Carnegie Learning Announces New Literacy Advisory Board

Researchers in neuroscience, cognitive science, and education will develop solutions to literacy issues from a cross-disciplinary perspective

PITTSBURGH--()--Carnegie Learning, a leader in artificial intelligence for education and formative assessment, announced today that it has formed a new Literacy Advisory Board (LAB) to address the top issues in literacy education. The LAB brings together a diverse group of thinkers representing the fields of neuroscience, cognitive science, and education. It will operate as a think tank, working towards innovative, cross-disciplinary solutions to address some of the most critical literacy problems facing educators and students alike. From reading and writing proficiency to culturally responsive teaching and the science of learning, these thought leaders will partner with Carnegie Learning to help usher in a new era of what is possible in the educational sphere.

Barry Malkin, CEO of Carnegie Learning, says, “Our roots in research run deep, and the goal here is to deeply embed research-based thought into developing new literacy products and services. Each of our Board members has dedicated their careers to solving problems in literacy, but rarely does such a diverse group gather to collectively consider the problems together. We are thrilled and inspired to host this team.”

The Carnegie Learning LAB is proud to welcome the following members:

Bill Jenkins

Dr. Bill Jenkins is an expert in learning-based brain plasticity, behavioral algorithms, and psychophysical methods. He was previously Chief Technology Officer at Sally Ride Science (now part of UC San Diego) and co-founded Scientific Learning Corporation, where he worked to optimize product design through his leadership of diverse teams for ideation, design, project management, technology and content. Dr. Jenkins has co-authored 13 successful digital products for K-12 students in the areas of foundational cognitive skills, language and reading development, and acceleration of learning. He also helped develop one of the first patented data reporting tools (ProgressTracker™) that provided detailed data on student learning to parents, teachers and administrators in real-time. Dr. Jenkins was recognized by Discovery Magazine in its annual Awards for Technology Innovations and received the Year 2000 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award.

Danielle McNamara

Dr. Danielle McNamara, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. She develops educational technologies and conducts research to better understand cognitive processes of comprehension, learning, comprehension strategies, text coherence, and individual differences. Over the years, Danielle and her team have developed a number of educational technologies (e.g., iSTART, iSTART-ME, Coh-Metrix, and Writing-Pal). With nearly three decades of experience as a senior researcher in cognitive psychology, Danielle has solidified herself as one of the world’s premier researchers in her field. She is particularly interested in how the effects of educational technologies interact with individual differences and can be optimized for individual learners. She has published hundreds of works including journal articles, books, book chapters, and conference proceedings. Most recently, Dr. McNamara received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award by the Society for Text & Discourse in recognition of her achievements.

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas is Associate Professor in the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan’s School of Education. Previously, she was Associate Professor in the Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division at Penn GSE. A former Detroit Public Schools teacher and National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, she serves as co-editor of Research in the Teaching of English. In addition to her work on books for young readers, she has published widely on race, discourse, and interaction in classrooms and digital environments. Currently, she is a co-principal investigator on a major James S. McDonnell Foundation Teachers as Learners grant, the Digital Discourse Project (DDP), a longitudinal collaborative inquiry into how partnering teacher consultants studied their own discourse practices with data and platforms as they facilitated online discussions during and after the COVID-19 era.

Fumiko Hoeft

Fumiko Hoeft, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Psychological Sciences, Mathematics, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience at the University of Connecticut (UConn), and of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She is also the Director of UConn’s Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC) and Co-Founder of the Haskins Global Literacy Hub. Dr. Hoeft is a neuroscientist who has been conducting research on learning—particularly reading acquisition, dyslexia, resilience and emotional well-being—for the past 18 years. She currently has more than 30 million dollars in funding, primarily from NIH, to conduct her research. Fumiko received research training at Harvard, UCLA, Caltech and Stanford, and has held faculty positions at Stanford, UCSF and UConn. Honors include awards from the International Dyslexia Association (IDA; 2014), Learning & the Brain Foundation (2015), International Mind Brain & Education Society (IMBES; 2018), Society for Neuroscience (SfN; 2018), Northern CA Branch of the IDA (2018), and Eye to Eye (2019), with many of these on science education and translation of neuroscience to the public. She has published more than 160 articles, reviews, and book chapters, and has delivered more than 250 keynotes, talks and workshops at venues such as local schools, international conferences, TEDx and the White House. Her work has been widely covered in media such as The New York Times, NPR, CNN, the New Yorker, and Scientific American.

