SMHC Co-directors

Allan Odden is Co-Director of Strategic Management of Human Capital (SMHC) in public education, a project of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE). SMHC seeks to improve student performance through talented teachers and school leaders and improved instructional practices produced by SMHC, focusing initially on large urban districts. He is an international expert on the management of human capital in education, teacher compensation, education finance, school-based financing, resource allocation and use, educational policy, school-based management, and educational policy implementation. He has written widely, publishing over 200 journal articles, book chapters, and research reports, and 32 books and monographs.

He is Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Co-Director of CPRE, a consortium of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Pennsylvania, Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern, Teachers College-Columbia University, and Stanford Universities. He has worked on teacher compensation changes in dozens of states and districts. Prior to starting SMHC, he directed research and action projects on school finance adequacy, school finance redesign, resource reallocation in schools, costs of instructional improvement, and teacher compensation.

He formerly was professor of education policy and administration at the University of Southern California (1984-1993) and Director of Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), an education policy consortium of USC, Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley. He worked with the Education Commission of the States for a decade, serving as assistant executive director, director of policy analysis and research, and director of its educational finance center.

He was president of the American Educational Finance Association in 1979-80 and received AEFA’s distinguished Service Award in 1998. He served as research director for special state educational finance projects in Connecticut, Missouri, South Dakota, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Missouri, the Joint Interim Task Force on School Finance Adequacy in Arkansas, the Wyoming Select Committee on Finance, Washington Learns, and Wisconsin. He was appointed Special Court Master to the Remand Judge in the New Jersey Abbott v. Burke school finance court case for 1997 and 1998. He has consulted for governors, state legislators, chief state school officers, national and local unions, The National Alliance for Business, the Business Roundtable, New American Schools, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Secretary of Education, many local school districts, the state departments of education in Victoria and Queensland, Australia, and the Department for Education and Employment in England.

His most recent books include School Finance: A Policy Perspective (McGraw Hill, 2008, 4th edition), with Lawrence O. Picus and How to Create World Class Teacher Compensation (Freeload Press, 2007) with Marc Wallace. Other books include Paying Teachers for What They Know and Do: New and Smarter Compensation Strategies to Improve Schools (Corwin Press, 1997, 2nd Edition, 2002) with Carolyn Kelley; Reallocating Resources: How to Boost Student Achievement Without Spending More (Corwin, 2001) with Sarah Archibald; School Finance: A Policy Perspective (McGraw Hill, 1992, 2nd Edition, 2000, 3rd Edition 2004) co-authored with Lawrence Picus; School-Based Finance (Corwin Press, 1999), edited with Margaret Goertz; Financing Schools for High Performance: Strategies for Improving the Use of Educational Resources (Jossey Bass, 1998) with Carolyn Busch; Educational Leadership for America’s Schools (McGraw Hill, 1995); Rethinking School Finance: An Agenda for the 1990s (Jossey-Bass, 1992); Education Policy Implementation (State University of New York Press, 1991); and School Finance and School Improvement: Linkages for the 1980s (Ballinger, 1983).

He was a mathematics teacher and curriculum developer in New York City’s East Harlem for 5 years. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Columbia University, a Masters of Divinity from the Union Theological Seminary and his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Brown University. He is married and has two children, and one grandchild. He plays golf when he isn’t advocating changes in education policies.

James A. Kelly is Co-Director of Strategic Management of Human Capital (SMHC) in public education, a project of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE). SMHC seeks to improve student performance through talented teachers and school leaders and improved instructional practices produced by SMHC, focusing initially on large urban districts. Through his work on SMHC, he continues a distinguished career in education policy, education finance, philanthropy, and teaching standards, assessment, and certification. He has written dozens of articles and reports, and has addressed hundreds of organizations and groups regarding philanthropy and education policy, public finance issues, education policies, standards-based reforms in the teaching profession, and public policy for children.

He is a senior advisor to education organizations, government agencies, foundations and corporations. From 1987-1999, he was president and chief executive officer of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), and has been appointed to the lifetime position of Founding President. As president, he helped to create National Board Certification (NBC), an advanced professional certification program for accomplished elementary and secondary school teachers. Almost all states provide recognition for NBC, and more than 40 states and hundreds of school districts provide additional compensation to National Board Certified Teachers. Annually, NBPTS awards the “James A. Kelly Award for Advancing Accomplished Teaching”. Recipients include: former President Bill Clinton; Ed Rust, Chairman and CEO of State Farm Insurance Company; and US Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania.

Since 1999, he has served as a senior advisor to Atlantic Philanthropies, the Hunt Institute for Public Policy at the University of North Carolina, the Asia Society, including serving as vice chair of the Society’s National Commission on Asia in the Schools, the National Academy of Sciences’ Strategic Education Research Committee, Widmeyer Communications, and the Henry Ford Learning Institute. As a consultant to the World Bank in 2000 and 2001, Mr. Kelly served as an advisor on educational projects in Romania and Thailand that resulted in major changes in the education systems in those countries. He also advised Standard & Poor’s regarding their efforts to establish state data systems for education.

He is co-chair of Learning to Give, a national program to enhance teaching and learning about philanthropy and volunteerism, and a board member and former treasurer of The League, an international organization promoting philanthropy education and community service. He is a board member of the Center for Teaching Quality. He is a board member of Musica Sacra, in New York City, one of the nation’s premiere professional choral music performance organizations. He has served on the advisory boards of Wireless Generation and SchoolNet, the executive board of the Consortium for Educational Policy Research, the Boards of Overseers of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, the National Advisory Board of the Center for Proficiency in the Teaching of Mathematics, and the Institute for Educational Leadership.

Mr. Kelly is a member of the National Academy of Education. For 40 years, he has been a member of the Cleveland Conference, a group of leaders of American education; for 10 years, he served as its Factotum, or Chair. He is a member of the Cosmos Club, in Washington, DC. Among his many professional awards, he has received the Imig Award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Shaping of Teacher Education Policy, presented by the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, and the Distinguished Service Award, presented by the American Association of School Administrators.

He was president and chief executive officer of the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan from 1985 to 1987, and was president of Spring Hill Center from 1981 to 1985. He served from 1970 to 1981 as a senior program officer at the Ford Foundation, where he created and led movements to reform state education finance and related state-local tax policies. From 1968-69, he served as executive associate at the National Urban Coalition, working under the leadership of the Coalition’s founding Chairman, John W. Gardner, directing the Coalition’s nationwide education programs during a period of widespread urban turmoil. Earlier he was an assistant and associate professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and taught courses at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

He began his career in education as a public school teacher and administrator in Ladue, Missouri. His B.A. degree is from Shimer College, then a division of the University of Chicago. His M.A. degree is from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. is from Stanford University, with concentrations in economics, education and political science. Mr. Kelly has four children and seven grandchildren; his wife, Mariam Noland, is president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

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