Staff Directory

Executive Staff

Kate Shaw
 | Executive Director

Dr. Kathleen M. 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 qualita…

Daniel A.  Long
 | Director of Quantitative Research

Dr. Daniel A. Long has 18 years of experience conducting quantitative research of educational policy, social inequality, and demographic topics in the U.S. and internationally. Before joining Research for Action he taught educational policy, methods, and statistics courses at Wesleyan University as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. He has worked as a researcher for the Center for Demography at …

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 served in a consulting role at RFA, working as the co-lead on two national, mixed-method research projects, and as a management consultant. Liza h…

Adam Schott
 | Director of Policy Research

Adam Schott oversees all aspects of RFA’s policy research and reports. He currently leads several state-level research initiatives and coordinates RFA’s involvement in the Campaign for Fair Education Funding and the Education Justice Network. Adam also connects RFA’s research with the work of Pennsylvania policymakers, education beat journalists, and other education organizations. His writings hav…

Elizabeth Simonetti
 | Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer, Elizabeth is responsible for providing strategic oversight for all financial and administrative matters at RFA, including human resources and technology. Elizabeth has extensive experience in the for-profit and nonprofit sector, and has worked in social services, healthcare and information technology organizations. Elizabeth has implemented operational methodologies tha…

Research Staff

Kate Callahan
 | Senior Research Associate

Dr. Kate Callahan is a Senior Research Associate at RFA. Since coming to RFA in 2010 Kate has directed multiple mixed-methods projects focused on postsecondary education and transition to college. Currently, Kate is leading a two-year qualitative study of how two- and four-year postsecondary institutions have responded to recent Outcomes Based Funding (OBF) policies in Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana;…

Brittan Hallar
 | Senior Research Associate

Dr. Brittan Hallar has worked in STEM education as a teacher and researcher for more than a decade. She currently helps lead multiple evaluations of 21st Century Community Learning Center programs that focus on delivering STEM programming and as part of a partnership with the City of Philadelphia, working to aggregate data from these evaluations to inform the City’s Wallace-funded system-building …

Tracey A. Hartmann
 | Senior Research Associate

Dr. Tracey Hartmann is an experienced qualitative researcher and project director. At RFA, she leads and participates in a range of research and evaluation projects. 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 org…

Rebecca J. Reumann-Moore
 | Senior Research Associate

Dr. Rebecca Reumann-Moore is an experienced Project Director at RFA. Her current projects include a national Gates Foundation-funded research and development project in which teachers collaborate across districts and states to develop and implement high-quality curricular tools which combine literacy and content learning and are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and an evaluation o…

Jessica K. Beaver
 | Research Associate

Dr. Jessica K. Beaver is a Research Associate at RFA, where she plays a key role on a variety of qualitative, mixed-methods, and policy research projects. Currently, Jessica is the co-Project Director on an evaluation of teacher effectiveness policies in Delaware, as well as an evaluation of the Project LIFT turnaround initiative in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Jessica also conducts research…

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

Dr. Jian Gao is an experienced researcher with a particular expertise in quantitative research methods and statistics, economics of education, and program evaluation. Jian is currently co-leading a multiple-year project evaluating out-of-school programs in Philadelphia region that are funded by 21st Century Community Learning Center grants. He also works on projects evaluating Elev8 programs--a n…

Katrina K. Morrison
 | Research Associate

Dr. Katrina K. Morrison has worked in the field of youth development since 2002 and has worked with teachers as a mentor, evaluator or educator since 2009. At RFA, Katrina conducts data collection and analysis on several qualitative and mixed methods studies, including an evaluation of Delaware's statewide teacher evaluation system and an evaluation of 21st Century Community Learning Center after-…

Michael Norton
 | Research Associate

Dr. Michael Norton is a Research Associate at RFA. He is an experienced quantitative researcher, and he has led and co-led a range of mixed-methods evaluations at RFA. His is currently leading RFA’s evaluation the Project LIFT Initiative in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. He is also the lead consultant for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services in its work to support the assessment of…

John Sludden
 | Policy Analyst

John is a policy analyst focusing on education trends in Philadelphia, and at the state and national levels. He is lead author of analyses and articles on issues ranging from school accountability systems, school closings, portfolio management models, school choice, school funding, and high school exit exams. In addition to his policy work, John serves as a qualitative researcher on a number of pr…

Katie Englander
 | Research Analyst

Katie Englander joined RFA in 2014 as a Research Analyst. Her primary research interests include out-of-school time and arts education. Katie currently conducts qualitative research and analysis on a variety of mixed-methods projects, including an evaluation of over a dozen recipients of the federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grants; a five-year evaluation of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Pr…

Anurag Kumar
 | Data Analyst

Anurag Kumar joined RFA in 2012 as a data analyst. Anurag is an experienced information systems professional and database administrator, with particular expertise in data analysis, database design, IT management and survey research. At RFA, Anurag conducts quantitative research on multiple evaluation and research projects, including RFA evaluations of Elev8, 21st Century Schools, Youth Arts Initia…

Kasey Meehan
 | Research Analyst

Kasey Meehan is a quantitative researcher on multiple mixed-methods projects at RFA. Projects include examining performance-based funding policies in Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana and a study of the effectiveness of New Hampshire’s implementation of Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO). Before joining RFA, Kasey was a Project Director at SSRS, a survey research firm, where she coordinated soci…

Jeannette Rowland
 | Research Analyst

Jeannette Rowland joined RFA in 2014 as a Research Analyst. She is a member of the qualitative team and currently conducts research and analysis for multiple projects, including an evaluation of the Wallace Foundation’s Youth Arts Initiative, a pilot initiative of the ALEKS Algebra system in the School District of Philadelphia, and a national evaluation of an OST initiative called Elev8. Prior to …

Lucas Westmaas
 | Research Analyst

Lucas Westmaas, an RFA team member since 2014, is a skilled quantitative and policy analyst, with experience in evaluation of school-based educational interventions and large-scale policy initiatives in both K-12 and higher education. At Research for Action, Lucas’s past and present projects include an analysis of Extended Learning Opportunities in New Hampshire high schools, a survey of Pennsylva…

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

Alison Murawski
 | Director of Communications

Alison Murawski is RFA’s Director of Communications. Over the past five years, she has 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 editorial pages with publication of res…

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 is RFA’s Director of Finance. Jeri is responsible for overseeing RFA's accounts receivable, accounts payable, cash management 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 …

Rachel Greene
 | Graphic Designer/Communications Assistant

Rachel Greene is RFA's Graphic Designer/Communications Assistant. In this role, she plays a central part in the production of research reports, including report design and data presentation, as well as the design and development of other organizational materials. Prior to joining RFA, Rachel served as a junior graphic designer at Universal Technical Resource Services. While collaborating with diff…

David Peterson
 | Office Assistant

David Peterson, Office Assistant, supports RFA’s 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 Development, and the…