C-STEMEC is a consortium of four STEM-focused
university centers in Chicago.
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Tony Cleasby
Administrative Coordinator
University of Chicago

Tony Cleasby is currently the Administrative Coordinator supporting the communications efforts and event activities for the Chicago STEM Education Consortium. In addition, Mr. Cleasby serves as a University of Chicago representative on the 100Kin10 movement, a national project comprised of over 150 partner organizations dedicated to producing 100,000 quality STEM teachers by 2021. From 2010 to 2012, Tony Cleasby acted as Marketing and Communications Coordinator and founding head of Co-Creative, a design and communications unit at Portland State University. Overseeing a team of creative specialists, he managed multimedia marketing and outreach campaigns to promote university departments and initiatives. While employed by the University of Pennsylvania from 2005 to 2009, Mr. Cleasby assisted the Alumni Relations department and the Graduate School of Education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Indiana University.


Bret Feranchak
Principal Consultant for Research, Evaluation, and Strategy
Logos Consulting Group, LLC

Bret Feranchak is Principal Consultant responsible for Research, Evaluation, and Strategy at Logos Consulting Group, LLC (“Logos”). Previously he was Director of Program Evaluation and Applied Research for the Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third largest school district, where he directed the district’s internal evaluation efforts, including the conceptualization and implementation of a district plan for comprehensive program evaluation, and coordinated the work of external evaluators and researchers. This work included all aspects of program evaluation including fiscal oversight of the district’s multimillion dollar program evaluation portfolio. His evaluation work over the last fifteen years spans across numerous program areas, including the evaluation of mathematics, science, literacy, bilingual, early childhood, high school, and after school programs, as well as working with numerous clients on strategic planning processes related to their evaluation, performance management, and measurement functions.He was graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in chemistry and physics from the Honors Program at the University of Notre Dame. He did graduate work at the University of Chicago where he received several fellowships including the Karl Max Probst Fellowship from the University of Chicago and a GAANN Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education. His research has focused on quantitatively measuring the effects of educational reform initiatives, particularly those that involve professional development initiatives for current classroom teachers. He also works on issues of educational program improvement and organizational strategic planning processes through evaluation utilization. Additionally, he is an active member of several professional societies, including the American Educational Research Association and the American Evaluation Association.


Martin Gartzman
Executive Director
Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education
University of Chicago

Martin Gartzman joined the staff of the Center for Elementary and Science Education in 2011. From 2006 through 2010, he served as Assistant Vice Chancellor and Executive Director for High School Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he coordinated the university’s work with UIC College Prep, a charter high school established in 2008 in partnership with the Noble Street Charter School.

He has developed and served in senior leadership capacities with many grant-funded projects involving mathematics and science education, recently including the Algebra Intensification Project, which led to the development of Agile Mind’s Intensified Algebra I, and the Suburban Cook County Mathematics Initiative, which is working with 32 school districts in west and south Cook County to develop regionally based mathematics improvement strategies.

From 2006 through 2010, with Susan Hull and Uri Treisman, he co-directed the Charles A. Dana Center’s Urban Mathematics Leadership Network. From 2002 through 2006, Gartzman served as the Chicago Public Schools Chief Mathematics and Science Officer, where he developed and directed the Chicago Math and Science Initiative (CMSI), the district’s highly respected program for mathematics and science improvement.

From 1986 through 2002, he served in several capacities at UIC, including 12 years as Associate Director of UIC’s Institute for Mathematics and Science Education, which Gartzman co-founded with mathematician Philip Wagreich and physicist Howard Goldberg in 1990.


David Jabon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, STEM Studies
Director, Quantitative Reasoning Center
DePaul University

David Jabon is currently the Director of the DePaul University’s Quantitative Reasoning Center, which offers innovative courses in quantitative and technological literacy for undergraduate students. He also co-directs DePaul’s Master of Science in Science Education Program for in-service middle school science teachers. Prior to joining DePaul in 1997, he was on the mathematics faculty at University of Maryland, Haverford College, and Eastern Washington University. His most recent research focuses on mathematical modeling and mathematics education.

Since 2003, Dr. Jabon has collaborated in a number of efforts to enhance mathematics education in public schools. He has taught courses for secondary Chicago Public School teachers focusing on mathematical modeling as part of the NSF supported Chicago Teacher Transformation Institutes project. He has led professional development for AP Calculus teachers through the Chicago Advanced Placement Enhancement grant funded by the Department of Education. He serves on the Algebra Initiative Task Force of the Chicago Public Schools, which helps coordinate a system-wide effort to make it possible for well-prepared eighth grade students to take a high quality secondary-level algebra course. He participates in DePaul/CPS Math and Science Partnership for implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics funded by the Chicago Community Trust.


Wendy M. Jackson, Ph.D.
CCT Project Director
STEM Center
DePaul University

Wendy Jackson is the Director of the DePaul/CPS Math & Science Partnership at DePaul University, and is the Project Lead on a multi-university partnership to support implementation of the NGSS in Chicago Public Schools. Prior to joining the STEM Center at DePaul, Dr. Jackson was the Middle Grade Science Specialist for CPS, being responsible for supporting the implementation of the CMSI instructional materials, facilitating professional development around these materials, and developing a cadre of professional development leaders drawn from the ranks of outstanding middle grade science teachers. This position followed five years as a middle grade science teacher in CPS. Dr. Jackson came to K-12 education through an alternative certification program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was a Noyce Scholar. Previously, she received a Ph.D. in Ecology (University of Washington) and served on the faculty at both UIC and UIUC. In addition to conducting ecological research, she directed several programs to build capacity for promoting environmental and conservation programs both abroad and in Chicago. Dr. Jackson also served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development as the Environmental Policy Specialist for the Offices of the Science Advisor and Research.


