Second Public Session of the Common Core Task Force

4:00 - 6:00 pm

Daemen College Wick Campus Center Social Room 4380 Main Street Amherst, NY 14226

TOP Second Public Session of the Common Core Task Force
Public Meeting 2, Amherst - 11/18/15

Second Public Session of the Common Core Task Force Presenters:

  • Linda Darling-Hammond, Faculty Director, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education; Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus, Stanford University
  • Erika Gundersen, Assistant Principal, P.S. 172 Beacon School of Excellence
  • Dirk Hightower, Ph.D., Executive Director, Children’s Institute; Senior Research Associate, University of Rochester
  • Ashli Dreher, Special Education Teacher, Lewiston Porter Central School District
  • Dr. Fenice B. Boyd, Associate Professor, Learning and Instruction, University of Buffalo Graduate School of Education 


Linda Darling-Hammond, Faculty Director, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus, Stanford University 

Linda Darling-Hammond is Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University where she is Faculty Director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. She is a former president of the American Educational Research Association and member of the National Academy of Education as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her research and policy work focus on issues of educational equity, teaching quality, and school reform. She has advised school leaders and policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels. In 2008, she served as director of President Obama's education policy transition team. Her book, The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity will Determine our Future, received the coveted Grawemeyer Award in 2012. Among her most recent books are Getting Teacher Evaluation Right: What Really Matters for Effectiveness and Improvement (2013) and Beyond the Bubble Test: How Performance Assessments Support 21st Century Learning (2014). 

Erika Gundersen, Assistant Principal, P.S. 172 Beacon School of Excellence

Erika Gundersen, Assistant Principal of P.S. 172 in Brooklyn, NY, is a 2011 National Blue Ribbon Award recipient.  Ms. Gundersen, an educator with more than 20 years’ experience, oversees the school’s work in curriculum design and professional development and supervises both staff and students to support a positive school culture and a rigorous academic environment.  

A Dirk Hightower, Ph.D., Executive Director of Children’s Institute, Inc. and Senior Research Associate, University of Rochester 

A. Dirk Hightower, Ph.D. has been Executive Director of Children’s Institute, Inc. since 1991, 24 years.  He is also a Senior Research Associate at the University of Rochester.  Prior to that Dr. Hightower served as Research Director for Children’s Institute and the Center for Community Study from 1982 to 1991.  He has co-authored scores of research papers, chapters and a book.  He has served on the editorial board of various research journals.  His primary interests include social and emotional assessment, promoting healthy social and emotional development, evidenced-based prevention interventions for young children, community collaboration and the use and development of web-based decision support systems to enhance the translation and use of information (COMET).  He has been principal investigator on state and federal grants.  He helped initiate and continues to have significant involvement with the RECAP, a multiagency collaborative focused on prekindergarten outcomes.  He is a co-founder of the COMET Informatics system and is Co-CEO of COMET Informatics LLC, which is owned, in part, by Children’s Institute.  In addition, he is Past President of the New York Association of School Psychologists, and served three terms on the Board of Education of the Rush-Henrietta Central School District, where he was President for one term.  He presently serves on multiple city, county and state advisory boards that focus on the success of children.  

Ashli Skura Dreher, New York State Teacher of the Year, Lewiston-Porter District, Youngstown, NY

Ashli Skura Dreher, the 44th New York State Teacher of the Year, has been teaching for twenty years, and is the first teacher in the Lewiston-Porter district to earn National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards, one of teaching’s highest honors. Ms. Skura Dreher currently teaches special education in a 12:1:1 life skills high school classroom working with students with moderate intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities.

Currently, Ashli is a dissertation level doctoral student in the Teaching and Curriculum Department of the University of Rochester's Margaret Warner School of Education and Human Development, where she enjoys researching literacy. Ashli has published articles including Functional Literacy in a Lifeskills Curriculum for a 2010 issue of Educator’s Voice and has spoken at statewide conferences on the topic of transition and student preparedness for future pathways. 

Fenice Boyd, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Literacy Education, Department of Learning and Instruction, SUNY Buffalo 

Dr. Fenice Boyd is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education in the Department of Learning and Instruction at SUNY Buffalo. Dr. Boyd’s PhD is in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. She also holds a master’s degree in reading education from North Carolina A&T State University. She has published two co-authored books and two co-edited books, and over 30 articles and book chapters. Her research interests focuses on adolescent’s response to young adult literature, multicultural literature, multiliteracies, and implementation of Common Core State Standards in multi-lingual, multicultural environments. 


*Event details are subject to change*