Technical Assistance

Gabriela Garcia

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Gabriela Garcia

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Gabriela

Last name: 

Garcia

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Gabriela Garcia brings expertise in mixed-methods evaluation design, project management, report writing, and STEM-based higher education programs. As an evaluator and researcher, Garcia strives to provide meaningful and relevant information that fosters evaluative thinking and helps improve initiatives and programs.

Garcia provides technical assistance to grantees under the National Science Foundation’s Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES), a national initiative that is working to identify and scale up proven and innovative approaches to provide access to groups traditionally underrepresented and underserved in STEM fields. She is also assisting with the evaluation of the Illinois 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Program, which provides students with academic and youth development services and students’ families with educational and personal development opportunities.

Garcia is an active member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), where she served as the co-chair of the mentorship program for the Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation Topical Interest Group (TIG) from 2011 to 2017. She is also a founding member of AEA’s Latino/a Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG and contributes to the mentorship and professional development working group.

Prior to joining EDC, Garcia conducted mixed-method evaluations of a variety of foundation- and federally funded K-12 and higher education STEM and health education initiatives, and took part in the Illinois Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (I-STEM) Education Initiative. She led federally funded project evaluations, including an evaluation of a STEM scholarship program for undergraduate students and an evaluation of a validation study of an early childhood teacher evaluation framework.

Garcia received a BA in Psychology from DePaul University and a PhD in Educational Psychology with a focus on program evaluation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 

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Non-Staff Profile

Job title: 

Research Associate II

Mailing Address: 

770 North Halsted Street, Suite 205
Chicago, Illinois 60622

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Katrina Bledsoe

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Katrina Bledsoe

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Katrina

Last name: 

Bledsoe

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Katrina Bledsoe brings extensive experience as an evaluator of programs at the local, state, and federal government levels. Bledsoe leads evaluations of initiatives focused on curriculum development in the sciences and social sciences, teacher professional development, and mental health issues such as suicide prevention. Her expertise is in community-based education and social services program evaluation, mixed methodology and methods, research innovation, applied social psychology, and cultural contexts.

Bledsoe provides technical assistance to grantees under the National Science Foundation (NSF) INCLUDES program, which is working to identify and scale up proven, innovative ideas to create access to science and engineering for groups traditionally underrepresented in those fields.  Additionally, she is a member of the team evaluating NSF’s Broadening Participation in Computing-Alliances Program, as well as a Project Lead for the REL Northeast & Islands.

Previously, Bledsoe has served as principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or project director on a variety of projects, including including leading a study exploring parental engagement in the North Corridor community of Charlotte, North Carolina; serving as an evaluation scientist for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center; and leading an evaluative qualitative outcome study focused on technology tools for teachers and students in India, using EDC’s Interactive Radio Initiative Program.

Bledsoe is the author of chapters, articles, and blog posts focusing on evaluation practice, mixed methodology and evaluation, and cultural responsiveness in evaluation, social psychology, and other topics. She has published articles in the American Journal of Evaluation ("The Use of Multiple Evaluation Approaches in Program Evaluation") and Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Science and co-authored the chapter “Decolonizing Evaluation in a Developing World: Implications and Cautions for Equity-Focused Evaluations” in Evaluation for Equitable Development Results. Her work has also been published in New Directions in Evaluation, Families in Society, and in numerous edited volumes including, among others,  Qualitative Inquiry in the Practice of Evaluation, the International Handbook of Urban Education, the Handbook of Mixed Methods Research, and the Handbook of Ethics for Research in the Social Sciences.

Bledsoe is the 2013 winner of the American Evaluation Association’s (AEA) Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation Topical Interest Group’s Scholar Award and the 2006 winner of the Eastern Evaluation Research Society’s Invited Author Award. She is an active member of AEA, where she has served on the Board of Directors and held other leadership positions, including her current role on the Evaluation Policy Task Force. She sits on the editorial board for the Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation and is a peer reviewer for both the American Journal of Evaluation and the Journal of Evaluation and Program Planning as well as the journal, Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy. Bledsoe is also a member of the Association for Psychological Science, and the Society for the Study of Psychological Issues.

Before re-joining EDC, Bledsoe served as a founding member and senior research director at ThinkShift, an initiative of the DeBruce Foundation. She received a BA from the University of California-Santa Cruz, an MA from San Francisco State University, and a PhD from Claremont Graduate University.

