For 25 years, CORE has worked as a trusted advisor to more than 100,000 educators at preK-12 schools and districts across the country. CORE’s customized, multi-year professional learning programs provide the knowledge and skills educators need to implement effective, evidence-based classroom practices in literacy and math that result in sustainable academic excellence.
In 1995, acclaimed author Linda Diamond and former California Superintendent Bill Honig founded CORE as a response to California’s crisis in reading achievement. Their goal was to share with educators evidence-based research on best ways to teach children to read and help them implement these instructional practices. CORE expanded their mission in 2009 to include math instruction. In 2017, CORE became a subsidiary of Pivot Learning, the largest and most experienced non-profit technical assistance provider for school districts in California. Together, CORE and Pivot Learning are committed to improving education for our nation’s most vulnerable students.
CORE’s team of expert and experienced preK-12 literacy and math consultants helps schools apply the 6 principles of effective professional learning that lead to school-wide academic improvement. Whether they’re working in a Yupiit school in a remote Alaska village or in a school in the heart of a bustling urban center, our consultants lay a foundation of evidence-based knowledge as they support schools in building their own capacity for effective evidence-based instruction.
Working with CORE, Lincoln Elementary School in Delta County School District (CO) made extraordinary gains in literacy
Eagle County School District, CO
As educators and business leaders, we put our skills and expertise to work to help educators perform at their highest levels.
Get to know our passionate, dedicated team.
Linda Diamond, CORE’s President, previously served as a public school teacher, principal, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for a K–12 school district, and Senior Policy Analyst with an emphasis on school to career, charter schools, and school reform. Mrs. Diamond is also the co-author of CORE’s professional books Teaching Reading Sourcebook, Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures and Vocabulary Handbook.
Mark Simmons, CORE’s Chief Operating and Financial Officer, brings more than 20 years experience building the financial management, administrative and accounting functions in small and large organizations. Prior to CORE, Mark held senior financial and accounting positions with firms in the service and manufacturing sectors including GEA, Guess? and Crimson Consulting Group. Mark is a specialist in strategic planning and partnerships, operations processes, ROI, internal control, cost management and margin improvement. Mark holds a Master’s Degree in Finance from the University of Colorado, Denver.
Dale Webster is CORE’s Chief Academic Officer. He leads the Educational Services division and is responsible for the day-to-day operations, training, and quality control of CORE’s educational consulting and management staff. Dale brings 20 years of experience in teaching, professional development/technical assistance, research, state-level policy work and administration, and curriculum development to schools and districts across the country.
Dale earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and a California Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from San Diego State University, a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Houston, and a Ph.D. in education at the University of California, Irvine, where his research focused on vocabulary development for English learners. Dale has served on the California Curriculum Commission, an advisory body to the California State Board of Education on curriculum frameworks and textbook adoptions, as well as numerous other state and local educational panels. Dale is also president of Interactions for Peace, a nonprofit organization that teaches peaceful problem-solving skills to youth, and he is a board member of the San Diego branch of the International Dyslexia Association.
Dean Ballard is the Director of Mathematics for CORE. Dean holds a Master’s degree in math education from Sonoma State University (SSU) and secondary teaching credentials for both mathematics and English. Dean has 18 years of experience in the classroom teaching all levels of math from 5th grade through AP Calculus. Additionally, he has 20 years’ experience as a math consultant providing professional development for both elementary and secondary math teachers, writing curricular and exam materials, directing programs, and speaking at local and national math events (NCTM, NCSM, NABE, CABE, CMC, TODOS and others). As CORE’s Director of Mathematics since 2010 Dean has developed CORE’s math trainings, overseen CORE’s expert math team and services, and worked extensively with schools, teachers, and consultants on effective instruction and implementation of rigorous standards through their core and intervention programs. Dean is a member of NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics), NCSM (National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics), CMC (California Math Council), and TODOS: Mathematics for All.
