Our Team

Nicole Garcia focuses on the design and implementation of practice-based approaches to the professional training of K-12 teachers. At TeachingWorks, she leads the mathematics team’s development of assessments, curricular materials, and multimedia supports for mathematics teacher educators. In addition, she directs the Elementary Mathematics Laboratory, including overseeing the design and enactment of practice-based professional development for teacher candidates, practicing teachers, and teacher educators. An experienced secondary mathematics teacher, Nicole brings expertise in working with students who have not been successful in school mathematics. She taught at an award-winning Middle/Early College that is highly successful in supporting the mathematics learning of such students. In past work, Nicole directed a regional mathematics and science center, provided professional development to K-12 mathematics teachers, and facilitated state-wide education projects. Nicole earned a B.S. and M.A. in mathematics education at the University of Michigan.
MeghanMeghan Shaughnessy is a teacher educator and researcher at the University of Michigan School of Education whose work focuses on the improvement of elementary mathematics instruction. She develops and studies practice-intensive approaches for developing mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT) and teaching practices that support student learning and promote equity. She co-directs the NSF-funded Assessing Teaching Practice (@Practice) Project, which creates simulation assessments that assess core teaching practices and MKT. She served as a senior investigator on the Developing Teaching Expertise @ Mathematics Project, an NSF-funded materials-development project that designed practice-focused and mathematics-intensive professional development. Meghan leads the planning group for the undergraduate elementary mathematics methods course at the University of Michigan and mentors graduate students in learning to teach the course. She was also involved in the School of Education’s project to redesign the teacher education program. Since 2005, she has played a key role in the Elementary Mathematics Laboratory, co-designing the instruction with Deborah Ball. In past work, Meghan studied the development of children’s mathematical thinking about hard-to-learn and hard-to-teach topics, such as fractions, and co-wrote the book Beyond Pizzas and Pies: 10 Essential Strategies for Supporting Fraction Sense, published by Math Solutions in 2010. She received a PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Mathematics and Psychology from Wellesley College.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball is the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of education at the University of Michigan, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and the director of TeachingWorks. Ball taught elementary school for more than 15 years, and continues to teach mathematics to elementary students every summer. Her research focuses on the work of teaching mathematics in ways that disrupt the reproduction of inequity and that make it possible for young people to enjoy and engage in mathematics in and out of school. She is an expert on teacher education, and her current work centers on how to improve the quality of beginning teaching. Ball has authored or co-authored more than 150 publications and has lectured and made numerous major presentations around the world. Her research has been recognized with several awards and honors, and she has served on several national and international commissions and panels focused on policy initiatives and the improvement of education, including the National Mathematics Advisory Panel and the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. She serves on the National Science Board and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Board of Trustees, chairs the Spencer Foundation Board of Directors, and is the president-elect of the American Educational Research Association. Ball has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, and is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the American Educational Research Association. She completed eleven years as dean of the U-M School of Education in June 2016.
Aileen Kennison is the O2LP project manager. She joined the staff at the University of Michigan School of Education in 2012 as the project manager of the Developing Teaching Expertise at Mathematics (Dev-TE@M) project. She also manages the Teaching Reasoning and Inquiry Project in Social Studies (TRIPSS) and specializes in the logistics of data collection. From 2003-2012, Aileen worked as a school administrator and a high school history teacher in California. She has an M.S. in educational administration and a B.A. in history from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Merrie Blunk is a teacher educator and researcher in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. Her research interests focus on teacher preparation and the assessment of mathematical knowledge for teaching. Her recent work includes project management for the @Practice project with Tim Boerst and Meghan Shaughnessy, the Designing an Integrated Assessment System (DIAS) Project with Pamela Moss, the Learning Mathematics for Teaching (LMT) Project with Heather Hill and Deborah Ball, and the online Teacher Knowledge Assessment System (TKAS) designed to administer the measures developed by LMT. She previously worked with Magdalene Lampert and Deborah Ball on the MaTH Project and the MTLT Project, and co-edited a book, Talking Mathematics in School, with Magdalene Lampert. Blunk currently serves as a field instructor for UM’s Elementary Teacher Education Program. She has also taught educational psychology and elementary mathematics methods at the University of Michigan. She received a PhD in Education and Psychology and an M.A. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in Psychology from Calvin College.
Jillian Mortimer  is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan School of Education. Her research focuses on pre-service elementary teacher education, specifically how pre-service elementary teachers understand and interpret mathematical practice standards and how that understanding can be leveraged in methods classrooms. She holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Michigan where she also taught several mathematics methods courses for undergraduate and Master’s students as well as a course focused on eliciting and interpreting student thinking and assigning competence to students in the context of mathematics. She worked on several research projects including the @Practice project developing performance assessments for pre-services teachers. Prior to coming to the University of Michigan she was a Title I tutor in elementary mathematics and then a middle school math and science teacher. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education with a focus in math and science from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Richmond.
D’Anna Pynes is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan School of Education. Her research focuses on mathematics teacher learning, teacher noticing of children’s mathematical thinking, professional development design, and learning opportunities in teacher collaboration. In addition to the O2LP Project, D’Anna works on the Assessing Teaching Practice (@Practice) Project at the University of Michigan. She holds a Ph.D. in STEM Education from The University of Texas at Austin, where she participated as a graduate research assistant for the NSF-funded Responsive Teaching in Elementary Mathematics (RTEM) Project. In addition, D’Anna taught mathematics methods courses for undergraduate students. Prior to graduate school, D’Anna taught kindergarten, third, and fifth grade in Central Texas, and served as a district and regional professional development and curriculum specialist. She holds a B.S. in Applied Learning and Development from The University of Texas at Austin.
Stephen Ratkovich is a data processor and IT person for the Mathematics Teaching & Learning to Teach (MTLT) projects. Starting as a temporary student employee in 2010, he was hired as full-time staff in 2012 assisting with many projects over the years, including, but not limited to, Assessing Teaching Practice (@Practice) Project, Elementary Mathematics Laboratory (EML) Project, Developing Teaching Expertise @ Mathematics (Dev-TE@M), and Designing an Integrated Assessment System (DIAS) Project.
Darrius Robinson is a Rackham Merit Fellow doctoral student in the University of Michigan School of Education. His research interests include equitable mathematics teaching and student identity formation. In addition to the O2LP project, Darrius is a research assistant for TeachingWorks and teaches a elementary mathematics methods course. Prior to graduate school, he taught 5th grade Mathematics in Nashville, TN. Darrius holds a BS in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University and a MEd in Instructional Practice from Lipscomb University.

