MODERATOR: Josh Starr, CEO, PDK International
PANELISTS: Paul Zinni, Superintendent, King Phillip RSD, Massachusetts; Melissa Spadin, Director, Systems of Support, San Diego County Office of Education; Kristin Huff, VP, Assessment and Research, Curriculum Associates; Lauren Merkley, Utah Teacher of the Year 2020
In this session Dr. Starr will engage four expert practitioners in a panel discussion regarding how to use evidence-based formative assessment practices to help all students improve. Due to Covid19, states and districts won’t have the typical standardized test results they rely on to make decisions. Formative assessment has always been part of great instruction, but its more important now than ever before. This session will provide evidence of great practice and strategies for application.
About Our Panel
Dr. Joshua P. Starr has been the CEO of PDK International since 2015. He has transformed the 116 year old membership association into a leading non-profit helping educators bridge research, policy and practice through Kappan Magazine, Educators Rising, the annual PDK poll and other services. Josh started as a SPED teacher in Brooklyn, NY, was a central office leader and spent 10 years as superintendent of schools in 2 districts. He writes a monthly “On Leadership” column for Kappan and has published numerous essays, articles and op-eds on public education. Josh is an alum of UWisconsin, Brooklyn College and HGSE.
Lauren Merkley is the 2020 Utah Teacher of the Year and teaches English outside of Salt Lake City at Cottonwood High School. She
pioneered the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition program at Cottonwood and passionately advocates for
racial equity in her school, whose students speak more than 40 languages. At the school, district, and state levels, she is actively working to increase underrepresented student enrollment in advanced classes, advance equitable grading and teaching practices, and amplify student voice. She is a native of Chicago, a graduate of Cornell University, and now a resident of Salt Lake City.
Kristen Huff currently serves as the Vice President of Assessment and Research at Curriculum Associates, where she leads a team of assessment designers, psychometricians, and researchers in the development of online assessments integrated with personalized learning and whole-class instruction. Prior to this role, she served as the Senior Fellow for the New York State Education Department as well as serving in leadership roles with several major assessment companies. Dr. Huff has deep expertise in k-12 large-scale assessment and has co-chaired the NCME Task Force on Classroom Assessment since 2016.
Paul Zinni has been an educator for more than 30 years serving as a special education teacher, Title 1 Director, Early Childhood Coordinator, Director of Pupil Services and for the past seven years, as a public school superintendent. He is currently the Superintendent of Schools for the King Philip Regional School District in Massachusetts.
Paul serves as an adjunct professor, teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in both special education and school leadership. Presently, he serves on the Board of Directors for two national education organizations, the Council for Exceptional Children, and the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators.
Melissa Spadin serves as the Director, Systems of Support, San Diego County Office of Education. In this role she supports LEAs in continuous improvement. Prior, she was Coordinator of Assessment, Accountability and Evaluation, helping improve assessment literacy across southern California. Before moving to San Diego, she was an Assessment Program Specialist at the MD SDE. Melissa was a member of the National Task Force for Assessment Education, which provided resources to improve the role of assessment in supporting student success. She began her career teaching English and Theatre, coaching forensics, and as Theatre Director at Gaithersburg High School in MCPS.