Dr. Carrie Thomas Beck is CORE’s Director of Literacy. She comes to CORE after working four years as the Dyslexia Specialist for the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). In 2019, Carrie received the Excellence in Leadership Award from the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) to recognize her contribution to improving outcomes for students with dyslexia in Oregon. Prior to joining the Department, Carrie worked as a Research Associate in the Center on Teaching and Learning (CTL) at the University of Oregon for ten years. Carrie developed and directed the CTL Reading Clinic at the university from 2008 through 2013. She also led the development of a reading endorsement program at the university and taught literacy courses in the College of Education. Carrie spent five years at the university co-directing the Oregon Reading First Center, a federally funded center that partnered with ODE to provide technical support in the area of early literacy to fifty elementary schools throughout the state of Oregon. Earlier in her career, Carrie worked as an Implementation Manager/Project Director for the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). She has also worked as a curriculum specialist in language arts for Springfield School District in Oregon and has taught elementary and secondary special education in schools in Wisconsin and Illinois.
Brian Blanning is CORE’s Director of Educational Services Operations. He has been with CORE for more than 18 years and is responsible for client scheduling, materials fulfillment, consultant logistical support, editorial project management and event management.
Prior to CORE, Brian was a project manager with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and an event manager for a technology magazine.
CORE began its work in California in 1995 in response to the state’s crisis in reading achievement. At that time, a team of some of the most prominent researchers in the country worked with the small CORE start up team to design personalized professional learning to bring to practitioners the over 30 years of known research on evidence-based practices proven to teach children to read.
Beginning in 1997, CORE’s team developed expertise in curriculum implementation, recognizing that the specific program a school used had a huge impact on student outcomes. From that point on, CORE’s team of consultants began focusing on working with teachers and administrators to effectively learn and implement with fidelity the best evidence-based programs available while simultaneously equipping educators with evidence-based practices and strong pedagogical knowledge. In 2009, CORE added math to its literacy focus and today, CORE literacy and math consultants are among the strongest in the country.
With our National Advisory Board of experts in MTSS, English learners, curriculum-based assessments, instructional leadership, special education, reading, dyslexia, and math, CORE continues to forge successful collaborations with the nation’s most at-risk districts to help them realize sustained academic improvement.
Our 2017-2018 National Advisory Board is composed of 11 influential leaders in research-based strategies on literacy, mathematics, and professional learning. We are honored to have the benefit of these individuals’ experience and knowledge.
The Advisory Board meets annually to review current research and best practices on raising student achievement for a diverse set of learners.
Dr. Baker is a Research Professor at the Center on Research and Evaluation (CORE) at Southern Methodist University (SMU), and a Senior Research Associate at the Center on Teaching and Learning (CTL), University of Oregon. He was the founding Executive Director of CORE and the Associate Director and Research Director of CTL. Dr. Baker has been Principal Investigator on numerous education grants from the Institute of Education Sciences and other federal agencies. Dr. Baker is interested in the role of scientific research in education policy and practice, especially related to improving student outcomes. He is particularly interested in the challenges faced by English learners and by children struggling with learning difficulties. Dr. Baker’s research has focused on developing and testing academic interventions, and the mechanisms that underlie effective interventions.
Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan is a bilingual speech and language pathologist, a certified teacher, dyslexia therapist, certified academic language therapist and a qualified instructor. Dr. Cárdenas-Hagan is the President of the Valley Speech Language and Learning Center in Brownsville, Texas and works with the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics at the University of Houston.
Elsa has spent the last 15 years working in national research projects sponsored by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development and the Institute of Education Sciences, a research arm of the United States Department of Education. Each national project was related to the development of language and literacy skills among Spanish-speaking English learners. She has worked with teams of researchers designing assessments and interventions for English learners who struggle with reading.
Dr. Cárdenas-Hagan is currently the Chairperson of the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, a Past-Vice- Chairperson of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) as well as Past Editor-in-Chief of all IDA publications, Past Chairperson of the Texas State Board for Speech Pathology and Audiology and Past Chairperson of the Texas State Dyslexia Advisory Board. She has also served as a board member of the Academic Language Therapy Association, Southwest Regional Education Laboratory and Texas Comprehensive Center at the American Institutes for Research.
