Ellen Cushing is a principal researcher and policy analyst with more than 13 years of experience supporting systems change at the national, state, and local levels on education reforms, including college and career readiness, educator evaluation, and educator talent management. She is the deputy director for the Region 1 Comprehensive Center, which serves four New England states (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont) and served as the deputy director of a national content center, the College and Career Readiness and Success Center. In these roles she has led several education-to-workforce pipeline efforts focused on developing college and career readiness for all students. This work includes supporting states and districts in designing and implementing work-based learning programs; aligning Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Carl D. Perkins Act, and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) policies and programs; and integrating academic, technical and employability skills in PK-16 initiatives.
In addition to her work in the National Technical Assistance Network, Cushing has also led efforts to build stakeholder capacity to implement sustainable technical assistance solutions and focused stakeholder organizations on the sustainability of evidence-based best practices and processes through other projects within AIR. This work includes identifying problems and conducting root-cause analyses, developing logic models, strategic plans, and process improvements, and monitoring and evaluating activities, including reviewing data, developing tools to enhance capacity-building approaches, and interpreting results from data. Cushing also leads AIR’s efforts to use geographic information systems (GIS) mapping technology to support state and local leaders in understanding the place-effects of policies, initiatives and allocation of resources on specific populations.
Previously, Cushing was the Deputy Director for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation College Ready Integration Portfolio Evaluation. Through this work, Ms. Cushing led a team in the formative evaluation of state policies and practices related to integrating Common Core State Standards and teacher evaluation. Prior to joining the CCRS Center team, Cushing served as the project manager and technical assistance lead for the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) and provided project expertise for supporting the implementation of federal and state educator talent management policies.