Forum Staff

Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 

Chris Lubienski, Ph.D., Director of the Forum for the Future for Public Education, is a Professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois.  His research centers on public and private interests in education, including the use of market mechanisms such as choice and competition to improve schooling, especially for disadvantaged children. His work examines reforms and movements such as vouchers, charter schools, tuition tax credits, and home schooling that seek to decentralize and deregulate educational governance. He focuses on outcomes anticipated by reformers in areas such as increased innovation and higher levels of achievement, exploring the frequent disconnect between research findings and policy advocacy. He is currently investigating the organizational behavior of schools and districts in local education markets in metropolitan areas.


Ph.D. Student, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 

Jameson Brewer is the Associate Director of the Forum on the Future of Public Education and a 2015-2016 Richard E & Ann M. O'Leary Fellow. He is an advanced PhD student of educational policy studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned a M.S. in social foundations of education from Georgia State University and a B.S.Ed. in secondary education from Valdosta State University. His research focuses on the impact(s) of privatization/marketization of public schools by way of charters, vouchers, and Teach For America.  He is co-editor of Teach For America Counter-Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out (Peter Lang, 2015)


Faculty Fellows

Associate Professor, University of Southern California 

Patricia Burch is committed to improving quality and equitable access in public education. The focus of her current research is how the policies and practices of various sectors, in particular business and education, intersect in low-income communities. As an educator, parent and citizen, Burch is interested in building an informed and respectful dialogue to counter commercialism of public schools. Her most recent book, Hidden Markets, examined for-profit involvement in the design and delivery of instruction in era of high stakes accountability. Burch is an associate professor in education policy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.


Professor, University of Georgia 

Elizabeth DeBray is a professor in the Department of Lifelong Education, Administration& Policy in the College of Education, University of Georgia. She received her Ed.D. from Harvard University. Her research interests are the politics of federal education policy, policy implementation, and interest group politics.  She is a co-Principal Investigator, with Chris Lubienski and Janelle Scott, of a major grant from the WT Grant Foundation to investigate the role of intermediary organizations in disseminating research on charter schools and teacher pay-for-performance to policymakers.


Assistant Professor, Illinois State University

Tiffany is assistant professor at Illinois State University and is a Ph.D. student in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is interested in education law, school finance, policy development, implementation and compliance.  She is a 2013-2014 Richard E. and Ann M. O'Leary Fellow. Prior to graduate studies, Tiffany was an attorney for DC Public Schools and Baltimore City Public Schools.  She has a B.S in Political Science from Northern Illinois University and a J.D. and Ed.M. in Education Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Anjalé D.Welton is an assistant professor in Education, Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Welton examines how opportunity structures in secondary school settings shape connections students of color make to educational resources and matriculate to college. Other research areas include the politics of equity as it pertains to race and diversity in school reform and improvement. Her professional experiences include coordinator of a leadership and empowerment program for urban youth, a facilitator of an urban education teacher preparation program, and a teacher in large urban districts. She is also committed to providing professional development for educational leaders on issues of equity and diversity.


Assistant Professor, Seton Hall University

Christopher Tienken, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Leadership, Management, and Policy at Seton Hall University. Tienken's research interests include school reform issues such as Neo-liberal influences in education policy-making, the influence of curriculum design and development on student achievement, and the use of high-stakes standardized tests as decision-making tools to determine school quality and student learning. He was awarded the Kappa Delta Pi Truman Kelley Award for Outstanding Scholarship in 2013 and received the National Staff Development Council award for Best Research in 2008. His new book, with co-author Don Orlich is titled, The School Reform Landscape : Fraud, Myth, and Lies. Tienken has ongoing research collaborations with colleagues at the Universita` degli Studi Roma Tre, Rome, (University of Rome) Italy, the University of Catania, Sicily, and he was named as a visiting scholar at both universities.


Assistant Professor, University of Utah

Yongmei Ni, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah. Her research interests focus on school choice, economics of education, and quantitative research methods. She has examined the effects of school choice policies on racial segregation and social stratification, as well as the impact of charter schools on student achievement in both charter schools and traditional public schools. She also studied how school choice affects student achievement through influencing resource allocation, teacher working conditions, and principal turnover.  As a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Ni is currently investigating teacher commitment in charter schools. She has published articles in journals such as Economics of Education Review, Teachers College Record, Educational Administration Quarterly, and Educational Policy. She holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy and a Master's degree in Economics from Michigan State University.


Assistant Professor, University of Utah

Jason L. Taylor is a post doctoral research associate with the Office of Community College Research and Leadership. His research and evaluation interests broadly include how programs and policies influence students' access to and success in higher education, particularly in community colleges. Specific areas of interest include college readiness, dual credit, developmental education, transfer students, access and equity, and adult bridge programs. Jason's dissertation used a quasi-experimental method to examine the impact of dual credit participation on college enrollment, college completion, and time to degree in Illinois. He received his M.S. in higher education from the University of Illinois and his B.S. in music from Illinois State University.


