Dr. Diane M. Monrad is the director of the South Carolina Educational Policy Center
in the College of Education at USC-Columbia and a research associate professor in
the Department of Educational Leadership and Policies. Dr. Monrad has extensive research
experience in program evaluation, educational policy analysis, and assessment of educational
reform programs. She is currently a principal investigator for the evaluation of South
Carolina's Reading First (SCRF) program and the Center's ongoing study of school climate.
She also has expertise in research methodology and instrument development; establishing
team relationships, and consensus building with diverse groups.
Sarah Gareau is a Research Associate at the South Carolina Educational Policy Center,
where she has worked collaboratively with the USC Office of Program Evaluation to
evaluate state and federal education programs, including SCRF, a study of magnet programs,
an investigation of gap-closing schools, and analyses of the state's gifted education
program and teacher loan forgiveness program. Currently finishing her doctorate in
public health, her research interest is policy analysis impacting women and families.
Tommy Ishikawa is a PhD Candidate in Statistics at USC. He earned an S.B. in Economics
from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Graduate Research Assistant
in the USC Office of Program Evaluation and the South Carolina Educational Policy
Center. Previously, he was a consultant to businesses in online education, hospitality,
and wireless telecommunications. He served as the Director for Statistical Analyses
and Programming at the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee.
Diana Mindrila is a doctoral candidate in the Educational Psychology, Research, and
Foundations Program, College of Education at the University of South Carolina. She
is currently a research assistant in the South Carolina Policy Center. Her research
interests include factor analysis, cluster analysis and structural equation modeling.
Dr. Chistine DiStefano is an Associate Professor of Educational Research. Her research
interests include structural equation modeling, survey design, and latent class clustering/cluster
analysis. She is also involved with the application of advanced statistics and measurement
methods to issues related to school psychology. Dr. DiStefano teaches courses in educational
research, statistics, and measurement.
Dr. Robert Johnson is a Professor of Educational Research and is currently serving
as the department chair for the Educational Studies Department at the University of
South Carolina. He teaches courses on classroom assessment and survey design. Robert
also serves as Director of the Center for Excellence in the Assessment of Student
Learning. Dr. Johnson's research focuses on the scoring of performance assessments,
educators’ perceptions about ethical classroom assessment practices, and the implementation
of collaborative evaluations.
Dr. John May is senior research analyst in the SC Educational Policy Center and also
President of his company, Palmetto Educational Research Solutions. He has worked in
educational research for the past 35 years, including 14 years in accountability and
research at SCDE and 15 years directing the research and planning efforts in Richland
County School District One. Dr. May has authored numerous evaluation reports, coordinated
state and district survey programs, and developed and applied approaches to improve