CRESS Center

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Staff Profile

Susan O’Hara
Executive Director, CRESS Center

Susan O’Hara, Ph.D., joined the CRESS Center in 2013 with a wealth of experience and background in public education, working closely with teachers, researchers and community leaders. An educator for 20 years, Susan began teaching mathematics and science to middle and high school students in Ireland. She has a master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Southern California and a PhD in science and technology education from the UC Davis School of Education. In 2000, Susan was appointed assistant professor in teacher education at Sacramento State University. Most recently, she was associate professor and founding executive director of the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET) at Stanford University.


  • Ph.D., Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education, University of California, Davis, 2000
  • M.A., Applied Mathematics, University of Southern California, 1995
  • B.A., Mathematics and Mathematical Physics, University College, Dublin, Ireland, 1988


  • 2012-2014: Heising-Simons Foundation. Promoting Effective Math Instruction for Young Children. (Deborah Stipek, PI; Susan O’Hara and Megan Franke: Co-PI)
  • 2012-2017: Office of English Language Acquisition: National Professional Development Grant. Academic Literacy Support for Novice Teachers: A Capacity Building Approach. (Susan O’Hara: PI; Kenji Hakuta and Betty Achinstein: Co-PIs)
  • 2011-2014: Institute of Education Sciences Research Grant. Improving the quality of English language arts teaching through the use of an observation protocol (Pam Grossman: PI, Susan O’Hara and Susanna Loeb: Co-PIs). (Co-PI).
  • 2012-2013: Breech Foundation Professional Development Grant. The Stanford Teaching Studio for Humanities Teachers.
  • 2011-2012: Silver Giving Foundation Professional Development Grant. A systemic approach to develop instructional leadership within a corps of San Francisco Public School principals (Area 1) and among key district leaders (with Ann Jaquith).


  • O’Hara, S., Zwiers, J., & Pritchard, R. (Invited paper under review). Framing the teaching of academic language: A Delphi study of expert consensus. TESOL Quarterly
  • O’Hara, S. & Pritchard, R. (Accepted pending revision). Using new technologies to support the academic language and literacy development of adolescent English learners. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (JAAL)
  • O’Hara, S., & Pritchard, R. (2013). Learning to integrate new technologies into teaching and learning through a design-based model of professional development. The Journal of Technology and Teacher Education (JTATE).
  • O’Hara, S. & Pritchard, R. (2012). Professional degree programs for the development of accomplished teachers: A case for the National Board Certification process. Journal of Educational Research and Practice (JERAP).
  • O’Hara, S., Pritchard, R., & Huang-DeVoss, Cammy. (2012). The Teaching Using Technology Studio (TUTS): Innovative professional development to meet the needs of English language learners. TESOL Journal.
Image of Renee Newton
Staff Profile

Renee Newton
Director, Community School Partnerships

Renee Nolte Newton’s career has spanned the fields of public health and public education working at both county and state agency levels. In 2001, Renee joined the CRESS Center where she directed a statewide health access program administered through the Healthy Start Field Office.

She was named director of the Center for Community School Partnerships (CCSP) in 2005 where she leads a multidisciplinary team in support of school and community partnerships. In this role, Renee worked with state leaders to launch the California Afterschool Network, providing oversight for designing its governance structure, and developing an initial strategic plan that has focused on expanded learning policy and practice straggles.

As Director of CCSP, Renee has been responsible for attracting over $12 million in extramural funding, tripling the size of CCSP staff, and focusing greater emphasis on program evaluation, applied research, technical assistance and dissemination of community school partnership resources. She also served as Interim Executive Director of the CRESS Center from November 2011 through June 2013.


  • M.P.A., Specialization: Applied health policy analysis and program evaluation, University of Southern California, 1992
  • B.S., Applied Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis, 1989