Penn GSE Partnership

Research Team

Laura M. Desimone

Partnership Co-Director and Principal Investigator

Professor Desimone’s research focuses on policy effects on teaching and learning in the core academic subjects, and policy implementation. Dr. Desimone holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University, a Master of Public Administration from the American University, and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in public policy. She joined the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2007 as an associate professor, and was promoted to professor in 2015. Before that, she served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University, worked as a senior research scientist at the American Institutes for Research, and was a post-doctoral research associate at Yale University's Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy. She also was a researcher at RAND in Washington, D.C., and at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her work has been funded by the National Academy of Education/Spencer postdoctoral program, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute for Education Sciences. Her work has been published in a variety of journals including the American Education Research Association, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Review of Education Research, Teachers College Record, the Journal of Teacher Education, and the Elementary School Journal.

Tonya Wolford

Partnership Co-Director and Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Tonya Wolford is Deputy of Research and Evaluation at the SDP. Wolford has extensive experience both conducting mixed-methods school evaluations and considering results of these evaluations in shaping school improvement efforts. Her expertise lies in bridging research and practice. She has managed substantial research projects, and negotiated and executed data-sharing agreements. Her work over the last five years has involved interacting with external stakeholders on critical SDP issues. She has managed research projects and was herself a Spencer/National Academy of Education postdoctoral fellow.

Andrew Porter

Senior Study Personnel

Trained as a statistician/psychometrician, Andy Porter is the former Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, his work is supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and grants from the Institute for Education Sciences. His research on teacher decision-making created the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) tools for measuring content and content alignment as well as teacher log procedures, and he is senior author of the VAL-ED assessment of school leadership. He is an elected member 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 Education Research Association.


Other Key Personnel

Adrienne Reitano, Senior Associate, The School District of Philadelphia Office of Research and Evaluation

Former Shared Solutions Staff

Shared Solutions acknowledges the critical contributions of David Kowalski, former survey statistician at the SDP, and Kirsten Hill, former project coordinator at Penn GSE, as well as the efforts of Horatio Blackman and Gernissia Cherfrere.