Work With Us

Sara Christopherson

Sara Christopherson's background is in the sciences, education, and science writing. Sara earned a MS in Science Education from University of Wisconsin–Madison and a BA in Biology from Oberlin College.

Sara began working with Dr. Webb on alignment studies in 2006, and began directing WebbAlign studies in partnership with Dr. Webb in the Summer of 2013.

Dr. Norman Webb

Dr. Norman L. Webb earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1975. He served as a senior research scientist for the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), and was the recipient of a 2003 Academic Staff Excellence Award. His personal research has focused on assessment of students' knowledge of mathematics and he leads the National Institute for Science Education's work in evaluating mathematics and science education.

Dr. Webb has been doing alignment studies for over 10 years, and trademarked the WebbAlign method in the Spring of 2013. It measures four criteria: categorical concurrence, depth-of-knowledge consistency, range-of-knowledge correspondence, and balance of representation.

Dr. Webb's alignments have been carried out through WCEPS via the use of the WebbAlign Method since the Fall of 2012. Dr. Webb provides management oversight of the WebbAlign Method and certifies the final product. Each WebbAlign study meets the high level of quality for which Dr. Webb's work has become known.

Lisa Ashe

Lisa Ashe is a Secondary Mathematics Consultant with the NC Department of Public Instruction and the President-Elect of the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics. Prior to coming to the state department, Lisa served as a high school mathematics teacher, a school-based math instructional facilitator and a PK-12 District Curriculum Specialist. 

She holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Hampton University, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Supervision, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Her research interest is in the development partnerships that propel and advance mathematical teaching and learning. She is passionate about providing opportunities for equitable access to high quality educational experiences for all children. Lisa also has experience facilitating professional development at the local, state and national level on high quality instructional practices and equity-based teaching. 

Lisa has served as a panelist with WebbAlign since 2016. As an external panelist, Lisa brings a national perspective to alignment studies in examining the alignment between state level standards and assessment items.

Kymyona Burk, Ed.D.

Kymyona Burk is a Senior Policy Fellow at ExcelinEd. In this role, she supports states pursuing a comprehensive approach to K-3 reading policy by assisting state leaders in building new or improving existing K-3 reading policies, with a heavy focus on supporting successful policy implementation.

Kymyona most recently served in Mississippi as the Executive Director for the Jackson Public School District’s Office of Teaching and Learning and led all aspects of the district’s instructional programming. Prior to this, she was the State Literacy Director at the Mississippi Department of Education where she led the implementation of Mississippi’s Literacy-Based Promotion Act. Kymyona began her career as an elementary reading teacher and has also taught middle and high school English. At Jackson State University, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Master of Arts in Teaching English, Master of Science in Education Administration and Supervision and a Doctor of Education in Early Childhood Education.

Tim Cox

Tim has served the educational community as a high school physics and chemistry teacher, as an advanced learning coordinator and as a science teaching methods instructor. His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in physical science teaching and an M.S. in education.Throughout his career, Tim has been a member of the National Science Teachers Association, the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, the Wisconsin Association of Talented and Gifted and other professional organizations. He has actively served on various committees and boards and presented conference sessions to support and enhance teaching and learning. Partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Tim had the opportunity to expand his background and develop tools and training to support science teachers as they guide students in accessing the NGSS standards in inclusive diverse classrooms.

In 2019, Tim joined the WebbAlign team as a consultant, workshop presenter, reviewer and team leader for science assessment alignments. He has presented and led alignment review teams in multiple states. As a member of the WebbAlign team collaborating with teachers, administrators, regional and state officials, and vendors, Tim finds joy in striving to ensure that standards, curriculum and assessment are aligned to support proper student engagement and the very best in teaching, learning and evaluation.

Having lived in Wisconsin most of his life, Tim enjoys the great outdoors! Fishing, hunting, boating and hiking with family and their three dogs are some of his favorites. If there is an opportunity to travel, he’s in! In between consulting work, Tim and his wife, Jill are keeping very busy enjoying in-state and cross-country visits and adventures with their four children and six grandchildren. 

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Jeanette Fernandez

Jeanette Fernandez Scott has been in education for 20 years.  She has served as a high school and community college math teacher and is currently CTE Math Integration Specialist for Phoenix Union High School District.  She is serving as the treasurer for Arizona Math Leaders and is active in several organizations, including AATM, TODOS, NCSM, and NCTM.  In 2013, she was selected as Chicanos Por La Causa Esperanza Award winner, honoring Latino teachers who inspire students of all backgrounds, play an active role in the school, and demonstrate a true commitment to the community.

