Before joining the School of Education to initiate Wheelhouse, Ms. Cooper served as an independent consultant and as longtime advisor on pre-K-to-14 education issues for the leader of the California State Senate. In that role, she shaped and shepherded the Pro Tem’s education agenda, provided counsel on education budget matters, and led multi-year campaigns to increase quality pre-kindergarten opportunities for low-income children, reduce the number of high school dropouts, and strengthen high school-post-secondary pathways.
Marcela Cuellar joined the School of Education in July 2014. She received her doctorate in Higher Education and Organizational Change at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Her research examines access and equity in higher education, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and emerging HSIs, and Latinx student success. More specifically, Dr. Cuellar employs quantitative and qualitative methods to explore Latinx students’ experiences at HSIs and emerging HSIs and how they are empowered as a result of their educational experiences during college and beyond.
Cassandra Hart is an associate professor of education policy. She evaluates the effects of school, state and national education programs, policies, and practices on overall student achievement, and on the equity of student outcomes. Hart’s work has focused on online education in both K-12 schools and community colleges, school choice programs, school accountability policies, and effects on students of exposure to demographically similar teachers.
Michal Kurlaender investigates students’ educational pathways, in particular K-12 and postsecondary alignment, and access to and success in higher education. She has expertise on alternative pathways to college and college readiness at both community colleges and four-year colleges and universities. In addition to working with national data, Kurlaender works closely with administrative data from all three of California’s public higher education sectors—the University of California, the California State University and the California Community College systems.
Francisco (Paco) Martorell joined the School as an assistant professor in July 2014. Martorell completed his PhD in economics at UC Berkeley. Prior to joining the School, he was an Economist at the RAND Corporation and was a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School since 2006. He has broad research interests in both higher education and K-12 policy. Current projects cover areas including developmental education in colleges, the effects of grade retention, the returns to for-profit colleges, the impacts of school facility investments, and community college tuition subsidies.