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Brad Stam

As Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Brad Stam co-leads ConnectEd with President Gary Hoachlander, supports organizational development and business development, and aligns programmatic initiatives in support of ConnectEd’s systemic reform goals. Prior to coming to ConnectEd, Brad served as Chief Academic Officer for Oakland Unified School District, leading dramatic academic improvement at the elementary and middle grades, and initiating a systemic Linked Learning approach to high school reform. During Brad’s tenure, Oakland USD had the highest API growth of any large urban district in California, 118 points. Prior to coming to Oakland, Brad served as Special Assistant to the Superintendent and Director of Teacher Affairs in San Francisco Unified, creating innovative and collaborative approaches to support teacher and principal effectiveness and organizational learning. Brad has taught middle school, was a middle school vice principal and elementary school principal in San Francisco, and started his career developing and teaching interdisciplinary curriculum at University Heights High School in the Bronx, New York. Brad brings extensive knowledge and experience in teaching and learning, urban school and district reform, and a lifelong passion for helping underprivileged youth improve their life options through quality education. Brad earned his BA at Harvard University and his MA at Teachers College, Columbia University.

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Jennifer O'Day

Jennifer O’Day is an Institute Fellow at AIR. Over the past 25 years, Dr. O’Day has carried out research, advised national and state policy makers, and written extensively in the areas of systemic standards-based reform, educational equity, accountability, and capacity-building strategies. One main focus of her work in recent years has been on strategies for intervening in low performing, high poverty schools identified under systems of state, local, and federal accountability.

Since joining AIR in 2002, Dr. O’Day has led the state evaluation of California’s Public School Accountability Act (2002-03), the national evaluation of State Implementation of NCLB (2003-08), and the national evaluation of the implementation of Title III of ESEA. This and related work has led to Dr. O’Day’s emphasis on the vital role that school districts play in establishing the conditions for meaningful change in schools and classrooms. In line with this emphasis, she led a four-year investigation (2004-08) of the implementation and effects of the literacy reforms in San Diego City Schools and convened a recent review of the reform strategies in New York City under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg and Joel Klein (Education Reform in New York City: Ambitious Change in the Nation’s most Complex School System, Harvard Education Press, 2011).

Dr. O’Day is the founder and chair of the California Collaborative on District Reform, which for six years has joined researchers, district practitioners, state policymakers, and funders in an on-going, evidence-based dialogue and collective action to improve instruction and student learning for all students in California’s urban school systems, with particular emphasis on linguistic minorities, who make up over 25% of California’s student population. Dr. O’Day is also a co-convener of the national Working Group on ELL Policy.

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Jorge Ruiz de Velasco

Jorge Ruiz de Velasco is the Associate Director of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. Affiliated with the Stanford Graduate School of Education, the Gardner Center develops leadership, conducts research, and affects change to improve the lives of youth. Velasco’s work focuses on the study and promotion of change in public schools, the implications of education reform for disadvantaged students, education law and policy, and the effect of immigration on schools and communities. Dr. Velasco comes to Stanford from Berkeley Law, where he was Director of the Warren Institute’s Program on Education Law and Policy. The focus of his work is on the study and promotion of change in public schools, the implications of education reform for disadvantaged students, education law and policy, and the effect of immigration on schools and communities. Prior to his appointment at the Warren Institute, he served as Director of the Institute for Research on Education Policy and Practice at Stanford, and has served terms as a Program Officer for Educational Opportunity and Scholarship at the Ford Foundation, and as a Senior Program Officer at both the James Irvine and William & Flora Hewlett Foundations. Dr. Velasco also served as a Senior Research Associate at The Urban Institute and as a lawyer and policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. He is a graduate of Harvard College (1984), and the Boalt Hall School of Law (1987). Subsequently, he earned an M.A. in Education Administration and Policy Analysis (1994) and a Ph.D. in Political Science (1999), both from Stanford University.

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Kenji Hakuta

I teach at Stanford University in the School of Education, where I have been on the faculty since 1989, except for three years (2003-2006) when I moved to the Central Valley to help start the University of California, Merced as its founding Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. That was a fun and exciting experience, and the university is well on its way to becoming a big presence in the Central Valley. Back “at the farm” as they say at Stanford, I hold an endowed chair as the Lee L. Jacks Professor (when I left to go to Merced, I held the Vida Jacks Chair, so my thanks to the Jacks family!). My areas of teaching and research are in the education of English Language Learners, second language acquisition, education policy and practice, and statistics.

My scholarly inquiry is focused on the areas of bilingualism and second language acquisition, and my policy interest is in improving educational opportunities for language minority students. I also have an quirky policy interest in how the research infrastructure can be improved to support good education research, an acquired taste that I developed which chairing the policy board the the U.S. Department of Education as well as serving on the board of the Spencer Foundation. I am at a phase in my career when I am more into actions than traditional scholarship — what helps schools, teaching, training of future scholars to do work that is directly relevant to improving education. I currrently spend a lot of time in schools looking for interesting collaborations and activities that can directly impact the lives of students.

I am increasingly trying to make my work more web-enabled, so that I can eventually fade into etherspace, hang out in the mountains yet continue to contribute after I retire from active duty as long as there is internet access. That drives my passion to create tools such as WordSift as a tool that can be readily passed from one teacher to another. I also am proud of the on-line presence that I’ve created (with my good colleague Guadalupe Valdés) around ELL resources for teachers and educational leaders. I’m communicating more and more through webinars, rather than getting on planes (I think that makes for a smaller carbon footprint — at least that’s my excuse for turning down most requests that involve travel).