Our Team

Contact information for the RP Group team

PROGRAM STAFF

Rose Asera

Program and Professional Learning Developer

650-567-9394 | email

Rose Asera is an applied qualitative researcher and evaluator who has worked in different fields and on different continents. She lived in Asia, conducted nutrition research in Guatemala, was a Fulbright Teaching Scholar at the Institute of Teacher Education, Kyambogo, Uganda, and developed health education materials with UNICEF Uganda. As the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Charles A. Dana Center, first at University of California, Berkeley and later at University of Texas, Austin, Dr. Asera worked with Professor Uri Treisman on dissemination of the Emerging Scholar Program. For the last ten years, community colleges have been the focus of her work. As Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Dr. Asera was the director of the Strengthening Pre-collegiate Education in Community Colleges program. She has been on the steering committee of the Strengthening Student Success Conference (SSSC) since its inception in 2006. In her work with the RP Group, she will lead the SSSC steering committee, continue work with the Leading from the Middle Academy and will collaboratively engage in the development of new projects. Dr. Asera has a Ph.D. in Social Multicultural Foundations of Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her narrative research and evaluation work focuses on learning from practice and on the relationship between individual and institutional learning.

Darla Cooper

Director of Research and Evaluation

510-527-8500 ext 253 | email

Dr. Darla M. Cooper, Director of Research and Evaluation for the Research and Planning Group for the California Community Colleges (RP Group), has worked in the California community college system for over 15 years having previously held institutional research director positions at Santa Barbara City College, Oxnard College, and Ohlone College. Dr. Cooper has extensive experience serving as an external evaluator for several federal and private foundation grants and leading Student Support (Re)defined, a research project that examined what supports student success. In addition, she has worked on projects including the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Bridging Research Information and Culture (BRIC), Student Transfer in Professional Pathways Project, and the Accreditation Study. Dr. Cooper also has direct experience assisting students achieve their educational goals in her previous work at the University of Southern California as a director of research and information, student services counselor, and ombudsperson. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and an M.S.Ed. and Ed.D. from the University of Southern California.

Adore Davidson

Director of Professional Development

510-527-8500 ext. 259 | email

Adore Davidson oversees the operations and direction of the organization's slate of professional development activities in partnership with the RP Group Board's Professional Development Chair and event leadership. Ms. Davidson’s background includes more than ten years of experience working with nonprofits in program, organization, project, and event management. She brings a lifelong commitment to social justice and equity to her work, with a focus on strategy, efficiency and sustainability. Prior to joining the RP Group team, Ms. Davidson managed operations and led the donor cultivation and stewardship program for a San Francisco-based nonprofit working for social, environmental, and economic change through the creation of strategic documentary films and distribution campaigns. Ms. Davidson holds an M.A. in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations from the School for International Training and a B.A in Cross-Cultural Women’s Studies from Hampshire College. 

Michael M. Howe

Executive Director

510-527-8500 ext 252 | email

Michael Howe is a California community college graduate with an AA from the College of San Mateo and brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to the mission and work of the RP Group. Mr. Howe has a deep background in research and evaluation in both the university and philanthropic communities. His work has ranged from collaborating with the UN High Commission On Refugees evaluating refugee resettlement, to evaluating community based juvenile justice programs, to researching smartgrowth options in both urban and suburban environments, to establishing strategies for community foundations to focus their efforts at promoting and supporting community leadership efforts in those communities they serve. He served as President of the East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) from 1993-2006, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the United States. Prior to his years in philanthropy, Mr. Howe served as Dean of Faculty at the Marin Community College District, and Founding Dean of the College of Professional Studies and an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of San Francisco. He holds a B.A in Sociology from the University of San Francisco, and an M.A. and ABD in Sociology, both from the University of California, Davis.

Alyssa Nguyen

Associate Director of Research & Evaluation

510-527-8500 ext 263 | email

Alyssa Nguyen currently leads the evaluation for the statewide Oneline Education Initiative (OEI) and the Career Technical Education Launchboard, a project supported by Chancellor's Office to improve data-backed decisions to close the skills gaps in career technical education. Ms. Nguyen has worked on a variety of other RP projects recently, including the Multiple Measures Assessment, a project to identify effective placement models utilizing multiple measures, and has supported work on environmental scans to identify existing data systems and models that support student success. Prior to her work with the RP Group, Ms. Nguyen was a senior research analyst at San Joaquin Delta College where she provided support for program review, state and federal grant writing and evaluation, special programs and services, and accreditation. Ms. Nguyen is a California community college graduate, earning an A.A. in Liberal Studies at College of the Redwoods. She went on to earn a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology with an emphasis in Quantitative, Social and Biological Psychology at Humboldt State University.

Tim Nguyen

Senior Researcher

510-527-8500 ext 261 | email

Tim Nguyen leads the external evaluation of the Common Assessment Initiative (CAI), developing evaluation measures, collecting assessment data and presenting evaluation results. He has more than 10 years of experience conducting applied research in educational settings. While working in K-12 education, Mr. Nguyen evaluated elementary school reading programs, campus safety, summer school, and A-G requirements. In addition, he spent several years working in California community college research and planning offices. Mr. Nguyen’s post-secondary research has examined placement testing, basic skills progression, student engagement, student learning outcomes, completion pathways, campus climate, student equity and institutional effectiveness. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, both from California State University, Long Beach.

