Kaveh Akram

Kaveh Akram is a researcher at VARC. He works on researching and estimating student growth percentile model and student growth measures. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Rutgers University with a focus on econometrics theory and applied econometrics. | (608) 890-3194

Bradley Carl

Bradley Carl is Associate Director and Researcher at the Value-Added Research Center (VARC). His current work focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of state educator effectiveness and school accountability systems.  He is the co-chair of the Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness Measurement Workgroup, and serves as the UW-Madison project lead for providing technical assistance to Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grantees across the country. He has also worked extensively with the Milwaukee Public Schools on the development of postsecondary tracking measures and “early warning” indicators.  He is a frequent presenter at conferences across Wisconsin on school accountability and educator effectiveness, and has had his work cited by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Detroit Free Press, and Education Week.  He worked previously for the Office of Educational Accountability at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Center on Education and Work at UW-Madison, and the American Institutes for Research.  He holds degrees from Hamline University (B.A., International Studies and History) and Michigan State University (Ph.D., Sociology-Urban Studies). | (608) 263-3040

Brie Chapa

Brie Chapa is a data manager at VARC at the University of Wisconsin–-Madison. Her work as a VARC data manager focuses on data acquisition, data transfer, and data security. In addition she assists in developing and implementing new systems within VARC to improve efficiency, collaboration, and knowledge sharing among staff. After a few years of teaching secondary mathematics, Brie was hired as a data processor for the System-wide Change for All Learners and Educators (SCALE) partnership at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER). Her SCALE work focused on data reporting and data quality. Brie received her B.S. in Secondary Mathematics Education from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. | (608) 263-1902

Emily Cheng

Huiping (Emily) Cheng is an associate researcher at VARC. Ms. Cheng actively engages in the design and implementation of statistical analysis to evaluate impact of educational interventions in the partner school districts. Projects she has worked on include the quantitative research of the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) program, the evaluation of Supplemental Educational Services program, the Accountability and Performance in Secondary Education project and Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEARUP) project in the Milwaukee Public Schools. Ms. Cheng earned her masters degree in economics from the University of Virginia has been with VARC since July 2007. | Phone: (608) 890-1248

Mike Christian

Michael Christian is an assistant scientist at VARC and has worked on value-added projects with CPS since November 2006. His work at VARC has focused on developing and estimating value-added models in a wide range of school districts, including Chicago Public Schools, Milwaukee Public Schools, New York City Department of Education, Madison Metropolitan School District, and Minneapolis Public Schools, as well as state educational agencies in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. He also has extensive experience providing technical assistance for districts and states participating in the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) program. He received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. Before joining VARC, he worked as a staff economist at the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce. | (608) 263-4235

Jenny Connolly

Jenny Connolly joined VARC as a programmer analyst in April 2014. She assists VARC in preparing data for value-added models, quality control of data and results, and additional research projects. Jenny attended Washington State University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics 2009 and a master's degree in applied economics in 2012.

Emin Dokumaci

Emin Dokumaci is an assistant scientist at VARC. His work focuses on the identification problem of the effect of schools on students’ achievement levels and their policy implications. In particular, he works on the development of advanced value-added models. Currently, he and Rob Meyer are working on “A Differential Effects Value-Added Model with Multivariate Shrinkage,” and “Mean and Variance Value-Added Indicators with Multilevel Shrinkage: Application to a Multi-District Statewide Value-Added System.” Some of the VARC projects which he is part of are the Value-Added and Growth Model Demonstration Project, the Milwaukee Classroom Value-Added Initiative, and lately, An Integrated Qualitative and Quantitative Evaluation of the SAGE Program. Dokumaci received his Ph.D. in Economics from Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he also served as a teaching assistant for graduate econometrics and graduate microeconomics courses. Prior to joining VARC as an assistant scientist, he worked as a project assistant for research projects on value-added models while pursuing his doctoral studies. His research interests are broad, and as such he has working papers on Economics of Education, Economic Theory, and Applied Theory. He has published papers in Journal of Economic Theory, Games and Economic Behavior, and co-authored a book chapter. | (608) 263-4292

