State Partners

SIPS focuses on a consortium of eight states: Nebraska, Alabama, Alaska, Montana, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina, and Wyoming. These state partners work in collaboration with project partners to create a bank of instructionally-embedded science assessment tasks aligned with an actionable performance scale and build state and local educators’ capacity to offer high-quality science instruction, evaluate students’ learning, and make data-based instructional decisions. Through their participation in this project, state partners gain greater clarity and capacity to interpret and utilize formative science assessments to produce information that is meaningful to all stakeholders. State partner participation is also an important service to other states, as SIPS resources and tools are meant to be accessible and generalizable to any state.

Get to know our state partners:

Nebraska Department of Education

 

Jeremy Heneger

Jeremy Heneger – Director of Assessment

Jeremy Heneger serves as the Director of Assessment and previously served as the Assistant Director for Statewide Assessment for the Nebraska Department of Education for six years. During that time, he oversaw test development, the alternate assessment program, classroom assessment supports, and accessibility supports. Mr. Heneger has played a key role in the development of the state’s new assessment system: Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS). He is working on his Doctorate in Education Leadership from Doane University, and previously served as a Curriculum Director and a high school English language arts teacher for several Nebraska districts.

Rhonda True – Competitive Grants for State Assessments Program Specialist

Rhonda True, M.A., joined the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) in 2017 as the Enhanced Assessment Grant Coordinator for the Strengthening Claims-based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large-scale Science Assessment Scores (SCILLSS) project. She has been involved in science assessment development of Nebraska’s formative processes and statewide tests with Nebraska educators and Nebraska’s test vendor. Prior to joining the NDE, Ms. True served as an educator in Lincoln Public Schools and Grand Island Public Schools for a total of 34 years. She served in leadership roles as principal, assistant principal, and team leader, as well as instructional roles as an instructional coordinator and elementary and middle school teacher.

Trudy Clark – Assistant Director of Assessment

Trudy Clark is a retired educator who served students, staff, and communities for 36 years. For the past three years, she has worked with principals and other educators who are on track to obtain their specialists/doctorate degrees from Doane University. For the past 18 months, Dr. Clark had the rewarding experience of working at the State level in the NDE with educators throughout Nebraska.

Audrey Webb – Science Education Specialist

Audrey Webb has served as the Science Education Specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education since June 2020. Prior to her work at NDE, she taught high school physics, biology, and physiology in the San Francisco Unified School District. In addition, she was a member of the San Francisco Teaching Residency program, a program designed to train teacher candidates in equitable instruction and assessment, cultural relevance, and restorative practices. She holds a B.A. in Biology and Sociology from St. Olaf College (2011) and a Master of Education from Stanford University (2016).

Alabama State Department of Education

 

Jeremy Heneger

Amy Fowler Murphy – AMSTI Science Coordinator & AMSTI-ASIM Administrator

Dr. Amy Fowler Murphy currently serves as the science coordinator and secondary science administrator with the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) at the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). Prior to coming to the ALSDE, she served as the secondary science supervisor for Jefferson County Schools for two years and as a science specialist with AMSTI in the University of Montevallo (U.M.) region for eight years. Dr. Murphy also served as a science teacher for ten years in both Hoover City Schools and Birmingham City Schools. She is experienced in designing and facilitating professional learning opportunities and developing curriculum at the local and state level, and is dedicated to research-based, student-centered methods of instruction as a means of creating and nurturing lifelong learners. Dr. Murphy earned her EdD in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Alabama, holds Instructional Leadership certification from U.M., is a National Board Certified Teacher and Candidate Support Provider, and is on the Alabama ASCD Executive Board. She resides in Alabama with her husband.

Sandy Ledwell – AMSTI Director

Dr. Sandy Ledwell is the Director of the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) at the Alabama Department of Education and has worked with AMSTI since its planning stages on committees and then as a teacher, a trainer, and as a specialist. She has been a classroom teacher in elementary and middle school, a teacher leader and coach, and a professional development provider. Her current professional interests include developing curricula, especially in STEM; leading initiatives through change and continuous improvement; and incorporating the use of assessment results in teaching and coaching.

