Staff Contact Information
F. Joseph Merlino (PI) has been the PI to the Math Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, as well as the PI to two previous five-year NSF curriculum implementation projects in the Greater Philadelphia area. He was a commissioner on Governor Rendell's Commission on College and Career Success. Mr. Merlino currently serves on the Design Team for Pennsylvania's STEM Center initiative. Pennsylvania is one of only six states which were awarded these grants from the National Governors Association and the Gates Foundation to redesign K-16 STEM education. He is also the president of The 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education.
Gary Cooper (Project Director) will serve as a liaison at the administrative level for the Center. He has 29 years experience as a school administrator. The majority of this time has been dedicated to three Superintendent positions within the states of New York and Pennsylvania. He has been a manager of large ($70 million dollar) budgets and has had responsibility for overseeing over 1,000 employees. In addition to currently serving as a Co-PI of the Math and Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, Dr. Cooper has held numerous leadership positions in a variety of organizations including Division Chair of The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Board President of the Niagara Frontier Industry Education Council, Board Chair of the Western New York Educational Service Council at the University of Buffalo and member of the Board of Directors of the Western New York Coalition of School Community Collaborations. He earned his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.
- 610-825-5644, ext. 229
Donna Cleland (Director of Professional Development) was Assistant Director of Science for the Math Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia and in that role developed all of its professional development offerings in science. She is currently the director of the Southeast Pennsylvania Regional Science Initiative (SEPARSI), which she began in 2001. SEPARSI is a consortium of education, K-16 and business partners supporting inquiry-centered elementary science teaching and learning in the Delaware County area. She has served as part of the faculty of LASER events and participated in various other science reform efforts at sites across the country. She also was invited to speak in Beijing, China on science reform. She has been an adjunct professor of Science Methods courses, a reviewer for the state of Pennsylvania of the state science test items, and a writer of science assessment items for the PRAXIS tests. Most recently she helped to write the new Standards Aligned System in Science for the state of Pennsylvania.
Bates Mandel (Assistant Director of Professional Development) is the coordinator of the Content arm of the Middle School Science Research study for the center and assists in the collection/analysis of data as well as assessment development. He has over thirty-five years of experience in public education as a central office and school administrator, and a high school science and psychology teacher. Mr. Mandel is the former Chair of the National High School Psychology Association and a former National High School Teacher of the Year. He has reviewed National Science Education Standards, Project 2061 Benchmarks, Penna. Science Standards and helped write National High School Psychology Standards. As Assistant Director of Assessment for the School District of Philadelphia, he coordinated the District’s NAEP program and Valued Added Assessment System. He wrote and reviewed science items for the Pennsylvania Science assessment, reviewed NAEP Science items and was a member of the Penna, Assessment Reports and Data Committee. Mr. Mandel is a Certified Professional Developer by the National Staff Development Council and has been an adjunct professor.
- 610-825-5644, ext. 233
Nancy Burns (Project Coordinator) will serve as a connector to the districts and teachers involved in the Center. Nancy has been the Professional Development Coordinator of Math for the Math Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia. She organized professional development activities in the area of mathematics and science for partner school districts and was responsible for the coordination of all summer professional development efforts. Nancy has over ten years experience as a middle school teacher and school administrator in an urban school district and has worked with two previous NSF funded grant projects.
- 610-825-5644, ext. 226
John Baker (Research Associate) shares responsibility for data collection and validation, communication between the management and analysis teams, analysis of participant attrition, and more. His research interests are in mathematics education and out-of-school time learning, and he has been trained in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. John recently completed a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Pennsylvania in the Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum program. In his dissertation, titled Mathematics Activity in an After-School Robotics Program: An Investigation of Mathematics Use in a Semiformal Learning Environment, he followed a team of high school youth as they engaged in an authentic engineering task within an informal learning environment. This work informs our understanding of how youth can employ mathematics outside of math classrooms and advances how we think about informal learning. John is a former high school math teacher.
- 610-825-5644, ext. 262
Deanna Daugherty (Coordinator of Data Services) is responsible for dissemination, collection, and data validation of various research tools amongst teachers and school district representatives. She also serves as the connector to school district representatives for various data requests. She comes to The Center from The Math Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia where, serving as the Data Coordinator, she was responsible for data compliance with The National Science Foundation and synthesizing reports for school districts. Furthermore, she brings with her over 16 years of operations, human resources and information technology management experience and served the Department of Defense as a Facility Security Officer. In addition, she actively serves as Vice-President and Treasurer on the Board of Directors for Beacon Theatre Productions and gives back to the community through her volunteer work in the Performing Arts.
- 610-825-5644, ext. 223
Cognitive Science Team
Christian Schunn (Co-PI) is an Associate Professor in Psychology (currently chair of the cognitive program) at the University of Pittsburgh, with a cross-appointment in Cognitive Studies (in the School of Education), and the Intelligent Systems Program. He is also a Research Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center. He has obtained 12 major grants related to complex cognition, learning, and training from NSF, ONR, ARI, and the A.W. Mellon Foundation. He was co-director of Project SCALE, an NSF-funded Math/Science Partnership Center between the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Wisconsin-Madison aimed at improving K-12 math and science performance in large urban school districts. Since 2002, he has co-directed the SWoRD project, including system design and re-design, system evaluation, impact studies, theory-guided experiments, and professional development workshops with faculty users. He also co-directs an NSF-supported Research for Teachers site grant that provides summer engineering design research experiences and academic year design-based learning curriculum units to high school science teachers from Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Timothy Nokes (Co-PI) is a new faculty member in cognitive psychology and research scientist at LRDC. He just completed a fellowship at the Beckman institute with Brian Ross that involves collaboration with physics educators. His research program focuses on knowledge acquisition and aims to understand the mechanisms of cognitive change, primarily using carefully constructed laboratory studies to tease apart mechanisms of learning underlying complex cognitive changes. He is currently involved with an educational research project connected to online physics courses.
