Meet the LEEAD Mentors
Supporting CREE LEEADers
The ongoing mentoring component is central to the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) Program. Scholars and Mentors go through an extensive matching process to ensure a strong, supportive, and lasting relationship. We’re excited to introduce the Mentors for the 2021-2022 LEEAD Cohort, many of which have provided their mentorship for multiple Program cohorts! Thank you to all of those, present and past, who have supported the LEEAD Program over the years.
Anne Farrell, PhD
Dr. Anne Farrell is the Director of Research at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. She serves a critical role in keeping Chapin Hall at the forefront of policy research and fosters a commitment to innovative, rigorous, and actionable research. In addition to leading Chapin Hall’s policy research agenda, Dr. Farrell conducts research and policy analysis on housing and child welfare, cross-systems collaborations, family-centered services, and family and community resilience. Formerly a tenured professor and director of a research center at the University of Connecticut, she conducts research and policy analysis on housing, child welfare, cross-systems collaborations, family-centered supports, and family and community resilience. Dr. Farrell is incoming coeditor of the Journal of Child and Family Studies. Dr. Farrell received a PhD in Clinical and School Psychology from Hofstra University, a Master of Arts in Psychology with Distinction from Hofstra University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Fairfield University.
Art Hernandez, PhD
Dr. Art Hernandez, Professor at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio has broad and diverse training and experience in clinical psychology, educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, K-12, public health, and program evaluation. He has served as evaluator or evaluator consultant on projects of local, state, and national scope and among other areas of scientific and evaluative inquiry remains committed to studying and supporting culturally responsive and equitable evaluation. His writing and research has focused on measurement and evaluation, psycho-educational interventions, and teaching and learning. He is a past co-editor of Forum, the journal of the Texas Teacher Educators, and currently co-editor of Research and Practice in the Schools, a publication of the Texas Association of School Psychologists. Dr. Hernandez has been Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator or Consultant on numerous research and teaching grants and his writing can be found in education, public health, counseling, psychology and policy publications.
Blanca Flor Guillén-Woods, MA
Blanca Flor Guillén-Woods has been involved with several aspects of applied research and evaluation including management of multi-site and multi-year projects for non-profit organizations working with marginalized communities. Her experience includes research design, fieldwork, public opinion polling, conducting focus groups, facilitation of community meetings, as well as quantitative and qualitative data analyses. She has conducted quasi-experimental and mixed methods research studies and program evaluations related to education, youth services, civic engagement, and health prevention and intervention for over 20 years through the lens of diversity and inclusion. Her work for the past several years with Latino Decisions has focused on providing Latinos a stronger voice and impact on national and statewide policies ranging from Health Care Policies to Immigration Reform efforts. Her work with Strategic Learning Partners for Innovation focuses on culturally responsive and equitable evaluation approaches.
Clare Nolan, MPP
Clare Nolan, Co-Founder of Engage R+D, is a nationally recognized expert in social-sector learning, evaluation, and strategy. She has 20 years of experience consulting with philanthropy, nonprofits, and government to design and evaluate programs and strategies. Clare is motivated by efforts to improve population-level outcomes, and thus much of her consulting work focuses on systems and policy change, networks, scaling, and adaptive strategies. Clare is the founding chair of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Evaluation Advisory Committee, the author of a GrantCraft guide on foundation knowledge-sharing, and co-founder of the Funder & Evaluator Affinity Network which focuses on strengthening the field of philanthropic evaluation. Clare holds a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School at the University of California.
Donna M. Mertens, PhD
Dr. Donna Mertens, Professor Emeritus at Gallaudet University, specializes in research and evaluation methodologies designed to support social transformation. She has authored/co-authored many methodological books related to social, economic, and environmental justice and human rights, most recently Program Evaluation Theory and Practice (2nd ed.); Mixed Methods Design in Evaluation; and Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology (5th ed.). She has consulted with many international agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control, Johnson & Johnson Foundation, F3E, UN Women, Engineers without Borders Canada, and the WK Kellogg Foundation. Mertens served as the editor for the Journal of Mixed Methods Research from 2010-2014. She was President of the American Evaluation Association in 1998 and served on the Board from 1997-2002; she was a founding Board member of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation and the Mixed Methods International Research Association.
Geri Lynn Peak, DrPH, MPH
Craft-y (spinner/crocheter/knitter/metalsmith-ish/beadworker/dyer/weaver/sewer) designer, poet, African/modern/Middle Eastern dancer, djembe drummer, handpan newbie, guitar pretender, avid organic vegetable gardener, cat whisperer, native Angelina, Baltimore import, world traveler, introvert, nerd/blerd, Trekkie, techie, gamer, afrofae, wisdom conjurer, spiritual warrior, collaborator, action-taker, maker, evaluator, coach, guide, degree-holder, scientist, entrepreneur, daughter, mother, wife, elder, learner, empathetic, recovering-sarcastic, Baha’i, black/pupil-of-the-eye, cis woman transforming. Dr. Geri Lynn Peak has practiced evaluation for 33 years and facilitation for 45 years. She founded Two Gems Consulting Services in 1997 to strengthen programs and support social innovation.