Alaska Department of Education and Early Development

 

Jeremy Heneger

Deborah Riddle – Division Operations Manager for the Innovation and Education Excellence (IEE) Division

Deborah Riddle has worked for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) for the past 8 years in a variety of jobs: School Improvement program manager, math content specialist, Title I Administrator, CTE Administrator, Assessment Administrator, and now as the Division Operations Manager. She was born and raised in Alaska but moved to Montana for about 15 years, where she taught middle school math and science.

Kelly Manning – Assessments Administrator

Coming Soon!

Montana Office of Public Instruction

 

Jeremy Heneger

Ashley McGrath – Assessment Director

Ashley McGrath is the Assessment Director at the Montana Office of Public Instruction. Ms. McGrath is a former high school science educator with a passion for education and assessment. She has been at the Montana Office of Public Instruction since 2012 and in the role of Assessment Director since 2018. She has a passion for providing high-quality technical assistance and professional learning to enhance teaching practices and to support schools using Montana’s balanced assessment systems.

Michelle McCarthy – Science Instructional Coordinator

Michelle McCarthy joined the OPI in the summer of 2015. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Education, Ed Tech. from Montana State University-Billings. She completed her K-12 Principal certification in 2012 and worked as a teacher/principal in a three-room schoolhouse. Her love for both roles led her to begin working toward a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction/Ed Leadership. Ms. McCarthy has taught students from kindergarten to pre-service graduate students for over 15 years, her current role as OPI’s Science Instructional Coordinator. Ms. McCarhty feels privileged to be working with Montana teachers to inspire students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.

Chris Noel – Assessment Specialist – Science

Chris Noel is the Specialist for Science Assessments at the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI). Ms. Noel has held a variety of roles within the field of education in her career, including High School Science Teacher, Undergraduate Instructor, Graduate Instructor, State Science Coordinator, Data Analyst for the Preschool Development Grant, Instructional Coach, Senior Manager of Operations, Director of Learning and Development, and Director of Product Operations. Her focus is on supporting teachers, leaders, schools, and families in implementing instructional best practices across all grade levels, subject areas, and school types. Ms. Noel has a B.A. in Neuroscience, an M.Ed. in Teaching, and is ABD for a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a major in Learning Sciences and a minor in quantitative methods in education. She lives in Helena with her two teenage sons.

Colet Bartow – Teaching and Learning Senior Manager

Colet Bartow was the School Library Specialist in the Content Standards and Instruction division from 2007 to December 2016, before being hired as the Content Standards and Instruction Director. As of July 2020, she became the Senior Manager for the OPI Teaching and Learning Department, supervising Content Standards and Professional Learning, Career Technical and Adult Education (CTAE), and Assessment. Ms. Bartow spent 13 years as a teacher-librarian before joining the OPI in 2007. Colet completed her M. Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction at Montana State University, and B.A. in English with endorsements in secondary English, School Library Media, and English as a Second Language at the University of Montana. Her first computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80. Her first job in a library was as a third-grade student.

New Mexico Public Education Department

 

Jeremy Heneger

Gwen Perea Warniment – Deputy Secretary of Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Gwen Perea Warniment has served in various roles in public education for over two decades, ranging from classroom teacher and instructional coach to non-profit and state leadership. Dr. Perea Warniment is passionate about student voice and culturally and linguistically sustainable education. In her current role, she advocates and works for system-level transformation toward that end.

Lynn Vásquez – PED Assessment Director

Lynn Vásquez has over 20 years of experience in managing large-scale testing programs and has held education leadership positions at the local, state, and federal levels. As the PED Division Director of Assessment & Learning Management Systems, her team is committed to transforming the state assessment system and developing multiple measures of student learning with a focus on cultural and linguistic relevance.

Jacqueline Costales – Curriculum & Instruction Division Director

Jacqueline Costales currently serves within NMPED as the Division Director of Curriculum & Instruction. She served at CYFD Juvenile Justice Services as Principal for adjudicated youth and prior to that as Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction for the Albuquerque Public Schools. She is a 26-year veteran educator whose career has included service preK-12. Ms. Costales received an Ed.S. in Educational Administration, a Masters of Arts in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Science in Education, all from the University of New Mexico. In addition to her most recent roles, she has served students, families, teachers, and principals in the following roles throughout her career: Support Principal, Principal, Curriculum Coordinator, Assistant Principal, Teacher, and as Regional Support Specialist in the Priority Schools Bureau at the NMPED. She believes in collaborative synergy and accountability and partners with an array of·stakeholders in her daily work. She is steadfast in her commitment to students and in supporting the success of academic programs in her daily life as an educator.