Dr. Melyssa Ferro

Dr. Melyssa Ferro
Caldwell School District #132, Idaho Science Teaching Association
K-12 Digital Innovation and Integration Specialist, STEM coordinator, Middle School Science Teacher, President of ISTA
Caldwell, Idaho

After transferring college majors from lab scientist to science educator and graduating from Boise State University with a B.S. in Biology, Secondary Education, Melyssa has spent the last 23 years of her career dedicated to providing hands-on and enriching science and engineering experiences for students in the Caldwell School District. Her passion is encouraging young women and minorities to become more involved in the pursuit of STEM careers. She has earned an M.S. in Middle Level Education and a PhD in Learning, Instruction, and Innovation with an emphasis in STEM from Walden University and has focused her STEM education pursuits on teaching 7th grade life and 8th grade earth science at Syringa Middle School. Melyssa is the coordinator for the Science and Math Bowl competition team and the summer MASSI program at the College of Idaho as well as leading the Habitat H2O Florida trip and the Expedition Yellowstone and Explore Oregon experiences. She facilitates several teams for the Future City engineering competition as part of her advanced science curriculum. Melyssa is the STEM coordinator for Caldwell as well as working as the Digital Integration and Innovation Specialist for the district. She serves on the board of the Idaho Education Association, is the president of the Idaho Science Teaching Association, and works with the VOYA STEM fellowship to encourage STEM education at the national level.

Joanne Goelzer M.Ed.

Joanne Goelzer (M.Ed.) has been teaching physical science and Earth science at Coe Brown Northwood Academy in Northwood, New Hampshire since 1989 and began working with WebbAlign as a consultant in 2019. She has served on the Professional Standards Board for the New Hampshire Department of Education, is a 2019 Toshiba America STEM grant awardee, authored lesson three in Journeys in Film’s curriculum guide for National Geographic’s One Strange Rock, and has presented at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Conferences in New Orleans and Washington, DC. Currently, Joanne serves as the president of the New Hampshire Science Teachers’ Association and is a New Hampshire state finalist for the 2023 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Joanne brings the experiences and insights gained from the alignment studies back to her classroom to reshape assessment and increase curriculum alignment with state standards. She looks forward to future opportunities working with WebbAlign’s talented group of consultants and teachers across the nation.

Cindy Jacobson

Cynthia (Cindy) Jacobson is a retired high school English teacher, Title I teacher and coordinator, middle school reading teacher, and Instructional Services Resource who worked in three Wisconsin school districts. She also taught graduate level reading courses for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Extension for eight years. After serving as an item writer for a statewide elementary reading assessment, she has worked as a Language Arts reviewer and leader for WebbAlign. “I have been privileged to work with the most dedicated and respected educators in over thirty states. Each alignment is different, and we all learn from each other. The ingenuity of Dr. Norman Webb in the development of the Depth of Knowledge categories and the expertise of Sara Christopherson in orchestrating the alignment of curriculum standards and assessments has resulted in successful student outcomes.”

Dr. Tim Krieg

Ardent about instructional design, vertical alignment of curricula, standards-based instruction, standard alignment, and assessment ー, Tim relishes the opportunity to serve as a consultant with WebbAlign. On top of the personal and professional growth he credits to his involvement in alignment studies, Tim considers it an oblitunity (obligation + opportunity) to actively partake in experiences that will directly impact current and future students. For such reasons, Tim has participated in numerous alignment studies over the past several years and is eager to continue serving as a team member.

Along with his involvement with WebbAlign, Tim is a district administrator at a public school district in northwest Indiana. He LOVES what he does and considers it an honor to oversee secondary curriculum, assessment, and instruction. Working within an evolving K-14 space, Tim has broad experience with standardized testing, standards-alignment, norm and criterion-referenced assessments/benchmarks, formative assessments, graduation pathway requirements, formative assessments, Title grants, competitive grant writing, and related matters. His district has an endorsed Early College through CELL at the University of Indianapolis and is a leader in Indiana for credentials awarded. This early college programming allows Tim to team up with higher education on course articulation agreements, stackable credentialing opportunities, early college, dual credit, dual enrollment, Next Level Programs of Study, CTE, and other related fields. An ardent believer in remaining directly involved as an educator, Tim is an adjunct faculty member who teaches a capstone course for students earning their AS degree. 

Tim holds an active Professional Educator’s License in English/Language Arts and a Superintendent license. He previously served as a secondary English teacher, department chair, and later as the Director of College and Careers. He has a BA Summa Cum Laude in English/Language Arts and Secondary Education from Valparaiso University, MA in English from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Indiana State University. His dissertation is titled Effective School Leadership Mentoring Characteristics in the 21st Century: Moving Beyond Compliance and Conformity.

Happily married to his high school sweetheart, who serves as a Dean of Students at an elementary school, Tim and his wife have one child and a furry friend. A coffee connoisseur and a chef/baker aspirant – Tim loves discovering new people, places, and things. He and his family visit college campuses nationwide. Watch for him and his family when you watch a football or basketball game. In particular, he and his wife root for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Oregon Ducks, Purdue Boilermakers, and Texas Longhorns. Be a Champion Today, Go Ducks, Boiler Up, and Hook 'em Horns!

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Randy LaRusso, M.Ed.

