Deborah Jonas is the director of SRI’s Center for Education Research & Innovation, where she leads a team of approximately 75 researchers in conceptualizing, designing, and conducting research, evaluation, and evidence-related technical support projects to inform policy and practice across the P20W spectrum. Jonas is an experimental cognitive psychologist who has studied memory and attention across the lifespan, including executive function constructs, such as metacognition, which are critical for successful self-directed learning skills. Learn More ▸
For 15 years, Jonas has applied her knowledge of how people learn to education research, leading studies using experimental, repeated measures and longitudinal research designs, and designing and delivering technical assistance that help educators use results to improve teaching and learning. She has led projects across the education system—preK12, transition to higher education, within community colleges and with workforce development programs—that help educators and policymakers strengthen their creation and use of evidence to improve teaching and learning, and provide students the supports needed for success. She has provided research and technical assistance support to community colleges and other non-selective colleges for nearly a decade.
She holds a PhD and MA from Duke University, where she studied experimental cognitive psychology, and a BA in psychology from the University of Maryland.
Nikki Edgecombe is a senior research scholar at the Community College Research Center (CCRC) and a research professor in the Education Policy and Social Analysis Department at Teachers College, Columbia University. She conducts research on teaching and learning, developmental education, education equity, English learners, faculty development, minority-serving institutions, and higher education finance, among other topics. Learn More ▸
She is the principal investigator for the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR), a U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES)-funded research center on developmental education jointly run with the social policy research organization MDRC. Edgecombe also leads an IES study on English learners in community colleges and recently completed a study on the adaptation of Lesson Study for community college mathematics instruction.
Edgecombe joined CCRC from JPMorgan, where she studied the financial and organizational performance of publicly traded companies and made investment recommendations to institutional clients. Prior to her work in the private sector, she studied teacher learning and school-based professional development at the Urban Education Institute (formerly the Center for School Improvement) and Consortium on School Research at the University of Chicago. For the Collaborative, Edgecombe will co-lead the institutional policies and practice analysis and the national leadership and capacity building function. As a member of the leadership team, she will help to develop and execute the Collaborative’s strategy and leverage long-standing relationships in the broad-access postsecondary sector to maximize the impact of the work.
She holds a PhD and a MSEd in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Urban Studies–Economics from Columbia University.
Rebecca J. Griffiths is a principal researcher and co-director of the Digital Learning and Technology Policy program at SRI Education. She conducts research on how educational innovations can increase student learning and success in postsecondary and K12 systems. Her studies blend qualitative and quantitative methods to shed new light on the benefits and challenges of technology-enabled instructional models for diverse students, as well as the factors that drive successful implementation and scaling. Learn More ▸
Griffiths leads and supports a portfolio of work investigating how emerging technologies and technology-enabled instructional models can enhance educational opportunities and enable new approaches to research. Examples of her studies include an evaluation of the academic and economic impacts of Open Educational Resource (OER) Degrees in community colleges, an exploration of ways in which OER enables more student-entered and equity-oriented teaching and learning practices, an evaluation of an informal STEM learning program for young men of color and rural girls, and a research practice partnership with a community college to embed employability skills in an advanced manufacturing technology program.
Before joining SRI, Griffiths was program director for online learning at Ithaka S+R, a nonprofit postsecondary education research and advisory practice. Griffiths has EdD in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania and a masters in new product and venture development at MIT, giving her a unique perspective on how technological innovations scale and achieve sustainability and on organizational development and change. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in East Asian Studies.
Neil Seftor is a principal researcher at SRI Education. He designs and conducts rigorous evaluations of education programs to identify what works in improving student outcomes. During the past 19 years, he has applied these methods to examine the effectiveness of a wide range of K–12 and post-secondary interventions and policies for federal agencies and foundations. Learn More ▸
Prior to SRI, as the project director and co-principal investigator of the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) initiative, Seftor developed many of the WWC’s signature components. As co-PI and lead of the research and development activities for the Collaborative, Seftor will support all aspects of quantitative design and statistical methodology and ensure that all study plans, data collections, and analyses are up-to-date and aligned with the most rigorous methods available to answer the research questions.
Seftor earned his PhD in economics from the University of Virginia.
Kea Anderson is a senior education researcher at SRI Education. She specializes in informal STEM learning and STEM learning pathways. In her work, she seeks to improve equity in and access to out-of-school learning opportunities and to connect home, school, and community learning contexts. She also works with education leaders, teachers, and informal educators to use evaluation and continuous improvement approaches to improve equity. Learn More ▸
Anderson leads the evaluation of the STEM Core Alliance, which helps students who enter college underprepared in math prepare for STEM careers. She recently led the summative evaluation of the Research+Practice Collaboratory, a networked group of research-practice partnerships established to improve equity and outcomes in STEM education while developing tools and approaches to support the education research-and-practice field. As part of the Regional Educational Laboratory for the Appalachian region, she coaches West Virginia Simulated Workplace leaders in continuous improvement. For the Ready to Learn Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Anderson is evaluating a national network of community coalitions that aims to build confidence and skills for parents from underresourced communities to support their young children’s learning.
Anderson holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She also holds a diplôme des études approfondies from the Université de Paris 7.
