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Venessa Keesler is the Deputy Superintendent of the Division of Educator, Student, and School Supports at the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).  This division includes assessment, accountability, standards, curriculum and instruction, school improvement, public school academies, federal Title programs, the state’s approach to low-performing schools and districts, and all aspects of the educator pipeline (preparation, certification, placement, supports, and educator evaluation).  Dr. Keesler also provides leadership and oversight for the creation, development and implementation of Michigan’s strategic research approach, including the current Michigan Education Research Initiative (with the Michigan Education Data Center at the University of Michigan and the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative at Michigan State University).  Her training in measurement and quantitative methods and prior research in the educator pipeline as part of her graduate research gives her a unique perspective and skill set among state policy makers.  Dr. Keesler previously served as Director of the Office of Evaluation, Strategic Research, and Accountability at the MDE and as a classroom teacher in Massachusetts, teaching seventh-grade social studies.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in measurement and quantitative methods from Michigan State University.