Leah Christina Neubauer, EdD
Dr. Leah Christina Neubauer’s primary area of scholarship is curriculum development and training in the public health and health-related professions. She conducts collaborative global mixed-methods research focused on the development, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of health and education programs across the USA and in Kenya, Zambia and Mozambique. Her work employs multidisciplinary, theory-driven approaches to accreditation, teaching, training, and evaluation capacity-building within varied settings. She teaches graduate-level courses in global health, public health and evaluation. She holds leadership roles in the evaluation and public health education professional communities serving as: co-chair of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Local Affiliate Collaborative (LAC), Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) Appointed Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Task Force, and an accreditation Site Visit Chair with the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
Margaret (Meg) Hargreaves, PhD, MPP
Dr. Meg Hargreaves is a Senior Fellow in Health Care Evaluation, experienced in directing evaluations of racial equity, community capacity building, and other systemic change initiatives addressing a range of complex issues including adverse childhood experiences, justice, social and economic determinants of health, health care disparities, democratic elections, and climate change. She has directed racial equity evaluation projects for a range of federal agencies and foundations, including the MacArthur Foundation, Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Casey Family Programs, St. David’s Foundation, Democracy Fund, and the California Endowment.
Nisaa Kirtman, MA
Nisaa Kirtman is a social psychologist with twenty years of experience designing and conducting research and evaluations in educational settings and the public health sector. She studies social cognition, underrepresentation of communities of color in STEM, educational inequities, health inequities, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and climate assessments at institutions/organizations, stereotypes and stereotype threat, and identity. She has managed both long and short-term evaluations, including several multi-year professional development projects at historically black colleges and universities and out-of-school programming for underrepresented youth and girls of color, such as Black Girls Code. Nisaa is currently a member of the American Evaluation Association, American Psychological Association, the Association of Black Psychologists, and the Expanding the Bench Advancing Culturally Responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network. She also serves as Co-Chair for AEA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Work Group. Nisaa currently works for Rockman et al, a San Francisco-based research and evaluation cooperative.
Rita Fierro, PhD
Dr. Rita Fierro is the CEO and Lead Evaluator of Fierro Consulting Firm. Dr. Fierro and her team provide strategic direction and systems change initiatives in the social sectors. As an entrepreneur, reiki practitioner, trauma survivor, evaluator, innovator, and antiracist practitioner, her journey inspires people and organizations to raise their vision and commitment to humanity while measuring results. Dr. Fierro has worked with organizations globally, eliciting collaborative strategies that help transform and regenerate work communities and cultures.
Rosa Valdés, PhD
Rosa Valdés is the Director of Research and Evaluation at Child360, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that supports early childhood development. For over 25 years, she has conducted applied research on educational programs and teaching approaches, focusing on improving the educational outcomes of underrepresented people. She worked at the University of California Los Angeles’s Center for the Study of Evaluation and Los Angeles Unified School District’s Program Evaluation and Research Branch where she directed several multi-tier, multi-pronged, studies of the impact of districtwide policies and programs. Dr. Valdés has mentored educational researchers, research fellows, and interns, and advised executive staff on leadership professional development. She was recognized for her work on school-based interventions for struggling readers at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and for outstanding evaluation by the American Education Research Association. She currently oversees evaluations in the areas of educational technology, community empowerment, teacher learning, and Early Head Start.
Rucha Londhe, PhD
Dr. Rucha Londhe, a Senior Associate at Abt Associates, is an experienced child development specialist, evaluator, researcher, and TA provider with a demonstrated history of working in the education and health industries. Dr. Londhe is an expert in qualitative data methods and has multiple experiences conducting community-based participatory research and evaluations with diverse populations including immigrants and Native American Tribes. Currently, Dr. Londhe also serves as a Deputy Lead for the company-wide Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) initiative at Abt Associates. In this role, she helps proposal teams to bring a GESI perspective into their work; provides project teams a framework for including GESI based principles into data collection, analysis, and reporting; and contributes to corporate GESI efforts such as contributing to GESI strategic planning efforts, serving as a content expert for Diversity and Inclusion trainings, and creating GESI resources.
Sharon Brisolara, PhD
Dr. Sharon Brisolara is a program evaluator, organizational coach, educator, and founder of Inquiry That Matters, her second evaluation-centered business. Through Inquiry That Matters, she coaches organizations and mid-career professionals in matters of equity and resilience. Her areas of expertise include feminist evaluation, participatory evaluation, qualitative methodology, mixed-method studies, and equity-focused planning and evaluation strategies. She is a long-time member of the American Evaluation Association and has served on the editorial advisory board of the American Journal of Evaluation. Sharon and her colleagues co-edited one of the first volumes on feminist evaluation in 2002, Feminist Evaluation: Explorations and Experiences: New Directions for Evaluation, and has since written on feminist evaluation, and the intersection of equity-mindedness, evaluation, and higher education. Prior to refocusing her business, she served in the Office of Equity and Inclusion as Associate Dean at a California community college. Her evaluation work has focused on the areas of youth resilience, public health, and rural community-based development efforts. She received her doctorate from Cornell University in Program Evaluation and Planning with concentrations in Women’s Studies and Rural Sociology.
Interested in becoming a mentor for a future LEEAD Cohort?
The mentoring component is central to the LEEAD model, with most Scholars rating the relationship with their Mentor as valuable to their experience. Many Mentors have had positive experiences, and have served as Mentors for multiple cohorts.