About the WWC iconKey Staff
Neil Seftor, Ph.D.
Director, 2014 - present
Co-Principal Investigator, 2014 - present

Dr. Neil Seftor is the director and co-principal investigator of Mathematica Policy Research’s WWC contract. He is a senior economist who specializes in education research, with expertise in econometric and evaluation methodology, including the design and analysis of education policy evaluations using random assignment and quasi-experimental methods. Previously, Dr. Seftor served as the deputy project director of the WWC from 2009–2014, overseeing the content of all products and evidence review standards. Dr. Seftor has evaluated Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math-Science, and Talent Search, three national programs that prepare economically disadvantaged students to enter and succeed in college. His other works include the analysis of two National Institutes of Health-funded evaluations of the Undergraduate Scholarship and Intramural Research Loan Repayment programs, as well as contributing to the design, recruitment, data collection, and analysis of the ED-funded Evaluation of the Impact of Teacher Induction Programs, a large random assignment evaluation of over 1,000 teachers in 17 districts across the country. More recent work has included the impact analysis and reporting for two other ED-funded studies: Achievement Effects of Four Early Elementary School Math Curricula and Moving High-Performing Teachers. Additionally, Dr. Seftor has authored an article in the premier applied labor economics journal, The Journal of Human Resources, on federal financial aid policy.

Jill M. Constantine, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator, 2014 - present

Dr. Jill M. Constantine is a vice president at Mathematica. She is a nationally recognized education researcher and experienced project director. Dr. Constantine has been involved with both research and leadership of the WWC since 2005, serving initially as a principal investigator for the Beginning Reading review team and later moving into overall leadership of the WWC. She has led the development of several hallmarks of the WWC content and standards, including the WWC training and certification; the topic area review team process of identifying, prioritizing, and conducting reviews of interventions; and the Statistical, Technical, and Analysis Team. She has extensive experience directing large-scale studies in education, specializing in experimental and nonexperimental methods for assessing the effectiveness of education programs. Her substantive expertise includes teacher effectiveness, college access for low-income students, and early reading skills in young children. In addition to having directed the WWC, Dr. Constantine is the project director for the evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund, and has previously directed the impact evaluation of teacher preparation models, both for IES.

Elias Walsh, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, 2016 - present

Dr. Elias Walsh is the deputy director of Mathematica Policy Research’s WWC contract, overseeing technical methods for the project, including training and quality assurance. He has worked on the WWC since 2011, contributing to practice guides and other products, and developing and updating WWC standards on the Statistical, Technical, and Analysis team. Dr. Walsh is a senior economist at Mathematica, who has expertise in quantitative analysis methods, with a focus in education research. As an expert on measures of educator effectiveness, Dr. Walsh has worked with states and districts to develop student growth models and design educator evaluation systems. He has also co-authored several Mathematica reports, working papers, and journal articles, including a quasi-experimental design evaluation of the impact of principals on student test scores and methodological papers on student growth models. He previously taught high school mathematics in the Chicago Public Schools.

Cheryl Behany
Director of Operations, 2012 - present

Cheryl Behany is the director of operations for the WWC, overseeing the day to day operations of report development and coordination for the project. She has worked on the WWC since 2008 as the project manager and deputy director of operations. Ms. Behany is a principal program analyst at Mathematica Policy Research, where she specializes in operations and information management. Her area of expertise includes federal records management.

Jeffrey Valentine, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator, 2012 - present

Dr. Valentine is a Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville. As an internationally-known expert, Dr. Valentine has written more than three dozen works that use, explain, or seek to improve the methods of systematic reviewing and meta-analysis. He co-edited (with Harris Cooper and Larry Hedges) the Handbook of Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis (Second Edition), is an Associate Editor for the peer-reviewed journal Research Synthesis Methods, is a Statistical Editor for the Developmental, Psychosocial, and Learning Problems Group for the Cochrane Collaboration, and is the Co-chair for the Training Group for the Campbell Collaboration. His research has been published in Psychological Methods, Psychological Bulletin, Review of Educational Research, Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, and Education Evaluation and Public Policy Analysis.

