Barclay Lincoln Burns
President and CEO
As CEO, Barclay Burns is responsible for the overall planning, coordination, and management of Education Northwest. Throughout his career, Barclay has been driven by this primary goal—improving lives by expanding access to education. Prior to becoming CEO in January 2019, Burns was a professor of entrepreneurship and strategy at the University of Utah with an active research program around social impact. As the founder and president of Learning.com, a Portland-based education technology company, Barclay helped bring online learning opportunities to students in thousands of districts across the United States. His deep personal commitment to equity led the company to focus on providing online solutions to underrepresented and at-risk students. Early in his career, Barclay worked to create large-scale professional development programs in India and was a high school English, science, and social studies teacher in Orem, Utah. He holds a Ph.D. in instructional psychology from Brigham Young University with training in research, evaluation, instruction, and the science of learning and a Ph.D. in strategy and entrepreneurship from the University of Cambridge.
Director, Human Resources
Pam Grater is helping advance the mission of Education Northwest by leading efforts to attract, develop and retain top talent as well as fostering a culture of engagement and innovation. As human resources director, she prioritizes staff development, culture, communication and aligning the goals that staff members bring to their roles. Pam is passionate about education and believes everyone should contribute to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed. Before coming to Education Northwest, Pam spent nearly two decades with CompView, a technology company on the West Coast, where she built a culture of respect, fostered excitement for the work and celebrated the success of teams and individuals. Pam has a bachelor’s degree in history from Willamette University and a master’s degree in organizational communication from Purdue University. She lives in Portland with her family and Luna the cat.
Director, Institute for Youth Success
Celeste joined the Institute for Youth Success in 2007 and now serves as director. She works to partner with youth-serving agencies and provide support through a lens of continuous improvement and innovation. Earlier in her career, she ran oncology camps in Montana and worked in fundraising at a national breast cancer organization. Celeste studied education and city planning at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Ladder to Leadership Program, a certified Positive Discipline parent educator, and the proud mama of a little guy that keeps her on her toes.
Director, Center for School, Family, and Community
Steve directs the Center for School, Family, and Community at Education Northwest. He has more than 25 years of experience dedicated to improving the career preparation of youth and adults working with audiences that include federal and state education agencies and high school and college administrators and instructors. Prior to joining Education Northwest in 2018, Steve directed career and technical education research and evaluation studies at RTI International (2013-18) and MPR Associates (1993-2013). He has extensive experience managing large-scale national studies and multi-year federal contracts. Steve began his career as a high school math and science instructor and served 10 years as a school board member at with the Riverdale School District in Portland, Oregon. Steve holds a Ph.D. in educational administration and policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Director, Center for Research, Evaluation and Analysis
Chris has more than 15 years of experience working in the areas of secondary and postsecondary readiness and success and research practice partnerships. Prior to joining Education Northwest in 2011, he spent three years with the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, where he managed their nationally focused policy and capacity-building initiatives and worked closely with policymakers, district leaders and researchers developing and using early warning and college readiness indicators. Chris has also served as a senior policy analyst at the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and as an assistant professor in the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College/City University of New York. He holds a Ph.D. in social sciences, policy, and educational practice from Stanford University.
Director, Center for Strengthening Education Systems
As the director of the Center for Strengthening Education Systems, Mike manages a portfolio of large-scale projects that build multiple stakeholders’ capacity to plan, lead, and implement data- and evidence-driven change initiatives. In this role, he serves as core team member in the development of tools, processes, and resources for Education Northwest’s approach to school and district improvement. Mike also serves as head of the Northwest Comprehensive Center, which provides technical assistance to state education agencies in priority areas such as educator effectiveness, school improvement, and Common Core State Standards implementation. With a master's degree in school leadership, Mike's previous roles include being a middle school principal and teacher.
Olga Vargas serves as the director of communications and information technology at Education Northwest. Strategic, dedicated, and passionate about education, Vargas brings more than two decades’ experience to her role. Her expertise spans all areas of marketing, communications, and business development including: positioning and pricing of product and services, design, public relations, media relations, customer understanding, and development and management of integrated marketing and communications plans. Prior to joining Education Northwest, Vargas was the Business and Marketing Director for the Latin American Region at Texas Instruments (TI) Education Technology Division. During her tenure, she was in charge of all business and marketing decisions, from product definition and stewardship to government and stakeholder relations, and from demand creation and sales to customer understanding and professional development services for teachers. Vargas also served as manager of Market Development, Business Opportunities, and Government Relations & State Policy for TI's Education Division.