Ireri Valenzuela

Senior Researcher

510-527-8500 ext 262 | email

Ireri Valenzuela has a breath of experience in qualitative research, program design and implementation and technical assistance provision. She is currently leading the evaluation of the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office Education Planning Initiative (EPI). Prior to joining the RP Group, Ms. Valenzuela spent five years as part of MDRC’s Young Adults and Post-Secondary Education Policy Area where she worked on two national demonstration projects: the Learning Communities Demonstration and the Performance Based Scholarship Demonstration, which were designed to explore new ways to improve college access, persistence and success for low-income and underprepared students. She also co-authored an early findings report on the Adelante Performance Based Award Program at Pima Community College in Tucson, AZ and a Technical Assistance Guide to Performance Based Scholarships.  In addition, Ms. Valenzuela directed the Campus Change Network aimed at expanding the capacity of California Community Colleges to address student equity issues via a systems change approach. She holds a Master’s Degree in adult education and a Bachelor’s Degree in sociology from San Francisco State University. 

 

ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM

Loann Solem

Administrative Assistant

510-527-8500 ext 254 | email

Loann Solem provides administrative support to the RP Group's membership activities, professional development events, research and evaluation projects, and staff and board meetings. In addition, Ms. Solem has been working with the Dean of Institutional Research & Strategic Planning at Riverside Community College District on an ongoing research project. Previously, she worked as an administrative assistant for the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Educational Services at Rancho Santiago Community College District. She spent one year at University of California, Irvine and one year at California State University, Fullerton.

Lila Tavelli

Operations, Events and Membership Coordinator

510-527-8500 ext 264 | email

Lila Tavelli currently provides coordination support to the RP Group’s membership activities and professional development events. Previously, Ms. Tavelli worked as the organization’s financial and contract management associate. She holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from Emerson College.

Margaret Westrom

Administrative Assistant

510-527-8500 ext 256 | email

Margaret Westrom provides overall administrative support to Dr. Darla Cooper, Director of Research and Evaluation for the RP Group, including planning and coordinating meetings, prospective employee interviews, internal and external communications, and strategic planning assistance. Ms. Westrom holds a B.A. in Social Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an Organization Management Certification from Stanford University.  

 

PROJECT LEADS

In addition to the staff, research projects, technical assistance programs and professional development opportunities are also led consultants. More than 50 practitioner consultants have participated in our research teams over the past nine years. Below is a listing of consultants currently leading projects.

Priyadarshini Chaplot

213-447-7463 | email

Priyadarshini Chaplot provides leadership on RP Group's internal and external communications (including Perspectives and Scoop e-newsletters, and the website). Ms. Chaplot also serves as a senior researcher for the ACE Adoption Guides and Student Support (Re)defined projects. Previously, she served as the director of professional development and a senior researcher with the RP Group, where she created practitioner-focused professional development opportunities and engaged in statewide and national projects focused on community college reform, including the Gates Foundation's Completion by Design and Bridging Research, Information and Culture initiatives. Prior to that, Ms. Chaplot served as the education research assessment analyst in the office of research and institutional effectiveness at Mt. San Antonio College. During that time, she also served as an instructor, teaching math and English in the college's Adult Diploma Program. Having worked in various capacities within and outside educational institutions for over a dozen years, Ms. Chaplot is passionate about engaging and empowering practitioners to redesign efforts that promote student success and equity. She earned her M.B.A. from California Polytechnic University, Pomona and her B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Kelley Karandjeff

510-527-8500 ext 255 | email

Kelley Karandjeff regularly serves as a project director for the RP Group and leads communications initiatives at both the project and organizational levels. Ms. Karandjeff is currently overseeing the Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative Evaluation, providing key support on the CSU Compass Evaluation and co-coordinating multiple communications efforts for the RP Group (including the website and the Scoop). Most recently, she led communications and dissemination for Student Support (Re)defined and the Student Transfer in Professional Pathways Project (STP3). She directed the RP Group’s Contextualized Teaching and Learning Project and co-authored Improving CTE Programs with Data and Evidence (as part of the Bridging Research, Information and Culture initiative). Before joining the RP Group as a consultant in 2008, Ms. Karandjeff worked with City College of San Francisco and the San Francisco Unified School District for over a decade to develop, deliver and improve career technical education (CTE) programs and student success initiatives. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Kenyon College and an Ed.M. from Harvard University, and served as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.

Edward Karpp

661-373-9390 | email

Edward Karpp is currently leading the Dual Enrollment Quantitative analysis study and has been a team member on several statewide research studies, including the Transfer Leadership Center project, CTE Transfer project and the environmental scanning group for the System Office Master Plan. Mr. Karpp’s current position is Dean of Research, Planning, and Grants at Glendale Community College, where he has worked for over 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego.

