Meet the EAC Staff

As of March 2020, the EAC staff are working remotely to support the work of the Council. We welcome you to reach out to us with any questions or for more information on the Council and its work. General inquiries can be sent to

Dr. Karen Perez

Dr. Karen Pérez, Executive Director


Dr. Karen Pérez brings more than 25 years of experience in education and community advocacy, teaching, and district level administration.  As a highly skilled bilingual educator, Karen specialized in early literacy, Spanish Language Development and Supports for Emergent Multilingual/English language learners. When in the classroom, Karen developed student and parent supports from kindergarten to college in Latino majority communities. As a district level HR and Multilingual department TOSA, Karen mentored new Dual Language teachers and co-led HR diversification efforts. Karen has also served as a district administrator for Equity and Multilingual Programs, developing budgets for more equitable student outcomes.  At the university level, Karen has served as an adjunct professor in the Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, where she has taught Culturally Responsive Teaching in Linguistically Diverse Classrooms and co-facilitated Leadership Retreats for the Educational Leadership Doctoral Candidates.  

Dr. Pérez has earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Lewis and Clark College, a Master of Education in Elementary Education, Special Education, and ESOL and Bilingual Education K-12 endorsements from Portland State University. Karen currently hold an Oregon administrative and a teaching license. As a community member, Karen is serving on the Beaverton School Board and has recently served as the President of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators, and as a COSA equity board member.  Most importantly, to her, Dr. Pérez is a mother, a daughter, a partner and an multi-lingual educator who now serves and collaborates with her community in creating spaces for others to thrive.

Angela Bluhm

Angela Bluhm, Educator Programs Analyst


Angela Bluhm is a data equity advocate and an Analyst for the Educator Advancement Council in the Oregon Department of Education. Angela previously served as Research, Data, and Communications Coordinator for the Oregon Longitudinal Data Collaborative in the Chief Education Office and later in the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) where she built and analyzed data policies around the ethical use of data in longitudinal and integrated data systems, focusing on the Statewide Longitudinal Data System. Angela served on the Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy’s national workgroup for Centering Racial Equity in Government Data Processes and currently serves on the Data Justice Networking Group hosted by the State of Oregon’s Chief Data Officer. In her free time Angela enjoys gardening and beekeeping.

Dr Lynne Gardner

Dr. Lynne Gardner, Director of Program Assessment, Research, & Learning


Dr. Lynne Gardner has over 24 years of experience in education. Prior to joining the EAC, Lynne served as a classroom language arts and social studies teacher for Portland Public Schools and instructor at the University of Oregon. As a teacher, Lynne focused on redesigning and rethinking curriculum and instruction to better support students’ learning experiences. She earned a Ph.D. in Critical and Socio-cultural Studies in Education and her research explored the tensions between educators and youth leadership in racial equity work at a predominantly white school. Lynne grew up in Florida and before becoming a teacher, was an archaeologist in the Four Corners region. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time playing music, paddling, hiking and traveling with her dog.

Emily McCaffrey

Emily McCaffrey, Chief of Policy and Systems


Emily McCaffrey has over a decade of experience as an educator, program leader, and researcher in K-12 and higher education organizations. Prior to joining the EAC team, she worked with national and regional education organizations to conduct equity-focused evaluation projects on adult learning, school improvement, and personalized learning initiatives in California, Nevada, and Washington. She also serves as an advisor to the youth-led Central Valley Scholars, a community-based organization providing resources, guidance, and support to first generation college-going students. Emily grew up in rural, upstate New York and now lives in Central Oregon, where she enjoys getting outdoors with her family and her dog.

Bree Bender

Bree Bender, Communications Specialist


Bree Bender comes to the EAC with over a decade of experience working in public education. Bree holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Writing from Marylhurst University along with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. In addition to her work at the EAC, Bree is a freelance writer, editor and graphic designer. She enjoys getting lost in a good book, writing and teaching creative writing to middle and high school students.

Elizabeth Castillo Lopez

Elizabeth Tinoco, Executive Assistant


Elizabeth Tinoco is the Executive Assistant to the Educator Advancement Council Executive Director. Prior to her role with the Educator Advancement Council, Elizabeth was an Administrative support Specialist with the SIS team in the Office of Teaching, Learning and Assessment. She brings with her prior administrative experience as she worked at the Woodburn School District Office as an Assistant secretary. Elizabeth is a Salem resident, pursuing her Bachelor degree in Human Resource Management at Portland State University. Elizabeth is a former Oregon School system graduate and has always strived to help her team ensure all Oregon students receive a high quality education and work to create awareness of all the barriers that she went through to ensure that future students do not have to.

Mercedes Jones

Mercedes Jones, Director of Professional Learning


Mercedes Jones is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and is the Director of Professional Learning for the Educator Advancement Council (EAC). Prior to her role at the EAC, Mercedes served as the Curriculum Specialist for seven years for her Tribe developing tribe-specific curriculum and professional development that was historically accurate and culturally relevant. Mercedes has served on several boards and committees including the Oregon American Indian/Alaska Native Advisory Group, the University of Oregon Sapasikwala Advisory Council, and others that strive to improve learning conditions for Native students in Oregon. Having a young child herself, Mercedes is glad to be part of a team that prioritizes high-quality teaching and learning that is equitable for every student.

April Negrette

April Negrette, Curriculum Specialist, Tribal Nations Educator Collaborative


April Negrette is a member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada. For the past three years she has been a middle school science and high school math teacher on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation and prior to that she graduated from the University of Oregon’s UO Teach and Sapsik’ʷałá programs, earning her Masters in Education and teaching credential. She has a passion for environmental and community work and has held various positions over the years working for her tribe, nonprofit organizations, universities and the federal government. April enjoys traveling and water days with her son.

Renae Guenther

Renae Guenther, Program Analyst for Tribal Nations Educator Collaborative


Renae Guenther is a citizen of the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians. She graduated from Southern Oregon University with her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2018. Prior to her joining the EAC, Renae served the South Umpqua School District as a Tribal Advocate on the Tribal Attendance Promising Practices program, in collaboration with her Native tribe, for six years. Being a Native American student herself, who experienced a public education that lacked positive representations, contemporary strengths and struggles of Native communities and true perspectives of Indigenous peoples, Renae aspires to contribute to implanting Indigenous educators and values within all areas of Oregon public schools. Renae enjoys gardening, cozy campfires and being a mom to two rambunctious and curious boys!

Dr. Eoin

Bastable, Data and Research Manager


Dr. Eoin (Owen) Bastable has worked in K-12 education, higher education, and non-profits offering training, staff development, supervision, and program evaluation. Eoin most recently worked as an Administrator in Portland Public Schools where he led a district team providing individualized support for students with complex needs. At the University of Oregon, Eoin served as a Research Associate, leading research projects to help educators address school discipline disproportionality. Prior to working in K-12 schools, Eoin held a variety of roles in non-profit organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Eoin enjoys playing music, podcasting, writing, and traveling anywhere warm in the world. He is excited to be part of a team focused on supporting and elevating the voices of educators statewide.