Meet Our Staff

Alexandra Hickling
Alexandra Hickling
Research Associate
Alexandra Hickling is a research associate at AIR within the Research and Evaluation program. She currently provides qualitative support for two Texas Comprehensive Center projects on grow your own initiatives, school improvement, and district excellence. She designs data collection and analysis plans, conducts and analyzes interviews and focus groups, prepares client deliverables, and manages client communications.
Brenda Arellano
Brenda Arellano
Senior Researcher

Brenda Arellano is a senior researcher at AIR. She has more than 15 years of experience utilizing her methodological expertise through quasi-experimental and mixed method designs, as well as survey design and analysis through the utilization of district, state, and national longitudinal data systems. Dr. Arellano is a co-primary investigator and project lead for several studies under the Regional Educational Laboratories Southwest, funded through the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

Chad Henry
Chad Henry
Research Associate

Chad Henry is a research associate within the Research and Evaluation program. He provides support for the Texas Comprehensive Center, focusing on GIS mapping and data analysis. He is currently assisting the TXCC’s work with the Texas Education Agency’s evaluation of educator preparation programs. 

Cheryl Harris
Cheryl Harris
Senior TA Consultant

Cheryl Harris is a senior technical assistance consultant at AIR. Her current work involves providing technical assistance for the Texas (TXCC) and Southeast (SECC) Comprehensive Centers, addressing state and local capacity building in school improvement and key content areas. This work includes assisting states and their statewide systems of support in the areas of teacher quality and effectiveness, college career and readiness, educator preparation, and technology-based instructional resources for teachers.

David Manzeske
David Manzeske
Principal Researcher
David Manzeske is a principal researcher at American Institutes for Research. He conducts research and evaluation related to education systems and education policy, especially educator preparation and performance. Manzeske serves as the principal investigator of multiple large-scale studies that implement experimental or quasi-experimental designs.
Debra Rodriguez
Debra Rodriguez
Senior TA Consultant
Debra Rodriguez is a senior technical assistance consultant at AIR, and serves as the co-deputy director for the Texas Comprehensive Center. In this role, she works closely with the director to ensure the Center’s technical assistance projects are aligned with national, state, and local initiatives, manages project staff, budget, state and federal deliverables, and provides expertise needed to support the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) objectives.
Elizabeth Barkowski
Elizabeth Barkowski
Senior Researcher
Elizabeth Barkowski is a senior researcher at AIR with more than 10 years of experience in education program evaluation, research, and technical assistance, with a particular focus on educator effectiveness and human capital management. Currently, Dr. Barkowski leads the evaluation of Texas Center for Educator Excellence’s human capital management initiatives and the evaluation of the National Center for Teacher Residencies’ Supporting Effective Educator Development grant, and is the deputy director of the study of the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grant.
Erin McCann
Erin McCann
Senior Researcher

Erin McCann is a senior researcher at AIR. Dr. McCann has more than 15 years of experience designing and implementing evaluation studies for federal, state, and local-level contracts with a general focus on examining factors that influence school improvement processes and practices.

Felice Trirogoff
Felice Trirogoff
Communication Specialist
Felice Trirogoff is a communications specialist at American Institutes for Research (AIR), where her primary responsibilities include reviewing, editing, proofreading, and writing deliverables and public information materials. She works closely with Texas Comprehensive Center staff on projects such as the District Turnaround Leadership Initiative, Texas Reward School Case Studies, Educator Evaluation and Support Systems, and the Texas Equity Plan. Trirogoff reviews and edits content for projects in compliance with style guidelines and branding principles.
Garry Davis
Garry Davis
TA Consultant

Garry Davis is a technical assistance consultant in the Policy, Practice, and Systems Change practice area at the American Institute for Research. He has over seven years of experience in program administration, research, and technical assistance. In his current position with the Texas Comprehensive Center, he works to build the capacity of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to develop, implement, and sustain various education initiatives, policies, and programs.

Grace Fleming
Grace Fleming
Researcher

Grace Fleming is a researcher at AIR. Fleming currently leads the District Excellence project in TXCC where her team is developing a toolkit of resources for based on case studies of high performing districts in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. She also works with SECC developing evaluation tools for school improvement and qualitative evaluation of a STEM program initiative for retention of university STEM students.

Haidee Williams
Haidee Williams
Senior TA Consultant
Haidee Williams is a senior technical assistance consultant at AIR. Presently, Dr. Williams serves as a Regional Education Laboratory Southwest (REL SW) partnership facilitator lead for the REL SW Networked Improvement Community, the rural TA consultant for the Texas Comprehensive Center and Great Lakes Comprehensive Center. She has over 35 years of experience in school improvement focused rural education policy and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Helen Muhisani
Helen Muhisani
Researcher
Helen Muhisani has more than ten years of experience in data analysis and reporting, with a particular focus on postsecondary outcomes and indicators of college and career readiness. Muhisani is an experienced project director and task lead. She currently supports the Texas Comprehensive Center’s work on Texas’ Accountability System for Educator Preparation and is the data collection and instrument development task lead for a randomized control trial examining the impact of National Board Certified Teachers on student outcomes.
Janice E. Keizer
Janice E. Keizer
Senior TA Consultant

Janice E. Keizer is a senior technical assistance consultant with the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest. In this position, she leads, coordinates, and facilitates the work of the Arkansas and New Mexico PreK Research Alliances as part of the REL Southwest work. She serves as the spokesperson for REL Southwest support activities related to prekindergarten in the states of Arkansas and New Mexico. Keizer also works on early childhood projects for the Texas Comprehensive Center.