Gloria Ladson-Billings

Gloria Ladson-Billings is Professor Emerita and former Kellner Family Distinguished Professor in Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and was Faculty Affiliate in the Departments of Educational Policy Studies, Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis and Afro American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the current President of the National Academy of Education and served as the 2005-2006 president of the American Educational Research Association. Her research examines the pedagogical practices of teachers who are successful with African American students. She also investigates critical race theory applications to education. She is the author of three critically acclaimed books and more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, as well as the recipient of numerous education awards, including the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Literacy Research Association, the Brock International Prize in education, and the American Educational Research Association’s Social Justice in Education Award.

Judy Willis

Dr. Judy Willis combined her 15 years as a practicing neurologist with ten subsequent years as a classroom teacher to become a leading authority in the neuroscience of learning. With her unique background in both neuroscience and education, she has written nine books and more than 200 articles about applying neuroscience research to classroom teaching strategies. Dr. Willis is on the adjunct faculty of Williams College and travels nationally and internationally giving presentations, workshops, and consulting about learning and the brain. She has been interviewed by USA Today, Euronews, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News Education Nation, ABC Australia Radio, Lateline Australia, Popular Mechanics, Neurology Today, USA Today, Education Week, Medscope Neurology, and Parenting Magazine, among others. She has been selected by Edutopia as one of their “Big Thinkers on Education” and is a staff expert blogger for NBC News Education Nation, Psychology Today, and The Guardian.

Paula Tallal

Paula Tallal received her Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1974 and is a Board of Governor’s Professor of Neuroscience Emeritus at Rutgers University and Adjunct Professor at The Salk Institute of Biological Sciences. She has led NIH- and NSF-funded multidisciplinary research teams for more than 30 years, studying auditory processing, speech, language and reading development and disorders. She has published more than 200 scientific papers and holds 50 patents. In 1996, she co-founded the Scientific Learning Corporation, a neuroscience company dedicated to developing neuroplasticity-based training programs. In 2012, she was named the Thomas Alva Edison Inventor of the Year for her research leading to the development of the Fast ForWord series of neuroeducational training programs.

Steve Graham

Steve Graham is a Regents and the Warner Professor in the Division of Leadership and Innovation in Teachers College. For 42 years, he has studied how writing develops, how to teach it effectively, and how writing can be used to support reading and learning. In recent years, he has been involved in the development and testing of digital tools for supporting writing and reading through a series of grants from the Institute of Educational Sciences and the Office of Special Education Programs in the US Department of Education. His research involves typically developing writers and students with special needs in both elementary and secondary schools, with much occurring in classrooms in urban schools. He is the author of three influential Carnegie Corporation reports and co-author of six books. Graham has served as an advisor to a variety of organizations, including UNESCO, National Institute of Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Zuckerberg Initiative, National Writing Project, Institute of Educational Sciences, College Board, and What Works Clearinghouse. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and was elected to the Reading Hall of Fame for 2018.


Carnegie Learning is shaping the future of education. Born from more than 30 years of learning science research at Carnegie Mellon University, the company has become a recognized leader in the ed tech space, using artificial intelligence, formative assessment, and adaptive learning to deliver groundbreaking solutions to education’s toughest challenges. With the highest quality offerings for K-12 math, ELA, literacy, world languages, professional learning and more, Carnegie Learning is changing the way we think about education and creating powerful results for teachers and students alike. For more information, please visit:


April Boland
Carnegie Learning

Release Summary

Carnegie Learning announces new Literacy Advisory Board to develop solutions to literacy issues from a cross-disciplinary perspective.


April Boland
Carnegie Learning