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Former U.S. Dept. of Ed adviser to discuss policies impacting classrooms nationwide

Katrina Stevens will talk about what’s working in tech and education.

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Katrina Stevens, former senior adviser to the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama administration, will be speaking Tuesday at Drexel University’s ExCITe Center about policies that are working in classrooms nationwide and how to successfully scale those models to implement them in other schools and districts.

The free event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Mitchell Auditorium, Bossone Research Center, at 3126 Market St.

Stevens spent eight years teaching English at private schools in Maryland and Pennsylvania. She then moved out of the classroom to design curriculum for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth in Bermuda, before being promoted to the deputy director of that center.

Then she moved into the public school system for the first time, becoming an English language arts supervisor at Baltimore County Public Schools, where she designed and implemented a literacy curriculum incorporated across content areas for three years.

Next, Stevens entered the consulting world, helping to co-found LessonCast Learning — a company that develops and markets two pieces of software used for professional development. She left the company two years later to work as a consultant for Maryland Public Television, where she spent two years designing STEM units and aligning the station’s educational content with the Next Generation Science Standards.

She spent the following year working as a consultant for Tuscany Strategy Consulting, and the next year as the summit director and a contributing writer for EdSurge, before being hired by former President Barack Obama’s Department of Education.

She worked in the Office of Educational Technology, where she led the development and launch of Tech Rapid Cycle Evaluation Coach — a free online platform that helps districts and schools choose the best technology for their needs and circumstances.

“The need to make good decisions based on evidence, as opposed to relying on marketing hype or the buzz among a small group of peers, is critical,” Stevens wrote in a blog post at the time. “The goal is to fundamentally change the procurement and implementation process to include a continuous cycle of evidence-based decision making and to help states and districts spend millions of dollars more effectively.”

Since Obama left office, she has been operating her own firm: Katrina Stevens Consulting. The firm will “provide analysis and strategy, develop new programs, and support transitions for organizations of various sizes and types including national organizations, startups, and local, state and university education institutions,” according to Stevens’ LinkedIn page.

Her clients include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Jefferson Education, Digital Promise, Jobs for Future, and the Alliance for Excellent Education — an organization whose president, former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, has promoted the rapid expansion of virtual charter schools in legislation written by Jeb Bush, and whose leadership has spoken at the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council’s Education and Workforce Development Taskforce.

You can register online for the event.