Our Team

OUR TEAM

UEPC LEADERSHIP

Andrea Rorrer, Ph.D.

Director
 andrea.rorrer@utah.edu

Andrea Rorrer, Ph.D.

Director
Andrea Rorrer is the Director of the Utah Education Policy Center, the Associate Dean in the College of Education, and Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah.

Andrea holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from University of Texas, Austin and an M.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy from University of Virginia.

 801-581-4207
 andrea.rorrer@utah.edu

Cori Groth, Ph.D.

Associate Director
 cori.groth@utah.edu

Cori Groth, Ph.D.

Associate Director
Cori Groth, Ph.D. is the UEPC Associate Director who works with the Bridgeworks School Improvement team and the UEPC Evaluation Team to support educational and community-based organizations in improving programs, policies, and practices that result in excellent and equitable outcomes for the youth and adults they serve.

Cori is also an Associate Adjunct Faculty with the Educational Leadership and Policy Department in the College of Education where she teaches courses in teacher and leadership preparation programs and serves on various department and doctoral committees.

Cori believes in the power of education to create windows of opportunities for youth to thrive and become active members of our communities and to make the world a better place. She also believes that strong leadership and engaging in continuous improvement and inquiry, including having access to high quality research and evaluation, are the keys to getting the desired outcomes.

Cori has over 20 years of experience helping clients understand whether educational policies, programs, and practices are being implemented as intended, whether they are effective and have an impact, and how they might be improved. She also has over 10 years of experience in supporting leadership development and school improvement as a learning partner with individual schools and through the design and implementation of a variety of leadership development programs.

Since joining the UEPC in 2006, Cori has led studies on charter school governance, comprehensive school reform, arts education, school leadership and improvement, afterschool programs and other community school initiatives, state education agency capacity building efforts, school counseling, and variety of professional learning programs for teachers in K-12 and higher education.

She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Utah, an M.A. in Sociology from Arizona State University, and a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Utah.

Cori is also a member of the American Education Research Association, the University Council of Educational Administration, and the American Evaluation Association. Cori is also a member of Learning Forward, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), and the National School Reform Faculty. Locally she has been involved in the Utah Afterschool Network as a past board member, president, and advisory board member.
 801-581-5177
 cori.groth@utah.edu

Janice Bradley, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, Professional Learning
 janice.bradley@utah.edu

Janice Bradley, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, Professional Learning
Janice Bradley, Ph.D., is an assistant director with the UEPC who partners with education entities to support their school improvement efforts and leadership capacity building resulting in excellence and equitable school systems.  Janice believes that leadership, educator capacity building using job-embedded professional learning through praxis, co-designing, and effective communities of learning in collaboration, are the keys to continuous improvement thereby ensuring that schools realize growth for every student. She is inspired by the commitment of her partners to serving students and communities. Janice knows that partnership principles of voice, choice, equity, and reciprocity are keys to building relationships with partners for ensuring that change and improvement results.

Janice has been a member of the UEPC Bridgeworks School Improvement Team leading school improvement efforts since 2015. Her expertise is in designing and facilitating Professional Learning for educators (state, administrators, principals, coaches, teacher leaders) at all levels of a system, designing and implementing Professional Learning Communities, Instructional Coaching, co-designing professionally and emotionally fulfilling learning cultures in schools, STEM, and facilitating implementation for change. Her research can be found in two books, Designing Schools for Meaningful Professional Learning (2014), Corwin, Give Me Five: Five Coach Teacher Principal Collaborations that Promote Mathematics Success, and the Learning Forward Journal, the Learning Professional.

Janice began her career as a classroom teacher in Title 1 schools in Austin, Texas, followed by central office roles in the Austin Independent School District that included K-12 Mathematics Specialist, Mathematics Coordinator and Director of Professional Development on the National Science Foundation-funded project, Austin Collaborative for Mathematics Education. Following her service in Austin ISD, she worked at the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin as a Project Director, and Adjunct Professor. Before moving to the UEPC, Janice served as a research faculty member at New Mexico State University, instructor, and where she was Director of Leadership for Mathematically Connected Communities (MC2), a Math-Science Partnership funded project.