Lisa Hall Foster, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator, 2014 - present

Dr. Lisa Hall Foster is the Co–Principal Investigator of the What Works Clearinghouse postsecondary contract. Her research includes program evaluation, fidelity assessment and measurement, the influence of leadership on implementation, and the use of data to inform education policy at multiple levels. She has been working on both literacy and math large- and small-scale multiyear randomized control trials for the past 5 years, including READS for Summer Learning at Harvard Graduate School of Education (literacy), “What Works in Gifted Education?” and Project Parallax at the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Virginia (literacy and math), and STEM Pipeline and inCLASS at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia (math and literacy). She has more than 25 years of experience in K–12 education, both as a school administrator and teacher, and has won awards for curriculum design. Her work has appeared in journals such as Reading Research Quarterly and Journal of Advanced Academics, with in-press works in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

Will Doyle, Ph.D.
Postsecondary Content Expert, 2013 - present

Will Doyle is an Associate Professor of higher education in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. His research includes evaluating the impact of higher education policy, the antecedents and outcomes of higher education policy at the state and federal levels, and the study of political behavior as it affects higher education. Before joining the faculty at Vanderbilt, he was Senior Policy Analyst at the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. He serves as an Associate Editor of Research in Higher Education and is on the editorial board of Journal of Higher Education and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. His work has appeared in outlets such as Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Teachers College Record, and Economic of Education Review. During 2004–13, he was an Associate Editor of Change magazine, where he wrote the “Playing the Numbers” column, which explained quantitative research to a broader policy and practitioner audience.

Sandra Jo Wilson, Ph.D.
Topic Area Team Principal Investigator, 2012 - present

Sandra Jo Wilson is the Associate Director of the Peabody Research Institute and a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Wilson also serves as the Editor for the Education Coordinating Group of the Campbell Collaboration, an organization that produces peer-reviewed monographs summarizing international research evidence on the effects of interventions in education, crime and justice, international development, and social welfare. She has extensive experience in all aspects of systematic review and meta-analysis, and has authored numerous systematic reviews and meta-analyses on education-related topics. Her professional interests are in research synthesis and meta-analysis, program evaluation, research methodology, and the effectiveness of educational and social interventions. Her current research concentrates on risk factors associated with school failure, the effectiveness of preschool programs for improving school readiness in young children, understanding the sources of variability in treatment effects, and the prevention of school dropout.

Marcia Cohen, MCP
Officer in Charge, 2012 - present

Marcia Cohen is Vice President of Research and Evaluation at Development Services Group, Inc. (DSG), and serves as Officer in Charge of the Evidence Review and Support project for the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC). Ms. Cohen provides oversight to all of DSG’s activities for the postsecondary area of WWC. She is a program evaluator and senior research manager with more than 25 years of experience as a Principal Investigator (PI) of more than 30 evaluations in the prevention of at-risk behavior. She recently served as PI of an evaluation of five evidence-based programs in the District of Columbia schools for the Deputy Mayor for Education’s Office. She has extensive experience in designing and operating evidence-based repositories. Ms. Cohen is currently the manager of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide, a web-based system of more than 200 evidence-based delinquency prevention and intervention programs. She also is the Project Director for the Office of Justice Programs’ Evidence Assessment of Justice Programs and Practices, known as CrimeSolutions.gov, which aims to improve the management of research knowledge and to better integrate research evidence into practice and policy decisions.

