Carlas McCauley

Director, Center on School Turnaround

McCauley has over fifteen years of experience working in school reform and education policy development at the local, state and national levels and is well-respected nationally for his expertise on school reform, school improvement funding, Title I, and related ESSA topics. In his current position at WestEd, McCauley leads several projects working with school districts, foundations, and state and local leaders to assess needs, build improvement plans, design leadership programs, and engage in strategic planning. As the Director for the Center on School Turnaround, McCauley manages the national technical assistance and dissemination of research-based practices designed to increase SEA capacity to support efforts to turnaround around low-performing schools. In this role, he manages a network of project teams, including external partners and consultants, to deliver effective and efficient services designed to build local and state capacity to improve low-performing schools. Under McCauley’s leadership the national center has assisted states and regional comprehensive centers in developing coherent and systemic school improvement strategies for the past seven years. For example, McCauley created, authored and directed the development of the Four Domains for Rapid Improvement: A Systems Framework. The four domains framework, which was designed to bring together best practices in school turnaround, has served as a guide for states and districts across the country as over twenty-five states have now adopted and adapted the framework as a benchmark for its school improvement strategy under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Additionally, McCauley has authored reports, briefs, articles on school improvement and school reform on a range of topics including a guide entitled Considering Special Education as a Guide for Systemwide Improvement. McCauley has been hired to serve as an expert witness in cases involving school equity, Cruz, et al vs. State of California, et al. In this case, McCauley provided a declaration in support of the State Education Defendant’s by testifying on the role that state’s play establishing equitable solutions that serve students and families across diverse communities. McCauley has also worked to build statewide leadership programs that establish new guidelines for equity when developing leadership competencies. Prior to joining WestEd, McCauley was a Senior Official at ED overseeing the Office of School Turnaround which administered the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) Program, the Turnaround Leaders Grant and the School Turnaround AmeriCorps Partnership. In this role, McCauley advised on national K-12 policy; designed operating plans focused addressing state and local education program priorities. Additionally, during his time at ED, he served as an author of the SIG federal notice and oversaw the administration of federal funds dedicated to improving low-performing schools across the country which resulted in more than 1,700 schools seeking to advance local efforts to increase equity through the implementation of improvement strategies. Prior to working at the U.S. Department of Education, McCauley worked with state education policymakers across the country while serving as the Project Director for the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). In this role, he led efforts to assess and pass state policies that improved school improvement efforts in secondary schools. A regular presenter at state board meeting across the country, in 2006 McCauley also led a national study, comprised of state board members and state education leaders, on school turnaround entitled the “State’s Role in Improving Low-Performing Schools Through Restructuring” which focused on the role that states can play in improving the lowest performing schools across the country. McCauley has also spent several years working across local school systems, Los Angeles Unified School District, to improve education equity and policy. In his role at the Los Angeles Unified School District, McCauley was a regular presenter at local board meetings and was charged with board briefings on major policy issues. McCauley also led stakeholder forums on behalf the district as the district embarked on several significant policy changes including grade span realignment and class size reduction.