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Curious. Innovative. Independent. The researchers at the Kingsbury Center have a common goal: to investigate strategies for advancing academic student growth and improving our schools. By partnering with diverse educational leaders, our team is helping to revolutionize education research with high quality data that is designed to inform, empower and make a difference.
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Title: Senior Research Associate
Additional Biographical Information:
Robert Theaker joined the Kingsbury Center in 2011 as a senior research associate. He previously served as director of data analysis for Central Michigan University’s Center for Charter Schools, where he was in charge of establishing a data warehouse, school evaluation reporting, and analysis. Prior to joining Central Michigan University, he served as the senior manager of assessment and measurement for National Heritage Academies. In this role, he led one of the most innovative and sophisticated implementations of NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress in the United States. In Bob’s thirty-seven years of experience, he has been a statistics professor, teacher, and school administrator, and has presented numerous seminars in data-driven decision making. In addition to graduate coursework in statistics and reading, Robert holds an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University.
What was the career path that brought you to NWEA? What do you feel is unique about NWEA?
My career path has been quite diverse. I did not come to educational research by the traditional Phd path. My career has combined college, business, and educational experience which took the form of statistical/research coursework and 37 years of experience as a teacher, school administrator, Director of Assessment, Quality Engineer, and Quality Manager.
It was while I was a Director of Assessment that I realized we needed a test that would measure student learning with high accuracy to determine student learning needs and curricular needs. It also needed to be robust enough to measure the teacher’s impact on the students learning for the accountability system I was required to put in place. The NWEA MAP was all that I hoped for and more.
Even after all these years, I tend to be idealistic, which is why I came to NWEA. It is an organization where my beliefs intersect that of the organization by using my accumulated education and experience to partner and help educators to teach “ALL” children.
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?
My children and grandchildren are my legacy.
What do you feel is the role of education in our society?
To prepare students to become critical thinkers who have acquired the background knowledge to understand the present in light of the past, while looking to the future.
What education policy issue are you passionate about?
College readiness, as it forces educators to begin with the end in mind. What would happen if we truly rewarded learning with more learning for all students?