Elsa has written many scholarly articles, curricular programs, and book chapters related to the oracy and literacy development among English learners. She is currently working on a textbook for teaching English learners. It is her hope that pre-service teachers will have the opportunity to learn evidence-based practices for teaching literacy to a diverse population of students.
David J. Chard, Ph.D., is the Dean ad Interim of Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education and Human Development and Professor of Special Education. Prior to coming to BU, Dr. Chard served as the 14th President of Wheelock College. Dr. Chard has published more than 100 articles, monographs, book chapters, and books. He is a member of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities and has served in leadership roles in numerous professional organizations. Dr. Chard has been a classroom teacher in California, Michigan, and in the U. S. Peace Corps in Lesotho in southern Africa. In October of 2011 Dr. Chard was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences. He was confirmed in 2012 by the U.S. Senate and elected chair of the board in 2013. In 2016, he was reappointed by President Obama for a second 3-year term. He has served as a member of the All Stars National Board since 2016.
Dr. Dykstra serves as a practicing psychologist for Milwaukee County, WI, serving children and families facing the most complex challenges. He directs a mobile crisis team as well as consulting and training on a variety of topics across the community. Over the course of his more than 25 year career, he became a bold advocate on education, and reading in particular, because the fate of many of the children he sees, for whom their experience at school may be the life raft that keeps them afloat, or the weight that drags them to the bottom.
Claude Goldenberg, Ph.D. is Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Education, emeritus, Stanford University. He is author of Successful school change: Creating settings to improve teaching and learning (Teachers College); co-author with Rhoda Coleman of Promoting academic achievement among English lLearners: A guide to the research (Corwin); and co-editor with Aydin Durgunoglu of Language and literacy development in bilingual settings (Guilford). He has published and been on the editorial boards of various literacy and education academic and professional journals. Previous projects focused on improving literacy achievement among English Learners in elementary and middle school, language and literacy development among Mexican children in Mexico, and a randomized control trial of an early literacy intervention in Rwanda. Current projects include consulting for the US Department of Justice on English Learner issues and chairing a research advisory panel on early childhood education for Arizona’s First Things First.
Dr. Edward J. Kame’enui is a native Hawaiian, born in Hilo, Hawaii and raised in Kalihi on the Island of Oahu. He graduated from the Kamehameha Schools, a school for native Hawaiian children. Dr. Kame’enui’s scholarly interests are in reading, writing systems, language development, and academic interventions which he attributes to his experience growing up speaking “pidgin English” fluently, reading connected text infrequently and dysfluently, and communicating, albeit haphazardly, with his deaf mother and bigger twin brother.
From 2005-2007, Dr. Kame’enui served as the nation’s Founding Commissioner of the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which serves as the research and statistical arm of the U. S. Department of Education. He has had the honor of speaking at the White House, participating in round tables and other WH events (e.g., UNESCO presentation in Paris) with then First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush, and directing several national federal research and technical support initiatives on reading. He also served on the original advisory boards for the PBS television shows “Between the Lions” and WETA’s “Reading Rockets.” He is Dean-Knight Professor Emeritus at the College of Education, University of Oregon.
Dr. Kame’enui has co-authored 20 college textbooks, including 5th editions of two books, on teaching reading, curriculum design, vocabulary instruction, higher order thinking, and classroom management. He has more than 200 publications including 120+ refereed research articles and 55 book chapters on a range of topics including learning disabilities, early reading intervention, vocabulary instruction and development, school-wide reading improvement, the design of high quality educational materials, and the architecture of instruction.
During the almost 30-year period from 1990 to his full retirement in 2018, Dr. Kame’enui and his colleagues at the Center on Teaching and Learning (CTL) (for which he is the Founding Director) were awarded more than $70 million of federal, state, and private research and training funds, which included directing and implementing several national and state reading and academic intervention initiatives.