Mary Fish

Mary Fish is the administrative assistant for the Value-Added Research Center (VARC) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She joined VARC on March 1, 2010. Some of her duties include providing support for the director and other staff; making travel arrangements; processing expense reports; processing payments to individuals and schools; helping to arrange various meetings; and to work with some of the agencies by providing supporting documentation for invoices. | (608) 263-4238

Nandita Gawade

Nandita Gawade has been a researcher at VARC since October 2008. Her work involves developing econometric methods for the estimation of value-added models. Currently, she is the project lead for the Hillsborough County Public Schools value-added project. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.

Lisa Geraghty

Lisa Geraghty is the lead project manager at VARC and works as a project manager for several projects within the organization, including the Wisconsin Statewide Value-Added System, the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative, Tulsa Public Schools, and the School Quality in Public and Private Schools in Wisconsin. Before working with VARC Ms. Geraghty worked as an education administration consultant with the Department of Public Instruction and as a teacher in the Verona Area Public Schools. Ms. Geraghty holds a B.A. in Sociology from Kenyon College, a MPA with a focus on Education Policy from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a MSEd with a focus on Elementary Education from Northwestern University. | (608) 265-2621

Swati Gupta

Swati Gupta joined VARC in September 2013 as a Programmer Analyst. Her work involves value-added report generation as well as web-based tool development and design. She works for several district and state partners, including Wisconsin, Tulsa, MDE, and Chicago. She also worked for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on the educator effectiveness system for teachers and principal. Prior to VARC, Swati was a Software Developer at Genpact. She earned her B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Delhi and her M.S. in Computer Science from Amity University. | (608) 263-1630

Rae Hauge

Rae Hauge is a research manager at VARC, responsible for financial oversight of VARC grants, including budgeting and financial projections, and monitoring client expectations. Rae previously worked in a similar position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Medicine and Public Health. She has worked for the university in various jobs in payroll, human resources, and grant management since 2006. She is a graduate of Edgewood College with degrees in economics and finance and a minor in human resources. | (608) 265-0599

Dave Heistad

Dave Heistad is a researcher at VARC at the University of Wisconsin–Madison working on the large scale teacher effectiveness project funded by the Bush Foundation. He has worked as a program evaluator and researcher in Minneapolis Public Schools for the past 24 years. He is currently the Executive Director of the Research, Evaluation and Assessment in Minneapolis 80% of the time and works for VARC 20%.

Dave has published research in the areas of early childhood assessment, the stability of value-added achievement indicators, and teacher effects in reading. He serves on several federal task forces including the Institute for Education Sciences - Urban Education Research Task Force, American Institute for Research - Evaluation of Restructured Schools Technical Working Group, and the National Center on Response to Interventions - Technical Review Committee and the Federal ARRA Evaluation Advisory Panel. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from St. Olaf College, a master's degree in educational statistics and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota. Dave was the 2009 recipient of the Council of Great City Schools research leadership award. His current work focuses on the development and implementation of valid and equitable educational accountability and school improvement indicators.

Herb Heneman

Herbert G. Heneman III joined VARC in 2012 as a senior researcher. Herb works as a content expert in the area of the strategic management of human capital, with a focus on states and districts receiving Teacher Incentive Fund 3 and 4 support. Herb has been affiliated with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research for the past 15 years, where he has studied the design and impact of human capital systems to improve educator effectiveness. Herb is the Dickson-Bascom Professor Emeritus of Management and Human Resources at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Business. His earlier research focused on human resource practices in staffing, compensation, and performance management. Herb is the senior author of  three textbooks and over 100 published articles and papers. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, The Academy of Management, and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Herb received his Ph.D. in Industrial Relations from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. | (608) 262-9175