Randy LaRusso, M.Ed., is a forty-two year veteran in the area of special education in the Florida public education system.  She spent the last eight years of her public school career as the director of a Florida department of education discretionary grant. The Access Project focused on curriculum, instruction and professional development for students with significant cognitive disabilities and developmental delays.  Randy has served on two national grants, the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) and the TIES Center, both funded through OSEP. A national speaker, trainer and author, and adjunct university instructor,  Randy continues to work in the field of special education as a consultant.

Karen L. Mesmer, Ph.D.

Karen L. Mesmer, Ph.D., taught middle and high school science for 33 years in both Alaska and in Baraboo, Wisconsin. She was the head of the life science team that wrote the Wisconsin Science Standards and also a part of the team that did the alignment study on Wisconsin’s Forward exam for science as well as quite a few other alignment studies. Since retiring from the classroom, she has been a science education consultant, working as a curriculum writer, reviewer, mentor, coach and professional development facilitator focusing on the Next Generation Science Standards.  Along with 4 co-authors, she is currently writing a book for Corwin Press for new science teachers. She continues to be active at the local, state, and national levels in professional organizations.

Norka Padilla

Norka Padilla is currently an Instructional Specialist with International Admissions & Enrollment in the Office of School Support and Wellbeing in Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland where she collaborates ensuring equitable access to standards aligned instruction and programming K-12.  Previously she served as a Learning and Achievement Specialist supporting 24 school leadership teams K-12. Norka has over 30 years of experience as an instructional specialist and teacher, designing and facilitating professional development nationally.  She also enjoys consulting with state, national, public, and private organizations on standards-setting and policy. Norka is a Nationally Board Certified specialist in English as a New Language K-12 with two master’s degrees and administrative certification from Trinity College, McDaniel College, and the University of Maryland. She also holds Educational Administrative  I & II certification in Maryland.

Norka collaborates with several national organizations. She is an Equity Commissioner with The New Teacher Center, GLEAM badged coaching school leadership teams with UnboundEd, and is proud of her years of collaboration with WebbAlign supporting standards alignment.

Norka was born and raised trilingual as a Guatemalan-Norwegian-American in Washington, DC, and is the proud mother of three young men. She and her husband live in Chevy Chase and enjoy traveling, urban walks, and hiking in nature.  

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Mary Lynn Raith M.Ed.

Mary Lynn Raith is retired from her position as Mathematics Curriculum Specialist in the Division of Instructional Support of the Pittsburgh Public Schools. As such, her responsibilities included leadership roles in curriculum development, textbook selection, design of alternative assessments—both performance tasks and portfolio development, inservice program design and implementation, in-class support of teachers and coordination of mathematics programs across levels and schools. Ms. Raith was the Co-Director of the Pittsburgh Reform in Mathematics Education project (PRIME), a K-12 professional development system that includes both in-class support from demonstration teachers and a comprehensive series of in-service sessions focused on increasing the depth and breadth of teachers’ mathematics knowledge.

During retirement she co-authored NCTM publication Taking Action: Implementing Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices in Grades 6–8 (2017). She was a member of the authorship team for The Carnegie Learning Math Series: Courses 1-3 (2011), Mathematical Assessment – A Practical Handbook for Grades 6-8, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, (2000) and Bridges to Algebra (2005), a Carnegie Learning pre-algebra textbook.

She has designed and presented both locally, regionally, and at national conferences, sessions on the infusion of algebraic thinking, geometric reasoning, statistics and probability, and problem-solving into the K-8 mathematics program as well as creating a student centered, standards-based classroom Ms. Raith was a Middle School Leader for the New Standards Portfolio project, which designed a portfolio system for use in both classroom and district assessment and the New Standards Reference Examination development project, which included heading up the task and rubric development, scoring, and standard setting teams.

Since 1990, she has also participated in the national standards/assessment mathematics benchmarking initiatives at Achieve, Inc., as well as the Achieve study of high school exit and college placement exams, the development of the CCSS, CCSS alignment to the revised GED and national tech standards, the PISA predictive study and development of EQuIP. She also has completed multiple alignment studies for Odell education. Ms.Raith has been a member, since 2004, of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research Alignment Study team, which aligns state mathematics assessments with state standards and codes the assessment tasks for cognitive demand.

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Dr. Rick Sypel

Dr. Rick Sypel is a lifelong educator grades 7-12. He began teaching in 1996 and is still going today, in Mesa AZ. His masters is in Curriculum, Instruction, and assessment, which helped him as he was part of the review and revisement committee which passed the new 2016 mathematics standards. He worked with teachers on recognition of DOK, through his training at WCEPS and travels to other states to align assessment to standards.

Dr. Deborah Taub

Dr. Deborah Taub has expertise in systemic system change to support inclusive instructional practices for students with extensive support needs. She has designed and evaluated alternate assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Her expertise in UDL and standards-based instruction are fueled by her focus on equity and social justice for all students. She has contributed journal articles, book chapters, and numerous professional development training to the field of educating children with complex needs, and has presented internationally. Dr. Taub is the CEO of OTL Education Solutions whose work focuses on transforming opportunities to learn for all students.