Candidates for Board of Directors


Cara Jackson, Abt Associates 

Cara Jackson is a senior associate in the Social and Economic Policy division at Abt Associates, where she conducts evaluations of educational programs and systematic reviews of research. Prior to joining Abt, she was an associate partner at Bellwether Education Partners, evaluating charter school program replication and expansion grants. Cara has also worked in Montgomery County Public School’s Office of Shared Accountability, designing studies to inform district policies and conducting research on a variety of educational initiatives, and was a  Strategic Data Project fellow at Urban Teachers, a residency-based teacher preparation program. Cara has experience as a classroom teacher in the Bronx and as a policy analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office. She received her doctorate in education policy at the University of Maryland.


At-Large Candidates (3 people will be elected to board)

Tolani Britton, University of California - Berkeley

Tolani Britton uses quasi-experimental methods to explore the impact of policies on students’ transition from secondary school to higher education, as well as policy effectiveness in increasing access to and retention in higher education. Her research has been supported by The Spencer Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation. Tolani currently serves on the Editorial Board of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis and has been a member of the Association for Education Finance and Policy since 2014.  Prior to earning her doctorate in quantitative policy analysis at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Tolani worked as a high school math teacher and college counselor in New York City public schools and as a policy analyst for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France.  Her scholastic credentials include a Master of Arts in Economics from Tufts University, a Master of Arts in French Cultural Studies from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts in both Economics and French Literature from Tufts University. 

Oded Gurantz, University of Colorado

Oded Gurantz is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of Colorado and a NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow in 2020-21. Previously, Oded was an Assistant Professor at the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, an Institute of Education Sciences Fellow in the Stanford Graduate School of Education and worked as an Associate Policy Research Scientist at the College Board. His research focuses on gaps in college enrollment and completion between students from historically underserved groups and their more privileged peers, and has been published in some of the leading economic, policy, and education journals. With a background in economics and education policy, he uses quantitative research methods, primarily quasi-experimental and experimental designs, to examine programs and policies that are both effective and efficient in ameliorating educational disparities. A key component of Oded’s research agenda is the development of long-term, collaborative partnerships with educational and government agencies. This approach helps his findings address not just theoretical questions in the literature, but ensures that the results are relevant to current public policy debates and well-positioned to lead to actionable change.

Adam Kho, University of Southern California

Adam Kho is an Assistant Professor of Education Policy and Leadership in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. His research focuses on using quantitative methods to examine both intended and unintended consequences of various K-12 school reform efforts including school turnaround, schools of choice, and school improvement. His work has been published in Education Finance and Policy, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and American Educational Research Journal, among others. Adam has served on AEFP's Conference Program Committee for multiple years and currently co-leads the LGBTQ+ Scholars Community Group. He earned his Ph.D. in education policy from Vanderbilt University, M.A.T. from Georgia State University, and B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Emily Penner, University of California - Irvine 

Dr. Emily K. Penner is Associate Professor of Education Policy and Social Context in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. Penner is a William T. Grant Scholar, and formerly a Jacobs Foundation Young Scholar, a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, and an Institute of Education Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis. Penner received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Education from the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on K-12 education policy, and considers the ways that districts, schools, teachers, and families contribute to and ameliorate educational inequality.

Beth Schueler, University of Virginia 

Beth Schueler is an Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. She studies education policy, politics, and inequality with a focus on efforts to improve low-performing K-12 schools and districts. She uses both quantitative and qualitative methods to learn which policies are most effective at improving educational organizations and what makes these policies more or less politically viable. She also has a strand of research examining the role of educational organizations in developing students’ civic competencies and argumentation skills. Her work in these areas has been published in journals such as Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Education Finance and Policy, and Public Opinion Quarterly, and has been covered by media outlets such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Education Week. Beth also serves as co-chair of AEFP's LGBTQ+ community group. Prior to joining the faculty at UVA, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Schueler holds a doctorate in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, holds a master’s degree in politics and education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, has taught on the politics of education at Brown University, and previously worked on legislative affairs at the New York City Council. 

Lucy Sorenson, University at Albany, SUNY

Lucy Sorensen is an Associate Professor in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at University at Albany, SUNY. She holds a PhD in Public Policy from Duke University. Prior to graduate school she conducted economic analyses at Abt Associates, Inc. Her current research explores interactions between K-12 education policy and other institutions such as the public health and criminal justice systems. She is interested in how these policies shape long-term developmental trajectories and patterns of social and economic inequality. Lucy has attended the AEFP conference every year since her second year in graduate school and considers the AEFP community her "academic home.” She has previously served on an AEFP Conference Program Committee and hopes to contribute to the organization more in coming years. In particular, she would like to support AEFP’s commitment to research that promotes equity and justice in public education. She also would like to contribute to efforts to make AEFP a welcoming space for scholars from diverse backgrounds and to increase research using a greater breadth of methods.


Government Candidates (1 person will be elected to board)

Stephen Cornman, U.S. Department of Education

Stephen Q. Cornman is a statistician at the U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences, NCES.  He currently directs the National Public Education Financial Survey (NPEFS); the School District Finance Survey (F-33); and is the founder of the School Level Finance Survey. He collects, analyzes, and reports on school finance data utilized for Title I allocations by the Department of Education. He is a former assistant research professor at Georgetown University and the administrator of the School Choice Demonstration Project. Cornman has professional degrees in public affairs and law and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.  Stephen holds Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Public Administration (MPA) degrees from Columbia University; a Juris Doctorate (JD) from Thomas Jefferson School of Law; and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from George Washington University.        

Matthew Duque, Maryland State Department of Education

Matthew Duque is the Director of the Office of Research, Planning, and Program Evaluation at the Maryland State Department of Education, where he conducts and oversees original research, program evaluation, and data analytics to inform agency decision-making. He previously was a research analyst at the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education and served as a Strategic Data Project fellow in Baltimore County Public Schools. He started in education as a high school teacher in the Boston Public Schools and holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy from the University of Southern California.


Teacher Organization Candidates (1 person will be elected to board)

Brad Alter, United Federation of Teachers

Brad Alter is an educator based in Brooklyn New York.  He currently serves as a Member Representative in the Middle Schools Division of the United Federation of Teachers.  Prior to his work with the UFT, Brad was a founding teacher at Spring Creek Community School in East New York where he taught students with disabilities.  

Stacey Pelika, National Education Association 

Stacey Pelika has been the director of research at the National Education Association since 2012. She is a passionate advocate for public schools and leads a team that conducts quantitative and qualitative research to inform NEA strategy and lift up educators’ voices and experiences. Stacey’s department also conducts program evaluations and strategic research, tracks new research and data releases by academics, think-tanks, and government agencies, and leads on coordinating NEA’s relationships with external researchers. Stacey co-leads NEA’s efforts to address the national educator shortage crisis. Prior to joining NEA, Stacey was director of research at the Children’s Defense Fund and assistant professor of government at the College of William & Mary. She holds a B.A. in American studies/educational studies from Carleton College, an A.M. in education from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.