O2LP Project Alums

Nicole Cirino joined the TeachingWorks team in 2016. Previously, she worked with the Bank Street College of Education and the social policy research organization MDRC as a pre-k math coach, supervisor of kindergarten math club facilitators, and curriculum coordinator on a project aimed at improving long-term outcomes for children living in poverty in New York City. Nicole currently teaches an early childhood math class for graduate students at Hunter College and has taught pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade. She holds an MA in Child Development from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA from Lehigh University in Sociology and Social Psychology.
Erin Pfaff was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan School of Education. She designs and studies the role of simulated teaching experiences on classroom mathematics discourse. In addition to the O2LP project, Erin worked on the Assessing Teaching Practice (@Practice) Project at the University of Michigan. She holds a PhD in Mathematics & Science Education from Vanderbilt University, where she studied as an IES Predoctoral Fellow. Erin taught mathematics methods courses for both undergraduates and Urban Masters students during her time at Vanderbilt. Prior to graduate school, Erin taught kindergarten, first, and second grade in Nashville, TN. She holds a B.A. in both Mathematics and Elementary Education from Vanderbilt University.
Xueying Ji Prawat was a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Education at the University of Michigan from 2016 to 2018. Her research interests focused on teaching and learning to teach, and connecting math and the real world. In addition to the O2LP project, she worked on the Assessing Teaching Practice (@Practice) Project at the University of Michigan and has been involved in research projects on teacher education at Michigan State University, UCLA, and ETS. She also taught elementary mathematics methods and mentored secondary mathematics interns at Michigan State University. Prior to graduate school, she was a middle school math teacher in Shanghai, China. She received a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education from Michigan State University; her M.A. in Education, specializing in mathematics education; and a B.S. in Mathematics from the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China.