Jeff Michael, BA
Project Director, 2013 - present

Jeff Michael has more than 8 years of experience creating cohesive, aesthetic, and intuitive web interfaces, which provide users information quickly via websites, content management systems, and style guides. He provides technical and management support for WWC by overseeing daily website operations and development, and orchestrating close collaboration between partners and WWC leadership. Mr. Michael has helped maintain content on the websites for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and served as one of the technical leaders in the design and implementation of an AICC-compliant internal control training course for the Department of Education. He has extensive experience using authoring tools and scripting languages such as Flash, Dreamweaver, WYSIWYG editors, HTML5, CSS3, XML, and ActionScript 3.0, and has experience with JavaScript and jQuery. He also has extensive experience using Adobe’s Creative Suite programs.

Warner Roberts, PMP, ITILv3
Executive Leadership, 2013 - present

Warner Roberts is the President of Sanametrix, Inc. and will provide executive leadership for the What Works Clearinghouse Website Contract. Warner Roberts brings more than 15 years of technical project management and executive leadership to this program, to include leadership of web-based application development teams, IT consulting groups for the department (IES, OIG, OCFO, OCR, OPEPD, NAGB), and large infrastructure-focused government contracts. His knowledge of the Department of Education, in addition to his wide breadth of technology expertise, will provide the leadership necessary to support the What Works Clearinghouse program.

Michael Frye, Ph.D.
Project Director, 2016 - present

Dr. Michael Frye is the Project Director on Abt’s WWC Postsecondary Education, Postsecondary Preparation and Evidence Reporting contract. Dr. Frye is an Associate at Abt Associates and has more than 10 years of experience conducting evaluations, primarily in the field of education at the K–12 and postsecondary levels. He has led systematic reviews on three projects—the Evaluation of i3, the WWC PK-12 review, and Striving Readers. Dr. Frye has been WWC certified since 2012, and he has conducted reviews for the WWC Beginning Reading and Early Childhood Education topic areas. In addition to leading systematic review tasks, Dr. Frye serves as Deputy Project Director on Abt’s Robin Hood College Success Prize study—a randomized controlled trial designed to test the impact of two technology interventions on the retention and graduation rates of community college students. Prior to joining Abt Associates in 2012, Dr. Frye was a Research Associate at RMC Research Corporation, where he served as a Project Director and quantitative analyst on the evaluation team.

Allan Porowski
Methodological Lead, 2016 - present

Allan Porowski is the Lead Methodologist on Abt’s WWC Postsecondary Education, Postsecondary Preparation and Evidence Reporting contract. A Principal Associate at Abt Associates, Mr. Porowski has a wide range of experience in the design and conduct of rigorous research studies, as well as in research synthesis and dissemination. Mr. Porowski has supported and provided leadership on the WWC since 2003. He currently serves as co-Lead Methodologist for the WWC Literacy review teams (beginning reading and adolescent literacy), as a member of the Quality Review Team, and as a quality assurance reviewer. In a previous position, he managed the WWC Help Desk and served as Project Coordinator on the dropout prevention topic review. In addition, Mr. Porowski has served as a reviewer on a number of WWC topic review and practice guide review teams, including math, character education, out-of-school time, and foundational reading. Mr. Porowski has served as Principal Investigator on other systematic review efforts for the Texas Education Agency, including the Texas Best Practices Clearinghouse and a study of best practices in dropout prevention. He also currently contributes to Abt’s evaluation of the Investing in Innovation (i3) program and serves as Principal Investigator on an evaluation of the AARP Foundation’s Experience Corps program. Mr. Porowski is coauthor of Applied Policy Research: Concepts and Cases (2017), published by Routledge.

Kristen Cummings
Deputy Project Director, 2016 - present

Kristen Cummings is the Deputy Project Director on Abt’s WWC PEPPER contract. She is an Analyst at Abt Associates, where she focuses on education projects. Her other work includes collecting and analyzing qualitative data for the Comprehensive Data Collection and Evaluation of the Naval STEM Portfolio for the Office of Naval Research; contributing to the recruitment, data collection, and analysis of the ED-funded Effectiveness of Promising Strategies in Federal College Access Program; and providing technical assistance to sites submitting data for the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress.

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