Our Team

About Us

Our Team

Our team of expert teachers, curriculum and resource developers, and research and operations professionals is based primarily in the San Francisco WestEd office. In addition, we work with a group of over 50 highly experienced consultants from across the country who hold or have held positions including content area teacher leaders, literacy coaches, community college instructors, site administrators, and literacy directors for large urban districts and county offices of education.


Linda Friedrich


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Linda is the Director of the Strategic Literacy Initiative (SLI), which has a proven track record in improving disciplinary literacy in middle school, high school, and college.

For nearly three decades, Linda has worked at the intersection of practice and research to engage teachers in collaboratively improving teaching and learning with a strong focus on literacy.

Most recently she served as the National Writing Project’s (NWP) Director of Research and Evaluation, where she led writing assessment efforts and developed and co-facilitated an initiative that engages young people in crafting civic arguments and improving academic arguments. Prior to joining NWP, she served as Research Director at the Coalition of Essential Schools and as a program officer at the Philadelphia Education Fund.

She has won competitive program and research grants, co-authored peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, edited collections of teachers’ research including Working Toward Equity, and, with Ann Lieberman, coauthored How Teachers Become Leaders: Learning from Practice and Research (Teachers College Press, 2010).

She earned her PhD in Administration and Policy analysis at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and holds an AB in History from Bryn Mawr College.


Cynthia Greenleaf

Senior Research Scientist

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As a Co-Founder of the Strategic Literacy Initiative, Cyndy is recognized for her work conducting cutting-edge research in adolescent literacy and translating it into powerful teacher professional development. In her current role as Senior Research Scientist, Cyndy leads design based research to support the ongoing development of Reading Apprenticeship and contributes to national and international efforts to advance the academic and disciplinary literacy of adolescents.

Awards and honors for her work in language and literacy teaching include the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Conference on Research, the Arthur Applebee Award for Excellence in Research on Literacy, and recognition from the American Educational Research Association; the University of California, Berkeley; and the National Council of Teachers of English. She received a PhD and an MA in language and literacy education from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in linguistics from the University of California, San Diego, where she graduated magna cum laude.


Willard Brown

Professional Development Associate

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Will’s focus is science literacy, including teacher professional development, facilitator professional development, materials development, and collaborating in design-based research with science teachers. Previously, Will taught high school science in the Oakland Public Schools. His classes appear widely in Reading Apprenticeship print and video materials. He also taught pre-service math and science teachers at the University of California, Berkeley, and California State University, East Bay. Will holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.


Irisa Charney-Sirott

Director of Professional Learning

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Irisa began working with Reading Apprenticeship as an 8th grade teacher. She currently coordinates and supports the national cohort of Reading Apprenticeship facilitators. Additionally, she designs and facilitates Reading Apprenticeship professional learning both face-to-face and digitally. Irisa earned a BA from Brown University


Emma Fujii

Conference Coordinator

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Emma’s responsibilities include financial and travel paperwork processing, data organization, and materials management. She also supports in-person events and Supporting Effective Teaching with Disciplinary Inquiry (SETDI). Prior to joining WestEd, Emma worked as Administrative Assistant at Community Focus – a Project of the Tides Center. She received her BA in Psychology and Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara.


Nika Hogan

College National Coordinator

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In addition to her national role coordinating Reading Apprenticeship outreach to college educators, Nika co-directs two statewide Communities of Practice for the California Community College Success Initiative (3CSN): the Reading Apprenticeship Project and the Threshold Project. Her work is focused on developing pedagogical, curricular, and institutional approaches and structures that will maximize the retention and success of all students. As Associate Professor of English at Pasadena City College (PCC), she has been involved in many learning communities through PCC’s Teaching and Learning Center and helped to develop the First Year Pathways program, which was awarded the California Community College’s Chancellor’s Office Award for a Student Success Initiative. Nika holds a PhD in Multiethnic U.S. Literatures from the University of Massachusetts.


Heather Howlett

Project Coordinator

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Heather has a background as an eighth grade science teacher and instructional coach in Reading Apprenticeship for Howell (MI) Public Schools. She has also served as an SLI consultant, facilitating professional development in Michigan and nationally. Her classroom work is featured on the U.S. Department of Education’s “Doing What Works” website. Heather is a graduate of Madonna University with a BS in Biology, and she earned an MA in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University.


Mira-Lisa Katz

Associate Director

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As an Associate Director of SLI, Mira-Lisa works closely with the SLI Management Team (MT), managing high-visibility research and development projects focused on professional learning and literacy at the secondary and postsecondary level, developing tools for student and teacher learning based on the Reading Apprenticeship instructional and professional development framework, and disseminating research findings. Previously, Mira-Lisa was professor of English at Sonoma State University, where she taught literacy studies, applied linguistics, English education, and literature to pre-service English teachers. She received a BA in French and linguistics from Mills College, graduating summa cum laude, and an MA and PhD in education in language, literacy, and culture from the University of California, Berkeley.


Margot Kenaston

Program Associate

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In her role as Program Associate, Margot has responsibility for leading the SLI Operations Team, coordinating sales operations, and managing contracting with clients for professional development services. Previously, Margot worked as an Executive Assistant supporting the Vice President of Education and Museum Services, and her department, at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. She graduated with honors from Haverford College, where she received a BA in English, with a concentration in Gender Studies.


Diane Lee

Finance Manager/Sr. Program Coordinator

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Some of Diane’s responsibilities include budgeting, cost reports, forecasting and other financial analysis work; as well as coordinating SLI’s efforts around the RAISE (Reading Apprenticeship Improving Secondary Education), RAWC (Reading Apprenticeship: Writing Connections) initiatives and RAAD (Reading Apprenticeship Across the Disciplines).


Bill Loyd

Michigan State Coordinator

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As Reading Apprenticeship Michigan State Coordinator since 2010, Bill has been instrumental in shepherding broad implementation of Reading Apprenticeship across the state. Bill first became involved with Reading Apprenticeship as Literacy Coordinator for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, where the successful implementation of Reading Apprenticeship was featured on the U.S. Department of Education’s “Doing What Works” website. Over a period of 38 years, Bill’s educational career has encompassed teaching at all levels—from second graders to doctoral candidates—administration at the school and district levels, and project management.


Sharon Sáez

Partnership Development Director

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In her role as Partnership Development Director, Sharon works with organizations and schools to increase the awareness and use of Reading Apprenticeship’s evidence-based professional development services. She is an accomplished leader and demonstrated change agent within the national K-16 education community; for over 20 years, she has served as a core member of several organizations’ leadership teams, contributed knowledge and expertise in the area of standards-based accountability in K-12 education policy, and oversight of the implementation of projects to enhance education practices. Prior to joining WestEd, she worked as Senior National and International Sales Accounts Consultant with CTB-McGraw Hill Education and Educational Testing Services K-12.


Mary Stump

Associate Director

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Mary works closely with SLI and WestEd management on strategic planning for sustainability, resource development, and organizational capacity building. Mary has 15 years of managerial experience in education service and research organizations. Prior to working in the non-profit sector, she taught college composition and conducted research in the teaching of writing. At the CRESS Center at the University of California, Davis, she evaluated programs focused on school district improvement, science education, and teacher professional learning. She holds an MA in English Composition from San Francisco State University.


Lorelle Wien

Senior Program Coordinator

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Lorelle’s responsibilities include event and project management for the Reading Apprenticeship College Program and online services, tech tool and Salesforce administration, and marketing/communications. Previously, Lorelle was Events Manager/Executive Assistant to the Office of the President at the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund. She received a BA in American Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.