Christine Massey (Co-PI) is the Research Associate and Director of Education Outreach of PENNlincs at the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science. PENNlincs serves as an outreach arm of IRCS, linking recent theory and research in cognitive science to education efforts in public schools and cultural institutions. She has received several grants from NSF on informal learning and early elementary science education. Her work also involves professional development workshops in science for early elementary teachers and Saturday programs for middle school students working with Penn undergraduate and graduate students on special projects in robotics and computer programming. She also leads the PENNlincs Math Mentoring Program, an in-school enrichment program in which Penn undergraduates and graduate students make weekly visits to local schools to work with small groups of students on fun and thought provoking math activities.
Nora S. Newcombe is a Professor of Psychology at Temple University. She is also Director of the NSF-funded Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC), which involves researchers from Northwestern, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, and Temple. Dr. Newcombe is a past President of Division 7 (Developmental Psychology) of the APA. She is a nationally recognized expert on cognitive development. Dr. Newcombe's research has focused on spatial development and the development of episodic and autobiographical memory. Her work has been federally funded by NICHD and the National Science Foundation over 20 years. Dr. Newcombe has served as Editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and as Associate Editor of Psychological Bulletin. She is currently the director of the NSF-funded Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center.
Jennifer Cromley (Co-PI) is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology in the Department of Psychological Studies in Education at Temple University. Her current research areas are the cognitive and motivational foundations of reading comprehension, which she has investigated through 6 studies in the last three years (four using illustrated biology text). She helped deliver experimental treatments for Dr. Roger Azevedo on experimental studies of middle school, high school, and undergraduate students learning about science from hypermedia. Dr. Cromley also helped develop teacher training materials, deliver teacher training, and score open-ended student posttest measures with Dr. John T. Guthrie and colleagues on the IERI-funded Concept Oriented Reading Instruction (science and literacy) project.
Andy Porter (Co-PI) is Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and George and Diane Weiss Professor of Education. Trained as a statistician/psychometrician, he has been an active education researcher for more than 30 years and has led successful education research and development centers for 25 years. Porter currently chairs the assessment and accountability technical panels for the states of Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri and serves on the technical panel for the State of Kentucky. His tools for measuring the content of instruction in K-12 schools for the subjects of math, science, and English language arts are used in over 30 states. He is an elected member and vice president of the National Academy of Education, member of the National Assessment Governing Board, Lifetime National Associate of the National Academies, and past-President of the American Educational Research Association.
Robert Boruch is University Trustee Chair Professor, Graduate School of Education and the Statistics Department, Wharton School; Co-Director, Center for Research and Evaluation of Social Policy (CRESP); Co-Director, Policy Research, Evaluation, and Measurement Program (PREM). He has served on the Board of Trustees for the W. T. Grant Foundation and the Board of Directors for the American Institutes for Research. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for the National Science Foundations Education and Human Resources Division. He has served on advisory committees for the U.S. Department of Education, Government Accountability Office, National Center for Educational Statistics, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies. He is also on the advisory boards for the Coalition for Evidence Based Policy and the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness and serves on the editorial board of Evaluation Review and other journals.
Rebecca A. Maynard is University Trustee Chair Professor of Education and Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. She teaches courses in research methods, economics and education policy, directs the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Predoctoral Training Program in Interdisciplinary Methods for Education Research (http://www.gse.upenn.edu/pimfer/index.html), and maintains an active research agenda focused on youth risk reduction and skills attainment. Since 2004, she also has served as Senior Program Associate with the William T. Grant Foundation. Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty, Dr. Maynard was Senior Vice President of Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., (MPR), during which time she also directed many large-scale social experiments and applied research studies examining issues related to educational improvement strategies, welfare policy, and employment and training policy.
Laura Desimone served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University, prior to her appointment at Penn GSE, and worked as a senior research scientist at the American Institute for Research. Dr. Desimone serves in technical advisory roles to several national organizations, including the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, the Comprehensive School Reform Clearinghouse, and the National Study of No Child Left Behind. She is on the editorial board of Educational Administration Quarterly and Educational Researcher.
Keith M. Kershner, Research for Better Schools (RBS) Executive Director, has overall responsibility for developing and managing this education research and development organization, which was founded in 1966. He leads RBS in its working project design, international studies, and communications efforts. He previously directed the Mid-Atlantic Eisenhower Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education, the RBS research and development group, and the RBS evaluation services group.
- 215-568-6150 x279
Eric Kucharik, Research for Better Schools (RBS), Research Associate, has responsibility for maintaining the Center website and other outreach media. He provides external evaluation services and technological supports to several federally and state funded projects currently being evaluated by RBS.
- 215-568-6150 x329