Office of School Turnaround Staff Biography
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Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy,
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
This position serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and School Turnaround in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. It leads the Office of School Turnaround, which administers the $4.5 billion School Improvement Grants program and coordinates the Department’s school turnaround efforts.
Carlas serves as the Group Leader at the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). Carlas is tasked with directing and providing oversight of the administration of the School Improvement Grants program in the Office of School Turnaround. Since 2007, he has helped to administer approximately $5 billion toward improving schools.
Before joining the U.S. Department of Education, Carlas was a Project Director for the National Association of State Boards of Education, where he worked with state policy makers in an effort to transform secondary education through policy development.
Carlas holds a Masters and Doctorate of Education from the Rossier School of Education at University of Southern California located in Los Angeles, California. He is also a graduate of Saint Louis University located in St. Louis, Missouri.
Michael serves as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education, where he helped develop the Office for Civil Rights’ new strategic plan and technical assistance strategy. He is currently detailed to the Office of School Turnaround, working on the office’s technical assistance and internal capacity initiatives, and is state contact to six states on their turnaround work. Prior to the Department, Michael worked as an organizer on the Presidential campaign of Barack Obama, first in Iowa and then in Virginia. Before that, he spent three years teaching middle school in the Harold Ickes Homes on Chicago’s South Side. There, he became committed to school turnaround efforts after his students dramatically increased their proficiency in reading and writing on state tests. He graduated from Duke University with a major in public policy, and did graduate work in education policy at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Kimberly is a senior program officer and team lead in the Office of School Turnaround, where she is responsible for a state monitoring team and the technical assistance working group. She previously served as team lead for health, mental health, environmental health, and physical education programs in the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, and led a variety of grant programs and projects related to school health and safety, including grants to integrate schools and mental health systems, a recognition program to identify effective models on college campuses, and a regional centers program that provided training and technical assistance to states and school districts. She also taught English in Japan and worked as a counselor for several community-based organizations serving disabled youth and adults. Kim has a BS in Rehabilitation Education from Penn State University and a MA in Human Resource Development from George Mason University, and lives in Virginia with her husband and teenage son.
Chuenee is a program officer and team lead in the Office of School Turnaround, where she is responsible for a state monitoring team and the peer-to-peer convenings. She has supported districts and states in the development and implementation of their educator evaluation systems as a program officer for the Teacher Incentive Fund Program. Prior to joining the Department, she worked for the Comprehensive Centers as a technical assistance provider for multiple states. She also worked for the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She has extensive experience in research and policy development and implementation related to teacher quality, early childhood, school improvement, special education. She holds a BA in Public Policy from Duke University and a MA in Education Policy from George Washington University.
Molly Scotch Budman
Molly serves as a program officer in the Office of School Turnaround, where she serves as state contact and works on internal capacity and monitoring/grantmaking initiatives. Molly previously served as a reading specialist in Stamford, Connecticut, at a school that received a School Improvement Grant. She also taught high school English in Manchester, New Hampshire. As an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, Molly majored in secondary education and English and developed an interest in transforming high school students into passionate readers, thinkers, and writers. She also holds a master’s degree as a reading specialist from Teachers College at Columbia University. She is delighted to be working with the OST team!
Phavy is a program officer within the Office of School Turnaround, where she serves as a state contact and contributes to several workgroups focused on the capacity building and sustainability of national school turnaround efforts. Prior to joining the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, she served as a program specialist in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the U.S. Department of Education. She is a native of Pennsylvania where she earned her Bachelors in Politics and International Relations from Ursinus College, located in Collegeville. Phavy holds a Master of Education in Counseling and Development from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. She has also completed post- graduate studies in Educational Leadership at The George Washington University. Phavy has worked for Fairfax County Public Schools, VA as an elementary special education teacher in a Title I school, as an admissions/school counselor for FCPS high school Career and Technical Education academies, and as a transition counselor for Northern Virginia Community College in partnership with FCPS where she assisted at-risk and first-generation students with the high school-to-college transition process. She enjoys traveling and has studied Art History in Florence, Italy, Santiago, Spain, and has most recently visited Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg, South Africa where she examined the educational system and a number of higher education institutions in post-apartheid South Africa. Phavy is dedicated to improving the American education system and is happy to be a part of the OST team.
Laticia is a program assistant in the Office of School Turnaround, where she works on internal capacity initiatives. Prior to joining OST, Laticia served as the assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and School Turnaround. In that role, she scheduled meetings and travel and helped prepare documents for the Deputy Assistant Secretary’s speaking engagements. Previously, Laticia served as program assistant in the Student Achievement and School Accountability (SASA) office at the Department. She also worked as a legal instrument examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, where she was responsible for reviewing patent and trademark documents. Laticia is excited to be working in OST and use her organizational and database skills to contribute to the team!