Assistant Professor, University of Texas

Bekisizwe Ndimande, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor Associate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His research interest include the politics of curriculum and examining the policies and practices in post-apartheid desegregated public schools and the implications of school "choice" for marginalized communities in South Africa.


Assistant Professor,

Joe Malin is an assistant professor. His research interests include: educational policy analysis; expert opinion and decision-making; school funding equity; and assessment. He is currently the Director ofPersonnel Services and Director of World Languages at Lake Forest School District 67. Joel received a Ph.D. in educational policy, organization and leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a M.A. in Educational Psychology and an Ed.S. in School Psychology from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He also received a M.A. in Educational Leadership from Roosevelt University and a B.S. in Psychology from University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University

Erica Frankenberg, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests focus on racial desegregation and inequality in K-12 schools, and the connections between school segregation and other metropolitan policies.  She received her Ed.D. from Harvard University. She is co-author or co-editor of several recent books, including Educational delusions? Why choice can deepen inequality and how to make it fair (with Gary Orfield, University of California Press, 2013), The resegregation of suburban schools: A hidden crisis in American education (with Gary Orfield, Harvard Education Press, 2012), and Integrating schools in a changing society: New policies and legal options for a multiracial generation (with Elizabeth DeBray, University of North Carolina Press, 2011).  Prior to joining the Penn State faculty, she was the Research and Policy Director for the Initiative on School Integration at the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA.


CAEP Accreditation Coordinator & Instructor, Valdosta State University

Scott T. Grubbs is the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (C.A.E.P.) Coordinator for the James and Dorothy Dewar College of Education and Human Services at Valdosta State University. Scott is a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Policy and Evaluation at the Florida State University and is a 2013 David L. Clarke National Graduate Student Research Seminar participant. His research interests include educational politics, educational program evaluation and accreditation, and applied professional ethics.  He received is M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State University and has a B.A. in French from the University of Georgia. In addition to his duties as C.A.E.P. coordinator, Scott is a chair of the Board of Examiners at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and a Lecturer in the Department of Middle, Secondary, Reading and Deaf Education at Valdosta State University.



Matthew Linick was a 2012-2013 Richard E. and Ann M. O'Leary Fellow and 2012 Graduate Student Fellow at the David L. Clark National Graduate Student Research Seminar in Educational Administration and Policy.  He completed his Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  His research interests are in the second-level effects of market-based education reforms on district-run public schools.  Prior to graduate studies, Matthew taught high school reading and English. He holds a B.A. in English Education and a M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Collin Ruud is a research specialist at the Office of Community College Research and Leadership. He received his Ph.D. and M.Ed. in Higher Education at the University of Illinois, and has also studied at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. Collin's research interests include college student development, student affairs, high school to postsecondary transitions, and technology in higher education. His dissertation examined the relationship between online technology use and perceptions of social support.


Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Jennifer A. Delaney, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She specializes in higher education finance and policy; particularly state funding of higher education. Her research has been highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, CQ Researcher, Inside Higher Education, and other media outlets. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2007.


Graduate Fellows

Ph.D., Candidate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Mauricio Pino Yancovic, is a Ph.D Candidate in the Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. MA in Ethnopsychology, was a professor of the Catholic University of Valparaíso in Chile, where he worked in teacher professional development programs and researched teachers transforming identity in the context of the new Chilean teacher evaluation and incentives system. He is currently coordinator of the Office of International Programs at the College of Education, UIUC. His research is positioned at the intersection of legal studies, human rights, and resistance to neoliberalism in education. He is an active member of Alto al Simce, a Chilean collective group of teachers, students and academics that challenges standardize testing and promotes democratic and culturally responsive evaluation systems.

Ph.D., Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Priya G. La Londe is an advanced doctoral student of P-12 education policy and leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She studies data and research use, comparative and international studies of market-based reforms, and social justice education. Priya earned a MBA and M.S. in Education Organization & Leadership from UIUC and a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Sociology from DePaul University. Prior to her work at UIUC, Priya was a teacher and school leader in Chicago, New Delhi and Shanghai. 

Ph.D., Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Daniel A. Collier is a current PhD student at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in the Education Organization and Leadership program.  Daniel specializes in Higher Education research where through an evaluative research specialization he focuses on how policies and politics affect higher education.  Currently, Daniel is a research assistant in the Illinois Leadership Laboratory through the Agriculture Education Department and a strategic tutor for the Irwin Academic Center.   Daniel's current research initiatives include investigating the effects that short-term and long term leadership education experiences have on students, exploring the interaction between the Division I NCAA students and Big 10 institutions, and examining various outcomes and affects that international students have on the U.S. higher education system.