TransformEd’s team brings a broad range of complementary perspectives, skills, and experience to our work. We are all passionate about one thing: using what we know to improve outcomes for children.

Sara Bartolino Krachman | Co-Founder and Executive Director

Sara Bartolino Krachman serves as the Co-Founder & Executive Director of Transforming Education (TransformEd), a non-profit that supports educators and school systems in equipping students with the mindsets, skills, and habits they need to succeed. Sara is responsible for setting TransformEd’s strategy, building internal capacity, fundraising, and building new partnerships. Prior to founding TransformEd, Sara was a Senior Associate within The Parthenon Group’s Education Practice, where she worked with leading national foundations, large urban school districts, and state departments of education on strategic planning and implementation of systems change efforts. Before joining Parthenon, Sara served as Vice President of Operations for INeedAPencil, a provider of free online SAT preparation to low-income students. Sara earned her A.B. in Government from Harvard University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 2015, she was named a Finalist for the Young Professional Excellence Award, which honors an emerging nonprofit professional who has made a significant contribution to their organization through their effectiveness, dedication, perseverance, innovative thinking, and interpersonal skills.

Katie Buckley | Director of Research and Assessment

Katie Buckley is the Director of Research and Assessment at Transforming Education, where she is responsible for developing the organization’s research agenda, leading TransformEd’s work in identifying and validating existing and new assessments of social-emotional skills, and managing partnerships with education and youth organization seeking to enhance their contribution to student’ social-emotional development. In this role, she works closely with researchers and research organizations throughout the US, has presented findings related to the validity and use of social-emotional assessments at numerous conferences and speaking engagements, and has written and contributed to several briefs and articles. Katie has spent the last decade conducting education research to advance practice and policy, with a focus on the use of assessments in k-12 education systems. Prior to joining Transforming Education, Katie was a Senior Analyst at Abt Associates, served as a consultant for the Center for Assessment, and was a Research Associate at the Education Development Center (EDC). Katie holds an Ed.D. in Quantitative Policy Analysis in Education and an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), and a Master’s degree in Public Policy (M.P.P.) from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. While at HGSE, Katie served as a graduate fellow at the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR), and conducted research on teacher effectiveness, the use of assessments in teacher evaluation systems, and the effect of an interim assessment program on student academic outcomes.

DJ Cervantes | School Supports Manager

DJ Cervantes is the School Supports Manager at TransformEd where he manages MESH and Culture/Climate survey administration and coaches school leaders through the results. Prior to joining TransformEd, DJ was the Director of Teacher Leadership Development with Teach For America in Massachusetts and in Buffalo, NY, where he managed a team of teacher coaches and co-led the efforts in improving access to opportunity and outcomes for students in under-resourced schools.  He started his career as a secondary science teacher in Oakland, CA and also spent a year as Leader In Residence with Phoenix Charter Academy in Lawrence, MA. He holds a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from Ohio University in Athens, OH.

Richard Fournier | Director of District Partnerships

Richard Fournier is Director of District Partnerships and leads TransformEd’s work in facilitating the integration of Mindsets, Essential Skills, and Habits into practice in schools and districts. Richard began his career as a high school history teacher and soccer coach. He worked as a research associate and technical assistance associate for eight years at Education Development Center (EDC), and later as a project scholar for the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, where he studied character and citizenship in high schools around the U.S. Richard is currently a teaching fellow at Harvard University’s School of Education, and an adjunct faculty member at Lasell College, and is working on his doctoral dissertation on principal leadership to complete his doctorate at Boston University where he has been a Dean’s fellow the last four years.  He holds a Massachusetts superintendent license, a certification in program evaluation, an Ed.M from Boston University and a B.A. in History from the University of Maine.

Akira Gutierrez | Manager of Research-Practice Integration

Akira Gutierrez is the Manager of Research-Practice Integration, where she focuses on applying developmental theory and research to practice, as well as integrating practitioner experience into a wider understanding of how to best support the development of student MESH. Prior to joining TransformEd, Akira was a part of various research projects at Tufts University. At the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Akira was involved in research design and analyses of multi-site, longitudinal school-based studies, as well as program development and implementation, in the areas of social, emotional, and character development. During her time with the Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation project, she worked on study design, implementation, and qualitative analyses, as part of an evaluation of home visiting services, their uses, and participant outcomes among diverse young mothers and children. Akira has also taught young children using emergent curriculum in inclusive classrooms, as well as adolescent students as a Teaching Fellow of Breakthrough Collaborative in Miami, FL. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Child Development from Tufts University with concentrations in early childhood education and applied developmental research.

