Keynote Address


Helen Ladd, Duke University - Helen F. Ladd is the Edgar Thompson Professor of Public Policy Studies and professor of economics at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. Most of her current research focuses on education policy. She is particularly interested in various aspects school accountability, education finance, teacher labor markets, and school choice. She has written numerous articles on charter schools and other forms of choice in North Carolina, self-governing schools and parental choice in New Zealand, market based reforms in urban school districts, voucher programs, school reform in post-Apartheid South Africa, and school finance in the Netherlands. In addition, with colleagues at Duke University she has written extensively about school segregation, teacher labor markets, and teacher quality using longitudinal data in North Carolina.

Read more about Dr. Ladd here

Session 1: Policy Perspectives on the Indiana School Choice Ecosystem


Jonathan Plucker, University of Connecticut - Dr. Plucker is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (2009) and was named a Fellow of the American Associate for the Advancement of Science in 2011 "for distinguished contributions to the science of creativity and the creation of research-supported education policy."

Read more about Dr. Plucker here.



Jason Kloth, Indianapolis Mayor’s Office - In 2008, Jason opened the Teach For America region in Indianapolis. In his current role, Jason serves as Deputy Mayor of Education, where he leads the city's education efforts, which includes managing and evaluating the 31 mayor-sponsored charter schools, 4 Indianapolis turnaround schools, and authorizing additional charter schools.

Read more about Mr. Kloth here.



John Schoenig, University of Notre Dame - John Schoenig, J.D., M.Ed., is the Director of Teacher Formation and Education Policy for the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). He has directed ACE's Program for Educational Access (PEA) - a teaching, research, and outreach enterprise dedicated to empowering low-income families with sustainable financial access to a faith-based education - since its inception in 2010.

Read more about Mr. Schoenig here.



John Witte, University of Wisconsin - Dr. Witte is professor emeritus of political science and public affairs and was director of the La Follette School for three years. Following three years as a naval officer, he received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 1978. His research has focused on tax policy, politics and education, including school choice, vouchers and charter schools.

Read more about Dr. Witte here

Session 2: Research on the Implementation of Indiana Choice Programs


Ellen Goldring, Vanderbilt University - Dr. Golding's research interests focus on the intersection of education policy and school improvement with particular emphases on school organization, school choice, and education leadership. She conducts research on developing effective and psychometrically valid and reliable principal evaluation practices and policies with funding from the Wallace Foundation and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

Read more about Dr. Goldring here



Maddy Mavrogordato, Michigan State University - Madeline Mavrogordato is an assistant professor of K-12 educational administration. Her research centers on issues surrounding school reform and improvement for disadvantaged student populations. In her current work, Madeline is investigating the process by which English language learners are reclassified as English proficient, strategies that schools employ to engage immigrant parents in schools, and the social and policy implications of school choice for students and families.

Read more about Dr. Mavrogordato here.



Claire Smrekar, Vanderbilt University - Dr. Smrekar is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Education at Vanderbilt University. She conducts qualitative research studies related to the social context of education and public policy, with specific focus on the impact of desegregation plans and choice policies on families, schools, and neighborhoods. She is currently studying the effects of private school markets and demographic trends on school voucher plans. 

Read more about Dr. Smrekar here.



Megan Austin, University of Notre Dame - Megan Austin is a third year graduate student and University Presidential Fellow associated with the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO). Megan’s areas of interest include education, stratification, and social network analysis, with particular interest in the relationship between schools and the communities and institutions in which they are situated.

Read more about Mrs. Austin here



David Stuit, Basis Policy Research - Dr. Stuit is a founding partner of Basis Policy Research and focuses on delivering quantitative research solutions to Basis clients. David has served as the Director of Business Intelligence for a leading education management organization, a researcher with the National Center on School Choice and the Education Commission of the States and as a classroom teacher in Denver, CO. 

Read more about Dr. Stuit and Basis Policy Research here.

Session 3: Research on the Effectiveness of Indiana Choice Programs


Joshua Cowen, Michigan State University - Joshua Cowen's current research focuses on teacher quality, student and teacher mobility, program evaluation and education policy. His work has been published in multiple scholarly journals, and is a member of the Editorial Board at Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. Cowen previously taught public policy at the University of Kentucky.

Read more about Dr. Cowen here.



Macke Raymond, Stanford University - Dr. Raymond has served as the Director of CREDO since its inception.  She has steered the group to national prominence as a rigorous and independent source for policy and program analysis. She has done extensive work in public policy and education reform, and is currently researching the development of competitive markets and the creation of reliable data on program performance.

Read more about Dr. Raymond here.



Mark Berends, University of Notre Dame - Dr. Berends directs the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO) and the National Center on School Choice (NCSC). Professor Berends has written and published extensively on educational reform, school choice, the effects of family and school changes on student achievement trends, and the effects of schools and classrooms on student achievement.

Read more about Dr. Berends here.



Joe Waddington, University of Notre Dame - R. Joseph Waddington is an Institute for Educational Initiatives Postdoctoral Research Associate whose research includes K-12 educational choice policies and K-12 Catholic and charter schools. His work supports efforts of Notre Dame's internationally recognized Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), as well as research centers of the interdisciplinary Institute.

Read more about Dr. Waddington here.

Session 4: Broader Impacts of Choice and Future Directions


Philip Gleason, Mathematica - Philip Gleason, a senior fellow at Mathematica, is an expert in evaluation design with extensive experience directing studies of education initiatives and federal nutrition programs. Gleason is the study director for an evaluation of KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) for the KIPP Foundation, and recently led a rigorous lottery-based experimental evaluation of charter schools for the U.S. Department of Education. 

Read more about Dr. Gleason here



Nicole Garnett, University of Notre Dame - Nicole Garnett, J.D., is currently working on a major empirical research project with Professor Peg Brinig examining the effects of Catholic school closures on urban neighborhoods. Professor Garnett also is a Fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives and the Senior Policy Coordinator for the Alliance for Catholic Education.

Read more about Professor Garnett here.



Patrick Wolf, University of Arkansas - As principal investigator of the School Choice Demonstration Project, Dr. Wolf is leading the impact evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program through a contract with the U.S. Department of Education (subcontract with Westat) and is overseeing a national research team conducting an independent longitudinal multi-method evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

Read more about Dr. Wolf here.