Staff: 

Staff Profile

Job title: 

Research Scientist

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313

Loraine Lucinski

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Loraine Lucinski

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Loraine

Last name: 

Lucinski

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Loraine Lucinski brings extensive experience in designing, implementing and evaluating child wellness programs and systems change initiatives at both the local and state levels.  She is committed to motivating others to tackle complex challenges, drive transformational innovations, and develop and implement systems solutions that positively impact children’s health, development and well-being.

Lucinski serves as Senior Project Director for the Home Visiting – Improvement Action Center Team (HV-ImpACT), which provides training and technical assistance—including site visits, webinars, and communities of practice—to Federal Home Visiting Program grantees at the state and territorial level.

Previously, Lucinski served as Deputy Director for Child Health for the Division of Family Health and Wellness in the Tennessee Department of Health, where she was responsible for the leadership, operational oversight, and evaluation of the state’s Early Childhood Initiatives; Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs; and Perinatal, Infant and Newborn Care Sections. She represented the Tennessee Department of Health on the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and related committees, and was appointed to serve on a number of high-level interdepartmental advisory committees.

Lucinski began her career as an early interventionist, providing family-based therapy to children from birth to age three with developmental disabilities or at risk for delays due to environmental factors. Prior to joining state government, she started one of the first Early Head Start programs in the country and provided training and technical assistance to a number of federally funded early childhood programs in the six Midwest states. She was named the 2017 Jim Pryor Child Advocate of the Year by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, in recognition of her contributions to the well-being of children in Tennessee. 

Lucinski received a BA in Developmental Psychology and Biology from the University of Illinois in Chicago, and an MPH in Public Health and graduate certificates in Child Development and Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology from Emory University.

Staff: 

Staff Profile

Job title: 

Senior Project Director

Mailing Address: 

1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW, Suite 700 West
Washington, DC  20007

Telephone: 

202-572-3714

Ashleigh Bickerstaff

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Ashleigh Bickerstaff

First name: 

Ashleigh

Last name: 

Bickerstaff

Bio: 

Ashleigh Bickerstaff applies her experience as an early childhood teacher to her role as a trainer and coach for educators working with children from birth to eight years old.  She is committed to improving the early care and education experience of young children.

Bickerstaff is on the staff of The Center for Early Learning Professionals, where she provides technical assistance and professional development services to Rhode Island’s early childhood care and education programs. In this role, she also works with the state’s pre-kindergarten programs, supporting classroom implementation of high-quality programming for the state’s four- and five-year-olds.

Before joining EDC, Bickerstaff was a professional development specialist for Ready to Learn Providence and a literacy coach in an Early Reading First project, providing professional development and classroom support for teachers. Bickerstaff began her career as a kindergarten teacher, gaining experience in providing high-quality curriculum and instruction to young learners.

Bickerstaff received a BS in Early Childhood Education from Salve Regina University and an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Southern New Hampshire University.

Staff: 

Staff Profile

Job title: 

Training and Technical Assistance Associate II

Mailing Address: 

535 Centerville Road, Suite 201
Warwick, RI 02886

Telephone: 

401-736-1284

Maria Velasquez

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Maria Velasquez

First name: 

Maria

Last name: 

Velasquez

Bio: 

María Velásquez has a wealth of experience in the fields of early childhood education, K-12 education, and health, along with expertise in providing innovative, effective, and responsive training and professional development. Driven by her deep commitment to improve the quality of early childhood programs, she brings extensive knowledge of effective assessment, evaluation, research, use of technology to enhance teaching and learning, program management, and policy reform to all of her early childhood development work at EDC.

Velásquez is advancing the goals of EDC's Center for Early Learning Professionals in Rhode Island. She specializes is providing bilingual, bi-literate (Spanish/English) professional development and technical assistance to early education programs that are interested in improving their services for children and families and progressing along RI’s quality continuum. In this capacity, she works closely with EDC's Center for Early Learning Professionals team, as well as the RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the RI Department of Human Services, the RI Department of Health, the RI Department of Children, Youth, and Families, BrightStars, and Rhode Island's early childhood care and education programs.

Previously, Velásquez was a State of Rhode Island Programming Services Officer/Contract Manager, in which capacity she served as the state's liaison to EDC on the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge contract of $17.5M. For nine years, she was the Director of Education Services for WSBE-RI PBS. She introduced video-streamed technology and online curriculum in RI’s classrooms increasing teacher capacity of classroom virtual learning, technology use, and knowledge of curriculum standards. She also participated in the development of the National Digital Library funded by PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She began her career as a Program Manager for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, where she had an early start in programming and quality management operations.

