As WestEd’s Director of Mathematics, Kirk Walters leads a team of experienced researchers, curriculum developers, and technical assistance providers working to improve math outcomes for underserved communities at the PreK–12, adult basic education, and community college levels.
His projects use a range of methods and approaches to develop and evaluate interventions aimed at improving math teaching and learning. He currently leads two federally funded projects to design state-of-the-art professional development for elementary math specialists and adult numeracy instructors; a large-scale effectiveness study of an online homework tool for middle school; and two improvement science projects involving secondary math teachers.
He has previously led efficacy studies as well as mixed methods evaluations of math interventions, with an emphasis on programs designed to improve outcomes for struggling algebra students. His work has been funded by IES, OESE, OCTAE, NSF, private foundations, and local education agencies.
For almost a decade, Walters was a middle and high school math teacher in urban public schools in the greater Los Angeles and Washington, DC, areas. This experience continues to inform his work and commitment to strengthening the connections between practice and research. What gets him up in the morning (and sometimes keeps him up at night) is the belief that all math classrooms can and should be laboratories that promote curiosity, deep understanding, perspective-taking, and joy.
Walters studied mathematics and social studies as an undergraduate, and curriculum and instruction as a master’s student. His PhD, from the University of Maryland, is in Social Foundations of Education.