Yanira Vazquez – Math and Science Bureau, Director

Yanira Vazquez is the Director of the Math and Science Bureau of the New Mexico Public Education Department. Her experience in the field of education includes teaching at the elementary and college levels, working as a math/science coach, an elementary school principal, and as a math specialist with NMPED. Ms. Vazquez has extensive experience providing mathematics professional development to educators. She holds a Master in Teaching Math and Science from New Mexico State University and is currently a doctoral student in Educational Leadership at the University of New Mexico.

Xavier DeLeon – NAEP State Coordinator

Xavier DeLeon, B.S., joined the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) in 2019 as a Science Assessment Program Manager within the Assessment Bureau, which quickly transitioned into the role as Assessment Coordinator. After approximately one year with NMPED, Mr. DeLeon was promoted to the NAEP State Coordinator. Mr. DeLeon has prior experience teaching Math, Science, and Physical Education to grades 3-8 and has extensive experience related to biomedical research. During his time at NMPED, Mr. DeLeon has used his expertise to facilitate a variety of projects, including assessment development, evaluation, and professional development.

Jacqueline Costales – Curriculum & Instruction Division Director

Jacqueline Costales currently serves within NMPED as the Division Director of Curriculum & Instruction. She served at CYFD Juvenile Justice Services as Principal for adjudicated youth and prior to that as Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction for the Albuquerque Public Schools. She is a 26-year veteran educator whose career has included service preK-12. Ms. Costales received an Ed.S. in Educational Administration, a Masters of Arts in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Science in Education, all from the University of New Mexico. In addition to her most recent roles, she has served students, families, teachers, and principals in the following roles throughout her career: Support Principal, Principal, Curriculum Coordinator, Assistant Principal, Teacher, and as Regional Support Specialist in the Priority Schools Bureau at the NMPED. She believes in collaborative synergy and accountability and partners with an array of·stakeholders in her daily work. She is steadfast in her commitment to students and in supporting the success of academic programs in her daily life as an educator.

New York State Education Department

 

Zachary Warner – Director of State Assessment, Office of State Assessment

Zachary Warner is the Director of State Assessment for the New York State Education Department and oversees the coordination, development, and administration of assessments within the New York State Testing Program, which serves 2.6 million students. Dr. Warner has previously worked as a psychometrician and education researcher for New York State and began his career as a high school mathematics teacher.

Steven Katz – Assistant Commissioner, Office of State Assessment

Steven Katz brings to the Assistant Commissioner position extensive knowledge and experience in New York State’s Assessment program and has over 25 years of experience with the Department. He started with the Department as an Assistant in Educational Testing where he advised school administrators, teachers, parents and students concerning the administration of Regents examinations. He then held the position of Bureau Chief and then as the Director of the Office of State Assessment, which he held for over 10 years.

Marybeth Casey – NYSED Asst. Commissioner, Curriculum Instruction and Early Learning

Marybeth Casey joined the New York State Education Department as an Associate in the Office of Curriculum and Instruction in 2006 after 12 years in teaching and 10 years in the private industry. Since joining the Department, her primary responsibilities have included middle level education initiatives as well as NYSED guidance, policy, and regulations pertaining to the K-12 program requirements and the New York State diploma requirements. In 2018, Ms. Casey became the Director of Curriculum Services, managing all content areas in the Curriculum Office and the CTE office. In February of 2020, she was appointed as NYSED’s Assistant Commissioner of Curriculum Instruction and Early Learning overseeing the offices of Curriculum & Instruction, Career and Technical Education, Education Design and Technology and Early Learning. She is a graduate of the State University of N.Y. at Albany with a B.S. in Economics and the Sage Graduate School of Education with an M.S. in Education. She resides with her husband Tim in Poestenkill, NY, and is the very proud mother of 2 adult daughters, Kate and Caroline.

