Lazarus Takes Helm at NCEO

Publication date: 
October 15, 2019

Sheryl Lazarus (pictured addressing the Helsinki Commission in 2018), senior research associate at the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), became NCEO’s director on October 1, ICI Director Amy Hewitt announced.

“We are so fortunate that Sheryl Lazarus has moved into this role,” Hewitt said. “Sheryl has been an NCEO leader for nearly two decades and it is wonderful that ICI can benefit from her wealth of knowledge and experience in carrying on the incredibly important work of ensuring that all students are included and belong in their educational programs. There is no doubt that Sheryl will carry on the legacy of NCEOs founder, Martha Thurlow.”

Lazarus first joined NCEO as a graduate research assistant in 2001. After later serving as a research scientist for the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, she returned to the University as a lecturer and NCEO researcher. She has served as the director of the National Technical Assistance Center on Inclusive Practices and Policies (TIES Center) since 2017 and associate director of NCEO since 2016.

“As director, I seek to ensure that NCEO continues to be the go-to place for states and federal agencies regarding the inclusion of all students in instruction and assessments,” Lazarus said. “NCEO will build upon its strong foundation and provide continued national leadership on how to include students with disabilities, English learners (ELs) and ELs with disabilities, moving the field forward in providing rich academic learning opportunities for all students.”

Increasingly, she said, NCEO is using technological advances to improve technical assistance and create high-quality learning experiences.

Reflecting on her longtime colleague Thurlow, who recently stepped down as NCEO director, Lazarus credited Thurlow as a major force contributing to NCEO’s growth in stature as a national leader on inclusion of students with disabilities.

“I cannot help but be struck by the magnitude of Martha’s legacy,” she said. “She knows how to inspire those around her to grow as professionals, and has served as a mentor to many.”

Together, the NCEO team works from the perspective that assessments can provide a window into instruction, and that when students have the opportunity to learn rigorous academic content, there will be improved outcomes.

“Today, there is an increasing recognition that it is vital to address inclusion and accessibility issues across the comprehensive assessment system. This includes formative assessments, classroom tests, and benchmark or interim assessments as well as state tests,” Lazarus said.

NCEO, a center within ICI, provides national leadership in designing and building educational assessments and accountability systems that appropriately monitor educational results for all students.