Staff Directory

Executive Staff

Kate Shaw
 | Executive Director

Kate Shaw became Executive Director of Research for Action in December 2009. Since then, she has overseen a four-fold growth in the size of the organization, and has greatly increased the scope of its regional and national work while maintaining a commitment to Philadelphia. Under her leadership, RFA has developed a robust quantitative shop to compliment the strong foundation of qualitative expert…

Stephanie Levin
 | Deputy Director and Director of Quantitative Research

Stephanie Levin is RFA’s Deputy Director and the Director of RFA’s quantitative research department. In that role, Stephanie provides strategic leadership to quantitative and mixed-methods projects, and ensures the rigor and quality of RFA’s quantitative analyses. Stephanie is currently the PI of a Gates Foundation-funded, multi-year, national study of how multiple states and school districts are …

Liza M. Rodriguez
 | Director of Research Operations and Qualitative Research

Dr. Liza M. Rodriguez joined RFA as its Director of Research Operations and Qualitative Research in 2013. Liza brings a unique combination of strong research skills and hands-on policy and organizational experience. For the past several years, Rodriguez has served in a consulting role at RFA, serving as the co-lead on two national, mixed-method research projects, and as a management consultant. Li…

Adam Schott
 | Director of Policy Research

Adam Schott serves as RFA’s Policy Director, overseeing all aspects of the organization’s policy research and reports. He is currently leading several state-level policy projects, including RFA’s work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center. Adam came to RFA after serving two years as Executive Director of Pennsylvania’s State Board of Education. In…

Research Staff

Tracey A. Hartmann
 | Senior Research Associate

Tracey Hartmann leads and participates in a range of research and evaluation projects at RFA. Currently, she leads studies of multiple after-school programs, including an evaluation of 21st Century Community Learning Centers; an evaluation of New Profit as it supports the scaling up of seven high-capacity youth development organizations through funding from the Social Innovation Fund; and the eval…

Nancy Lawrence
 | Senior Research Associate

Nancy R. Lawrence is a qualitative researcher with experience in the realm of math education and the role of student assessment in educational reform. She has expertise across a range of topics, including formative assessments, organizational culture, workplace learning, gender politics, and community and political activism. Presently, Nancy is serving as Co-Director of a national study of how sec…

Christine  Leow
 | Senior Research Associate

Christine Leow joined RFA in 2012 as a Senior Research Associate. At RFA, Christine is the lead quantitative researcher on a number of mixed-methods projects. Christine has 10 years of experience in evaluation, research design and quantitative statistical methods. In a Department of Education contract, she provided evaluation technical assistance to grantees receiving federal funds to integrate A…

Rebecca J. Reumann-Moore
 | Senior Research Associate

Rebecca Reumann-Moore is an experienced Project Director at RFA. Currently, she co-leads a a mixed methods evaluation of the American Reading Company’s Action 100 literacy initiative in Camden, NJ and an evaluation of City Year Greater Philadelphia. She also plays leadership and research roles on a national study of Gates Foundation math and literacy tools aligned to the CCSS. Rebecca has worked …

Jessica Beaver
 | Research Associate

Jessica K. Beaver is a Research Associate at RFA, where she plays a key role on a variety of qualitative and policy research projects. Jessica’s research interests include personalized learning and education technology utilization, decision-making in educational organizations, and the impact of performance-based accountability measures on student academic achievement. Prior to RFA, Jessica worked …

Kate Callahan
 | Research Associate

Kate Callahan joined RFA in February 2010. At RFA Kate has served as lead researcher on multiple mixed-methods projects focused on postsecondary education and transition to college. Kate is currently co-leading a four-year evaluation of New Profit, Inc.’s “engaged investor” approach to philanthropic investment particularly within the college and career readiness sector. In addition to having tau…

Mark Duffy
 | Research Associate

Mark Duffy has worked in the field of education policy and practice research for over a decade, focusing on both K-12 and postsecondary reform in areas such as standards-based assessment and accountability systems and developmental education. While at RFA, Mark’s projects have included research on the implementation of curricular tools aligned to the Common Core State Standards, college pipeline …

Jian Gao
 | Research Associate

Jian Gao joined RFA in 2012 as a Research Associate. Jian is an educator and experienced quantitative researcher, with a particular expertise in the use of quantitative methods for evaluation of K-12 school reform initiatives. At RFA, he conducts sophisticated quantitative analyses on multiple research and evaluation projects, including the evaluation of Elev8, a national community school initiati…

Brittan Hallar
 | Research Associate

Brittan Hallar joined RFA in November 2011 as a Research Associate. Brittan’s work primarily focuses on postsecondary education; she also contributes to projects where she can incorporate her STEM expertise and knowledge of education policy. Prior to RFA, Brittan served as the Statewide Science Education Coordinator for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission where she was responsibl…

Yijing Huang
 | Research Associate

Yijing Huang holds a Master's Degree in International and Development Economics from Yale University. Her current assignment requires close partnership with the Accountability Office at the School District of Philadelphia. She supports research and data analysis for RFA and city-wide education projects, all of which are largely based on the school district’s data collection system. Yijing contribu…

