UW INSPIRE

Staff & Colleagues

Organizational Leadership

Elham Kazemi, Executive Director

Dr. Kazemi divides her time between studying teacher learning and student learning. She attends to classroom discourse, students' mathematical thinking and students' learning and identities. Dr. Kazemi uses her work with students to inform her work with teachers in professional development settings. Her vision is to support the effort of schools that engage and excite children and educators alike.

Deborah Massachi, Managing Director

Deborah’s background is in issues related to collaboration, equity, and professional quality in education. Some of the local organizations she has worked with in the past include Seattle Public Schools, WA State School Directors’ Association, and Youth Development Executives of King County. Deborah’s efforts are informed by her academic work in the UW Master’s in Education Policy program. She is also influenced by her 10 years as a P-12 educator in California school and youth development contexts.


Learning Labs Colleagues

Anita Lenges, Learning Labs Lead Co-Facilitator

Anita spent over a decade teaching middle and high school, first in Kenya with the US Peace Corps and later in the Northshore School District. In 2003, Anita received the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award while completing her doctoral degree and teaching methods and other courses in the College of Education. Anita joined the faculty at The Evergreen State College where she spent another decade researching and teaching in the Masters in Teaching and Masters in Education programs. Anita has facilitated and designed professional learning experiences for over 20 years and brings a wealth of experience and abundant enthusiasm to coordinate the INSPIRE work.

Becca Lewis, Learning Labs Co-Facilitator

Becca Lewis is a doctoral student in curriculum and instruction in the College of Education at UW. Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of elementary mathematics, classroom discourse, the teaching and learning of fractions, and supporting school-wide professional learning. She is a National Board Certified Teacher with 13 years of experience as a classroom teacher, curriculum designer, math coach and professional development facilitator.

Adrian Cunard, Learning Labs Co-Facilitator

Adrian had a long career as an elementary classroom teacher, instructional coach, and teacher educator before returning to the University of Washington to get a PhD in Mathematics Teacher Education. She now supports the learning of both pre-service and in-service teachers at the UW and in school districts around the region.

Liz Donat, Learning Labs Co-Facilitator

Liz Donat recently completed her PhD in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She is passionate about teaching and learning, and her research interests include practice-based teacher education and reading instruction. A former elementary school teacher, she now currently supports preservice teachers in their literacy methods courses and in their student teaching placements. She leads INSPIRE's work in literacy learning labs with inservice teachers. 


EduDesign Lab Colleagues

Hilary Vargas, EduDesign Lab Teacher-Leader

Hilary currently serves as an English Language Learner (ELL) Facilitator in the Renton School District, where she consults and coaches ELL and general education teachers to provide access to comprehensible and rigorous education. Prior to this, Hilary taught elementary and middle school as a classroom teacher and an ELL teacher. She has worked on district level committee work designing new programs and collaborating with fellow teachers, parents, schools, university partners and regional teacher networks to accelerate achievement for all students.

Stephen Harvey, EduDesign Lab Teacher-Leader

Stephen's background is in elementary education with a specialization in math and science studies. He has worked as an English language teacher in Japan as well as a 5th grade teacher in Bellevue and Everett School Districts. He received his Masters in Teaching for elementary education from the UW and his endorsements in middle level science and mathematics. Stephen now works as a highly capable 5th grade educator in the Everett School District.

Erica Greenberg, EduDesign Lab Teacher-Leader

Erica graduated from the UW MIT program in 2010. Since then, she has taught a multi-aged classroom of students ages 7 through 9 at Spruce Street School in downtown Seattle, where she has put into practice values such as collaboration, social justice and student-driven learning. She has helped design and facilitate summer EduDesign Labs for elementary teachers since 2014, taking new knowledge from each workshop back to her own school.

Jeb Thomas, EduDesign Lab Teacher-Leader

Jeb is a public school educator working in Shoreline Schools currently at the Kindergarten level. Over the past 15 years, he has worked in Shoreline and Seattle Public Schools as a classroom teacher and as a Special Education Paraprofessional, working with students with Autism and kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities. Jeb is interested in keeping teachers informed and connected with quality resources to keep their instruction fresh, research-based, and relevant.