Jason LaTurner
Jason LaTurner
Principal TA Consultant

Jason LaTurner is the director of the Texas Comprehensive Center and oversees work focusing on educator effectiveness, school turnaround, and systemic change for Texas school districts. He brings more than 10 years of experience in scoping, assessing, and managing programs in education and nonprofit settings. This experience ranges from pre-K to post-baccalaureate levels and includes designing and implementing both large- and small-scale evaluation studies.

Jenny DeMonte
Jenny DeMonte
Senior TA Consultant
Jenny DeMonte specializes in teacher preparation and licensure, teacher development and learning, and is leading AIR’s work on micro-credentials. In her current role, she focuses on leveraging the strategic expertise and thought leadership at AIR and beyond to transform it into resources for the education field, including practitioners and policymakers. She is the author of A Million New Teachers Are Coming: Will They Be Ready to Teach?
John Spence
John Spence
Senior TA Consultant
Mr. Spence manages client relations with key leadership and staff of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to help build the capacity of the state’s public education system to address state and federal priorities related to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). He provides quality assurance for TXCC projects and oversees TXCC’s portfolio to ensure client satisfaction and leverage new opportunities for collaborative work.
Kathy Terry
Kathy Terry
Senior Researcher
Kathy Terry is a senior researcher for the Texas Comprehensive Center at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Dr. Terry also serves as the North Carolina state liaison for the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC).  She provides technical assistance (TA) and resource support to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to increase their capacity to support schools and districts to address the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and other student achievement and school improvement goals.
Lacy Wood
Lacy Wood
Principal TA Consultant
Ms. Wood leads TXCC support for ESSA and Texas’ Expanded Learning Opportunities Council. She also leads leads the Family Engagement State Leaders Network, the Wyoming Family Engagement Project and the Illinois Quality Afterschool Program. She also serves on the board of the National Association of Family, School, and Community Engagement.
Laura Shankland
Laura Shankland
Senior TA Consultant
Laura Shankland is a senior technical assistance consultant at AIR. Shankland leads the TXCC’s work in facilitating the Texas State Board of Education’s development of the new Long-Range Plan for Public Education. She also supports the TXCC’s work in helping the Texas Education Agency develop and implement its Consolidated State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act. Shankland is a former classroom teacher and a certified Project Management Professional.
Lisa Lachlan
Lisa Lachlan
Principal Researcher
Lisa Lachlan is a principal research scientist in the Professional Services program at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Dr. Lachlan has more than a decade of experience conducting policy, practice and systems change projects in education at the federal, state and district levels.
Lois Kimmel
Lois Kimmel
Research Assistant
Lois Kimmel is a research assistant in the Special Education Practice Area at American Institutes for Research. Kimmel’s experience focuses on teacher quality, teacher preparation, and education pathways related to improving outcomes for students with disabilities. At the Texas Comprehensive Center, she supports the development of literature reviews for the state and districts on Grow Your Own Programs, rural teacher recruitment, and career and technical education.
Mary J. Nistler
Mary J. Nistler
Senior Researcher
Mary J. Nistler is a senior researcher in the research and evaluation strand of AIR’s professional services. Mary has been with AIR for 13 years. She has experience in designing and conducting evaluations that focus on implementation and inform clients about effective and replicable practices and approaches that support program expansion and improvement. Her evaluation includes leading the design and analysis of an initial review of a statewide system of support to inform the state agency as it planned to move from a regional to a more centralized system.
Matthew A. Clifford
Matthew A. Clifford
Principal Researcher
Matthew A. Clifford is a principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research and directs research studies on school-level leadership, develops products to support school leadership for use by principals and their supervisors, and consults with states and districts on school leadership pipeline policy issues. At the Texas Comprehensive Center, his work targets low-performing campuses and focuses on coaching teachers and principals to improve so they are better able to serve their students.
Robert Stonehill
Robert M. Stonehill
Managing Director
Robert M. Stonehill is a managing director at AIR. Dr. Stonehill is responsible for development and oversight of a range of projects to support effective implementation and outcomes of education policies, programs, and initiatives at the national, state, and local levels. He provides guidance in developing, managing, and evaluating national education initiatives to improve teaching and learning in high-need schools and communities, and is a nationally recognized expert in designing, implementing, and evaluating afterschool and expanded learning enrichment programs.
Senior TA Consultant
Robyn Madison-Harris
Robyn Madison-Harris is a senior technical assistance consultant in Policy, Practice, and Systems Change at American Institutes for Research (AIR) who works primarily in the Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers. Her primary responsibilities include providing for state and local education agency clients’ technical assistance and professional development needs as requested per her content specializations. Dr. Madison-Harris also serves as the liaison to the Center for Standards and Assessment Implementation.
Sarah Beck
Sarah Beck
Researcher

Sarah Beck is a researcher at AIR. She has more than seven years of experience in education and leverages her perspective as a former teacher to inform her work in policy and program evaluation. Her primary research interests include teacher preparation and teacher leadership. In her current role, Beck manages the qualitative components of the Denver Public Schools Talent Management evaluation including designing the data collection and analysis plans, creating focus group and interview protocols, developing coding frameworks, and constructing client communication plans.

Trent Sharp
Trent Sharp
Senior Consultant
Mr. Sharp works with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to increase district administrators’ capacity for supporting underperforming schools. His projects include coaching and sustainable systems development with district teams through the District Turnaround Leadership Institute and professional development for District Coordinators of School Improvement. Mr. Sharp also serves as the TXCC liaison to the Center on School Turnaround at WestEd.