Michael Lach
Director, STEM Policy and Strategic Initiatives
University of Chicago

Michael Lach is currently the Director of STEM Education and Strategic Initiatives at the Urban Education Institute of the University of Chicago. Previously, he was appointed by Secretary Arne Duncan to lead science and mathematics education efforts at the U. S. Department of Education. Mr. Lach began his professional career teaching high school biology and general science at Alceé Fortier Senior High School in New Orleans in 1990 as a charter member of Teach For America. After 3 years in Louisiana, he joined the national office of Teach For America as Director of Program Design, developing a portfolio based alternative-certification system that was adopted by several states. Returning to the science classroom in 1994 in New York City Public Schools, and then back to Chicago in 1995, he was named one of Radio Shack’s Top 100 Technology Teachers, earned National Board Certification, and was named Illinois Physics Teacher of the Year. He has served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, advising Congressman Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) on science, technology and education issues. He was lead curriculum developer for the Investigations in Environmental Science curriculum developed at the Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools at Northwestern University and published by It’s About Time, Inc. As an administrator with the Chicago Public Schools, he led the district’s instructional improvement efforts in science and mathematics in a variety of roles between 2003 and 2009, ultimately becoming Officer of Teaching and Learning overseeing curriculum and instruction in 600+ schools. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Carleton College, and master’s degrees from Columbia University and Northeastern Illinois University.


James Lynn
Executive Director
Director of High School Development
University of Illinois at Chicago

James Lynn is Executive Director of High School Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the principal investigator and a lead developer for the Intensified Algebra I Project, an NSF-funded project that has developed a comprehensive Algebra I curriculum for students who enter high school underprepared in mathematics and are placed into a double-period Algebra I class. Previously, Lynn had been involved in mathematics education in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). He has served as a mathematics department chairperson and teacher at three different CPS high schools. Lynn served as the CPS lead administrator for high school mathematics. He has had significant involvement with mentoring and professional development activities in mathematics, including successfully mentoring cohorts of CPS candidates for National Board Certification and serving as a co-director of the Chicago Secondary Mathematics Improvement Project, based out of the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Lynn Narasimhan, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics
Director, STEM Center
DePaul University

Lynn Narasimhan is currently the Director of the STEM Center, the administrative home of many of DePaul University’s mathematics and science outreach programs. Previously at DePaul, she served in a variety of administrative roles, including Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1989 to 2011 and Chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences from 1987 to 1989.

Dr. Narasimhan has collaborated in numerous efforts to enhance opportunities for mathematics and science students in the Chicago area during the past twenty years. For ten years, she directed DePaul’s Space Science Center for Education and Outreach, an initiative funded by NASA whose goal was to broker partnerships between educators and NASA space scientists. She has also received funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois State Board of Education, and other external agencies to support mathematics and science education, both at the undergraduate level and for K-12 students and teachers.

Most recently, Dr. Narasimhan has served on the Algebra Initiative Task Force of the Chicago Public Schools for which she has contributed to the development and teaching of a sequence of courses to prepare middle schools to offer a rigorous high school algebra course for qualified eighth graders. She is currently the Project Director on a grant from the Searle funds at the Chicago Community Trust to partner with the Chicago Public Schools on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.


Rachel Shefner, Ph.D.
Associate Director
Center for Science and Mathematics Education
Loyola University Chicago

Rachel Shefner is the Associate Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CSME) at Loyola University Chicago and is the Project Director of middle grades professional development programs at Loyola CSME currently funded through the Chicago Community Trust, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Big Shoulders Fund, and the Polk Bros. Foundation. Through her work supporting high quality science instruction Dr. Shefner designs and teaches courses for teachers to gain a middle grades science endorsement, is the Science Co-chair of a multi-university partnership project aimed at increasing the rigor of pre-service teacher education in literacy, mathematics and science, has worked on K-12 projects for the Illinois State Board of Education and the National Science Foundation, and was on the curriculum design team for the Gates-funded Loyola-UIC high school transformation project. She is also an active member of the planning group of the Chicago Symposium for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Science and Mathematics: Research and Practice, a group which brings nationally renowned speakers to the Chicago area 2-3 times each year to engage with a wide community of scholars.
Before turning her attention to science education, Dr. Shefner was on the biology faculty of Roosevelt University, and did her post-doctoral work in immunology at UIC and the University of Chicago. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and her B.S. in genetics and development at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.


Mary Jo Tavormina
Project Director
University of Illinois at Chicago

Mary Jo Tavormina is the Project Director for the West Cook and South Cook Mathematics Initiatives, partnerships among 21 south Cook County districts and 11 west Cook County districts to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics in grades six through nine, and former co-director of C-STEMEC, a consortium of four STEM-centered university centers in Chicago. She served as the Director of Mathematics and as the Elementary Mathematics Manager for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), providing direction and support for mathematics across the district. Prior to her role in CPS, she was the Co-director of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) All Learn Mathematics Project, providing professional development and support for Chicago and suburban schools and the UIC Middle Grade Mathematics Alternative Certification Program, which was designed to meet the need for highly qualified middle grade mathematics teachers in the Chicago Public Schools. She has presented at numerous conferences and facilitated professional development for district leaders, administrators and teachers. She is a former middle grade mathematics teacher.