HeeJin Kim

HeeJin is a policy analyst at VARC. Her work involves project management, statistical programming, policy and proposal writing, as well as collaborating with partners working with VARC regarding model development and data quality issues. Since joining VARC in the summer of 2011, HeeJin has worked with New York City Department of Education on the Teacher Data Initiative, the Archibald Bush Foundation on the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative, the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools on their IES study, and The New Teacher Project on their Assessment of Common Excellence. HeeJin majored in Education, English Literature, and Public Policy and American Institutions, and received both her BA in Education and her MA in Urban Education from Brown University. | (608) 890-4485

Steve Kimball

teve Kimball is a senior researcher with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) and the Value-Added Research Center (VARC) within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Steve is leading a team that is supporting the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as it develops and implements the state Educator Effectiveness System. Steve is also part of the technical assistance team for the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Incentive Fund. In this capacity, he supports the Department and its grantees on teacher and principal evaluation and compensation issues as well as program evaluation. Steve contributed to the development of the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning at UW-Madison. He was also the co-Principal Investigator of a 2005-2007 study funded by the Institute for Educational Sciences on performance evaluation of principals. Additionally, he served as Principal Investigator for a multi-year evaluation of the Chicago Community Trust Education Program. Before completing his graduate studies, Steve held legislative analyst positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the Texas State Office in Washington, D.C. Steve completed his Ph.D. from the U.W.-Madison Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in 2001. | (608) 265-6201

Sam Legg

Sam Legg joined VARC in 2013 as a programmer analyst and is now production manager. He works closely with Chicago, New York City, Tulsa and Milwaukee schools on Value-Added projects and policy initiatives. Sam attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he majored in economics and industrial engineering. | (608) 263-1757

Yiyao Liu

Yiyao Liu is a programmer analyst at VARC. She has been working on a variety of projects, and currently focusing on the Hillsborough County Public Schools (Florida) value-added project and New York City value-added and growth measures project. Yiyao earned a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Renmin University of China and a master’s degree in statistics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Michael McCants

Michael McCants joined the Value-Added Research Center as an Assistant Researcher in 2011.  His work at VARC has involved creating graphical displays of value-added results, along with model building and implementation.  Prior to VARC, Michael attended Kansas State University, where he earned his M.S. in Statistics in 2011. | (608) 262-7283

Dan Marlin

Dan Marlin joined VARC in 2014 as an assistant researcher. Currently, he works on the Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness System project and provides technical assistance to Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grantees. Dan holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern University.

Robert Meyer

Robert MeyerRobert H. Meyer is research professor and director of VARC at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Before that, he was on the faculty of the Harris School at the University of Chicago and the Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Dr. Meyer is known for his research on value-added modeling and evaluation methods and is currently working intensively with school districts in Atlanta, Chicago, Hillsborough County (Florida), Los Angeles, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York City, and Tulsa; as well as with the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Over the past two decades he has worked collaboratively with these districts and states to build value-added and performance management systems to inform decision making with respect to policy and school improvement strategies. He is co-leading a major initiative with in Minnesota and the Dakotas (and their partner school districts) to provide value-added information to all teachers and to the colleges and universities that prepared these teachers. Dr. Meyer is currently working with many districts and states to expand value-added systems to include courses not typically covered by assessments under No Child Left Behind. He has conducted major statistical evaluations of programs and policies such as class size reduction, literacy, and Supplemental Educational Services. Meyer received a Senior Urban Education Research Fellowship from the Council of Great City Schools in 2007 and in 2010 received the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research. | (608) 263-5860

Steve Ponisciak

Steve Ponisciak is a researcher at VARC. He has served as an embedded researcher at Chicago Public Schools for over 6 years, where he has supported the development and implementation of teacher-level, grade-level, and school-level value-added analysis. Since 2011, he has been a member of the Illinois State Board of Education Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC), which is a 32-member body appointed by the Illinois State Board of Education to create a new way to evaluate teachers and principals that incorporates student growth measures. His research includes work examining the relationship between value-added results and observational data. In addition to his research, he has provided technical assistance to districts, and facilitated technical and professional development trainings on growth modeling and teacher evaluation systems for teachers, administrators, and district administrators. Previously, Steve was a senior research analyst at the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. In that position, he analyzed the ACT, Explore, and Plan tests; teacher mobility; and value-added models.