Janice holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education, M.Ed. in Science Education, and a B.S. in Education with a minor in Biology, all from University of Texas.

She currently serves as Chair-elect, and Vice Chair of Research and Support on the Learning Forward Foundation, and will become Chair of the Foundation in Dec. 2019.
 janice.bradley@utah.edu

Yongmei Ni, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, Quantitative Methods
 yongmei.ni@utah.edu

Yongmei Ni, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, Quantitative Methods
Yongmei Ni, Ph.D., is an assistant director with the UEPC who works with UEPC research team to provide leadership on statistical, methodological, and analytic issues on evaluation projects and research projects utilizing survey data and large-scale longitudinal student and educator data.

Yongmei is committed to conduct high quality research that aims to improve educational equity and quality for all students. Specifically, her leadership research centers on leadership preparation programs that prepare transformative leaders to make a difference in schools. Her scholarship on school choice focuses on a variety topics related to equity, effectiveness, resource allocation, teacher working conditions, teacher commitment, and teacher turnover/principal turnover. At the UEPC, she has been involved in multiple projects, including the IGPI project, teacher/principal labor markets, ECAPS, dual language immersion, and STEM initiatives project.

Yongmei is also an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah. She currently serves as an associate editor for Educational Administration Quarterly. She has received the following awards: National Academy of Education (NAEd)/Spencer postdoctoral Fellowship (2012), the William J. Davis Award for the most outstanding Educational Administration Quarterly article (2013), the University of Utah, College of Education Research Award (2015), and University of Utah Funding Incentive Seed Grant (2016).

Yongmei holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Master’s degree in Economics from Michigan State University.

Yongmei is a member of American Educational Research Association (AERA), Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP), University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA).
 yongmei.ni@utah.edu

Matthew Pecsok

Lead Data Scientist & Project Director
 matthew.pecsok@utah.edu

Matthew Pecsok

Lead Data Scientist & Project Director
Matthew Pecsok is a data scientist who works with UEPC stakeholders to help them with data gathering, transformation, analysis, and process improvement/automation.

Matt believes that data driven decisions are a critical tool to help organizations improve their practices. Matt has extensive experience in Information Technology, and a strong background in mathematics/data analytics. He brings a passion for data and technical solutions to each project here at the UEPC.

Matt has supported multiple projects at UEPC in a variety of capacities such as data transformations, process automation, evaluation of statistical methods, and interpretation of results.

Matt has in previous roles built databases, websites, designed and automated reporting systems, maintained and designed Enterprise level software solutions, created analytics resources, built critical server infrastructure, and written many software solutions in a variety of languages. He is particularly proud of his work mentoring team members and clients on technical subjects.

Matt holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Westminster College.
 matthew.pecsok@utah.edu

Carol Swenson, M.B.A.

Assistant Director, Business Operations
 carol.swenson@utah.edu

Carol Swenson, M.B.A.

Assistant Director, Business Operations
Carol Swenson, MBA, is a Business Manager who works with all UEPC stakeholders to come to a written agreement about the educational support they want UEPC to help them with for a mutually agreeable price.

Carol knows that such support services are often critical to educators being able to do their best work to advance education and access for all students, so she works diligently to ensure that work statements in contractual agreements convey the important work of the UEPC team and its clients. Carol has expertise in accounting, budgeting, and finance in both private and governmental sectors, with over 15 years of experience in these areas in university settings. Carol also has higher education experience marketing services and working with teams using project management.

Carol holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Indiana University and a Master of Business Administration in International Finance from Florida Atlantic University.

Carol is a member of NACUBO and WACUBO, which are organizations that represent more than 1,900 colleges and universities across the country through advocacy efforts, community service, and professional development activities.

