Tina Cheuk

Tina Cheuk / Research Assistant

Tina Cheuk is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford researching disciplinary literacy in science. She was formerly the Project Manager for this initiative and continues to support this work as a Research Assistant. She earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Chicago and an M.A. in Education from Stanford University. She is a Teach for America (TFA) alumna with experience both as a teacher and school leader through Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) schools. She is also a returned Peace Corps science education volunteer in Ghana, West Africa. Her most recent role was directing the mathematics and science research, development, and designing efforts at Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP) in San Francisco Unified School District.

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Pía Castilleja / Research Assistant

Pía Castilleja earned a BA and a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University and is currently working on the PhD program in Educational Linguistics at Stanford. She has worked extensively with teachers of English Language learners in the US and has worked in various educational initiatives in Latin America. She is a research assistant on this initiative.

Magda Chia / Director for Strategy, Impact and Policy

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. Click here to view Magda's CV. 

Lauren Ellison / Project Coordinator

Lauren Ellison is the project coordinator for the Understanding Language initiative and the California ELL Leadership Network funded by the S. H. Cowell Foundation. She received her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration at Menlo College. Prior to working with these initiatives, she worked as a faculty support administrator at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. 

Hsiaolin Hsieh Headshot

Hsiaolin Hsieh / Director of Technology, Data and Systems

Hsiaolin Hsieh is the Director of Technology, Data and Systems for Understanding Language Online. She received her M.A. from the Learning, Design, and Technology program at Stanford Graduate School of Education, and also holds graduate degrees from her native Taiwan and a Certificate in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language from National Taiwan University. She has many years of experience in Digital Archives, especially in metadata infrastructure and exchange standards. Hsiaolin is currently directing the production and management of the Understanding Language MOOCs, facilitating the integration of educational technology and resources with online teaching, learning, and research activities.  

Annie Camey Kuo / Postdoctoral Scholar

Annie Camey Kuo is a Postdoctoral Scholar at Understanding Language/Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (UL/SCALE). Prior to joining the team, she worked with pre-service and in-service teachers and international school leaders in supporting culturally and linguistically diverse students at the University of Washington, where she received her Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture. Her dissertation focused on the adolescent English learner experience with problem-based learning across mainstream content areas. Annie also holds an M.A. from New York University in TESOL and Foreign Language Education and a B.A. in Mandarin Chinese and English from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a 1.5- generation immigrant from Taiwan and has taught ESOL at the secondary and college level in Los Angeles and New York. Annie’s research interest is broadly around English learners and currently focuses on the student experience and problem- and project-based learning.

Diana Mercado-Garcia

Diana Mercado-Garcia / Research Assistant

Diana Mercado-Garcia is a Research Assistant for the Understanding Language initiative. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. Before starting her doctoral studies at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education in 2014, she worked at the American Institutes for Research for four years working on projects related to English language learners and early childhood education. She has experience in qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, survey development, and policy report writing.

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Eduardo Muñoz-Muñoz

Eduardo Muñoz-Muñoz obtained his Lincenciatura in English Philology in the University of Córdoba (Spain) and his Master of Arts in Education from University of California, Berkeley. His experience as an educator in diverse capacities spans over 13 years. In addition to teaching in elementary, secondary and higher education in Spain, the UK and the US, he was an English Learner Coach and Principal before starting his doctoral studies at Stanford University in 2012. Eduardo’s research interests are bilingual education, English Learners and community interpretation. He supports the initiative as a Research Assistant.

G Reyes / Post Doctoral Scholar

Coming from East Oakland, California, G Reyes is currently a Post Doctoral Scholar at UL-SCALE where he primarily focuses on research, development, training, and publication of projects with teachers, school leaders, and districts associated with language practices, program/school design, communities of practice, and performance assessments.  As a professional in the field of Education, he has had a variety of experiences in K-12 schooling, Youth Development, teacher development, and teacher preparation.  He has been blessed to work with committed and passionate professionals, youth, and families as a lecturer/adjunct professor at UC Berkeley, Saint Mary's College, and San Francisco State University in teacher education; as a high school principal at a small school in East Oakland; a elementary, middle, and high school teacher; an Executive Director and Program Director of a Youth Development community-based organization that focused on intersecting arts and social justice; a teacher/school leader developer/coach; and a cultural worker/youth development program leader developer/coach. He earned his Ph.D. in Education from the Language, Literacy, Society, and Culture department at U.C. Berkeley.  His most recent research has been in the area of teacher and school leadership development where he investigated the nature of the cultural and structural conditions within a small urban high school that cultivated humanizing, critically conscious, intellectually engaged, and reflective practitioners into what he named, “the Politically Determined Pedagogue.”  His research interests include urban education, critical and culturally relevant pedagogy, education leadership, teacher learning, comprehensive school reform, critical literacies, English & Social Studies education, youth development, and critical media & multimodal literacies.

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Sara Rutherford-Quach / Director of Academic Programs & Research

Sara Rutherford-Quach is the Director of Academic Programs & Research for Understanding Language and a Lecturer in the Stanford Graduate School of Education. A former bilingual elementary teacher, Sara has more than 13 years of experience working with linguistically diverse students and their teachers and has conducted extensive research on instructional practices for English learners. Sara was previously awarded a National Academy of Education Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for her work on the role of silence and speech in an elementary classroom serving language-minority students. Her areas of interest include classroom discourse and interaction analysis; language, culture, and instruction in multilingual and multicultural educational environments; institutional, policy and curricular change; and educational equity.

Steven Weiss

Steven Weiss / Project Manager

Steven Weiss is the Project Manager for the Stanford ELL Leadership Network, a collaboration between seven small to medium sized school districts in Northern California focused on developing leadership capacity around English Language Learners. Prior to joining Understanding Language, he worked at the Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) program at WestEd, where he was a professional developer and instructional coach for secondary teachers and administrators in urban school districts such as New York City, Austin, San Diego and San Jose. He has also worked as a K-8 school administrator, a bilingual/ESL resource teacher, and a high school Spanish/History/ESL teacher. Steven is bilingual in Spanish. He holds an M.Ed. from U.C.L.A., an M.A. in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University, and an M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College.

Lisa Zerkel / Research Assistant

Lisa Zerkel is a Research Assistant for Understanding Language Online. She received a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University and a M.A. in Education from Stanford University. After teaching elementary special education as a Teach For America corps member in San Jose, she worked as a teacher and Director of College Counseling in KIPP Bay Area Schools. She is currently working to support the Understanding Language MOOCs and their related research activities, as well as collaborations between Understanding Language and school district partners.

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Jeff Zwiers / Director of Professional Development

Jeff Zwiers has worked for more than fifteen years as a professional developer and instructional mentor in urban school settings, emphasizing the development of literacy, thinking, and academic language for linguistically and culturally diverse students. He has published books and articles on reading, thinking, and academic language. His most recent book is Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk That Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understandings. His current work at CSET focuses on developing teachers’ core practices for teaching academic language, comprehension of complex texts, and oral communication skills across subject areas. He holds a BA in Psychology from Stanford, an MAT in Language and Reading from Stanford, and a PhD in Education from USF.