Nicole Marschilok – Science Associate, Instructional Services

Nicole Marschilok is an Associate in Instructional Services in Science in the Office of Curriculum and Instruction for the New York State Education Department. Ms. Marschilok is responsible for assisting stakeholders with science curriculum standards K-12, developing instructional tools and resources, and supporting and assisting in the dissemination and implementation of the New York State P-12 Science Standards. Prior to her current position, she worked as a science educator and school building leader in rural and urban schools for over 12 years. Ms. Marschilok holds a Master of Arts in Teaching – Science degree from Union Graduate College and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Administration degree from The College of Saint Rose.

Megan Kinmartin – Science Associate, Instructional Services

Megan Kinmartin is an Associate in Instructional Services for the Office of State Assessment for the New York State Education Department. Megan oversees the development of the grade 5 science examination, the grade 8 science examination, and the Earth Science Regents examination. In addition, she provides leadership for the creation of assessment specifications aligned to the New York State Science Learning Standards. Megan also conducts various forms of educator training for the New York State Science Learning Standards and provides guidance to educators, science stakeholder groups, and the public concerning science assessments. Ms. Kinmartin holds a Master of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy. Additionally, she is NYS certified in Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Science and has previously worked as a science teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor.

Ann Crotty – Science Associate, Instructional Services

Ann Crotty is an Associate in Instructional Services in Science in the Office of Curriculum and Instruction for the New York State Education Department.

South Carolina Department of Education

 

Elizabeth Jones – Director of the Office of Assessment

Elizabeth Jones is the Director of the Office of Assessment at the South Carolina Department of Education. Her office manages the development, administration, scoring, and reporting of statewide assessments for public school students in kindergarten through grade 12. Ms. Jones has been with the Office of Assessment since 1985 and director since 2010.

Stephanie DiStasio – Office Director, Personalized Learning

As the Director of Personalized Learning, Stephanie DiStasio is a leader in innovative change. She has more than 20 years of experience in education in the Rock Hill School Districts. As a formal principal, assistant principal, advanced studies coordinator, and middle and high school French teacher, she has the skill set to help educators realize the opportunities available to students through this work. Her background in elementary, middle, and high school settings has helped foster a unique perspective and a wealth of exposure to best practices in education.

Llewellyn Shealy – Team Leader for Development, Office of Assessment

Llewellyn Shealy has been at the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) since 2014. She has over 20 years of experience in education as a middle school science and math teacher, an elementary school teacher, a curriculum resource teacher, and a technology teacher. She is currently the Team Leader for Development at the SCDE, but was previously the Education Associate for science development. She has experience in both item and forms development. She is also a member of the CCSSO Balanced Assessment Collaborative and AERA.

Wyoming Department of Education

Barb Marquer – Supervisor of Standards

Barb Marquer has been with the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) for five years. In her first year, she was the science standards consultant. Ms. Marquer has been Supervisor of Standards for the last 4 years. Prior to WDE, she was a Registered Nurse for 15 and served in a DOD STEM program for 9 years.

Laurie Hernandez – Director of Standards and Assessment

Laurie Hernandez earned her B.A. in Elementary Education at the University of Wyoming and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Ms. Hernandez loved being a classroom teacher in Arizona for 14 years, where she taught grade 5 students for two years, middle school science for 12 years, and summer school math for four years. Ms. Hernandez is interested in helping teachers across Wyoming integrate fun and engaging STEM lessons and provide real-world experiences for their students.

Jessica Steinbrenner – Assessment Supervisor

Jessica Steinbrenner is the Supervisor for the Assessment Team at the Wyoming Department of Education. As supervisor, she ensures the successful implementation of the state’s large-scale assessments collaborating with a team of highly qualified individuals who work with vendors and stakeholders to accomplish this task. Her work involves ensuring that Wyoming meets federal and state regulations around assessment while informing districts and schools about implementation, security, and data uses for the state’s large-scale assessments.

Shannon Wachowski – Science and C/VE Consultant

Shannon Wachowski is the Science Consultant for the Wyoming Department of Education. In her 14-year career as an educator, she has taught a variety of science and math classes in rural high school settings as well as facilitated professional development for teachers. Originally a chemical engineer, she left the industry to pursue a career of life-long learning and helping others learn.