Implementing the Common Core State Standards – Examining Teacher and School Leader Professional Development and Raising Public Awareness

Implementing the Common Core State Standards – Examining Teacher and School Leader Professional Development and Raising Public Awareness
Implementing the Common Core State Standards – Examining Teacher and School Leader Professional Development and Raising Public Awareness


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This opportunity for learning and dialogue, developed in partnership with the Campaign for High School Equity, will include a small group of national education and youth-serving organizations representing the broad range of actors in the civil rights and education policy communities.

The goal of this event will be to identify and discuss significant implementation issues related to Common Core State Standards (CCSS); to highlight strategies to promote equity within ongoing Common Core discussions; and to foster relationships and build connections between the civil rights community and relevant education organizations.

This discussion group will examine three areas in depth. First, it will focus on the instructional shifts needed to ensure that all students, especially those from underserved communities, are able to meet the CCSS, such as aligning curriculum materials and providing appropriate professional development to teachers. Participants will then explore what levers currently exist within K-12 systems to promote those shifts in communities across the country. Last, it will explore strategies for raising awareness among the general public (e.g. parents, community advocates, etc.) so that they can understand, support, and advocate for policies related to the CCSS.  Guest speakers for this meeting will include Iris Chavez, Education Trust, Carrie Heath Phillips, CCSSO, and others supporting the transition to the Common Core.

Presenters Included:

Clint Bowers, Research and Policy Associate, National Indian Education Association

Iris Maria Chávez, Assistant Field Director, The Education Trust

Efrain Mercado, Project Director for the Common Core State Standards, National Association of State Boards of Education

Carrie Heath Phillips, Program Director, Common Core State Standards, Council of Chief State School Officers

Brian Sevier, Ph.D., Standards Project Director, Colorado Department of Education

Luis Torres, Director of Education Policy, League of Latin American Citizens

Presenter Biographies

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Clint J. Bowers is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and currently serves in Washington, DC as the Policy Associate for the National Indian Education Association. Prior to joining NIEA, Clint worked in the Cherokee Nation’s Washington Office where he specialized in education issues for his tribe. A longtime advocate for education issues, Clint began his career working in downrange education centers in Iraq and Djibouti where he supported the needs of deployed United States service members.



Photo_Chavez formatted 2Iris Maria Chavez currently serves as Assistant Field Director for the Education Trust, a Washington D.C. based research, analysis and practice organization promoting high academic achievement for all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. In her role at the Education Trust, she oversees the organizations field and outreach operations. Previously, Iris Maria served as Deputy Director for Education Policy & Outreach at the League of United Latin American Citizens, where she oversaw LULAC’s state and federal education policy work. In this capacity she worked to deepen LULAC’s understanding of state and federal school reform, and has expanded the relationships between LULAC’s grassroots education advocates and state and federal policymakers.

Prior to LULAC, Ms. Chavez worked as a Legislative Associate for the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), where she was a junior lobbyist assisting FRAC’s state and local network on food assistance programs and governmental processes at the federal level.  Before working at FRAC, Ms. Chavez was employed at the The Social IMPACT Research Center of Heartland Alliance for Human Rights and with the group Youth Guidance as a social worker in the Chicago Public Schools.  Ms. Chavez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree Sociology, History & African Diaspora Studies from Tulane University and a Master of Arts degree in Social Policy from the University of Chicago.
Photo_Mercado formatted 2Efrain Mercado Jr. is the Project Director for the Common Core State Standards at the National Association for State Boards of Education. In this role he works to help state boards of education across the nation lead and direct policy to ensure fidelity of implementation of the standards and related initiatives. Prior to this role he held the position of Lead Strategist for the Common Core State Standards at ASCD. While at ASCD Efrain focused on increasing awareness and support of the standards among K-12 policymakers and educators. He also engaged with states and districts to help identify, develop, and disseminate practical tools and resources for educators to use in implementing the common core state standards at the local level.

Efrain came to NASBE with a background in developing partnerships to promote College and Career Readiness for all students.  While with ACT, Inc. Efrain worked as a regional consultant and then as the Director of Outreach for the National Center for Educational Achievement (a department of ACT, Inc.) where he worked with state education agencies and school districts to promote and advocate for the use of best practices to achieve College and Career Readiness. He also brings extensive college preparation experience from his previous roles as a master tutor/teacher for the Princeton Review and as the president and founder of Premier Prep, a test preparation and college admission counseling company. Efrain holds a B.A. in U.S. History from the University of California at Riverside. While in high school Efrain was a part of the federal TRIO program, Upward Bound, based at the University of California, Riverside. A native of California, Efrain now resides in Lorton, Virginia with his wife Melanie and their three children, Madison, Sean and Bryant.

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At the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Carrie Heath Phillips is responsible for implementation of the Common Core State Standards (Common Core). Carrie has been involved with the Common Core initiative since its inception and, during the standards development process, was responsible for building support for the initiative among national education stakeholders. Prior to working at CCSSO, Carrie was a fellow on Capitol Hill for Senator Chris Dodd, former chair of the Subcommittee on Children and Families. She began her career in education as a fourth and fifth grade classroom teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. Carrie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Policy and a Master’s degree in Education from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

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Dr. Brian Sevier is the Colorado Department of Education’s Standards Implementation Project Director; leading a team of 8 content specialists in supporting Colorado educator’s transition to the Common Core and Colorado Academic Standards. In addition to his work at the state level, Brian most recently served as an Associate Professor of Social Education and the Director of the Elementary Education at the University of Northern Colorado.   Prior to UNC, Brian was an Associate Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Across his educational career, Brian has published in numerous journals and texts representative of the curriculum and instruction spectrum. Brian has a strong background in standards, curriculum, instruction, and professional development through his work at the state level, his experience in developing/designing educator preparation programs, and his classroom and district-level experiences in Colorado schools.

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Luis Torres is currently the Director of Education Policy for the League of United Latin American Citizens(LULAC).  LULAC,  founded in 1929, is the oldest and most widely respected Hispanic civil rights organization in the U.S. Since its founding, LULAC has fought for full access to the political process and works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.  Prior to LULAC, Torres served as Legislative Director for Congressman Silvestre Reyes, former-Chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and was one of a handful of Latino Legislative Directors in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He received a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Sociology from Georgetown University, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from American University.  (






Event Overview

Forum Brief

Presenter Information

Clint Bowers

‎Research and Policy Associate

National Indian Education Association

110 Maryland Ave, NE, Suite 104

Washington, DC 20002


Iris Maria Chávez

Assistant Field Director

The Education Trust

1250 H Street, NW, STE 700

Washington, DC 20005

202.293.1217 x364

Efrain Mercado

Project Director for the Common Core State Standards

National Association of State Boards of Education |

2121 Crystal Drive, #350

Arlington VA 22202


Carrie Heath Phillips

Program Director

Common Core State Standards at Council of Chief State School Officers

One Massachusetts Avenue, NW · Suite 700

Washington, DC 20001


Brian Sevier

Standards Project Director

Colorado Department of Education

201 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80203


Luis Torres

Director of Education Policy

League of United Latin American Citizens

1133 19th Street, NW Suite 1000

Washington, DC 20036

202.833-6130, ext.112

Bill Wright

Vice President, Outreach and Advocacy

America’s Promise Alliance

1110 Vermont Ave. NW Suite 900

Washington, DC 20005




The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.