About The Wing Institute

Our Mission

The Wing Institute is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit operating foundation dedicated to the promotion of evidence-based education policies and practices in K-12 education. As a “catalyst” organization, it is designed to bridge the research-to-practice gap by facilitating communication, cooperation and collaboration among individuals and organizations currently engaged in evidence-based education. Its goal is to analyze and disseminate existing knowledge, help create new knowledge, and facilitate the effective application of that knowledge to real world settings in real time parameters.

The Wing Institute was founded in 2004 and named after Ernie Wing, an outstanding educator and child advocate who was an early champion of evidence-based education and quality services for children with special needs.

The Need

The Wing Institute's strategies are designed to address specific needs and opportunities in the U.S. K-12 education system:

  1. The field of education is experiencing an information explosion. There is a rapidly growing database of research, data, analyses, models, and policies in virtually all aspects of K-12 education.
  1. This information is extremely complex and nuanced. The K-12 education system is vast in terms of stakeholders, resources, issues, and philosophies. Education programs (classrooms, schools, districts, states, universities, etc.) vary in every way imaginable.
  1. Interpretation and use of this information vary widely. The issues involved in K-12 are extremely complex and most conclusions are driven by special interests, ideologies, and commonly held beliefs rather than scientific evidence.
  1. There is now solid evidence regarding what does and does not work in building a successful education system. There has been a dramatic increase in scientific research over the past few decades that supports evidence-based decision-making.
  1. Effective implementation is an essential, and too often ignored, component of evidence-based interventions. Interventions that have been scientifically validated often fail in the real world due to poor implementation strategies.    
  1. The aggregation, analysis and dissemination of this information have been fragmented across the field of education. There have been few efforts to organize this information in a way that makes it easily accessible and useful to stakeholders.

Our Strategies

To address these needs, the Wing Institute is actively engaged in implementing the following strategies:

Information Clearinghouse

The Wing Institute web site houses an online information clearinghouse. It is designed with a state-of-the-art, functional web architecture that analyzes, organizes and synthesizes the enormous, complex, nuanced, and rapidly growing database of research, data, analyses, models, and policies. It is organized around three critical components of an evidence-based system: 1) “education drivers” encompassing the critical components of effective education, 2) a “roadmap” to establish a continuous process for decision making, implementation, and monitoring. (3) a system “dashboard” which provides a snapshot of the latest data on what schools are doing and how well they are performing.

Research

The Wing Institute supports, promotes, reviews, and completes research in education policies and practices. It engages in extensive data-mining, tracking, analyzing, and synthesizing the most current data and research from governmental agencies, private organizations, and research / policy institutes in the context of “real time, real world” issues. It also funds new research through its graduate research funding program.

Publications

The Wing Institute facilitates and disseminates journal articles, policy analyses, research reviews, books, newsletters, position papers, and tools related to application of evidence-based education to assist education decision makers.

Evidence-based Education Knowledge Network

The Wing Institute continued to operate, refine and expand its interactive Knowledge Network to accelerate communication, collaboration, and cooperation across a wide range of individuals, organizations, professional disciplines, and regions in the promotion of evidence-based education. The goal of the Knowledge Network is to accumulate and disseminate existing knowledge, create new knowledge, and facilitate the effective application of that knowledge to real world settings in the area of evidence-based education.

Professional Forums

The Wing Institute participates in professional summits, seminars, and conferences to encourage dialogue, collaboration, and communication among researchers, decision makers, and educators.

Publications

The Wing Institute facilitates and disseminates journal articles, policy analyses, research reviews, books, newsletters, position papers, and tools related to application of evidence-based education to assist education decision makers.

Organizational Networking

The Wing Institute maintains working relationships with selected key organizations engaged in the promotion of evidence-based practice.


Our Team

The institute's founders — Jack States, Randy Keyworth, and Ronnie Detrich — have over 130 years of cumulative, hands-on experience in research, design, and implementation of evidence-based education policies and practices in public and nonpublic schools, serving students with challenging educational and behavioral needs.

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Jack States and his colleague Randy Keyworth share the responsibilities of Executive Director and Senior Fellow at the Wing Institute. They have worked together for over forty years in the field of evidence-based education. They have a unique professional background, having experience and expertise with research-to-practice issues in education from both the practice and the research perspective. On the practice side, they built and operated Spectrum Center in 1978, a non-profit organization that embraced evidence-based practices at all levels of operations. Spectrum Center served students with special needs, operating schools, public school consultation services, employment support services, residential programs, adult programs, and a teacher training campus. Its programs gained a national reputation for state-of-the-art performance feedback systems, evidence-based practices, teacher and leadership development, and high student performance. In 2004 they established the Wing Institute, a non-profit research and policy foundation dedicated to the promotion of evidence-based education. The Wing Institute is a "catalyst" organization, designed to bridge the research-to-practice gap by supporting and accelerating collaboration among researchers, educations, policy-makers, and consumers across disciplines.

