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Cecilia Roe is MSDE'S Director of Instructional Assessment, Professional Learning, and English/Language Arts. Her responsibilities as Director include oversight of the Maryland Title IIA federal grant; state-wide professional learning initiatives; school-based leadership; teacher recruitment and retention; instructional assessment initiatives; and the Bridge Plan for Academic Validation. Cecilia formerly served as a high school specialist in MSDE's Secondary English Language Arts office. Prior to coming to MSDE, Cecilia served as the Coordinator of Secondary English/Language Arts for Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS). Preceding her tenure in the BCPS central office, Cecilia fulfilled 30 years as a secondary English teacher, department chairperson, team leader, and reading specialist. In addition, she has served as an adjunct instructor for Graduate Programs in the Education Division of Goucher College since 2008.
Ava Spencer is the Coordinator of English Language Arts. Ava began her teaching career in the Baltimore City Public School System as an elementary classroom teacher. She later became an Academic Coach and Instructional Support Teacher. She provided system wide professional development in Reading, participated in curriculum writing, and trained new teachers during the New Educators' Summer Institutes. Here at MSDE, she has served as Regional Specialist and most recently, as Coordinator of the Office of Reading First.
Jennifer Ralston has over 23 years of experience as an elementary classroom teacher and reading specialist in Maryland Public Schools. As a Reading Instructional Specialist in Allegany County, Ms. Ralston earned LETRS Trainer of Trainer Certification, and wrote Elementary English Language Arts Curriculum and Assessments. She was a reading intervention teacher and has an extensive background in multisensory, structured-language instruction. Ms. Ralston has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Administration and Supervision.
Kathleen Maher-Baker is the English Language Arts High School PARCC Specialist. She began her teaching career in Baltimore County Public Schools and was later promoted to Department Chairman. She has served on several curriculum design and writing teams for BCPS and was responsible for the organization and presentation of multiple professional development opportunities. She has also worked as a mentor teacher and as the professional development school liaison for Johns Hopkins University and later Loyola University Maryland.
Vanessa began her career teaching 2nd and 5th grade in Prince Georges County Public Schools. She aquired a Masters Degree in Supervision and Administration along with Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College, and moved to Denver, Colorado. She began working as an Assistant Principal in a large K-12 Charter school. After serving as a Principal there, she transfered to a nieghborhood elementary school and led that school for several years. She had a baby in 2008 and took some time off to raise her children. When she returned to the workforce, she joined Baltimore County Public Schools Infants and Toddlers team and transitioned children from an IFSP to an IEP at age 3. When her children began preschool she worked at a large Accreditated Child Care Center as the Director and supported their work in becoming a high quality center with Maryland EXCELS. In 2018 she joined MSDE and supports the birth-grade 5 implementation of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant.
Tanya is the Secondary Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant Specialist. She began her teaching career in Mauritania, serving as an education volunteer and middle school teacher in the Peace Corps. She later became a middle school ELA classroom teacher with Baltimore City Schools before transitioning to The SEED School of Maryland, where she served as Instructional Coach, Literacy Specialist, and English Department Chairperson. She has headed multiple curriculum writing teams and provided systemic professional learning on a variety of topics related to secondary literacy pedagogy.