Data Strategist Paul Stern has been named president-elect of the Washington Educational Research Association, a nonprofit organization of professionals conducting and applying educational research and data to improve instruction, assessment and evaluation. The longtime member previously served on the WERA board from 2008 to 2010 and in June 2015 was re-elected to the board in an at-large position.

Stern guides the district’s use of “data to identify pockets of success and areas where we’re struggling,” he said. The former includes students from low-income families enrolling in Advanced Placement courses and taking AP exams, which colleges and universities may accept for credit.

“Because of a focus on narrowing opportunity gaps, we have seen huge gains in low-income [students’] enrollments in AP classes,” according to Stern, who has worked for VPS since 2010.

But the president-elect believes that focus could extend to other areas as well. His goals for WERA include strengthening connections between K-12 education researchers and their peer colleagues at local community and technical colleges.

“Half of the students who go to college go to a local community college. It’s true for Vancouver; it’s true for pretty much every district across the state,” Stern explained. “Given how much we have in common, I think we need to have more dialogue between K-12 and higher education in all areas.”

His three-year term, which Stern will serve while continuing his role in VPS, will begin in June 2017.