Randy Keyworth and his colleague Jack States share the responsibilities of Executive Director and Senior Fellow at the Wing Institute. They have worked together for over forty years in the field of evidence-based education. They have a unique professional background, having experience and expertise with research-to-practice issues in education from both the practice and the research perspective. On the practice side, they built and operated Spectrum Center in 1978, a non-profit organization that embraced evidence-based practices at all levels of operations. Spectrum Center served students with special needs, operating schools, public school consultation services, employment support services, residential programs, adult programs, and a teacher training campus. Its programs gained a national reputation for state-of-the-art performance feedback systems, evidence-based practices, teacher and leadership development, and high student performance. In 2004 they established the Wing Institute, a non-profit research and policy foundation dedicated to the promotion of evidence-based education. The Wing Institute is a "catalyst" organization, designed to bridge the research-to-practice gap by supporting and accelerating collaboration among researchers, educations, policy-makers, and consumers across disciplines. 

Ronnie Detrich has been associated at the Wing Institute since 2004 first as a Senior Fellow and more recently as a researcher, content writer, and an editor. Prior to joining the Wing Institute, he was Clinical Director at Spectrum Center for 20 years. He has been providing services for children and youth since 1967. During that time he has served as a direct service provider as well as director of programs such as a statewide autism program in South Dakota and a residential treatment program for adjudicated adolescents in West Virginia. All of his work has been characterized by implementing evidence informed programs and data-based decision making. Most recently, his work has focused the role of evidence-based practice in education reform, the implications of evidence-based practice as a decision making process, and methods for assuring high levels of treatment integrity at scales of social importance. He is a Trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, the Coordinator of the Association for Behavior Analysis International Practice Board, and is on the editorial board for the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions and Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Samantha Cleaver earned a PhD in special education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2018. During her doctoral studies she worked to identify and disseminate evidence-based practices in early literacy through Read Charlotte, a Charlotte, NC organization focused on improving 3rd grade literacy. Prior to her doctoral work, she taught special education, worked as a school leader, and instructional coach. She is the author of two books and numerous articles on reading and education topics. 

Kendra Guinness received her master's degree in behavior analysis from Regis College. She has worked with students with developmental disabilities and their families in home, school, and clinic settings to teach functional skills and decrease challenging behavior. Most recently, her clinical work has focused on teaching language and learning readiness skills with young learners diagnosed with autism. In addition, Kendra is a doctoral student in behavior analysis at Simmons University. The focus of her doctoral research is the application of evidence-based instructional strategies in higher education settings. 

Jan Donley earned an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading, and an M.S. in Developmental Psychology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.  Jan taught multiple courses at the college and graduate school level, and spent 25 years working in the field of educational program evaluation, first as a Title I Evaluation Specialist, and then as a consultant conducting evaluation at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels. Since 2015 Jan has specialized in synthesizing research on education and school improvement topics, and developing audience-friendly and concise research briefs and reports for educational practitioners and leaders. She is the author of the school improvement resourceEffective Practices: Research Briefs and Evidence Ratings,and has developed more than 200 research briefs and professional development resources addressing various aspects of school improvement, including best practices for working with English Learners and Native American students. 

David Forbush has enjoyed his affiliation with the Wing institute since 2009 and primarily as a Wing Summit attendee. David has provided 25 years of service in multiple settings in special education. Presently, he is Director of the Utah Professional Development Network that has provided over 1000 PD events in Utah in the last five years. David served as a special education LEA in Idaho and Utah. Additionally, he prepared undergraduate teachers, and graduate researchers at Utah State University. He regards himself as an “outcomes junkie” and is intensely interested in education practices leveraging student outcomes. He is interested in evidence-based practices in PD, and transfer of educators’ acquired knowledge and skills to settings where students can contact them. David presently serves as reviewer for the Rural Special Education Quarterly and Journal of Early Interventions. 

Michelle Turan, PhD, Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, Research Fellow and Professor at Mohawk College has been working in the field of behaviour analysis for 20 years teaching and consulting internationally, particularly in the field of behaviour analysis and autism. Michelle is a published researcher but prefers to spend most of her professional time training others. Michelle has been teaching in higher education, both in person and online for fourteen years and she maintains an evidence-based scientist-practitioner approach in her teaching and consulting work.  

  • EDUCATION (general and special): effective teaching strategies; classroom management strategies and systems; curriculum design (individualized and group); teaching plans (individualized and group); classroom environment (social behavior, discipline, academic performance); school-wide interventions (social behavior, discipline, academic performance)

  • SPECIFIC DISABILITIES & ISSUES: autism; advocacy, conflict resolution; learning disabilities; emotional disturbances; special education models; behavior analysis; data-guided teaching; direct instruction; early intervention; school-wide interventions; school discipline; staff development; full inclusion and mainstreaming

  • APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS: functional analysis; environmental assessments; public policy guidelines; prevention methods; program evaluation; crisis management techniques; class-wide interventions; school wide systems

  • RESEARCH-TO-PRACTICE: consultation guidelines, philosophy, best practices; integration of public policy and services; quality assurance; social influence; problem solving; managing resistance; building consensus

  • STAFF DEVELOPMENT: curriculum development; development of training materials; instructional design; workshops; coaching

  • SCHOOL PERFORMANCE: school performance improvement systems; staff performance management; continuous improvement model in education; information systems for tracking school effectiveness; quality assurance; program reviews; resource management; safety management (student and staff)

  • STAFF PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: supervision; evaluation; team building; coaching; feedback systems; merit pay

  • RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: financial resources; staff resources; community resources; financial analyses; fiscal accountability

  • PUBLIC POLICY: student performance standards; school accountability; behavior analysis guidelines and protocols; education outcomes; school safety; school funding; federal and state special education law; No Child Left Behind (NCLB); Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)