Who We Are
To promote and advance equity, continuous improvement, and effective leadership by developing collaborative research-practice partnerships among faculty and local, state, regional, and national educational agencies and organizations.
For too long, policymakers have used mandates and top-down approaches to make changes in teaching and learning. Likewise, researchers have studied problems and shared evidence of what works without a full understanding of schools’ needs or the diverse contexts in which they operate. Too few have engaged schools and systems in identifying their specific problems and providing necessary support to help solve them. The Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement (CEii) at the University of Maryland seeks to change that paradigm.
CEii brings together the shared expertise of research and practice to develop leadership, improve schools, and advance equity. We foster collaborative partnerships for the purpose of promoting advancements in professional education, developing innovative solutions for current thorny problems of practice in education, and supporting collaborative research in public schools. Our aim is to ensure that faculty expertise meets the needs of the schools and districts while keeping equity at the center of our work.
Learn more here about the Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement.
Dr. Segun Eubanks Dr. Segun Eubanks is the Director of the Center for Education Innovation and Improvement and Professor of Practice at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). Dr. Eubanks also serves as the Chair of the Board of Education for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), a 132,000-student school district bordering Washington, DC. Prior to joining UMD, Dr. Eubanks worked in various leadership roles at the National Education Association, including as Director of Teacher Quality and Director of Professional Educator Support. He previously served 11 years as the Director of Teacher Quality for the NEA. In these roles, Dr. Eubanks led major policy initiatives and programs such at the Teacher Leadership Initiative, the Teacher Residency Taskforce, the National Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching and the NEA’s Committee on Professional Standards and Practice.
Dr. Eubanks has spent his professional career working to promote opportunity, access and equity in America’s education systems. Dr. Eubanks is a staunch advocate for public education and expert in teacher quality, teacher diversity and teacher professionalism. He has served in various leadership roles with national non-profit education organizations including as Executive Director of the Community Teachers Institute and Vice President of Recruiting New Teachers, Inc. Dr. Eubanks has given scores of speeches and presentations to a wide variety of audiences and has authored and/or contributed to many reports and publications on teacher quality and teacher diversity.
Dr. Eubanks earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Educational Advocacy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a Master of Science degree in Human Services Administration from Springfield College, and a Doctorate of Education in Teaching and Learning Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Eubanks is the father of four and lives in Mitchellville, Maryland with his wife, Dr. Shyrelle Eubanks
Dr. Jean Snell is the Associate Director of the Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement at the University of Maryland. Over the last twenty years, Snell has engaged with educators to help develop their capacity to close the achievement gap and to foster high quality teaching and learning conditions for all students. As an independent educational consultant, Snell provided leadership coaching to school and teacher leaders and qualitative data evaluation services to school and program administrators. Snell has served as a certified Lead Inspector with Teacher Prep Inspection (TPI-US), a curriculum developer and teacher trainer for Educators Rising, a classroom evaluator for the DC Public Charter School Board, and a Leadership Coach with Ed Fuel and Leading Educators. Previously, she launched the Leading Educators teacher leadership Fellowship program in Washington, DC as the Regional Executive Director, directed the Maryland Master’s Certification program at University of Maryland, and served as one of the founding Program Directors for the Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Washington. Snell earned her Doctorate in Education Policy at the University of Washington as well as the Danforth Leadership school administrator credential. She began her career in education as a secondary English teacher.
Iris Bond Gill is a Consultant at the Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement at the University of Maryland, College Park. She brings more than 20 years of education policy and management experience to the table to propel agencies and nonprofit organizations to deliver on their missions. Most recently, Bond Gill led development and implementation of a successful three-year digital literacy and web literacy program at the Mozilla Foundation. Prior to this, Bond Gill was Assistant Superintendent of Elementary and Secondary Education for the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education, where she oversaw federal programs, served as a member of the Superintendent’s leadership cabinet, and liaised with other education leaders and local elected officials. Between 2002 and 2012, Iris worked in Washington, DC-based policy and advocacy organizations focused on secondary school reform, school improvement, and education and youth policy. Bond Gill has a Master’s degree from the H. John Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University.
