CIFR Leadership Coordination and Collaboration Team (LCCT)
The LCCT guides the articulation of CIFR’s vision and implementation of the work. LCCT members coordinate work with partners and collaborate with other OSEP-funded projects in the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network.
Cecelia Dodge, Co-Director, WestEd
Cecelia Dodge is a Project Director for WestEd’s Center for Prevention & Early Intervention. Dodge supports strategic growth and development initiatives in state and local agencies and contributes to project design, development, and implementation.
Prior to joining WestEd, Dodge had a variety of leadership roles in special education, serving as local Director of Special Education in Minnesota school districts and as Assistant Superintendent for Special Education in the San Francisco Unified School District. Dodge also was responsible for special education funding and data (Parts B and C) in Minnesota where she led efforts to establish a culture of data-driven decision-making at the SEA and LEA levels.
Dodge has presented on special education topics at national organizations and testified on behalf of students with disabilities before the Minnesota State Legislature.
In addition to her role on CIFR, Dodge is a senior TA provider for the Center for the Integration of IDEA Data (CIID).
Jenifer Harr-Robins, Co-Director, AIR
Jenifer Harr-Robins is a Principal Researcher at AIR and has extensive special education research and project management experience.
She played key roles in numerous evaluations of state special education funding formulas to devise alternatives to the current systems, including in California, Washington, D.C., Georgia, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.
Harr-Robins served as Associate Director for the Center for Special Education Finance/Special Education Expenditure Project (CSEF/SEEP), as well as co-editor for the SEEP Report Series. She is also co-author of two book chapters on special education finance.
Harr-Robins’ other work includes directing an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) study examining the inclusion of students with disabilities in school accountability systems, a review of the quality of education programs for students with disabilities in the District of Columbia, and a court-mandated study to measure the delivery of special education services in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Dave Phillips, Co-Director, WestEd
Dave Phillips is a Project Director at WestEd. He is an experienced project manager with a successful history of coordinating resources and people within and across organizations to provide effective technical assistance and systems change.
Previously, Phillips established the Fiscal Improvement Team within the Regional Resource Center Program and provided technical assistance to states on fiscal issues, including data collection and reporting requirements on MFS and LEA MOE/CEIS, excess cost, LEA maintenance of effort, and IDEA fiscal monitoring policies and procedures.
Prior to joining WestEd, Phillips was the IDEA Part B Data Manager for the Vermont Department of Education.
Shauna Crane, Coordinator, TAESE
Shauna Crane is an Associate Director at TAESE. She is an experienced technical assistance provider with a history of management and coordination across organizations and projects. In addition to CIFR work, Crane works on the Center for the integration of IDEA Data (CIID) and numerous state contracts through TAESE.
Prior to CIFR, Crane worked for the Regional Resource Center Program (RRCP) as Coordinator, where she collaborated with the leadership team to provide cohesive, coordinated technical assistance by six regional centers.
CIFR Project Teams
CIFR is organized into four project teams:
- Knowledge Development
- Tool and Template Development
- Technical Assistance and Dissemination
These project teams will coordinate their efforts to build state capacity to manage and report IDEA fiscal data.
The Knowledge Development team activities include the development and implementation of a survey of all 60 IDEA Part B programs and analysis of the data and data notes from LEA MOE/CEIS data collections to help inform the TA efforts.
Steve Smith, Team Lead, TAESE
Steve Smith is an Associate Director at TAESE where he provides technical assistance to states in special education finance, data collection, reporting and analysis, general supervision, and other topics.
Smith has extensive experience in data management and special education finance from his work in Oregon as the Part B IDEA Data Manager. In that role, he oversaw special education finance and dispute resolution. In addition, for several years, Smith served as an elected board member on the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Education Information Management Advisory Committee (EIMAC).
Tool and Template Development
The Tool and Template team will develop tools and templates to support the TA work of the Center and to assist states in collecting valid and reliable MFS and LEA MOE/CEIS data.
Tom Munk, Team Co-Lead, Westat
Tom Munk is a Senior Education Analyst at Westat with more than 30 years experience in research, evaluation, writing, teaching, and tool development. He has provided technical assistance to states in special education, mathematics education, education for at-risk students, and curriculum development, emphasizing issues of equity.
