Biographical Statements for English Language Learners Advisory Committee Members

Stephanie Cawthon, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephanie Cawthon investigates issues of equity and access in education from multiple vantage points. Dr. Cawthon is a national expert on issues related to standardized assessment and students who are deaf or hard of hearing, particularly in the context of accountability reforms such as No Child Left Behind. She is the Associate Director for Research and Evidence Synthesis at pepnet2, a Technical Assistance and Dissemination project that serves individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Dr. Cawthon explores assessment issues such as the effects of accommodations or item modifications on test scores for students with disabilities and English Language Learners. She is a part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners looking at the potential of drama-based instruction for students from diverse backgrounds. This project focuses targeting teacher’s pedagogical knowledge through innovative, kinesthetic, and collaborative teaching strategies.

Magda Chia, Ph.D.

Magda Chia is the Director for Strategy, Impact and Policy at Understanding Language/Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (UL/SCALE). In her role, she develops and helps execute collaborations with states and districts to advance coherent education policy and practice. She works on outreach to educators, policymakers, and other stakeholders while taking advantage of UL/SCALE’s cross-disciplinary approach that supports the education of all students. Chia helps guide the center in work across several key components of education—pedagogical practices, professional development, assessment systems—within the context of supporting and celebrating the diversity of students across the country.

Chia’s research addresses validity and fairness in assessments across diverse student populations including English language learners, students with disabilities, and English language learners with disabilities. She specializes in the relationship between cultural and linguistic diversity and assessment development, implementation, data use, and classroom instruction. Her work has been funded by numerous organizations, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to UL/SCALE, she led the efforts across multiple fields to produce summative, interim, and formative assessments that support all students.

Chia received her doctorate in education, equity, and cultural diversity at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She holds a master’s from New York University, and was a Fulbright scholar in Peru.

Gary Cook, Ph.D.

Gary Cook, Ph.D. directs research for the WIDA Consortium and is a research scientist attached to the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Dr. Cook received his Ph.D. in Measurement and Quantitative Methods from Michigan State University. He has a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language and a Bachelor’s in linguistics from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. He has served in educational leadership or research positions in private industry, in an urban public school district, in a state department of education, and at the university level. He is an experienced Federal Peer Reviewer for NCLB and serves on several state and national technical advisory committees. His recent research and publication interests have focused on the relationship between English language proficiency and content assessments, standards alignment, policy issues associated with Title III accountability, and applying growth modeling techniques to address key educational questions for English language learners.

Kathy Escamilla, Ph.D.

Kathy Escamilla is a professor of education in the division of social, bilingual, and multicultural foundations at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Escamilla is a member of numerous professional organizations in education and has served two terms as the president of the National Association for Bilingual Education. She was recently appointed co-editor of the Bilingual Research Journal, and has served as chair of the Bilingual Education Research Special Interest Group for AERA. She received her Ph.D. in curriculum and the study of schooling from UCLA.

James Green, Ph.D.

James Green began his direct involvement in Native American education in 1979 as assistant principal at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, SD. Through his interest in Native languages, Green collaborated in the 1980s with Caleb Gattegno, originator of the Silent Way of Teaching and Words in Color, to develop the teaching materials for the Lakota and Dakota languages. He became the director of the Institute for Dakota Studies at the Sisseton Wahpeton Tribal College (SD) in 1990, where he developed a new A.A. degree curriculum in Native Studies. In 1996 he became director of the Alliance Project for Tribal Colleges, a national teacher education project funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and headquartered at Vanderbilt University. He also taught Lakota and Dakota languages at South Dakota State University as an adjunct professor from 1992–2002.

In 2003 Green began a dual appointment at the Monarch Center, University of Illinois Chicago, and as paraprofessional coordinator for the Alaska Partnership for Teacher Enhancement at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). The Monarch Center work continued his responsibility to assist with the development of special education teaching-training at tribal colleges; his primary work in Alaska was to respond to the need in rural and Alaska Native village schools for “highly qualified” paraprofessionals under No Child Left Behind. He designed a set of core courses for paraeducators through UAA and delivered them onsite in Alaska Native villages.

In 2008 he joined the staff of the federal Equity Assistance Center housed in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder and led by Leonard Baca and Janette Klinger as co-principal investigators. His work with the Equity Assistance Center has been primarily with K-12 school districts in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana. Green serves as a liaison with state offices of education, local school districts, Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, and Tribal Education Departments to provide professional development and direction on Native culture and language and their effect on the academic achievement of American Indian and Alaska Native students. Green continues to serve on the Steering Committee for the IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University, a national project to provide high-quality resources on students with disabilities (

Green completed his master’s in American Indian curriculum development from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in 1980. Green received his doctorate in education at the University of Minnesota in 2006. His research dissertation was titled Paradigm Adherence and the Great Debate on Reading.

Kenji Hakuta, Ph.D.

Kenji Hakuta is the Lee L. Jacks professor of education at Stanford University. He was the founding dean of social sciences, humanities, and arts at UC Merced. He is currently chair of the National Research Council’s Workshop on the Role of Language in School Learning: Implications for Closing the Achievement Gap; chair of the National Academy of Education’s Research Advisory Committee; member of the Validation Committee for the Common Core State Standards; and chair of the AERA Task Force on IES Reauthorization. He received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Harvard University.

Guillermo Solano-Flores, Ph.D.

Guillermo Solano-Flores, PhD is Professor of Bilingual Education and English as a Second Language at the School of Education of the University of Colorado Boulder. He specializes in educational measurement, assessment development, and the linguistic and cultural issues that are relevant to both the testing of linguistic minorities and international test comparisons.

A psychometrician by formal training, Dr. Solano-Flores’ work focuses on the development of alternative, multidisciplinary approaches that address linguistic and cultural diversity in testing. He has conducted research on the development, translation, localization, and review of science and mathematics tests; the design of software for computer-assisted scoring; and the development of assessments for the professional certification of science teachers. He has been principal investigator in several National Science Foundation-funded projects that have examined the intersection of psychometrics and linguistics in testing. He is the author of the theory of test translation error, which addresses testing across cultures and languages. Also, he has investigated the use of generalizability theory—a psychometric theory of measurement error—in the testing of English language learners.

Dr. Solano-Flores has advised Latin American countries on the development of national assessment systems. Also, he has been the advisor to countries in Latina America, Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa on test translation. His current research projects investigate the measurement of mathematics academic language load in tests, formative assessment practices for English learners in the science classroom, and the design and use of illustrations as a form of testing accommodation for English learners with an approach that uses cognitive science, semiotics, and sociolinguistics in combination.

Guadalupe Valdes, Ph.D.

Guadalupe Valdes is the Bonnie Katz Tenenbaum professor of education at Stanford University. Her research explores issues of bilingualism relevant to teachers in training, including methods of instruction, typologies, measurement of progress, and the role of education in national policies on immigration. She is a member of the National Academy of Education, an AERA Fellow, a member of the Board of Trustees for ETS, and a member of several editorial boards for language and linguistics publications. She received her Ph.D. in Spanish from Florida State University.