Mikhail Pyatigorsky

Mikhail Pyatigorsky joined VARC as a researcher in 2010. His work involves helping school districts and other education agencies effectively use their data, through value-added models, human capital management systems, and program evaluations. Currently, Mikhail is the project lead for the Hillsborough County and the Tulsa Public Schools value-added projects. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Boston University. Prior to pursuing his graduate degree, Mikhail worked in market research and economic consulting. | (608) 263-3415

Grant Sim

Grant Sim is an assistant researcher at the Value-Added Research Center. His work involves program evaluation of educational programs at both the state and district levels. He also works on policy research and data analysis. Prior to joining VARC, he worked as a research and data analyst for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction where he examined the consequential validity of special education assessments. He holds a master's degree in public affairs from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.| (608) 890-3440

John Snyder

In 2010, John Snyder Joined VARC as a quantitative data analyst. He directs the statistical and logistical work of the Hillsborough County Public Schools value added project in the role of technical lead.  He, also, develops code used across projects as part of the standard code committee.  He will also serve as the project manager of the UPenn/MacArthur VARC project.  He has been developing a standardized process to de-identify data subject to FERPA and human subjects research regulations.  Prior to joining VARC, he completed a masters degree in statistics at Ohio State University.| (608) 890-1248

Clarissa Steele

Clarissa Steele is a survey researcher and serves as the communications and professional development lead for VARC.  She helps design, implement, and analyze surveys and observation protocols and develops and presents professional development material with VARC partners.  Clarissa currently works on the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) as a project manager, technical assistance provider, and technology manager in addition to her evaluation work within Wisconsin. Before joining VARC in 2010, Clarissa graduated with a Master of Science degree in Survey Research and Methodology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Clarissa also earned a Master of Arts degree in Spanish from Bowling Green State University.| (608) 263-2863

Katerina Suchor

Katerina Suchor joined VARC in 2013 as a Programmer Analyst.  She has worked with several school districts and agencies on projects involving value-added modeling, class size reduction programs, and early warning systems.  Prior to joining VARC, she performed data quality control and analysis for studies of federal education and workforce development programs in the Washington, DC area.  She has a BA in economics from Grinnell College.| (608) 265-5642

Jennifer Vadas

Jenn Vadas started working for VARC as an assistant researcher in April 2011. In the context of the Bush Foundation/Teacher Effectiveness Initiative, she researched the existence and use of early signs of teacher effectiveness to improve decision-making processes at key points of a teacher’s career (recruitment, training, hiring, retention, and professional development). In the field, this research involved collaborative work with school districts, union leaders, and institutions of higher education. In fall 2012, she joined the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) program evaluation team to estimate the effects of class size reductions on students’ test scores in schools with high levels of poverty in the state of Wisconsin. Her quantitative work includes teacher value-added estimations and program evaluations. As a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Pennsylvania State University, Jenn Vadas also works on auction game theory and on estimating the effects of observed characteristics on children’s learning trajectory using a large longitudinal data set.| (608) 890-1589

Yan Wang

Yan Wang is an associate researcher at VARC. Her work at VARC involves statistical programming in SAS, R, Stata and SQL, as well as collaborating with both VARC and partner staffs on the development and improvement of statistical and econometric models for Value Added Programs. Yan has worked on a number of value-added and analytical projects, including the Bush Foundation project (Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota), Walton Family Foundation project (Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis) and State Wisconsin value-added project. Yan received her Master degree in Statistics from the Iowa State University in 2010.