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Jose Blackorby to Lead CAST's R&D, Establish West Coast Office

Jose Blackorby


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

CAST today announced the appointment of Jose Blackorby, PhD, as Senior Director of Research and Development. In this capacity, he will lead CAST’s research, project development, and technical assistance efforts. He will also open a West Coast office in the Bay Area.

“I have long admired CAST’s plucky resolve to change the way education is thought about and practiced through Universal Design for Learning,” says Dr. Blackorby. “The inclusion of UDL in the new Every Student Succeeds Act is just another sign that these ideas and best practices are gaining hold. I look forward to working with my CAST colleagues to help bring UDL to scale and improve learning opportunities for every one.”

Education leaders praise the appointment:

  • James H. Wendorf, Executive Director, National Center for Learning Disabilities: “Jose Blackorby has conducted seminal research in how disabilities can affect academic, behavioral and life outcomes. His expertise, coupled with his infectious enthusiasm for using data to clarify difficult problems and identify new solutions, will be hugely beneficial to CAST and the entire field.”
  • Tracy Gray, Managing Director, American Institutes for Research: “Jose brings a wealth of expertise and experience at the intersection of special education, education reform and innovation, and charter schools which will be a valuable addition to the CAST team and community of learners. His intellectual acumen and curiosity will ensure that CAST continues to have a significant impact on teaching and learning to meet the needs of all students.”
  • James Basham, Executive Director, UDL Implementation and Research Network, and Associate Professor, University of Kansas: “With Jose as a Senior Director of Research and Development, CAST has again established itself as an organization that is focused on the future of education, where learning has no limits."
  • Roy Pea, Professor of Learning Sciences and Education, Stanford Graduate School of Education: “Jose Blackorby is one of our most distinguished researchers for providing research, practice, and policy insights on the educational and quality of life prospects for youth with disabilities.”
  • David Rose, Co-Founder and Chief Education Officer at CAST: “We are thrilled to welcome Jose to our team. He shares our passion for improving education for all learners.  His energy, insights, and impressive experience will help CAST continue to grow as a thought leader and solutions-maker in the education field.”

Dr. Blackorby comes to CAST after nearly 25 years at SRI International, where most recently he has been Co-Director of the Center for Education and Human Services. He brings with him two decades of experience in the design and implementation of large-scale, multifaceted studies with research, policy, and practice implications.

He has extensive experience leading national studies on students with disabilities, including a national study of states' progress in implementing alternate assessment systems for students with significant cognitive disabilities and another on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

From 1998 to 2007, Dr. Blackorby was co-director of the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) and served on the research team for the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). Both studies provided national population estimates for many of the key questions related to programs and outcomes that face students who receive special education services.

In addition to large-scale research in special education, Dr. Blackorby has considerable experience in projects related to emerging trends in education reform and innovation generally, as well as their potential for students with disabilities.

He has a diverse range of research and development interests, including students with mild disabilities; reading, math, and science achievement; assistive technology; secondary school programs and transition; assessment and curriculum design; and universal design for learning.

A widely published author, Dr. Blackorby serves in an advisory role on national panels for government initiatives, as well as private organizations. He holds a doctorate in special education from the University of Washington.

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