Mallory Newell

408-864-8777 | email

Mallory Newell leads the Multiple Measures Assessment Project, a statewide initiative to develop and test placement tools for multiple measures assessment. Ms. Newell has participated in a number of recent RP projects, including leading the development of the CTE LaunchBoard, which provides community colleges and their feeder K-12 schools with data on the effectiveness of CTE programs. She also played a key role on the research teams for the CTE Data Project, with a focus on enhancements to the state Chancellor’s Office to track CTE students, and the CTE Employment Outcomes Survey, which tracks outcomes for students in CTE fields. Ms. Newell is currently the Director of Institutional Research and Planning at De Anza College in Cupertino and previously worked for the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) in Sacramento as a Policy and Research Analyst. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from California State University, Chico, as well as Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from California State University, Sacramento.

Rogéair Purnell

510-527-8500 ext 257 | email

As a senior researcher with the RP Group, Rogéair Purnell has been a key team member on studies and projects focused on transfer, student support services and dual enrollment. Prior to becoming a consultant, she spent four years as part of the James Irvine Foundation’s Youth team, where she supported programs working to improve high school completion rates and postsecondary opportunities for low-income youth. As a Research Associate with MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social policy research organization, Dr. Purnell helped design and implement the evaluation of initiatives to improve employment and health and to increase completion rates for community college students. She also served as a Senior Evaluator at Philliber Research Associates helping to design tools and instruments to evaluate the work of direct service programs. Most recently, Dr. Purnell was the Director of Gateway to College at Laney College and in this role was responsible for coordinating and managing one of the national network program sites serving 16 to 20-year-old Alameda County residents who were at risk of leaving, or who had left high school without a diploma. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Stanford University, as well as a master’s degree in Social Work and a doctoral degree in Social Work and Social Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Diane C. Rodriguez-Kiino 

email

Dr. Diane Rodriguez-Kiino has served in the role of senior researcher with the RP Group since 2008. She is an assistant professor of Higher Education Leadership at California Lutheran University, where she teaches and advises doctoral students. Prior to Cal Lutheran she served as the Director of Campus Diversity in the President's Office of Santa Barbara City College. Examples of Diane’s work with the RP Group include: Community College Accreditation Policies and PracticesStudent Transfer to Professional Pathways ProjectStudent Support (Re)defined, and Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative. In 2014, Diane led the development of Practically Speaking: Community College Practices that (Re)define Support. Diane is a respected and successful researcher and has published on topics covering transfer students, women, and students of color in education. During the 2014-15 academic year, Diane taught courses on diversity in American higher education as a Fulbright Scholar in Japan. She holds an M.Ed. in College Student Personnel Services and a Ph.D. in Education Policy with an emphasis on International Intercultural Education from the University of Southern California.

Eva Schiorring

510-527-8500 ext 258 | email

Eva Schiorring’s background combines 15 years of community college research and evaluation experience with hands-on CTE project design and coordination. She currently co-directs a multi-year evaluation of Long Beach City College’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant and an assessment of effective practices in community college-K-12 partnerships for the Doing What Matters initiatives. Eva is also part of the RP Group team that is evaluating the Bay Area Workforce Funders’ Collaborative. During the past ten years, Eva has directed and participated in more than twenty RP Group evaluation and research projects including Student Support (Re)defined, Student Transfer in Professional Pathways and assessments of effective practices in nursing and other health science programs. Project. Eva evaluated several early MOOC initiatives and was part of a team that won an international competition sponsored by the Gates Foundation to conduct research on MOOC projects. Eva has special expertise and interest in projects related to Science, Technology, Education & Mathematics (STEM) and Career and Technical Education (CTE).  She currently serves as external evaluator for several NSF grant-funded projects to advance STEM achievement and is also the external evaluator for CSULA’s CSU STEM initiative. Eva recently was one of the first participants in NSF's I-CORPS pilot for education innovations. The author and co-author of multiple articles, Eva also developed a new tool community colleges can use to analyze labor market information. Eva holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.

Terrence Willett

831-461-4568 | email

Terrence Willett is the Director of Planning, Research and Knowledge Systems at Cabrillo Community College and a consulting researcher with the RP Group. Mr. Willett has 15 years of experience in program planning and evaluation, working with large scale relational databases, conducting statistical analyses including predictive modeling using traditional and machine learning/data mining techniques, and geographic information systems (GIS) analyses. He is currently leading RP’s technical assistance for the Design It! Build It! Ship It! (DBS) implementation of Contra Costa Community College District's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant and is part of the team working on the Multiple Measures Assessment Project (MMAP). Mr. Willett has also directed and participated in many recent RP projects, including the evaluation of the California Acceleration Project (CAP), the Student Transcript-Enhanced Placement Study (STEPS) and an assessment of the potential academic impact of Study Abroad participation. Previously, he was the Director of Research for Cal-PASS and HI-PASS (statewide intersegmental data systems for California and Hawai`i), Director of Research for Gavilan Community College where he also taught Field Ecology, and Research Technician for Cabrillo Community College. Mr. Willett holds an M.S. in Environmental Studies from San José State University and a B.A. in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz.