WestEd Names New Executive Program and Development Officers

Internal Appointments Highlight Agency’s Depth of Expertise
WestEd today announced the appointments of Sri Ananda to the post of Chief Program Officer and Catherine Walcott to the position of Chief Development Officer.

Ananda replaces Chief Program Officer Gary Estes, who is retiring. Walcott will replace Ananda, the current Chief Development Officer.

Since 2003 Ananda has served as WestEd’s Chief Development Officer and as a member of the agency’s Executive Team. She has been responsible for creating and implementing the agency’s comprehensive business development plan and strategic initiatives, leading the development of major proposals, strengthening relationships with funders, and building new partnerships. During her tenure as CDO, WestEd has grown from $71 million to $126 million in annual revenues.

Prior to serving in this executive role, Ananda was Co-Director of the Assessment and Standards Development Services program at WestEd. Her areas of expertise include large-scale and performance-based student assessment systems; college/career readiness, and adult education standards and assessments; and alignment of standards, curriculum, and assessment. She previously served as senior staff and worked in assessment and evaluation at the American Institutes for Research in Palo Alto and at IOX Associates in Culver City, California.

Ananda received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

“With recent education developments and innovations—such as next-generation standards and assessments, promising models of college-career readiness and success, and enhancements to technology-supported learning—this is an exciting time to return to programmatic work,” says Ananda. “Gary Estes’ work as Chief Program Officer at WestEd has been truly inspirational, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of extending the standards of excellence he set and has maintained so well.”

To fill the role of Chief Development Officer left open by Ananda’s change in role, WestEd Chief Executive Officer Glen Harvey announced the appointment of Catherine Jovicich Walcott. Walcott has been with WestEd since 2000 and, during this time, she has served as Associate Director for the Regional Educational Laboratory West, Director of Strategic Initiatives, and Senior Research Associate.

Prior to joining WestEd, she worked from 1993 to 2000 in the U.S. Department of Education where, among other roles, she served as a senior policy advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. She also worked as an analyst for the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

Walcott sits on the boards of Partners in School Innovation, Flex Public Schools, and Russian Hill School. She holds a BA from Stanford University and an MA from Harvard University.

“I have learned so much over the years from organizational leaders like Glen, Gary, and Sri, and it is humbling to be asked to lead institutional development for WestEd,” says Walcott. “I am excited to help deepen WestEd’s impact and reach by growing the agency in ways that will make our high-quality research, services, and products available to more educators across the nation.”

Estes has served as a WestEd staff member since 1989. In addition to his executive team duties, he has also directed the Regional Educational Laboratory West, which, upon his retirement, will be directed by Nikola Filby. Estes’ leadership and overall management of program operations has led to the development of hundreds of high-quality services and products that have benefited school, district, and state administrators, teachers, and students in various areas of education and human development.

Estes has over 35 years of work in education. Prior to joining WestEd, he directed the Evaluation and Assessment Program and the Title I/Chapter 1 Technical Assistance Centers at Northwest Regional Education Laboratory (now Education Northwest). He has also served as District Evaluation Supervisor with the Union High School System in Phoenix, Arizona; an adjunct member of the Educational Psychology faculty at Arizona State University, Tempe; a psychometrician in several school districts; and a math and Title I teacher.

“It has been an honor serving my career in education and to have contributed to the real-world difference WestEd makes for educators and students,” says Estes. “I’ll always cherish the years of collaboration with colleagues and friends at WestEd. While I realize we have not fully reached the goal of having better data and evidence used everywhere in education policy and practice, we have made a very good start, and I’m confident that WestEd will make even more significant progress in these pursuits given the quality of its continuing and new leadership.”

“WestEd has a tremendous depth of expertise,” says CEO Harvey. “I’m pleased to draw on that talent for the next generation of agency leadership. While we will all certainly miss Gary as he retires, we’re looking forward to new ideas, energy, and direction from Sri and Catherine. Congratulations to all three.”

Ananda and Walcott will assume their new roles in summer 2012. They join a six-person WestEd Executive Team, led by Harvey, that also includes Nancy Riddle, Chief Financial Officer; Richard Whitmore, Chief Administrative Officer; and Max McConkey, Chief Policy and Communications Officer.

Contact Information

Matthew Spaur