Public Education Reform Advisory Board

Tom-AlbergTom Alberg

Co-founder and Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group
Tom is a co-founder and Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group and is active on several portfolio company boards. Since its formation in 1995, Madrona has raised over $1.2 billion in six funds and invested in over 100 early-stage technology companies primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Tom currently is a director of on which he has served since before it went public in 1997 and has been its Lead Director and Chair of its Audit Committee. Tom has also served on the boards of numerous other public and private companies.

Tom serves on the technology industry boards TechNet Northwest and the Washington State Technology Alliance. From 2009 to 2013 he was a member of the President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is also on the Investment Committee of the Seattle Foundation. Tom was recently ranked number 12 of the 35 most influential business leaders in the Seattle area over the last 35 years by the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Immediately prior to co-founding Madrona Investment Group, Tom served as President of public companies LIN Broadcasting Corporation and Executive Vice President of McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc. Previously, he was chair of the Executive Committee and Partner in the Northwest’s largest law firm, Perkins Coie, where he was principal counsel for The Boeing Company, Alaska Airlines and a number of early technology companies. Before that he was an attorney with Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York. He is past chair of the Washington State Technology Alliance, the Discovery Institute, and the Pacific Science Center and past president of Intiman Theater in Seattle. He was co-chair of the capital campaign for the Computer Science and Engineering Department’s new building at the University of Washington.

Robert-PiantaRobert Pianta, Ph.D.

Dean of the Curry School of Education; Novartis US Foundation Professor of Education; Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia; Founding Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning

Robert is the Dean of the Curry School of Education, Novartis US Foundation Professor of Education, and Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia.  He is also founding director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.  Robert’s research and policy interests focus on the measurement and production of effective teaching in classrooms from preschool to high school.  Robert has authored more than 300 scholarly papers, 50 book chapters, and ten influential books related to teaching and the intersection of education and human development. He has been a principal investigator on grants and projects totaling over $55 million in sponsored support.  Robert’s assessments of teacher-student interaction are widely used in research and in a number of at-scale applications in the U.S. and internationally. 

Robert’s recent work on improvement of teacher-student interactions has implications for teacher preparation and workforce development. He is past Editor of The Journal of School Psychology and incoming associate editor for the new journal AERA Open. Among other research measures and instruments, Robert is the creator of an observational assessment of teacher-student interactions known as the Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ or CLASS, with versions for use with infants through twelfth grade students, all of which have been shown to capture features of teacher-student interactions that contribute to learning and development.  CLASS is used by every Head Start program in the country, affecting 50,000 teachers and over half a million students. Robert consults regularly with foundations as well as state and Federal agencies including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.

Sue-WalkerSue Walker, M. Ed.

Sue Walker’s career in education began in 1971, after receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics from the University of Washington. In 1993, she received her Master’s Degree in Education (Curriculum and Instruction).  Sue spent most of her career in the Shoreline School District north of Seattle.  As a secondary mathematics teacher for fifteen years, Sue was a State finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  After receiving her Principal’s Credentials in 1996, Sue spent three years as a high school administrator and seven years as district office administrator in Shoreline.

Sue became Shoreline’s Superintendent in 2006.  As the sixth superintendent in ten years, she was faced with a negative fund balance of $2.5 million, declining bond ratings and “binding conditions” by the State of Washington.  Morale within various stakeholder groups was at an all-time low.  Sue’s greatest concern during this tumultuous time was protecting Shoreline’s reputation for educational excellence while addressing unsustainable spending patterns and ultimately regaining the community’s trust.

Sue’s first goal was to recruit and hire experienced financial leadership and reduce general fund expenditures by creating efficiencies across the organization, including closing schools, implementing affordable staff ratios and negotiating sustainable collective bargaining agreements. Besides financial stability, the District focus needed to be on aligning programs, adopting much-needed curriculum, providing teacher training and addressing facility needs by passing a construction bond.

Sue retired in July 2014 having celebrated a number of goals achieved during her eight years as Superintendent:

  • Financially stability, with strong, experienced leadership in place, a fund balance of $16.5 million and restored bond ratings.
  • Shoreline’s reputation for educational excellence in tact, with both Shorecrest and Shorewood High Schools ranked as “Best High Schools” by US News, on-time graduation rates of 88%, with little or no difference between college going rates based on poverty levels or ethnicity, and multiple Washington Achievement Awards presented to Shoreline Schools annually.
  • Two state-of-the-art high school facilities (Shorewood HS and Shorecrest HS) completed on time and serving Shoreline students and the community.
  • State-adopted Danielson Framework for Teaching implemented, with on-going teacher training and evaluation in place.
  • Tuition-free, full-day kindergarten in place (for the first time in the District’s history) for all students in 2014-15, regardless of State funding.

Meredith HonigMeredith I. Honig

Meredith Honig is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle where she is also Director of the Leadership for Learning (Ed.D.) program. Her research, teaching, and district partnerships focus on policy, leadership, and organization change in urban educational systems. Her most recent studies have examined the participation of school district central office administrators in the implementation of reforms that challenge the status quo in central offices including school-community partnerships, new small autonomous schools initiatives, data-informed decision-making, and efforts to improve teaching and learning districtwide.

Dr. Honig’s publications include the edited book, New Directions in Education Policy Implementation: Confronting Complexity (2006, SUNY Press) as well as articles in Educational Researcher, the American Educational Research Journal, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

Dr. Honig’s research on central office transformation for districtwide teaching and learning improvement has been featured at meetings hosted by numerous organizations including: the American Association for School Administrators, the American Educational Research Association, the University Council for Educational Administration; the U.S. Department of Education, and the Regional Educational Lab, Northeast and Islands as well as school districts across the country. Articles from this work have been published in various outlets such as Educational Administration Quarterly and Education Week, The School Administrator.

In 2014, Honig established the District Leadership Design Lab (DL2). DL2 collaborates with districts and their partners across the country to help them improve how their central office supports teaching and learning improvement. For more information on the DL2 approach, partnerships, and tools, please see

Prior to joining the University of Washington faculty, Dr. Honig was an assistant professor and co-director of the Center for Educational Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has worked at the California Department of Education and in other state and local youth-serving agencies.