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Raising Student Achievement Through the Equitable Distribution of Teachers




Featured Experts

M. René Islas
Photo of M. Rene Islas. M. René Islas, Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education within the U.S. Department of Education, hails from Tucson, Arizona. He is the principal adviser to Assistant Secretary of Education Henry L. Johnson. Islas is charged with supporting the Assistant Secretary in managing the overall operations, policy development, and administration of programs within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, particularly programs within the No Child Left Behind Act.

Prior to serving as Chief of Staff, Islas was a Special Assistant to former Education Secretary Rod Paige advising on issues related to teacher quality. He also was Director of Institutional Advancement at the Council for Basic Education. Islas speaks often on issues related to NCLB and teacher quality.

Linda T. Murray, Ph.D.
Photo of Linda T. Murray. Dr. Murray is currently serving as Superintendent in Residence for the Education Trust-West (ETW) and is responsible for leading the practice work of the organization in California. The work is around high school reform to ensure that all California graduates are college and work ready. Prior to joining ETW, Dr. Murray served as Superintendent of Schools for the San Jose Unified School District for eleven years. . In 1998, the district raised its graduation requirements to meet the UC/CSU entrance requirements, and since then the district has demonstrated major successes for poor students and students of color. In addition, in 2002, the district adopted, as part of its mission, creating a college going culture in all schools K-12. Not only are San Jose students academically prepared, students and families are involved in programs and activities throughout elementary, middle and high schools that are designed to help them prepare for a college future.

Deborah D. Hirsh
Photo of Deborah D. Hirsch. Deborah D. Hirsh retired from the U.S. Navy after 26 years of active service on October 1, 2002, having risen to the senior officer rank of Captain. While in the Navy, she served in various senior executive positions during her long and distinguished career, including the Chief of Operations for the Navy Recruiting Command and the Director of Military Recruitment Advertising for the entire Department of Defense. She also held two commands: Commanding Officer, Navy Recruiting District New York, which rose to the No. 1 recruiting district in the country under her leadership; and Commodore of Navy Recruiting Region Northeast United States.

Recognizing Hirsch as a recruiting management expert, the Los Angeles Unified School District hired her as its Chief Human Resources Officer immediately upon her retirement from the Navy. In three short years, she has reengineered all recruiting processes at the Los Angeles Unified School District, raising the percentage of highly qualified teachers serving in the district (36,000 total teachers) from 81 percent to 98 percent. These teachers now either have a teaching credential or are subject-matter competent interns. At the same time, she reduced the number of teachers working on emergency permits from more than 7,000 to less than 500. Her reforms have been recognized at both the state and national levels and are serving as a model for other school districts across the country. Hirsch was further recognized in 2005 with two distinguished awards: Workforce Management magazine's coveted "Optimas Award for Service" and Human Resources Executive magazine's "2005 HR Honor Roll."

John M. Luczak
Photo of John M. Luczak. John M. Luczak joined the Joyce Foundation as an education program officer in 2004, and works especially on teacher quality issues. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. from Stanford University in education administration and policy analysis, and focused his doctoral work on teacher preparation and retention. Mr. Luczak worked from 1997–2000 for the U.S. Department of Education, first as special assistant to the deputy secretary and then as director of policy for the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century. He also previously worked for SRI International from 1994–97 on curriculum reform and teacher quality issues; for the Ravenswood City School District; and as a high school social studies teacher in Providence, R.I., where he also started several mentoring programs while an undergraduate at Brown University.