During his forty-year career in education, Dr. Rick Miller has been a teacher and principal at the elementary and secondary levels, instructed at the university level, and served as superintendent in six districts across two states, most recently Santa Ana Unified School District in California.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Miller has focused his efforts in school administration on school reform and improved student achievement in diverse settings. He has been at the forefront of 21st century learning, utilizing technology as a tool to provide students with equal access to education. During Dr. Miller’s five-year tenure in the Riverside Unified School District, he oversaw the deployment of 28,000 mobile computing devices to K-12 students for enhanced and personalized learning, in addition to the use of all-digital textbooks at the high school level. He has overseen the expansion of blended learning and virtual school programs, as well as nationally-recognized AVID programs and the creation of a STEM academy.
Dr. Moats has been a teacher, psychologist, researcher, graduate school faculty member, and author of many influential scientific journal articles, books, and policy papers on the topics of reading, spelling, language, and teacher preparation. She earned her master’s degree at Peabody College of Vanderbilt and a doctorate in Reading and Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Moats spent fifteen years in private practice as a licensed psychologist in Vermont, specializing in evaluation and consultation with individuals of all ages and walks of life who experienced reading, writing, and language difficulties. Dr. Moats spent four years as site director of the NICHD Early Interventions Project in Washington, DC, where she testified to Congress three times on issues of teacher preparation and reading instruction in high poverty schools. Recently, she concluded ten years as research advisor and consultant with Voyager-Sopris Learning.
Dr. Moats was a contributing writer of the Common Core State Standards, Foundational Reading Skills for Grades K-5. In addition to the LETRS professional development series, Dr. Moats’ books include Speech to Print: Language Essentials for Teachers (Brookes Publishing); Spelling: Development, Disability, and Instruction (Pro-Ed); Straight Talk About Reading (with Susan Hall, Contemporary Books), and Basic Facts about Dyslexia. She is the lead author on a remedial program for adolescents called LANGUAGE! Live.
Dr. Shinn is a Professor of School Psychology at National-Louis University and a nationally recognized consultant to schools across the country, including state departments of education, on implementation of a problem-solving model including RtI. He is the recipient of the APA Division 16 2003 Jack Bardon Distinguished Service Award and is a member of the national Technical Review Panel for the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Progress Monitoring National Technical Assistance Center. Mark has edited two books on curriculum-based measurement and published more than 75 journal articles and book chapters on the topic. He also co-edited three editions of Interventions for Academic and Behavior Problems: Preventive and Remedial Approaches, published by NASP.
Shane Templeton is Foundation Professor Emeritus of Literacy Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. A former classroom teacher at the primary and secondary levels, Shane did his graduate work at the University of Virginia, receiving his M.Ed. and Ph.D. degrees in Education there. Shane’s research has focused on developmental word knowledge in elementary, middle, and high school students. He has published in a number of research and practitioner journals, and is co-author of Words Their Way; Vocabulary Their Way: Word Study for Middle and Secondary Students; Words Their Way with Struggling Readers, Grades 4-12; and Words Their Way with English Learners. His other books include Teaching the Integrated Language Arts, Children’s Literacy: Contexts for Meaningful Learning, and with Kristin Gehsmann, Teaching Reading and Writing: The Developmental Approach (K-8). Shane has contributed chapters to a number of research handbooks, including the Handbook of Reading Research (Vol. III), Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts, Handbook of Literacy and Technology, and The Encyclopedia of Education (2nd ed.).”
Since 1987, Shane has been a member of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary. He is educational consultant on The American Heritage Children’s Dictionary. He is also consultant on and wrote the foreword to the recently published Curious George’s Dictionary.
Michelle K. Hosp, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A nationally known trainer and speaker on problem solving and the use of progress monitoring data, she has worked as the Director of the Iowa Reading Research Center, a trainer with the National Center on Progress Monitoring and the National Center on Response to Intervention, and is currently on the technical review committee for the National Center on Intensive Intervention. Her research focus is on reading, and MTSS/RTI in relation to CBM and CBE. Dr. Hosp has published numerous articles, book chapters, and books related to reading and effective decision making practices.
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