Dr. Douglas W. Anthony is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement at the University of Maryland- the very same institution where he earned his Bachelors’, Master’s and Doctorate degrees. Anthony, with over 27 years in public education, now leads the Anthony Consulting Group (ACG) where he works with school districts, universities and state departments of education across the country as a consultant and executive level coach. Prior to leading ACG, he served as an Associate Superintendent for one of the largest school districts in the country. Anthony served in several roles throughout his career including: teacher; school development program facilitator; assistant principal; principal; director of school leadership; director of human capital management; interim chief of human resources; and executive director for talent management. He is recognized for successfully creating leadership development programs and opportunities, developing a principal pipeline, and developing strategic, meaningful partnerships. Anthony has presented nationally on several leadership topics, spoken on Capitol Hill and has been featured in several articles, podcasts and research reports on leadership.
Christine M. Neumerski is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement. She began her career as a middle school teacher in Washington, DC, serving students living in concentrated poverty. These experiences led her to focus on understanding the systemic barriers that marginalized students face in accessing quality learning opportunities. Her research and teaching focus on improving instruction in high-poverty, urban schools; instructional leadership; school system reform; and the relationship between public policies and classroom practices. Prior to joining the faculty at UMD, Christine worked at Vanderbilt University and the University of Michigan, where she conducted several large-scale studies of school improvement efforts. She has also worked in urban teacher and leader education, and most recently, she has pursued the development of research practice partnerships. Christine received her PhD in Educational Administration and Policy from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Cherise J. Hunter is a Fellow at the Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement and the Project Manager for the Maryland PDS 2025 Project at the University of Maryland. She brings expertise in executing large scale policy and research agendas in the areas of education, workforce development, and the post-secondary transition of youth with disabilities. Recently, Hunter was the Policy Manager for the Howard County Public School System where she served under the Deputy Superintendent as the policy liaison to the Board of Education and was responsible for overseeing the development and adoption process of system-wide policies. Hunter also spent over eight years as a Senior Research Analyst with the U.S. Department of Labor where she managed a multi-million dollar portfolio of workforce development evaluations and co-led a cross-agency federal committee to establish a youth transition research agenda. In 2007, Hunter was awarded a doctoral fellowship from the University of Maryland’s Institute for the Study of Exceptional Children and Youth. Prior to that, Hunter was a Governor’s Fellow with the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services. She earned her Bachelors’, Masters’ and Doctorate degrees from the University of Maryland in Special Education. Hunter proudly began her career as a Special Education Transition Teacher/Coordinator.
Nardos Ghebreab is a graduate student assistant in the Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement and a Ph.D. candidate in the Teaching, Learning, Policy, and Leadership department (TLPL) concentrating in Minority and Urban Education. Beginning her professional career in the K-12 public school sector, Nardos taught at the high school and middle school level before transitioning to the Instructional Leadership Team. Her skills in strategic planning, program development, and evaluation served her well to support teachers’ instructional and pedagogical development while launching school-wide academic improvement initiatives. She’s also worked in the education non-profit sector, supporting school principals nationally, as well as instructed graduate and undergraduate courses tailored to understand and advocate for social justice and equity in education.
As a trained sociologist and researcher, Nardos roots her work in transforming education and schooling systems to center the voices and visions of historically excluded and marginalized communities. She has earned a Master’s in Educational Research from Georgia State University and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Georgetown University.
Pamela Callahan is a Graduate Assistant at the Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement at the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. Candidate in Education Policy. Pamela studies the intersection of First Amendment speech protections and public schools. Her research has been published in On Democracy, West's Education Law Reporter, and Action in Teacher Education. Prior to graduate school, she proudly served as a middle math teacher and department chair in Prince George's County, Maryland. Pamela earned degrees from Johns Hopkins University (M.S.Ed), George Mason University (M.P.P), and the University of Pittsburgh (B.S.B.A).
Mel Hardy is a graduate assistant at the CEii and a Ph.D. student in the Teaching, Learning, Policy and Leadership department with a specialization in Teacher Education and Professional Development. In addition to her work with the center, she teaches literacy and language acquisition skills to pre-service teachers. Her research focuses on induction and retention of teachers representing marginalized identities and university partnerships with school-site mentor teachers. She also serves as the Secretary of the UMD Graduate Assistant Advisory Council.
Prior to her work at the University of Maryland, she served as a middle and high school ELA and drama teacher. She also served as the English Department Chairperson for DeKalb County, where she helped to compose writing-based curricula, and partnered with the Kennesaw Mountain branch of the National Writing Project to present her research to the National Council of Teachers of English. Mel has earned a M.A.T. at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA, and a B.A. at Clark University in Worcester, MA.