Research Team

The Practical Measures, Routines, & Representations for Instructional Improvement research team is comprised of researchers across four universities: the University of Washington, Vanderbilt University, the University of California-Riverside, and New York University. Integral to our team has been our collaboration with partner organizations and researchers.

University of Washington

Kara Jackson, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of Washington College of Education.  Her work as a mathematics educator is principally concerned with understanding how to improve mathematics teaching and learning – especially in the middle-grades – to support youth from historically underserved communities to participate substantially in and identify with academically rigorous mathematics.  Her research has most recently focused on specifying concrete forms of teaching practice that advance equity, and investigating how to re-organize educational contexts to support teachers to develop such forms of practice.

Anita Lenges, Ph.D., is an acting associate professor in the University of Washington Math Education Project. She currently works with k-12 math teachers, coaches and administrators to support engaging, rigorous, critical and reasoning-based mathematics teaching and learning. Having academically honest conversations with students and teachers is at the core of her work. Anita started her career as a high school math, physics and chemistry teacher in Kenya with the U.S. Peace Corps. She continued by teaching middle school in the Seattle area, and then entered teacher education in schools, at the University of Washington and The Evergreen State College.

Starlie Chinen is a doctoral student in Curriculum & Instruction with a focus on mathematics at the University of Washington. She is a former middle and high school teacher and has worked as an elementary teacher educator. Her research takes a socio-political approach to understanding how secondary mathematics teachers conceptualize their work. She is also a research assistant on a research-practice partnership aiming to improve middle-grade mathematics in a local school district and develop tools, routines, and representations that educators can use to inform efforts to improve their practice.

Maria Hays is a doctoral student in Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Washington. Her main area of interest involves understanding how the design and implementation choices made by instructional designers and course instructors impact student learning and course outcomes. Maria is currently examining how completion and retention rates in online courses are impacted by collaborative learning activities that support community building. She has over twenty years of face-to-face and online teaching experience as both an ELA and information technology instructor, and holds a B.A. in English from SUNY and an M.A. in teaching from the University of Southern California.

Hannah Nieman is a doctoral candidate in Teacher Quality & Teacher Education at the University of Washington. Her work centers on understanding how the field might design teacher learning experiences to support the development of teaching practices that have the potential to engage all students in rigorous mathematical activity. She sees meaningful collaboration with practitioners as central to improving mathematics teaching and learning. Hannah previously taught high school mathematics at an engineering-focused high school and has worked as an elementary and secondary mathematics teacher educator. She holds a B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech and an M.A. in Mathematics Education from the University of Washington.

Vanderbilt University

Paul CobbEd.D., is a research professor at Vanderbilt University. His research interests include improving the quality of mathematics teaching and student learning on a large scale and working on issues of equity in students’ access to significant mathematical ideas. 

Nick KochmanskiNicholas Kochmanski is a doctoral candidate at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Teaching and Learning with a focus on mathematics education. He is a former middle school mathematics teacher and instructional coach. His research interests include teacher learning, instructional coaching, and improving mathematics instruction at scale. 

Jan Morrison, M.Ed. is a Project Coordinator in Vanderbilt University’s Department of Teaching and Learning. Jan has previously worked on the Enhanced Language and Literacy Success project, several meta-analyses at the Peabody Research Institute such as the Antecedents of Antisocial Behavior, School Outcomes and Substance Use and the Predictors of School Readiness, Rehabilitation Programs for Adult Offenders: Meta-Analysis in Support of Guidelines for Effective Practice (NIJ), and the Effects of Music Instruction on Cognition and School Success at the W. O. Smith Music School. She hold a B.A. in English from Belmont University and an M.Ed. in Human Development Counseling from Vanderbilt University.

University of California-Riverside

Thomas Smith, Ph.D., is dean and professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside. His research focuses on how policy and organizational context influence instructional improvement and student achievement gains. He also serves Executive Director of the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools (NCSU), a national research and development center formed to enhance the capacity of school districts to identify effective practices, design and test innovations that capture the core components of those practices, and then implement the innovations in ways that improve the learning opportunities for students.

Marsha IngPh.D., is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside. She studies measurement and assessment within the realm of science and mathematics teaching and learning. Her recent research includes using observational data from elementary mathematics classrooms to better understand the relationship between teacher practices and student outcomes. She teaches classes on research methods, statistics, and measurement and holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Daniela Kruel DiGiacomo, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California Riverside's Graduate School of Education. Daniela received her Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Human Development from the University of Colorado Boulder. As a community- and design-based researcher, Daniela’s work investigates how to design for more equitable teaching and learning relationships between adults and young people across various lines of difference. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Daniela worked in secondary teaching, school administration, political asylum advocacy, and social work in the Bay Area. She holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies from UC Berkeley and a Master's in Development Studies from Cambridge University.

University of California-Irvine

june-ahnJune Ahn, Ph.D., is an associate professor at University of California-Irvine School of Education. He studies the design, implementation, and evaluation of learning technologies. His research spans a variety of topics including social media and games for learning, online learning, and blended learning. However, he has a particular interest in understanding the sociotechnical systems surrounding new learning technologies – or how social, cultural, and institutional factors intersect with the new possibilities afforded by technology. June's prior experiences include work as a middle school math teacher, high school computer science teacher, technology director at a K-8 school, and faculty member and Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at University of Maryland, College Park.

New York University

Fabio Campos is a doctoral student in the Education, Communication and Technology program at NYU. He worked for more than 20 years as a practitioner in education, specializing in interventions for low-income young adults. At Rio’s municipal government, Fabio directed the Schools of Tomorrow, a program for over 100.000 students and 155 schools spread throughout Rio’s most violent favelas. Fabio holds a Master's in Education from Stanford, a Social Entrepreneurship Specialization from Georgetown University, an MBA from Rio’s Federal University, and a BA of Social Communication from Rio’s Federal University.

Past Contributors

Anna-Lena Gruendler: Research Assistant

Erin Henrick: Co-Principal Investigator

Emily Kern: Research Assistant

Meaghan McMurran: Research Assistant