teacher and principal evaluation, performance-based compensation, school turnaround, and state-to-district collaboration.

Edmison serves in a lead role for the teacher and principal effectiveness projects in New York State, focusing on training the state’s Network Training Teams using Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) to measure student growth for both tested and non-tested grades and subjects for over 220,000 teachers and 5,000 principals. Edmison also coordinated CTAC’s SLO training for members of the State’s teachers’ union (New York State United Teachers), various Teacher Centers, and regional administrator groups. Additionally, Edmison supports several federal Teacher Incentive Fund projects, including a partnership with Washoe County School District (the second largest district in Nevada) and the Gains in Achievement and Innovation Now (GAINS) Initiative, a partnership with Delhi Unified School District.

Edmison previously served as Chief Operating Officer for the Christina School District, Delaware’s largest district, providing leadership for the New Directions in Christina systemic reform effort. Through a methodical implementation of CTAC’s Standard Bearer Schools process, the district significantly increased student achievement and created foundational changes in the organization. In addition, he has served as the Associate Superintendent of Operations for the West Contra Costa Unified School District located in Richmond, California, and as the Regional General Manager for Edison Learning, Inc. As a reform-minded leader, in both roles, Edmison led multiple system-wide efforts improving the educational and organizational outcomes for students. Edmison also served in a variety of leadership roles during a 20-year military career, including the supervision of human resources, facility management, the emergency response force, the fire department, security police, the operational readiness inspection team, and energy management.
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Joseph Frey

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Bio:
Joseph P. Frey, Senior Project Director and Senior Associate of National School Reform at CTAC, is responsible for key education initiatives relating to teacher evaluation, teacher licensure and certification, performance-based compensation, teacher preparation, state-to-district and state-to-school assistance, and college readiness.

Frey provides technical assistance at the district, multi-district, and state levels in developing, piloting, and implementing both teacher evaluation and performance-based compensation systems for teachers and principals. This includes working with individual districts in Virginia on separate Teacher Incentive Fund programs and working with a coalition of school districts in Central Ohio by creating an articulated teacher evaluation and performance-based compensation system that is significantly based on student growth at the classroom level.

Frey previously served 31 years with the New York State Education Department (NYSED), reaching the position of Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Higher Education. In that capacity, he was responsible for teacher/leader certification, teacher annual professional performance reviews, professional development, and alternative teacher certification. His prior positions include the Associate Commissioner, NYSED, Office of Higher Education, and Assistant Commissioner, NYSED, Office of Quality Assurance. Frey made substantial contributions to the successful New York State’s Race to the Top grant award and NYSED's successful Teacher Incentive Fund grant award.

Additional career highlights include the implementation of the Smart Scholars' Early College High School Program and implementation of an initiative to transform school leadership in New York State. Frey developed a data-driven Statewide Plan for Higher Education that engaged all four sectors and a data-driven approach to policy decisions in higher education in New York State. He directed the Board of Regents’ multiyear review of the impact of the end of remediation at the senior colleges of the City University of New York. He also created and oversaw the annual statewide analysis of teacher supply and demand, which evaluates the ability of 114 teacher preparation institutions in New York State to meet the staffing needs for high-needs subject areas and hard-to-staff schools. Frey worked on the development of the Regents' Teaching Policy, Teaching to Higher Standards: New York’s Commitment and was responsible for the implementation of the plan. He developed statewide policies and regulations to ensure that all teachers completed professional development specifically connected to their areas of certification. Additionally, Frey was responsible for the development of the first alternative teacher preparation program in the state’s history, designed to provide an expedited pathway to prepare teachers for high-needs schools.

Frey developed and implemented a $3-million, Wallace-funded grant program to establish a Cohesive Leadership System (CLS) for New York State. This program, which focused on school principals, included the transformation of pre-service programs, providing quality professional development for in-service school leaders through the development of a network of leadership academies statewide, and an evaluation system for practicing school leaders that is focused on enhancing their skills. Frey also developed and implemented a $6-million, Gates-funded grant to implement early college high schools for high-needs communities in New York State.
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Susan Kirkendol

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Bio:
Susan E. Kirkendol, Senior Associate of National School Reform at CTAC, provides technical assistance at district and state levels and is a lead member of the team that launched CTAC’s content development work for the implementation of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) in New York State.