Michael Norton
 | Research Associate

Michael Norton joined RFA as a Research Associate. Michael is an experienced quantitative researcher, and he has taught statistics at Temple University, where he is completing his doctoral degree in Sociology. He has also conducted a range of qualitative and mixed-methods studies, and has a particular interest in the ways that colleges and universities can strengthen and build communities. Before …

Kelly Piccinino
 | Research Associate

Kelly Dever Piccinino joins RFA as a Research Associate. Kelly works on a variety of mixed-method projects at RFA. Prior to her position at RFA, Kelly worked as a research consultant for Chicago Public Schools and a Senior Research Analyst in the Office of Accountability for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. In addition to these positions, she gained valuable interviewing experience while…

John Sludden
 | Senior Policy Assistant

John is a senior policy assistant with particular expertise in state education policy. His responsibilities include conducting federal and state policy analyses, and cross-state policy and media scans for multiple RFA projects. Prior to his position at RFA, John served for three years as a legislative aide for the Pennsylvania Department of Education and was a communication specialist for the Depa…

Kimberly Edmunds
 | Senior Research Assistant

Kimberly Edmunds is a Philadelphia native who has taught in two of Philadelphia’s charter elementary schools. At the University of Pennsylvania, Kim combined her teaching background with the master's program in Urban Spatial Analytics, which granted her the opportunity to explore how geospatial technology could be used as a tool in educational research. In March 2012, Kim began participating in a …

Anurag Kumar
 | Senior Research Assistant

Anurag Kumar joined RFA in 2012 as a Senior Research Assistant. Anurag is an experienced information systems professional and database administrator, with particular expertise in data tracking, database design and IT management. At RFA, Anurag conducts quantitative research on multiple evaluation and research projects, including RFA evaluations of Elev8, Congreso's Exito Program, and 21st Century …

Sithi Pardeshi
 | Senior Research Assistant

Sithi Pardeshi is a qualitative researcher on multiple projects at the national and local level that explore programs and initiatives concerning K-12 public education. Her current work is concentrated on the out-of-school time evaluations of 21st Century Community Learning Center programs in Philadelphia. She is also supporting with qualitative and quantitative evaluations of out-of-school time pr…

Elizabeth Park
 | Senior Research Assistant

Elizabeth Park is a Senior Research Assistant at Research for Action where she works on a variety of national and local projects. Her passion for education stems from her years as an after-school teacher in Los Angeles. While completing her master’s degree, Liz served as a summer intern at RFA and gained experience conducting quantitative analyses for a variety of projects. She also held research …

Marvin Barnes
 | Research Assistant

Marvin Barnes joined Research for Action in 2012 as a research assistant. He received his Bachelor of the Arts degree from Temple University in Sociology while completing a one year internship with RFA. During his academic studies, he also supported international students in transitioning to the University through the Intensive English Language Program. Currently, Marvin does quantitative work for…

Administrative Staff

Judith A. Adamson
 | Managing Director/Chief Financial Officer

Judy Adamson is RFA’s Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer. She has worked at RFA since its founding, designing the organization’s financial, human resources, technological, and administrative systems. During the rapid growth of the past three years, she oversaw the four-fold expansion of RFA’s budget and staff size. Judy has more than 30 years of experience in business and non-profit adm…

Alison Murawski
 | Director of Communications

Alison Murawski is RFA’s Director of Communications. In the past two years, she implemented an organization-wide strategy to position RFA as a valuable source of information for national, statewide, and local media; district, city, and state policymakers; and other education organizations. Under her leadership, the organization has become a fixture on state and regional editorial pages with public…

Nikki Johnson
 | IT & Data Systems Manager

Nikki Johnson is a Senior Research Assistant and Technology Manager at RFA. Since 2002, Nikki has worked as a policy researcher to improve educational programming and opportunities for youth. Nikki’s areas of interest include issues of equity, math, math curriculum, post-secondary education, arts education, and community organizations. Nikki’s projects at RFA have included evaluations of City Year…

Laura Kaiser
 | Office and Human Resources Manager

Laura Kaiser, Office and Human Resources Manager, manages the human resources function and helps to ensure that RFA continues to recruit, mentor and develop the next wave of researchers who seek to learn about and improve public education. She is also responsible for managing the administrative operations of the office, and assists with RFA's communications, technology, and finance functions. …

Jeri Nutter
 | Director of Finance

Jeri Nutter, Director of Finance, is a member of RFA’s administrative team. Jeri is responsible for overseeing RFA's bookkeeping and financial reporting. Jeri has over 15 years as a nonprofit administrator. Prior to joining RFA she was the business manager at the Spiral Q Puppet Theater and earlier in her career served as the grants accountant for the Please Touch Museum. In addition to her work e…

David Peterson
 | Office Assistant

David Peterson is RFA’s Office Assistant, providing support to senior leadership and the administrative and research teams. Before coming to RFA, David worked for the Brookings Institution, having served notably as the right-hand to the Vice President and CFO. During his time at Brookings, David also held key posts within the Global Economy and Development Program, the Wolfensohn Center for Develo…

Allison Petrosky
 | Communications Assistant

Allison is RFA’s communications assistant. She assists with RFA’s editorial process, including using graphic design to give RFA a recognizable brand in the education community. She also works to increase RFA’s presence through technology by maintaining RFA’s web and social networking presence. Prior to RFA, Allison spent a year as an Augustinian Volunteer at the Holy Family School in San Diego, wh…