 801-585-5594
 carol.swenson@utah.edu

RESEARCH ASSOCIATES

Bryan Becherini, M.A., M.Ed.

Research Associate
 bryan.becherini@utah.edu

Bryan Becherini, M.A., M.Ed.

Research Associate
Bryan Becherini M.A., M.Ed. is a research associate who works with UEPC's Bridgeworks team to support schools across the state of Utah in turnaround initiatives.

Bryan believes that every student in Utah deserves an education that properly prepares them for college or career pathways. Having worked in Title One schools in both New York City and Ogden School District, Bryan understands the importance of this work and strives to support principals as they develop their skills and the skills of their teachers to better support the needs of students in Utah.

Bryan has several years of experience working with turnaround schools as an instructional coach, assistant principal, and as a principal. With this field experience and research as a doctoral student, Bryan intends to develop the research surrounding the school and district turnaround. Additionally, Bryan’s focus is on systems of sustainability within schools and districts, and helping organizations build capacity of all stakeholders including parents, students, and employees.

Bryan’s most recent experience with UEPC is in the realm of supporting schools develop state-required school plans that align with the vision and mission of the schools. In recognizing that each school is unique in its own way, Bryan strives to ensure that schools feel supported throughout this process by focusing on the Four Domains of Turnaround and the Five Principles of Leadership.

Bryan is certified as a Level 2 Utah Educators with endorsements in K-12 Administration and Social Studies. He also received training in leadership from the University of Utah’s College of Education, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and through the United States Marine Corps.

Bryan has received the following awards: Ogden School District Higher Achieving Award - Spring 2017.

Bryan holds an M.A. in United States History from St. John’s University, M.Ed. in Education, Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah, and a B.A. in Secondary Education from Iona College.
 bryan.becherini@utah.edu

Kim McCormick, Ph.D.

Research and Evaluation Associate
 kim.mccormick@utah.edu

Kim McCormick, Ph.D.

Research and Evaluation Associate
Kim McCormick, PhD, is a Research and Evaluation Associate who works with UEPC stakeholders to use data to make continuous education improvements.

Kim knows the importance of the evaluation process and is driven to support clients in not only collecting data that is aligned with the questions they are asking, but also to make meaning from the information that is gathered. In addition, she believes that a vital piece of the evaluation process is to take action based on what is learned from the data.

Kim began her career in education as an elementary classroom teacher in 2003 and had the opportunity to work at a STEM magnet school and an independent school for gifted and talented learners in Indianapolis, Indiana. She continued her work as an educator for seven years as an assistant professor at Salisbury University and Towson University in Maryland. Her work in higher education allowed her to partner with professional development schools to facilitate best practices in high ability education, assessment strategies to document student learning, ways to facilitate cognitive engagement in the classroom, and integrating STEM education with learners.

An ongoing theme of evaluation has been woven throughout Kim’s career. She has extensive experience in working with various stakeholders, leading district, state, and national projects, designing surveys, managing data collection, and sharing results in meaningful ways for clients. She has an upcoming article “Maryland Criteria for Excellence: A Model for Program Evaluation and Improvement” in Teaching for High Potential that highlights a model for practitioners to implement best practices for evaluating their school-wide gifted and talented programs.

Kim has both technology and gifted and talented education endorsements on her teaching license.

Kim holds a Ph.D. in Learning and Developmental sciences with a specialization in Education Philosophy and a minor in Counseling from Indiana University, an M.A. in Educational Psychology with a gifted and talented specialization from Ball State University, and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Butler University.

Kim is a member of the American Educational Research Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the National Association for Gifted Children, and the National Association for Professional Development Schools.
 kim.mccormick@utah.edu

Robert Owens, Ph.D.

Research and Evaluation Associate
 robert.owens@utah.edu

Robert Owens, Ph.D.

Research and Evaluation Associate
Robert Owens, Ph.D. is an evaluation research associate. He works with the STEM Action Center, the Utah System of Technical Colleges, the Department of Workforce Services, Utah Afterschool Network, and other partners to plan and conduct evaluations and report evaluation findings.

