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Federal Program Assists State Education Agencies With NCLB

Regional comprehensive assistance center brings together educators, policymakers, business members, and parents to address education issues.

CHICAGO—The work of the 16 regional comprehensive assistance centers funded through the U.S. Department of Education's Office Elementary and Secondary Education is well under way. The centers were established last fall to work with state education agencies to build stronger systems of support to achieve the goals of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

The Great Lakes East Comprehensive Assistance Center (, which serves Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, is administered by Learning Point Associates, a nonprofit education service provider based in Illinois. Each state served by Great Lakes East has identified priority education areas on which to work and receive assistance from their comprehensive assistance center during the next year. This past week, Great Lakes East convened its first advisory board meeting to discuss the state priorities. The board is made up of administrators, teachers, policymakers, parents, and members of the business community who will support, inform, and advise the work of the center staff.

Advisory board member Deepa Ganschinietz, 2005 Ohio Teacher of the Year, contributes her perspective as a teacher to the board. "Teachers have a lot on their plates," said Ganschinietz. "My role is to communicate the needs of teachers to the board, ensuring that the work of the center is practical and relevant to the field. I know that Great Lakes East will provide the technical assistance needed to help Ohio meet the goals of NCLB."

As a middle school principal in a rural community in southern Indiana, Al Mihajlovits, hopes to bring an administrative point of view to the board. "I represent educators on the front line that deal with the everyday issues of NCLB," said Mihajlovits.

The Great Lakes East Director Barbara Youngren, former director of the North Central Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Consortium, has appointed three state managers to oversee the collaborative efforts between Learning Point Associates and the state departments of education.

Jayne Sowers, Ed.D., is the state manager for Indiana. As a former teacher and teacher educator, she will work with state personnel on developing policies and procedures for districts in corrective action, assisting non-Title I schools in need of assistance, and measuring the effectiveness of state-sponsored professional development.

Gary Appel, a former staff member at the Michigan Department of Education, is the state manager for Michigan. He will help the state agency work with districts on adopting and implementing new high school standards, reviewing and recertifying teacher-certification programs, and exploring effective alternative-certification programs.

As the state manager for Ohio, Mark Mitchell will use his expertise in teaching and designing professional development programs to advise state educators on enhancing the content knowledge of special education teachers, exploring data-driven decision-making approaches, and establishing a credentialing process for professional development providers.

Great Lakes East Comprehensive Assistance Center Advisory Board


Peggy Hinckley
Superintendent of Schools
Metropolitan School District Township

Al Mihajlovits
Southridge Middle School of Warren

Jeff Miller
President and CEO
Junior Achievement of Central Indiana

Cheryl Orr
Senior Communications Associate
Indiana Commission for Higher Education

Betty Poindexter
Associate Professor of Educational Leadership
Indiana University


John Graves
Jackson County Intermediate School District

Teresa McMahon
Assistant Professor, Center for Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics
University of Michigan

Karen Nelson
Fourth-Grade Teacher
Eastern Elementary School
Traverse City Area Public Schools

Jon Tomlanovich
Associate Executive Director
Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators

Malverne Winborne
Associate Director of Charter Schools
Eastern Michigan University


Rosa Blackwell
Cincinnati Public Schools

William Bogdan
Assistant Superintendent
Hamilton County Educational Service Center

Deepa Ganschinietz
2005 Ohio Teacher of the Year
Olde Orchard Alternative Elementary School

William Hiller
Executive Director
Martha Holden Jennings Foundation

Joseph Nocera
Roosevelt Elementary School
Steubenville City School District

About Learning Point Associates
Learning Point Associates is a nonprofit educational organization with more than 20 years of direct experience working with and for educators and policymakers to transform student learning. Committed to high-quality evaluation, policy, professional development, and research services, Learning Point Associates builds on more than two decades of research and development conducted by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory® (NCREL®).

Our goal is to build the capacity of our clients to be good consumers, practitioners, and advocates for educational excellence. Our professional staff of 150 continues to grow as our work expands both nationally and internationally with offices in Naperville, Illinois; Chicago; and Washington, D.C.


Copyright © 2007 Learning Point Associates. All rights reserved.