The CRESS Center is home to an uncommon array of educational
programs and projects organized to achieve one major goal:
strengthening our region’s K-16 education system to meet the
needs of California’s youth. Building on our collective
strengths, CRESS supports teachers, schools and community
organizations by offering effective research-based solutions to
tackle inequalities, promote youth well-being, and build just
Professional development projects and initiatives focus on
deepening teacher content knowledge, improving instructional
strategies, and student learning.
School and community outreach programs and services cultivate
stronger pathways between communities and schools.
The evaluation unit provides services to university faculty as
well as regional education and community-based agencies
conducting research or providing programs with an education
Click here for a complete listing of
CRESS upcoming events and professional development opportunities.
The California Postsecondary Education Commission has awarded the School of Education a three-year $926,000 Improving Teacher Quality Grant. Vajra Watson, director of research and policy for equity in the CRESS Center, is the lead project director. Chris Thaiss, director of the University Writing Program, is the co-director.
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,
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
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.
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
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,