In addition, Kirkendol has co-facilitated several direct teacher trainings on the implementation of SLOs and principal evaluator trainings focusing on the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards in New York. She is also a lead member of the team providing the training on how to develop, evaluate, and train trainers on SLOs for the new teacher and principal evaluation systems for the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio. Kirkendol supports several federal Teacher Incentive Fund projects, including a partnership with Washoe County School District (the second largest district in Nevada) and the Gains in Achievement and Innovation Now (GAINS) Initiative, a partnership with Delhi Unified School District.

Kirkendol previously served as a Senior Research Program Analyst for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Leadership for Educators’ Advanced Performance initiative. In that capacity she worked with teachers and administrators in low-performing schools to improve teacher effectiveness through the use of data to inform instructional practices. She designed and implemented teacher professional development opportunities related to using data in a cycle of continuous improvement and the best practices in assessment and helped facilitate a district-wide, data-driven instruction initiative. Kirkendol has also served as a Professor and Dean at Pfeiffer University and an Associate Professor at Clemson University.
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Natalie Nier

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Bio:
Natalie Nier, Manager of Communications and Technology at CTAC, provides numerous program, management, and research services. She is responsible for organizing and providing project management support, as well as spearheading CTAC’s communication and technology initiatives.

Nier provides ongoing website maintenance and manages all email campaigns. She collaborates with CTAC colleagues to develop key publications, reports, presentations, and articles, seeing the process through to production and dissemination planning. Her current projects include coordinating a national press conference and overseeing the design and development of the organization’s new website.

Nier serves on the national CTAC teams that guide school turnaround initiatives, teacher and principal evaluation, and performance-based compensation initiatives. She also manages national symposia and coordinates multiple leadership and networking summits in CTAC’s community development initiatives. Additionally, Nier provides all technical support to national headquarters and field staff.
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Scott Reynolds

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Bio:
Scott Reynolds, Senior Associate of National School Reform, supports CTAC’s educational reform efforts in the areas of systemic planning, training, and implementation. He provides technical assistance at district and state levels and is a lead member of the team that launched CTAC’s content development work for the implementation of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) in New York State.

Reynolds’ work has focused largely on improving student learning in low-performing schools by leading teachers and administrators to improve instructional practices and to implement data-informed decision-making. His expertise with and understanding of SLOs as a research-based and evidence-based practice is often tapped to support other CTAC projects across the country, including regions in California, Ohio, and Florida.

Reynolds previously served the Broad Prize-winning urban district of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) for over a decade in the capacity of educator, facilitator, mentor, administrator, professional developer, and curriculum specialist. As the district’s first SLO Specialist, he spearheaded the SLO work affecting all levels of the school system under the Leadership for Educators’ Advanced Performance Initiative, funded by the Teacher Incentive Fund. At CMS, he also supported the district’s implementation of PLCs under Mike Mattos’ leadership (Solution Tree, Inc.) and the Performance Management work to align district systems. At the state level in North Carolina, he developed and delivered STEM curriculum modules to teachers and administrators. He also served as a state-level professional developer for North Carolina’s teacher academy and as Vice President of the Classroom Teachers Association of North Carolina.
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Lee Rutledge

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Bio:
Lee J. Rutledge, National School Reform Program Specialist at CTAC, provides technical assistance at district and state levels related to CTAC’s teacher effectiveness and school turnaround work. His areas of expertise include compensation reform, Student Learning Objectives (SLOs), and data use to drive instructional improvements. He is a member of the team implementing SLOs in New York State. He also works on district-level SLO and school turnaround initiatives in California, Nevada, Ohio, and Massachusetts.

Rutledge held leadership positions on the Baltimore Teachers’ Union Executive Board, New Teacher Steering Committee, and Negotiations Team and was appointed to the Joint Oversight Committee. As a member of the Joint Oversight Committee, Rutledge served on the Final Review Team of the peer-review system, as well as contributed to the collaboratively implemented compensation reform and career ladder initiatives.

Rutledge also taught middle and high school for nine years and was selected in Baltimore’s first cohort of peer-reviewed model teachers. He was appointed by Governor O’Malley to the Maryland Council on Educator Effectiveness. In this role, Rutledge contributed to the development of the Council’s Interim Report, which established the new state evaluation model for teachers and principals. He also previously served as a leader of a School Improvement Team in a turnaround school.