Rob knows that the best outcomes are driven by data-informed decision making and that the best decisions are made based on accurate understanding of the best available data. Rob’s areas of expertise include utilization-focused evaluation, data-visualization and effective data storytelling, data literacy, evaluation of implementation, and evaluation capacity building.

Rob has extensive training and experience in all steps of program evaluation. He is trained in statistics and statistical software including Excel, SPSS, and has basic proficiency in SQL, LISREL, and R.

Prior to joining the UEPC, Rob was the principal investigator on statewide evaluations of Felony Drug Courts, Juvenile Drug Courts, and Mental Health Courts in Idaho. Results of his evaluations have been cited by nationally recognized drug court experts.

Rob holds a Ph.D. in Education and an M.A. in Human Development from Washington State University. He completed a B.A. in Psychology at Idaho State University.

Rob was a long-time member and also served as chair of the Idaho Statewide Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup and also sat on Idaho’s Empirically-Based Practices Workgroup. Rob has been a member of the American Evaluation Association and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
 robert.owens@utah.edu

Diana Pounder, Ph.D.

Research Associate
 diana.pounder@utah.edu

Diana Pounder, Ph.D.

Research Associate
Diana Pounder is a Research Associate at the UEPC and Professor Emeritus and former Associate Dean in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah College of Education. She has been nationally recognized for her work establishing equity in educator selection and compensation, redesigning teachers’ work for collaboration, and building and evaluating effective leadership preparation programs.
 diana.pounder@utah.edu

Kristen Weissinger, M.S.

Research Associate
 kristen.weissinger@utah.edu

Kristen Weissinger, M.S.

Research Associate
Kristen Weissinger, M.S., is a research associate who works with state agencies, education entities, and out-of-school time programs to support their evaluation needs.

Kristen believes that students, families, and communities are best served when the most current and accurate data are used to inform short- and long-term decision making. To this end, she continuously seeks to enhance and expand collaborations with colleagues and partners as well as refine research techniques to align with current best practices.

Kristen has been a part of the UEPC evaluation team since 2013. She has experience in both qualitative and quantitative methods, project management, survey design, data collection, and data visualization. Her work currently supports evaluation and professional learning foci at UEPC.

Kristen holds a M.S. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism from the University of Utah and B.A.s in International Relations and Liberal Studies from Florida International University.
 801-585-7787
 kristen.weissinger@utah.edu

Lisa Wisham, M.Ed.

Research Associate
 lisa.wisham@utah.edu

Lisa Wisham, M.Ed.

Research Associate
Lisa Wisham, M.Ed., is a research associate who works with both the Bridgeworks School Improvement Team and the UEPC Evaluation team.

Lisa believes that helping others make intentional connections to align their work around shared outcomes is critical to building collective capacity and strengthening opportunities for Utah students and families.

Lisa has been with the UEPC since 2017. Her expertise is in out-of-school-time programs, cultivating and strengthening community partnerships, and state and federal school programs.

Within her role on the Bridgeworks School Improvement Team, Lisa has worked closely with the Canyons School District for the past two years. In addition to her work with the school leadership teams and faculties at Midvale and Copperview Elementary Schools, Lisa has helped to develop and facilitate the afterschool professional learning community (PLC) within the district. This PLC utilizes a data-driven continuous improvement cycle to ensure alignment between the afterschool programs and the traditional school day.

Lisa began her career as a certified teacher in an alternative high school here in Utah. She was also the principal of an accredited private school/residential treatment center for five years. She worked at the Utah State Board of Education for nine years in the Federal Programs Office, where she managed federal and state grants for community and afterschool programs. Lisa holds an active Level 2 Utah Educator License.

Lisa has received the following awards: United Way/South Salt Lake Promise Partner of the Year - 2014, City of South Salt Lake; Utah Afterschool Advocate of the Year Award –2017, Utah Afterschool Network.

