Our Team

Nancy Lourié Markowitz, PhD
Executive Director
Center for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child
Professor Emerita, San José State University Department of Teacher Education

Nancy Lourié Markowitz is Professor Emerita of Education in the Department of Elementary Education at San José State University. She has worked as an elementary school teacher, school administrator, and teacher educator. She founded and directed the Triple “L” Collaborative, a university-school partnership, one of seven funded Bay Area School Reform Collaborative programs. She also developed and served as Director of the Multiple Subject Credential Program Option known as the TE Collaborative Residency Program. She has taught courses on creating effective learning environments in diverse, multicultural, urban K-8 classrooms, social studies methods, and literacy methods. Dr. Markowitz’ scholarly interests include the study of university/district collaboration, pre-service teacher education, and inquiry into practices that promote effective learning environments. Dr. Markowitz was a Carnegie Scholar for the Advancement of Teaching where her research focused on the development and study of a university teacher educator inquiry program. She is currently Executive Director of the Center for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child, focused on integrating the social-emotional dimensions of teaching and learning within the professional development continuum.

Heidi Stevenson, PhD
Associate Director
Center for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child

In No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg asks, “…if solutions within this system are so impossible to find then maybe we should change the system itself?” As educators we are uniquely positioned to interrupt systemic inequities and increase TK-12 student well-being and academic achievement.  Heidi Stevenson’s work is focused on supporting students and educators by promoting the integration of social, emotional and cultural competencies (SEC) throughout the teacher professional development pipeline from university teacher preparation, to beginning teacher support, and ongoing teacher professional development to support equity, wellbeing and academic achievement for all.

To achieve this goal Heidi believes we must continually ask ourselves a question posed by Django Paris (2016), “How can we prepare teachers to enact pedagogies that meet the needs of the new mainstream; students of color characterized by multilingualism, multiculturalism, and the desire to strive toward equality in an unequal and shifting racially and ethnically diverse society?”

Heidi Stevenson currently serves as Associate Director of CRTWC, President-Elect of the California Council on Teacher Education and representative on the California Department of Education Taskforce on developing social-emotional learning competencies.  Prior to that Heidi worked as a teacher of young children, Associate Professor of Education at University of the Pacific, and Visiting Professor at University of California, Berkeley.  In all she does, Heidi works collaboratively toward supporting an anti-racist and anti-marginalization educational system that best meet the needs of our society’s biggest asset, our diverse next generation.

Wendy Thowdis, MA 
Project Manager
Center for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child
Lecturer, Social Science Teacher Preparation, ​San Jose State University ​History Department
Social Science Coordinator, Credential Program, San Jose State University Department of Teacher Education

Wendy Thowdis is currently working as the Assistant Director for the Center. She has been a University Supervisor for the Secondary Education Department and teaches United States History to K-12 undergraduate teacher preparation majors at San José State University. She comes to us from New York State as a retired high school Social Studies teacher who has been working as an Education Consultant since 2006. She created and coordinated a highly innovative “School Within a School,” bringing an interdisciplinary team approach to high school education with a career/workforce skills model to address the needs of students who were “falling through the cracks.” She became a diversity trainer and coordinated Race Dialogue Circles with students from inner city and suburban schools. She has also worked as a Master Teacher/Education Coordinator for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Nance Kwan
Operations Manager
Center for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child

Nance Kwan is the Operations Manager for the Center for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child. Nance has a Bachelor of Arts in Computers in Art. She had a successful career working in the technology industry but left that behind to dedicate her time as a full time mother and a school volunteer for over 10 years. When she returned to work, she wanted to help make an impact in children’s lives. Combining her creative talents and technological skills has allowed her to fulfill the needs of the Center for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child.

Sandy Holman
Subject Matter Expert
Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child

Sandy is the founder of the Culture C.O.-O.P., an organization she developed to assist people and organizations working with equity/diversity in education, businesses, institutions and the community. She serves as a consultant for CRTWC, representing a variety of disciplines, locally and nationally, to help meet the needs of diverse/ marginalized populations. Her experiences as an equity specialist, educator, program coordinator, counselor, outreach consultant, prevention coordinator, activist, change maker, and author have given her a practitioner’s insight into the challenges communities and organizations are facing that go well beyond theoretical research.

Rachel Bacosa
Subject Matter Expert
Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child

Rachel’s passion is to partner with educators, students, and their families to build resilient learning communities. Rachel has fourteen years in education as an elementary teacher, with experience teaching primary & upper grades. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development and a teaching credential from San Jose State University.  After serving as a cooperating teacher for the credential program at San Jose State University, and leading district professional development workshops to build resilient classrooms, Rachel has been the SEL Instructional Coach for the Sunnyvale School District for the past 2 years. Rachel received training in SEL and culturally responsive teaching from the CRTWC and has co-presented in conferences in northern and southern CA.