Kori Hamilton Biagas has more than 15 years of experience in instruction, education policy, and technical assistance across the country. She has held various roles with federally funded centers for supporting students with disabilities and connecting students in rural communities with opportunities in college and career. Learn More ▸
Susan Bickerstaff is a senior research associate and program lead at the Community College Research Center (CCRC). She conducts qualitative research on developmental education reform, teaching and learning, faculty learning and engagement, and student experiences at community colleges. Her current CCRC projects include the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR) and the Caring Campus Initiative. Learn More ▸
Bickerstaff holds a PhD in reading, writing, and literacy from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation focused on the experiences of adolescents at an urban community college. Bickerstaff holds a BA in community health from Brown University and an MS in education from Drexel University. She previously worked as a coordinator at a community-based adult education program and taught research methods courses at Rutgers Graduate School of Education and Oregon State University.
Thomas Brock is the director of the Community College Research Center (CCRC) and a research professor at Teachers College. From 2013 to 2018, Brock was the commissioner of the National Center for Education Research (NCER) at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Learn More ▸
In January 2017, former Education Secretary John King delegated to Brock the duties of director of IES. Brock served in the role for more than a year, overseeing IES’s centers on research, evaluation, and statistics and the release of several major reports. Prior to his work for the U.S. Department of Education, Brock spent nearly a decade as the head of the postsecondary education division of MDRC, capping more than 20 years at the independent social policy research organization. Brock will be an advisor to the Collaborative.
Brock earned his BA in anthropology from Pitzer College and holds an MPA from Columbia University and a PhD in social welfare from UCLA.
Hannah Cheever is a technical assistance provider and education researcher at SRI Education. Cheever conducts research and provides technical support for projects across content areas and policy contexts, executing strategic project planning and creating systems to ensure quality, timeliness, and responsiveness to client and stakeholder needs. Learn More ▸
Prior to joining SRI, Cheever worked as a policy analyst at the National Center for Education and Economy and as a data coordinator for Urban Teachers. Cheever holds a M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. from Davidson College.
Elizabeth Ganga is the communications manager at the Community College Research Center (CCRC). She works to ensure that the insights and knowledge developed through CCRC studies reach the people who can benefit from them, including community college educators and administrators, state and system leaders, and policymakers. Learn More ▸
Ganga is a member of the Collaborative’s communications team. She joined CCRC in 2015 after a 20-year career in newspaper journalism. She earned a BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Dr. Paul Hernandez is senior adviser to the president at Achieving the Dream. Dr. Hernandez is a community college leader and practitioner and an Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow serving most recently as vice president for academic and student affairs at Mount Wachusett Community College. Learn More ▸
Dr. Hernandez earned his doctorate in sociology from Michigan State University, his bachelor’s degree from California State University, and his associate degree from Los Angeles Community College. Prior to earning his degrees, he was engulfed in gang culture and deep poverty, surviving on the streets of Los Angeles. He openly shares his powerful personal story hoping to influence and empower young people traveling a similar path.
Jonathan Iuzzini is director of Teaching and Learning at Achieving the Dream. In this role, Jon is responsible for the strategic leadership and implementation of ATD’s teaching and learning portfolio, including our coaching services related to teaching, learning, and faculty/educational development. Learn More ▸
Jon is co-author (with Bret Eynon) of the new ATD Teaching & Learning Toolkit: A Research-Based Guide to Building a Culture of Teaching and Learning Excellence. His other recent publications applied the theory of intersectionality to the work of faculty/educational development and appeared in New Directions for Teaching & Learning and To Improve the Academy. Jon brings over 20 years of higher education experience to his role, most recently leading the Teaching & Creativity Center at Monroe Community College and teaching psychology at colleges and universities in Texas, Tennessee, and New York.
In addition to Jon’s academic background and previous work experience, he regularly facilitates workshops and institutes on equity-focused faculty/educational development; inclusive leadership development and community building for faculty and middle managers in academic environments; and strengthening communication to enhance collaboration. He recently concluded a 3-year term on the Board of Directors of the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education.
A proud product of the New York City public schools, Jon earned his BA in Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York and his MS in Psychology at Texas A&M University.
Krystal Thomas is an education researcher at SRI Education who brings a developmental psychology and equity lens to research, evaluation, and capacity building. Her projects span issues of teacher quality and practices, students’ academic and social identities, and patterns of contextual inequality in the classroom. Thomas is involved in several studies at SRI, including leading survey development and project management. Learn More ▸
Before joining SRI, Thomas was an IES Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia, a lead statistician at the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium, and a lab manager at the Cognitive Intervention Research, Culture and Learning Environments in Schools (CIRCLES) Lab. Thomas holds a PhD and master’s in developmental psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Virginia State University.
Louise Yarnall is a senior research social scientist at SRI Education. She studies ways to help educators and employers prepare learners for careers. Yarnall’s work focuses on supporting novel ways to integrate career exploration and preparation into both K–16 and the workplace settings. She has published research on how instructors can incorporate workplace simulation projects and employability skills development into the classroom. Learn More ▸
Yarnall excels at analyzing both technical knowledge in a wide range of domains and non-technical skills that support success in life and work. Yarnall has analyzed such content in college, military, and employer courses. She has documented the knowledge of expert workplace technicians. She has studied techniques for improving employability skills such as communication, teamwork, and adapting to workplace expectations. She led a team that developed a work-based learning framework for the state of Maryland. Yarnall also is an expert in the design and delivery of problem-based learning and adaptive learning courseware.
In her doctoral thesis at UCLA, she measured how well people discern different viewpoints in news reports and editorials. This work led her to explore how people learn core knowledge in multiple fields and how educators can design instruction to accelerate the development of expert understanding in many domains.