To support accelerated learning and improve student well-being, every classroom must be led by an effective educator.
At WestEd, we advance solutions and apply innovative strategies to support the development and retention of an effective, culturally responsive, and diverse educator workforce through our technical assistance and research.
Our team offers extensive content expertise to help you meet your goals to support educators. Many of our staff are former teachers who have direct experience delivering engaging, outcomes-driven technical assistance and research.
We work side by side with states to unpack their teacher workforce data and use it to inform evidence-based policy, practice, and resource investment that will help ensure an effective teacher in every classroom, regardless of zip code.
Dana Grayson, Director, Teacher Workforce
- Capacity building for LEAs and SEAs and others interested in growing knowledge, skill, and practice
- High-quality evaluations that answer questions about effectiveness of programs, practices, and policies
- Research studies that inform policy and practice
- Technical assistance and professional learning grounded in adult learning theory and improvement science
Discover how we can work with you in elevating the teaching profession to encourage and sustain high-quality teaching.
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- Sarah Barzee Sarah Barzee serves as Senior Director of State Education Services at WestEd and as Director of the Region 2 Comprehensive Center (R2CC), supporting state education agencies in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island. Barzee brings expansive expertise to her roles at WestEd, including background knowledge of special education, leadership, educator effectiveness, and talent development.View Full Bio
- Caitlin BeatsonCaitlin Beatson is a Senior Program Associate with WestEd’s Teacher Workforce team. Beatson provides technical assistance to promote equitable access to excellent educators in traditionally hard-to-staff schools, with a focus on supporting educators’ professional growth. An expert in educator human capital management and performance-based compensation systems, Beatson supports states and districts to plan and implement initiatives to recruit, support, retain, and reward effective teachers and leaders. View Full Bio
- Dana GraysonDana Grayson is the Director of WestEd’s Teacher Workforce Content Area, focused on preparing, recruiting, supporting, sustaining, and retaining the K-12 teacher workforce to ensure all students have equitable access to effective teachers. Drawing on 20 years of experience as a project leader and former teacher, Grayson partners with states and districts to engage in data-driven decision-making and strategic planning. She specializes in educator workforce, resource planning, and district and school improvement issues. View Full Bio
- Maggie HannanMaggie Hannan is a Senior Research Associate with WestEd’s Teacher Workforce team. Hannan has extensive experience as a researcher and evaluator in complex systems change efforts in education. She serves as a formative evaluator for several large-scale teacher workforce initiatives. Hannan specializes in using mixed and qualitative methods to explore implementation processes that span multiple system levels and organizational locations. View Full Bio
- Reino MakkonenWestEd Senior Policy Associate Reino Makkonen is a senior researcher with two decades of experience studying teacher workforce issues and school and district leadership across Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah. His work involves developing and validating interview, survey, and observation instruments and evaluating educator development programs via mixed methods.View Full Bio
- Jaclyn TejwaniJaclyn Jagdish Tejwani is a program evaluator with expertise in teacher residencies and preparation programs; rural and community schools; and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in K–12 and higher education STEM disciplines. The through line for her work is a focus on diversity and inclusion to support more equitable systems and outcomes for all learners. Her work embeds culturally responsive evaluation practices, including bringing diverse evaluation teams into her work and authentically partnering with communities.View Full Bio
- Saroja WarnerSaroja Warner, Director for Culturally Responsive and Equitable Systems at WestEd, is committed to ensuring that each child experiences teaching and learning in classrooms and schools that are led by educators who are culturally responsive and racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse. Early in her life, watching the struggles her mother experienced in advocating for Warner’s hearing-impaired younger brother, Warner learned that equity is not the same as equal.View Full Bio
- Gretchen WeberAs a Senior Managing Director at WestEd, Gretchen Weber leads a portfolio of work in school choice, literacy, and talent development and diversity. Prior to joining WestEd, Weber was the Vice President at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), focusing on educator effectiveness, college and career readiness, and personalized learning. She also co-led the strategy office, overseeing business development strategy and research-to-practice applications for the organization’s Professional Services division.View Full Bio
- Melissa WhiteMelissa Eiler White is a Project Director in Innovation Studies at WestEd, where she leads research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects focused on teachers and teaching. Over the last several years, her work has focused on supporting improvement of teacher preparation programs. White has also led numerous research efforts for the Regional Educational Laboratory West (REL West) at WestEd.View Full Bio
- Kate WrightKate Wright is the Director of the Region 15 Comprehensive Center, a federal center that provides capacity-building technical assistance to state education agencies. With more than 25 years of experience as an education leader, Wright partners with state and local education agencies to implement evidence-based solutions supporting the professional growth of teachers and principals and improving educational outcomes for all students. View Full Bio
- Dalia ZabalaDalia Zabala is a Senior State Technical Assistance Specialist with WestEd’s Teacher Workforce Content Area. Zabala also serves as the Deputy Director of Operations for the Region 2 Comprehensive Center and is part of the leadership team for the Region 13 Comprehensive Center providing technical assistance to improve instructional quality and support efforts to ensure equity in education in the states of CT, NM, NY, OK, RI and the BIE. Zabala worked with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to help them develop and implement a Mentoring and Induction program to support new teachers in Washington DC. View Full Bio
Stay up to date with the latest WestEd news, events, research, and leading voices to support your commitment to improving learning, healthy development, and equity in schools and communities.
In the Spotlight
Below are featured projects that demonstrate how states and districts are successfully addressing their most pressing teacher workforce challenges.
Supporting Educator Diversity in Connecticut
In collaboration with the REL-NEI, the Region 2 Comprehensive Center is assisting the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) to increase educator diversity. This work includes a state-level strategic plan and toolkit for districts and provides coaching to districts to develop their own strategic plans.
Nevada State Teacher Recruitment and Retention Advisory Task Force
WestEd has worked in partnership with the Nevada State Teacher Recruitment and Retention Advisory Task Force to evaluate and address the challenges of attracting and retaining teachers, culminating with a report to the legislature describing the findings and recommendations of the task force.
Evaluating California’s Teacher Residency Grant Program
Designed to help the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing better understand the teacher residency grant program effectiveness and to know the extent to which effective program practices are being implemented, WestEd’s evaluation findings across multiple reports and presentations have shaped state policy and program and grantee practices.