Stephanie Hurley | Manager of District Partnerships

Stephanie Hurley is the Manager of District Partnerships at Transforming Education, where she facilitates the integration of MESH into practice in schools and districts. Prior to joining the TransformEd team, Stephanie worked as a Content Specialist at Achievement Network, where she was responsible for designing educational assessments for formative use in classrooms across the country. She also has experience as a content developer with LearnZillion and as a strategy consultant with the Boston Schools Fund. Stephanie began her career in education as a middle school literacy teacher at the Academy of the Pacific Rim charter public school in Boston and served as the school’s Humanities Data Leader for two years. Stephanie holds a B.A. in Secondary Education and English from Boston College and an MBA in Nonprofit Management from Brandeis University.

Joanne Jan | Operations & Program Associate

Joanne Jan is the Operations & Program Associate at Transforming Education, where she is responsible for streamlining operation systems and providing programmatic support to the team. Prior to TE, Joanne was at UP Education Network, a school management organization focused on transforming chronically underperforming district schools into extraordinary schools that sustain achievement over time, first as the Academic Program Specialist and then the Manager of Academic Program. During her time at UP, Joanne worked to create an internal audit system to ensure compliance across the network and then managed large scale projects of the network’s Academic Team. Joanne is a proud AmeriCorps alumna having served two years with City Year Boston at the Irving Middle School in Roslindale, MA. She holds a B.A. in Classics & Psychology from Colgate University.

Bob LaRocca | Director of Policy and Communications

Bob LaRocca is Director of Policy and Communications at TransformEd, where he is responsible for collaborating with policymakers and crafting the organization’s policy and communications plan. In this capacity, Bob presents on TransformEd’s work at national conferences, authors and contributes to publications on social-emotional learning (SEL) and education policy, and cultivates partnerships with federal, state, and local education leaders and organizations that are dedicated to supporting a data-informed approach to SEL. Prior to joining TransformEd, Bob was Director of Strategic Collaborations at Primary Source, where he worked with education leaders to advance global education in K-12 schools, and has also taught at multiple Boston-area schools. As an attorney, Bob helped run the Community Business Clinic at Northeastern School of Law, where he provided legal services to urban entrepreneurs and small business owners. And, he has served as a campaign manager and senior adviser on many Massachusetts political campaigns, developing policy positions and providing strategic communications advice to candidates. Bob holds an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and a law degree from Boston College Law School.

Ji Won Paek | Research Associate

Ji Won Paek is the Research Associate at TransformEd, where she is responsible for managing and analyzing MESH-related research projects. Prior to joining TransformEd, Ji Won was the Research Associate and Manager of the Teachers College Survey Research Initiative, where she managed a team of research associates in providing schools across the country with school climate surveys and reports. She was also part of the external evaluator team at Teachers College, where she helped to assess the California Charter School Association’s accountability framework. Ji Won started her career in education as a Match Corps member at Match Next in Boston, a then-piloting charter school focusing on technology blended-learning curriculum. Ji Won holds a B.A. in Psychology from Duke University and a Master’s Degree in Education Policy and Social Analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Cori Stott | Chief of Staff

Cori Stott is the Chief of Staff at TransformEd, where she is responsible for strategic planning and tracking, project management, and operational oversight. Prior to joining Transforming Education, Cori was the Director of Research and Accountability at Brookline Public Schools where she managed strategic system-wide projects and led the district’s efforts in utilizing data to drive continuous improvement in instruction, programming, and operations. Cori has also worked as the Director of Organizational Effectiveness at The Achievement Network and as an education consultant with McREL International. Cori holds a B.A. in psychology from Wellesley College, an M.Ed. from Harvard University, and an MBA from the University of Colorado.

Sushmita Subedi | Senior Research Associate

Sushmita Subedi is the Senior Research Associate at TransformEd, where she is responsible for supporting TransformEd’s work in identifying and validating existing and new measures of student success, and collecting, managing, and analyzing longitudinal MESH data. She is a Ph.D. Candidate of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where her research focuses on analyzing the implementation and perceived effectiveness of a national education reform in Nepal. Prior to joining TransformEd, Sushmita worked with the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy to design multiple surveys aimed at understanding the effectiveness of the Massachusetts Education Partnership (MEP)’s Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) training. She started her career in education and youth development as a Research Associate in a large-scale project funded by Save the Children, where she supported data collection, management and analysis of a 30-district survey aimed at documenting the socio-economic status of children in Nepal. Sushmita holds an M.A. in Economic Development from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and an M.S. in Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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