As a program officer with the Office of School Turnaround, Janine assists state educational agencies with their turnaround efforts and works on technical assistance and monitoring initiatives. She has also supported districts and states in the development and implementation of their educator evaluation systems as a program officer for the Teacher Incentive Fund Program. As a Master Educator with the District of Columbia Public Schools, Janine assessed the quality of classroom teachers’ instruction using the district’s Teaching and Learning Framework and provided tailored professional development to teachers based on their needs. She also volunteered with the Ministry of Education in Belize, where she conducted professional development workshops for educators. Prior to that, Janine taught middle school students with mild to moderate learning challenges in Oakland, California. She holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology and Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University.
Christopher is on detail with the Office of School Turnaround from Federal Student Aid (FSA) at the U.S. Department of Education. While at FSA, Christopher managed projects related to implementing policy through the products students and schools use in applying for and processing student aid. Prior to joining the Department, Christopher co-developed a nonprofit that advocates for children in the court system because of parental abuse and neglect and spent several years working in and with the federal TRIO programs. Having been a TRIO student himself, he recognizes the valuable impact access to a quality education and advocacy can have for low-income students. Christopher holds a B.A. in Business Development and Leadership from Westminster College where he graduated with honors and served as the first openly gay president of the student body. He also holds a master’s degree from Brandeis University in Sustainable International Development where he received a fellowship to further his studies because of his interest in, and commitment to, addressing the effects of poverty in the United States through education and advocacy.
Sara is a program officer in the Office of School Turnaround, where she serves as a state contact and also works on technical assistance and internal capacity initiatives. Prior to joining the Department, Sara served in state government on policy development and implementation related to teacher and principal preparation, licensure, recruitment and retention, and evaluation. Previously, Sara taught 6th grade writing in Gary, Indiana, 7/8 grade reading, writing and social studies at a bilingual charter school in Phoenix, Arizona, and served as a special education teacher’s aide in Germantown, Wisconsin. As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sara majored in international studies and journalism and studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador. She holds a Master in Teaching from Dominican University and a Master of Public Policy in Education from Vanderbilt University. She is thrilled to be working with the OST team to support states in implementing their ambitious plans to transform their lowest-performing schools.
Christina is a program officer in the Office of School Turnaround where she serves as a state contact and works on technical assistance and internal capacity initiatives. She also supports the School Turnaround AmeriCorps, School Turnaround Learning Community, and Peer to Peer initiatives. She previously worked on discretionary grants for high schools with a special interest in dropout prevention and recovery, rural education, and wrap-around supports to prepare students to graduate high school with clear pathways to college and career. Prior to joining the Department, Christina worked in the non-government sector on education policy and finance, program evaluation, professional development curriculum, and provided direct service to youth with severe emotional and behavior disorders, many of whom had experienced abuse and neglect. A Kentucky native, Christina has also worked, studied, and volunteered in seven different countries in Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean, and enjoys volunteering with Atlas Corps and its cadre of international Fellows. Christina earned a M.Ed. in Education Administration and a M.S.W. with a focus on program planning, evaluation, policy, and community organizing from Boston University. She earned her B.A. in psychology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Kentucky.
Michael E. Wells, Ph.D.,
Michael is a senior program officer and Team Lead at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of School Turnaround. He coordinates monitoring and support for the western states and Puerto Rico and leads the Office’s monitoring and grantmaking initiatives. Michael has worked in the fields of psychology and public education for over 30 years. He has had a private practice in psychotherapy, taught at the university level, and has administered school safety and student services programs at the local and federal level, as well as establishing and directing the operation of public alternative school programs. Michael received his undergraduate degree and doctorate in counseling and educational development from the University of North Carolina and his master’s degree in psychology from Western Michigan University. He is licensed as a psychologist and a professional counselor. He and wife Dianne have five sons and six grandchildren.
David serves as a program officer and the internal capacity workgroup leader at the Office of School Turnaround. Prior to joining the Department, David was an elementary and middle school ESL teacher in Washington, DC where he also served as middle school staff coordinator. In college, he volunteered as a language tutor to foreign exchange students and also worked as a campus recruiter for Teach For America. An avid traveler, David has studied in Madrid, Spain and worked in Sydney, Australia for the Australian Minister for Defense. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, David has a BA in Political Science and a BS in Social Studies Education from Boston University and a MA in Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages from American University.