Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI) has hired staff for three new positions. The new staff members will support TPI in establishing the California Educator Preparation Innovation Collaborative (CalEPIC) and developing the Strategic Practices for the Advancement of Inclusive Schooling (SPAIS). Through CalEPIC and SPAIS, Charlotte Achieng Evensen and Jill Perez will work toward improving learning outcomes for students from marginalized communities.

Charlotte Achieng Evensen, Ph.D., will lead CalEPIC as the Senior Transformation Specialist. Dr. Evensen comes to TPI with over 22 years’ experience as a K-12 practitioner. She has served in a variety of roles, including secondary humanities and language arts teacher, district program coordinator, curriculum design, and professional development. In addition to her K-12 experience, Dr. Evensen teaches university courses in educator preparation programs. Her scholarship focuses on the intersections of critical teaching practice, African Indigenous philosophies, and decolonization. Dr. Evensen’s scholarship and professional experience position her to fulfill the mission of CalEPIC to design, develop, and deliver innovative supports for educator preparation programs that prepare a diverse and thriving teaching workforce.

Jill Perez, M.A., has been promoted to the position of Program Specialist, which entails overseeing the operations of the Strategic Practices for the Advancement of Inclusive Schooling (SPAIS) initiative. Ms. Perez holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and both Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe Education Specialist teaching credentials. She has worked as an education coach, consultant, lecturer for California State University, San Marcos, and special education teacher in the San Diego Unified School District. Throughout her 22 years in education, Ms. Perez has supported schools and districts in their mission to become more inclusive for students with disabilities. Her knowledge and expertise will be used to create high-quality, research-based professional development and foster new partnerships with school districts and educator preparation programs for SPAIS.

TPI is excited to add Dr. Evensen and Ms. Perez to the team. All three are leaders in the field of education and will contribute to TPI’s collaborative effort to create innovative, cutting-edge inclusive practices in PK-12, higher education, and community settings.