Lisa holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education from James Madison University.

Lisa is on the Board of Directors at the Utah Afterschool Network.
 lisa.wisham@utah.edu

Research Assistants

Annie Barton

Graduate Assistant
 annie.barton@utah.edu

Annie Barton

Graduate Assistant
 annie.barton@utah.edu

Beam (Adebimpe) Idowu Deji-Olatunde

Graduate Assistant
 beam.deji-olatunde@utah.edu

Beam (Adebimpe) Idowu Deji-Olatunde

Graduate Assistant
 beam.deji-olatunde@utah.edu

Brody Moore

Graduate Assistant
 brody.moore@utah.edu

Brody Moore

Graduate Assistant
Brody Moore is a research assistant at the UEPC who serves as the staff statistician and an assistant data scientist. He has extensive experience and training in handling, manipulating, and analyzing data through R, a statistical computing software. Through his years of tutoring he understands how to present information in a clear understandable way.

Brody believes that data is the key to understanding and evaluating how programs are to be viewed and handled. He is inspired by solving problems and answering questions previously thought to be a mystery.

Brody has been a graduate assistant with the UEPC since 2019. His expertise is in programming in R, statistical analysis, and problem solving.

Brody is finishing his M.Stat. from University of Utah and holds a B.S. from Utah State University.
 brody.moore@utah.edu

Faculty Research Associates

Utah Education Policy Center (UEPC) Faculty Associates consist of University of Utah faculty members who demonstrate leadership in education and/or educational equity, access, or opportunities  at the local, regional, or national levels and whose work contributes to the mission of the UEPC. Associates work in collaboration with the UEPC on education-related initiatives. Through their scholarly activities and expertise, Associates also help guide UEPC's work and ensure that UEPC follows the latest developments in education.

Vicki Park, Ph.D.

Visiting Research Scholar

Yuqing Qiu, M.S.

Research Associate

Yuqing Qiu, M.S.

Research Associate
Yuqing Qiu holds a master degree in Biostatistics and Data Science from Cornell University. Her experience focuses on providing statistical consulting services to research projects.

Irene Yoon, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Aaron Fischer, Ph.D.

Faculty Research Associate
 aaron.fischer@utah.edu

Aaron Fischer, Ph.D.

Faculty Research Associate
Dr. Fischer has been working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families for 15 years. He graduated from the University of Miami, where he earned a bachelors degree in psychology and worked as a research coordinator at the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Dr. Fischer completed his masters and doctoral degree in school psychology at Louisiana State University. Before arriving at the University of Utah in 2014, he completed his predoctoral internship in clinical psychology at the May Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. His internship and graduate work focused on providing evidence-based practice in schools, hospitals, and mental health clinics for children with disabilities and their families. Specifically, Dr. Fischer’s clinical interests concentrate on the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with ASD and other disabilties, as well as providing support and training to their families. As such, his scholarship is considerably influenced by his applied work in those areas. Additionally, Dr. Fischer is a Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He has extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of behavior problems, as well as the acquisition of adaptive skills, in individuals with ASD and developmental disabilities. Moreover, he is the director of the interdisciplinary pediatric feeding disorders clinic at the University of Utah Neurobehavior HOME program and the director of the University of Utah Technology in Training, Education, and Consultation (U-TTEC) Lab in the College of Education.

https://faculty.utah.edu/u0982011-Aaron_J._Fischer,_PhD,_BCBA-D/research/index.hml
 aaron.fischer@utah.edu

Andrew Redd, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Andrew Redd, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Andrew earned his Ph.D. in Statistics from Texas A&M University and is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Utah. Andrew’s research interests include statistical data modeling for surveillance data, complex data models, and reproducible research methods and tools.

Yue Zhang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Yue Zhang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Yue earned his Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of Southern California and is an Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Utah. Yue has a solid background and work on the broad area of Biostatistics, with specific training and expertise in statistical inference, secondary data analyses, and longitudinal data analysis.

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