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Research Team

teamThe Equitable Parent School Collaboration Research Team is comprised of the leadership and direction of Dr. Ann Ishimaru, Dr. Joe Lott, Dr. Jondou Chen, and has had a strong membership from scholars and graduate students from the College of Education.  Integral to our team has been the partnership and wisdom of parents, community leaders, teachers, and school administrators who have made this work possible.


Principal Investigators

ishimaru copyAnn Ishimaru, EdD, is an Assistant Professor of Educational Policy, Organizations and Leadership at the College of Education at the University of Washington.  Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of leadership, school-community relationships, and educational equity in P-12 systems.  She engages in community-based research to build collaborative leadership capacity for improving educational systems and leveraging the expertise and priorities of the students, families, and communities who have been least well served in these systems.  She is also a PI of the Family Leadership Design Collaborative (with Dr. Megan Bang).  Dr. Ishimaru received her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has a masters in science education and an undergraduate degree in environmental education.  Prior to her career in academia, she was an environmental educator, middle and high school science teacher, and spent 12 years leading community-based nonprofit organizations.

Joe Lott, PhD, is an associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington. He studies racial identity development and civic engagement among Black students in college, the impact of college experiences on civic and political dispositions, and how to change the college-going culture through parent-school-community partnerships. His emerging research interests revolve around how to leverage university-community partnerships to foster wellness and educational achievement for males of color along the P-20 continuum.  He teaches classes on applied statistics, civic engagement in higher education, school-community partnerships, sociology of education, and student development.

Research Associate:

ChenJondou_Profile_2014 copyJondou Chen, PhD is Research Associate for Education, Equity, and Society at the University of Washington and Associate Director of the National SEED Project at Wellesley College. Jondou has a bachelors degree in history as well as masters degrees in education and statistics and a doctorate in developmental psychology. Professionally, Jondou has worked as service provider and program director for a range of organizations focusing on homelessness, youth, alternative education, and teacher development. Additionally, Jondou has conducted program evaluation research over the past 10 years measuring youth development and family wellbeing following provision of early childhood education, affordable housing, prison education, and socioemotional learning interventions.


Research Assistants:

bio-john copyJohn Benner is a 4th year PhD student in learning sciences and human development.  His research interests include parent engagement and leadership for equity, how to support social and emotional learning in and out of school and community-based research methods. Before coming to UW, John worked for many years as a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool teacher and later as a program director for a Preschool – 6th grade before and after school program in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle.  These experiences inspired him to learn more about how parents can take action to make schools better for all children.


NathanieLeeNathanie Lee is a PhD student in Learning Sciences and Human Development. Her research interest is in understanding non-dominant families’ roles and involvement in academically motivating their children. As a former teacher, she also seeks to understand how educators and schools can effectively include families as having a powerful voice in the education process.

Karen- resized pictureKaren O’Reilly-Diaz is a PhD candidate in the Curriculum and Instruction program at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on the relationships between schools and non-dominant families, and communities. Specifically her works seeks to understand collective efforts of Latino/immigrant families and public schools and their potential to create more equitable educational opportunities for Latino students.




Photo on 4-28-15 at 7.51 PM copyDalya Perez is a PhD student in Higher Education Leadership at the University of Washington.  Her work broadly emphasizes issues of access, recruitment and retention of students of color within higher education. Her research has examined the concepts of education as a tool of colonialism, the role of campus as a site of student protest, and she has most recently completed a thesis investigating the histories of Filipino Americans and their involvement in the Seattle Civil Rights Movement and how this complicates our notions of race.


AditiPhotoAditi Rajendran 
is a PhD student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington. Her work seeks to understand how low-income communities and communities of color organize and empower themselves to create equitable school reform and improve academic and future life outcomes for students. Specifically, she is interested in examining how families, communities, and schools can collectively engage in the reform process and how education policy can support the work of these initiatives.



Salvador_Jessica copyJessica E. Salvador, PhD, is Associate Director for the Leadership in Higher Education M.Ed. Program at the University of Washington. Her scholarship, teaching, and professional experience focus on student engagement and success in experiential learning in higher education; equity, access, and success to and within postsecondary education for first generation in college, low income, and bilingual students; culturally responsive and relevant educational program practices; and secondary and postsecondary educational program implementation and evaluation.



Kathryn Torres received her PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program working under the guidance of Dr. Mike Knapp. Kathryn’s research interests center on understanding disconnect from higher educational pipelines for Latino students and the impact of high stakes accountability on minority populations through mixed methods research. Her dissertation work centers on understanding how NCLB and ELL assessment policies impact instructional leadership team’s use of evidence and decision making for instructional improvement within Latino and ELL-serving elementary schools.

dawn_williamsDawn Williams is a PhD student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington. Her research interests center on the intersection of opportunity gaps, culturally responsive teaching, and policy. She seeks to understand more about the impact policies aimed at addressing opportunity gaps have on teachers and the resulting student achievement.  More specifically she is interested in the racial identity development of young children and how teachers’ practices address the identity, language, racial, and social emotional needs of students.


Research Team Alumni:

Fajardo_CoEIsmael Fajardo, PhD. His research examines issues of equity and access for underrepresented students in the education pipeline, specifically the K-12 and postsecondary transition and their postsecondary experiences on various educational outcomes.





CChristineTran.Photohristine Tran is a PhD candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington. Her research interests focuses on school nutrition equity, P-20 education, policy implementation, and organizational studies. She seeks to understand the how school nutrition policies and implementation practices influence student perceptions of school food.







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