Ellen Cushing

Deputy Director

Ellen Cushing is a Senior Research & Policy Analyst at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Ms. Cushing with expertise in supporting states and districts in the implementation of policies and processes related to educator evaluation and college- and career-readiness. She serves as the Deputy Director for the College and-Career Readiness and Success Center. In this role, Cushing supports the conceptual design and implementation of the Center’s technical assistance, works with Regional Comprehensive Centers and State Education Agency stakeholders on topics related to career and technical education, and leads the development and facilitation of training modules that connect state and local policies with research-based and/ or emerging practices from the field.

In her other projects at AIR, Cushing serves as the Deputy Director for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation College Ready Integration Portfolio Evaluation where she leads a team in the formative evaluation of state policies and practices related to integrating Common Core State Standards and teacher evaluation. She has also worked closely with states in the development of policy and guidance and the implementation of the student learning objectives (SLOs) as a measure of student growth in teacher evaluation systems. Most recently this work includes serving as the Project Director of the Oklahoma Department of Education SLO project. 

Cushing also has extensive experience with supporting district and state agencies in the development and implementation of human capital management systems. This includes leading a workgroup with the Maine Department of Education to develop a set of recommendations for integrating educator preparation into a statewide human capital management system, and serving as the Co-Director for the Partnership for Innovation in Compensation for Charter Schools.

Prior to joining the Center, Cushing served as the project manager and technical assistance lead for the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders. Cushing provided project direction and expertise for supporting the implementation of federal and state educator evaluation policies. She holds an M.A. from George Mason University School of Public Policy, and a B.A. in political science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.