Velásquez earned a BS in Psychology from Rhode Island College, an MA in Education from the University of Rhode Island, and an EdD in Educational Leadership from Johnson & Wales University.

Staff: 

Staff Profile

Job title: 

Training and Technical Assistance Associate II

Mailing Address: 

535 Centerville Road, Suite 201
Warwick, RI  02886

Telephone: 

401-734-1292

Marcy Raska

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Marcy

Last name: 

Raska

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Marcy Raska specializes in fostering creative collaborations and integrating early childhood home visitation services to address health disparities and improve outcomes for young children and their families. She brings extensive experience in public health nursing, continuous quality improvement, motivational interviewing, and maternal, infant, and child health.

Raska is a Senior Training and Technical Assistance Associate for the Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN).  A collaborative project between the U.S. Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) and EDC, HV CoIIN brings together a select group of Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grantees and teams from local home visiting service agencies to seek improvement in specific topic areas of concern to home visiting programs. Drawing upon her expertise in continuous quality improvement, Raska is advancing grantees’ and teams’ efforts to enhance client outcomes related to maternal depression and child development.  

As a member of the Home Visiting - Improvement Action Center Team (HV-ImpACT), Raska is providing technical assistance and professional development, including site visits, webinars, and communities of practice, to Federal Home Visiting Program grantees. This capacity-building support is helping grantees ensure that at-risk pregnant mothers and families in low-income communities have the resources they need to raise children who are physically, socially, and emotionally healthy and ready to learn.  

Before joining EDC, Raska was a Nursing Supervisor for the Oakland County, Michigan Health Division Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) Program, which was one of the best-performing NFP programs in the state. Previously, she was an Early On infant developmental assessment evaluator.

Raska holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Eastern Michigan University.

Staff: 

Staff Profile

Job title: 

Senior Training and Technical Assistance Associate

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313

Telephone: 

586-215-5109

Kate Goddard

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Kate Goddard

First name: 

Kate

Last name: 

Goddard

Bio: 

Kate Goddard specializes in designing, implementing, and supporting the continuous improvement of technology- and media-based out-of-school time (OST) programs. Building on her experiences as a practitioner, she puts youth development at the center of her work, designing and supporting programs for educators that elevate inquiry and creativity as a tool for youth empowerment. Goddard contributes her expertise to initiatives that seek to strengthen and support the OST workforce, including the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE), where she manages the work of the Technical Assistance Regional Representatives to ensure that school-age children in low-income families have improved access to high-quality learning experiences.

Goddard also serves as Project Director for the National Science Foundation’s Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES), a national initiative that is working to identify and scale up proven and innovative approaches for providing access to groups traditionally underrepresented and underserved in STEM fields.

Previously, Goddard advanced the mission of Adobe Foundation’s philanthropic initiative Adobe Youth Voices by building the capacity of programs and educators around the globe to implement youth media programming.

Prior to joining EDC, Goddard worked as a Program Director for the Community Technology Empowerment Project, managing and training AmeriCorps members on how to integrate media and technology into existing community technology centers. Earlier in her career, she facilitated creative learning experiences for youth at Phillips Community TV, the Science Museum of Minnesota, Denver Open Media, and Girls Inc. of Metro Denver.

She holds a BS in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Staff: 

Non-Staff Profile

Job title: 

Associate Project Director

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, MA  02453-8313

Sheila Rodriguez

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Sheila Rodriguez

First name: 

Sheila

Last name: 

Rodriguez

Bio: 

Sheila Rodriguez, an experienced quantiative and qualitative researcher and program evaluator, develops tools and provides technical assistance that enable state education agencies, districts, and schools to use data and current research to improve outcomes for students. She specializes in facilitating training for and providing coaching to state and district stakeholders on data-driven continuous improvement strategies, logic modeling, and program evaluation.

Rodriguez is a researcher for the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands (REL-NEI) at EDC. She contributes her expertise in survey instrument design, needs sensing, and data collection and analysis to several REL-NEI research alliances, including the Urban School Improvement Alliance and the Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance, and has co-led a series of webinars on continuous improvement and logic models. Currently, she is serving as an evaluator for the EDC-led Home Visiting Action Improvement Team (HV-ImpACT) initiative that is providing technical assistance to grantees of the Federal Home Visiting Program in all 50 states, DC, and five territories. She is also a member of an EDC team that is conducting a statewide evaluation of the Illinois 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program and providing technical assistance to the Illinois State Board of Education, its 21st CCLC management staff, and 21st CCLC subgrantees.

She has co-authored several publications including "The College Readiness Data Catalog Tool: User Guide," "Logic Models for Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation: Workshop Toolkit," “Continuous Improvement: A Practical Approach to Educational Improvement," “Survey Methods for Educators: Selecting Samples and Administering Surveys,” and "Parent Involvement and Extended Learning Activities in School Improvement Plans in the Midwest Region."

Prior to joining EDC, Rodriguez served as a policy analyst for American Institutes for Research, where she conducted policy outreach, cultivated ongoing communication with state legislators, legislative staff, governor’s policy advisors, and state education agency personnel regarding topical education issues, and managed data collection activities for large-scale studies.

Rodriguez holds a BA in Education Studies from Brown University and an MAEd in Educational Leadership from Argosy University-Schaumburg.

Staff: 

Staff Profile

Job title: 

Research Associate

Mailing Address: 

770 North Halsted Street, Suite 205
Chicago, Illinois 60622

Telephone: 

312-962-4519

Tobie Barton

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Tobie Barton

First name: 

Tobie

Last name: 

Barton

Bio: 

Tobie Barton is committed to improving the health and wellness of children and their families, and has a passion for helping organizations build their capacity to improve child health outcomes using evidence-based tools. She has extensive experience in public health, maternal and child health, and early childhood health and safety and is skilled in managing state-level public health programs, developing curricula, and planning and implementing training and technical assistance programs.

Barton works on the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, advancing best practices for linking health and early childhood systems by developing evidence-based and science-informed resources and providing training on best practices to support children’s healthy growth and development with a special focus on injury prevention. She also provides expertise on child care health consultation. She also serves as Product Manager for The Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation.

Previously, Barton was a project manager for the Mountain Plains Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Practice and Implementation Center and National Rural and Frontier Addiction Technology Transfer Center. She has also served as manager of the STD and HIV Prevention Programs for the state of Idaho, worked as a Quality Assurance Specialist for the Idaho Immunization Program, and was Curriculum Developer for the National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultants.

Barton has served on the Advisory Council for the Seattle HIV/STD Prevention Training Center, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Advisory Committee for Healthy Futures: Improving Health Outcomes for Young Children, and is a current member of the Committee on the Status of Women at the University of Nevada, Reno.

She received a BA in Political Science from Swarthmore College, an MA in Social Sciences-Health and Culture from the University of Amsterdam while on a Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands, and a certificate in Maternal and Child Health Public Health Leadership from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Staff: 

Staff Profile

Job title: 

Senior Training and Technical Assistance Associate

Program: 

Early Learning and Development

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313

Rebecca Schillaci

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Rebecca Schillaci

First name: 

Rebecca

Last name: 

Schillaci

Bio: 

Rebecca Schillaci is committed to conducting high-quality research of educational programs. She contributes her expertise in research design, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, survey design, statistics, and data analysis to a wide range of studies.

Schillaci is an evaluator for the Think College Transition (TCT) Model Project, an inclusive dual-enrollment model aimed at improving outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities enrolled in transition services by providing them with college experiences.

Schillaci is also a team member of the NSF-funded STEM Learning and Research (STELAR) Center, the resource center for the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program. Through her work on webinars and as a project liaison, she provides technical support to ITEST projects and helps inform NSF and other stakeholders of ITEST’s impact by collecting and synthesizing data from those projects.

Previously, Schillaci served as an evaluator of an algebra curriculum in use in Connecticut (read a blog post describing the findings) and was a researcher in an NSF ITEST-funded-study of the effectiveness of technology-focused professional development. She is a co-author of an article that presents the results of that study, “Examining the Quality of Technology Implementation in STEM Classrooms: Demonstration of an Evaluative Framework” (Journal of Research on Technology in Education).

Before joining EDC, Schillaci was manager of the Child Cognition Laboratory at Boston University, where she contributed to the development, design, execution, and dissemination of several grant-funded research projects examining a broad range of topics including science learning, artifact categorization, teleological reasoning, and imitative learning in children and adults. She is coauthor on several publications based on this research, including “Children’s Conformity When Acquiring Novel Conventions: The Case of Artifacts” (Journal of Cognition and Development), “The Designing Mind: Children’s Reasoning about Intended Function and Artifact Structure” (Journal of Cognition and Development), and “Young Children Can be Taught Natural Selection Using a Picture-Storybook Intervention” (Psychological Science).

Schillaci received a BA in Psychology from Wellesley College and an MA in Developmental Science from Boston University.

Staff: 

Staff Profile

Job title: 

Research Associate

Program: 

Leadership for Learning Innovation

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313

Telephone: 

617-618-2772

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