He has provided technical assistance to states and districts as they work to meet requirements to identify district-level disproportionality in the identification, placement, and discipline of special education students.
Munk’s work with the IDEA Data Center and its partners has focused on helping states and districts meet requirements around disproportionality, including “success gaps” in general and special education as well as assessment for students with disabilities and development of the State Systemic Improvement Plan.
Carol Cohen, Team Co-Lead, WestEd
Carol Cohen is a Senior Research Associate at WestEd. She co-leads the development and dissemination of CIFR tools and resources. She also provides technical assistance to states and co-facilitates the Mid-South community of practice.
Cohen has over 30 years of experience in managing and conducting research, analysis, and technical assistance for federal, state, and local policymakers and program leaders. Her work has focused on the financing of education and human services programs and initiatives.
Prior leadership positions include Director of Technical Assistance for the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center, director of the Charter Schools Program Monitoring Project, and deputy director of The Finance Project.
Technical Assistance and Dissemination
The Technical Assistance and Dissemination team will support general, targeted, and intensive TA services to SEAs. Targeted TA will be facilitated through communities of practice and CIFR content specialists. Intensive TA will be provided to up to 10 states at a time.
Paula Burdette, Team Co-Lead, WestEd
Paula Burdette is a Senior Program Associate at WestEd, and Co-Lead for CIFR’s Technical Assistance Team, joining in 2015
Burdette has extensive technical assistance and leadership experience in special education, serving as Co-Principal Investigator for the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities and directing Project Forum, both OSEP-funded projects. Burdette also provided technical assistance to local education agencies as the State Improvement Grant Coordinator at the Delaware Department of Education. Prior to that, she was a technical assistance service provider to states through the Mid-South Regional Resource Center and taught students with disabilities in Oklahoma.
Burdette has written and presented nationally on numerous special education topics including state special education spending formulae, coordinated early intervening services, response to intervention, IDEA/ARRA monitoring and reporting, and more. Burdette received her doctorate in special education leadership from Virginia Tech.
Wayne Ball, Team Co-Lead, AIR
Wayne Ball is a Senior Technical Assistance Consultant at AIR. He previously was a technical assistance provider for the Regional Resource Center Program for 15 years, focusing his efforts with the program’s Fiscal Improvement Team and facilitating the national community of practice for state fiscal managers.
Ball’s expertise includes IDEA monitoring and compliance, fiscal accountability, data and reporting, special education procedures, and general supervision. He has conducted training and provided technical assistance in regional and state settings on MFS, MOE, CEIS, and fiscal reporting.
In addition, Ball worked with AIR on the National Elementary Middle School Technical Assistance Center and the National Access Center. He previously served as a principal, director of title/special programs, state department of education program specialist and corporate trainer.
The Communications Team supports the project’s technology needs and maintains numerous digital platforms and products for communicating about CIFR’s goals, tools, events, and impact.
Peter Orne, Team Co-Lead
Peter Orne is an Editorial and Communications Consultant with significant experience promoting regional and national initiatives for K–12 and federal education stakeholder groups. He served for nearly a decade as Director of Dissemination for the U.S. Department of Education’s Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands and, more recently, as a communications lead supporting the National Science Foundation’s Research + Practice Collaboratory and the Investing in Innovation (i3) grantee community. He was a Division Director of Communications at Education Development Center, Inc.
Orne creates wide-scale marketing and dissemination strategies supported by high-concept messaging, digital media and publications, and research-based events. He uses a continuous-improvement approach working across a range of storytelling platforms and team configurations.
Sanjay Pardanani, Team Co-Lead, WestEd
Sanjay Pardanani is a Project Manager with WestEd’s Information Services (IS) department. He oversees all aspects of technology development, including user requirements gathering, planning, design, building, and implementation.
Pardanani has extensive experience in building custom websites and web-based applications, serving as liaison between clients and IS technical staff. He also has managed the development of multimedia applications for educators.
The external evaluator will provide rapid feedback to project leaders to drive continuous improvement and objective progress reports to OSEP.
Stacy Johnson, The Improve Group
Stacy Johnson is the Research and Evaluation Director for The Improve Group. Johnson has a background in education policy and administration and evaluation research. Her approach to evaluation focuses on helping organizations improve programming and reach their intended goals.
She also has extensive experience working with public data systems and with initiatives designed to improve the delivery of special education to students.