Kirk Walters is the Senior Managing Director of the Mathematics and Improvement Science content areas at WestEd, which include more than 60 experienced researchers, developers, content experts, and technical assistance specialists. He works closely with leadership from both content areas on strategic, resource development, quality assurance, and eminence-building activities, including identifying synergistic opportunities that span both content areas.
Walters’s projects use various methods and approaches to develop and evaluate interventions to improve math teaching and learning. He currently leads a national impact study of a middle-school math program that promotes math, SEL, and citizenship outcomes, two studies of the implementation and impact of Illustrative Mathematics on teacher and student outcomes, and an R&D study of a video-based professional learning program for math coaches. He also serves as co-PI or senior advisor on projects focused on designing math practical measures, designing and evaluating an adult numeracy course, and facilitating a community of practice of math practitioners, researchers, and developers.
Walters has previously led math-focused improvement networks, efficacy studies, and 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 the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), private foundations, and local education agencies.
Prior to joining WestEd, Walters was a middle and high school math teacher for nearly a decade 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. He believes all math classrooms can and should be laboratories that promote continuous improvement, 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. He has a PhD from the University of Maryland in social foundations of education.