Christy Harris, EduDesign Lab Teacher-Leader

Elzena McVicar, EduDesign Lab Teacher-Leader

Elzena McVicar is currently a PhD student in Curriculum & Instruction at the UW College of Ed.  Her interests include teacher education, mathematics education, education policy, and critical theory.  Elzena graduated from the UW MIT program and taught K-5 for 7 years as a general education and English Language Learner teacher in Seattle Schools.  Elzena is excited to continue her work with EduDesign lab and in-service teachers to co-create professional development that focuses on powerful educational experiences for all students.


Teacher Education by Design (TEDD) Colleagues

Kendra Lomax, Managing Director

Kendra is a teacher educator at the University of Washington. She collaborates with local teachers to learn about children’s mathematical thinking and designs job-embedded professional learning opportunities through projects like Teacher Education by Design (TEDD.org). Curiosity about children’s mathematical ideas is at the heart of her work. Currently, she is working with colleagues at University of Washington, Northwestern, and the Teaching Channel to design online courses for K-2 teachers to learn about modeling and argumentation in mathematics and science.


Partnerships for Early Learning (PEL) Colleagues

Allison Hintz, Co-Principal Investigator & Mathematics Lead

Allison is Associate Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell. Her work focuses on supporting student and teacher learning in elementary mathematics, with a particular focus on teachers’ professional learning and facilitating meaningful discussion among children to increase mathematical understanding and foster children’s sense of identity as young mathematicians. She is a co-author of Intentional Talk: How to Structure and Lead Productive Mathematical Discussions (Stenhouse). 

Antony Smith, Co-Principal Investigator & Literacy Lead

Tony is Associate Professor and Associate Dean in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington, Bothell, where he teaches courses in teacher education, research methods, and literacy assessment and instruction. He has worked in education for twenty years, as a transitional bilingual assistant, classroom teacher, college instructor, and professor. He has a M.Ed. in education and a Ph.D. in literacy curriculum and instruction, both from the University of Washington.His work emphasizes content-area literacy and ways to deepen teachers’ instructional practices in reading comprehension while increasing students’ reading skills and strategies across dimensions of reading that include word identification, comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and ownership (motivation, engagement, and sense of self as reader). 

Michelle Salgado, Science Lead

Michelle Salgado is a UW Seattle Doctoral Student and National Board Certified Teacher. She taught elementary school for close to a decade and is currently a science curriculum developer, professional development provider for formal and informal educators, and a job-embedded instructional coach. In addition, Michelle is pursuing a PhD in science education focusing her research within bilingual student engagement with evidence-based talk and scientific modeling found within the Next Generation Science Standards.

Nicole Hill, YMCA Powerful Schools Partner

Nicole is Senior Education Director-YMCA Powerful Schools. She has worked in youth development with the YMCA of Greater Seattle for 6.5 years. In her current role she supports elementary education and enrichment programs that are designed to help close the achievement gap for students in southeast Seattle.  She is also in her first year of graduate school at Seattle University where she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

Sandy Gunder, YMCA Powerful Schools Partner

Sandy is the Education Specialist for YMCA Powerful Schools in Seattle. In this role, she coordinates the reading intervention program and community/family engagement activities and opportunities. Her standing in the broader out-of-school supports community has made her an invaluable partner for bringing an informal educator perspective to the design process. She is vital in building the network of practitioners and families ready to use Story Time STEM tools across diverse communities. Through partnerships with other community based organizations such as Chinese Information and Service Center and Neighborhood House, she has supported family literacy education to over 150 families.

Mie-Mie Wu, King County Library System Partner

Mie-Mie is a children’s librarian at the Bothell branch of KCLS. She has been central to the process of selecting books for the toolkits and has helped with the development of draft guides and supplemental resources. Her knowledge of children’s literature has been an essential contribution to the project. Additionally, Mie-Mie has pilot tested a number of the books, enabling PEL to collect data on the process and initiate the iterative design process. She continues to pilot test toolkit materials while also serving as liaison with other children’s librarians from other branches as the project expands.