Sheila L. Cassidy, M.Ed.

Sheila  began teaching because of a commitment to equity in educational opportunities and outcomes for underserved populations, greatly related to race/ethnicity and socio-economic status.   She participated in a Master’s Degree program at Temple University in mathematics/mathematics education and urban teaching, while teaching in a high-poverty, racially tense area and school  in Philadelphia. On returning to Southern California, she  taught, established junior high school and elementary math labs, created a district math professional development center in Compton Unified School District (CUSD).  She also was a team leader in CUSD for a group of eight interns in with the Teacher Corps  Program at the University of Southern California (USC).  As part of that program, she participated in  in-depth seminars on bilingual education, and became committed to provide high-quality programs for English Learners. 

Sheila was director of Bilingual Programs for Lawndale School District for two years.  Then, while working on a doctoral degree in curriculum, evaluation and administration at USC, she  consulted with local school districts and regional agencies on curriculum  and professional development, program development and evaluation of mathematics, bilingual, and school improvement programs.  During that time, she :

  • Created and directed the state-funding Mathematics Teachers Retraining Program for Los Angeles county Office of Education (LACOE), to coordinate a program for universities to provide coursework and support for the retraining of teachers in content areas with an overabundance of teachers to become math teachers.

  • Co-authored , an English Language Development program for newcomers, published by Addison-Wesley

  • Was interim director of the Bilingual Teacher Training Program (BTTP) for LACOE

  • Evaluated the LACOE BTTP program for LACOE and the statewide BTTP program for the California Department of Education

She worked with LACOE to developed a math-science  distance learning program for underserved students in grades 4-6, their families and teachers, using  satellite television delivery, and wrote a federally-funded Star Schools grant  - TEAMS Distance Learning, that continued for over a decade, expanding to include social studies and reading programs, serving almost 200,000 students in districts across the country.   This project became the foundation of the Center for Distance and Online Learning (CDOL) at LACOE. 

In 1996 Sheila  founded Wexford Inc (www.wexford.org), As executive director, Sheila has  responsibility for:

  • Development of corporate capacity and expertise in:

    • Project management, strategic planning, research and evaluation

    • Evidence-based strategies for closing achievement gaps and improving school climate

    • Effective programs and strategies for English Language Learners, children from low-income families and students with special needs (Autism) Virtual learning and innovative uses of educational technologies

    • Distance/blended learning, and statewide virtual school networks

    • Improving STEM teaching and learning

    • Early childhood education

    • High-quality professional development

  • Corporate finances, personnel, contracts, and operations

  • Quality control of client services in research and evaluation, strategic development, professional development, and family engagement including grants for programs for English Learners, Civil Rights and Equity, School Climate and Mental Health, student and Family Leadership, Technology and Virtual Leaning, and other improvement initiatives

  • Primary investigator of local, state, and federal projects

  • Provider of technical assistance to local, state and federal programs and agencies

  • Created the Investigating Autism introductory course for teachers, paraprofessional, and families;used as a basis for the California Autism professional development

 

At the National Level, Sheila has: 

  • Conducted study for the U.S. Department of Education on status of technology evaluation of 46 state technology projects and the impact of technology on students and teachers in 79 technology projects (2011)

  • Created the Investigating Autism introductory course for teachers, paraprofessional, and families;used as a basis for the California Autism professional development.Published free course online, accessed by people across the country (2010).Held Autism Awareness Concerts in California, Texas, Ohio and Massachusetts (2012).

  • Directed the Learning, Linking and Leading, PT3*L3, a Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to use Technology Catalyst Grant from the U.S. Department of Educationto Wexford, 2001-2004

  • Co-Designed and Facilitated the OERI Summit on Evaluation of Technologies for Teaching and Learning, 1999

  • Co-Facilitated and authored of the discussion paper for OERI-sponsored Distance Learning Forum, 1997 and 1998