Meet Our Staff

Center Leadership

divided lineBlazar headshotFaculty Director: David Blazar

David Blazar is an Assistant Professor of Education Policy and Economics at the University of Maryland College Park. He also is the Faculty Director of the Maryland Equity Project, an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy, and an Affiliate at the Maryland Population Research Center. Substantively, his research examines resources that best support student outcomes and alleviate inequality, with a particular focus on teacher and teaching quality. Methodologically, he examines and employs research designs that aim to support causal conclusions. His research has been published in American Education Research Journal, Economics of Education Review, Educational Researcher, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Review of Educational Research, among other publications; as well as covered in national press outlets including The Atlantic, ChalkBeat, Education Week, The Hechinger Report, and U.S. News and World Report. Dr. Blazar received the Jean Flanigan Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Association for Education Finance and Policy, and he was recognized as an emerging education policy scholar by the Fordham Institute. He received his doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in quantitative policy analysis in education with a disciplinary focus in economics. He also holds an Ed.M. in policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in history and literature from Harvard College. Prior to graduate school, he taught high-school English Language Arts in New York City. 


Gail_Sunderman_Headshot.pngCo-Founder: Gail Sunderman

Gail Sunderman is the Co-founder and former Co-Director of the Maryland Equity Project and Senior Research Scientist in the College of Education. Her current research interests include the role of the state in education and the impact of policy on the educational opportunities of low income and minority students. Prior to joining University of Maryland, she directed the Mid-Atlantic Equity Center at The George Washington University where she spearheaded the development of the Equity Planning Tool, a research-based instrument designed to assist districts to assess equity. At the Harvard Civil Rights Project (CRP), she was lead researcher on a five-year study examining the implementation of No Child Left Behind and how this legislation influenced educational change in states and school districts. Dr. Sunderman has served as expert consultant on educational disparities for the U.S. Department of Justice and other organizations. She is a former Fulbright scholar to Afghanistan and received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. 



Co-Founder: Robert Croninger  

Robert G. Croninger is the Co-founder and former Co-Director of the Maryland Equity Project. He is the associate chair in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership in the College of Education and an adjunct associate professor in the Joint Program on Survey Methods at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Croninger teaches courses in education policy and quantitative methods, including courses in mixed methods and multilevel modeling. Prior to taking a position at the University of Maryland, Dr. Croninger was an associate director for the Programs for Educational Opportunity at the University of Michigan, where he worked with school districts and communities to implement desegregation plans and to address race-, gender-, and language-based inequities in schools. His current research focuses on the challenges of studying teaching and identifying instructional practices that affect learning, particularly for students who have been historically disadvantaged in elementary and secondary schools. His latest publications include “Equitable Public Education: Getting Lost in the Shuffle” with Kathleen Hoyer in Charting Reform, Achieving Equity in a Diverse Society, edited by Gail Sunderman, and a special issue of Teachers College Record, entitled “Researching quality in teaching: Enduring and emerging challenges” edited with Linda Valli and Marilyn Chambliss. 


Faculty Collaborators

divided lineMichel Boudreaux: collaboratorsMichel Boudreaux 

Michel Boudreaux is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management. Dr. Boudreaux conducts research in interrelated areas of health policy. He is especially interested in public programs for low-income populations and their effects on health and economic wellbeing. He also maintains an active research agenda focused on the quality of federal surveys. His work has appeared in Health Affairs, Health Services Research, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Human Resources, Demography, Medical Care, and other outlets and been supported by NIH, HRSA, The William T. Grant Foundation, and other philanthropic institutions. He received a PhD (2014) in Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration from the University of Minnesota.

Color photo of Dr. Claudia GalindoClaudia Galindo

Claudia Galindo is an associate professor of education policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research, teaching, and service demonstrate a strong commitment to improving educational opportunities for racial and ethnic minority students in K-12 grades, with an emphasis on the Latinx community. Her projects highlight the cultural assets and strengths of historically underserved families and children and are grounded in eco-cultural perspectives, which emphasize the importance of structural, historical, and cultural contexts as well as the interactions among those contexts. Her research also examines key mechanisms in families and schools that may perpetuate or ameliorate inequalities.
She also conducts interdisciplinary and mixed-methods research to study the implementation of programs and strategies aimed at improving the educational experiences and outcomes of underserved students. She studies full-service community schools, a re-emerging reform that focuses on the holistic needs of students and their families, in Baltimore City. As a member of Baltimore’s Strategic Committee on Evaluation and Implementation on Full Service Schools, she collaborates with school officials and researchers on how to evaluate schools’ effectiveness. She also conducts formative evaluations of school-family partnerships and after-school and tutoring programs in elementary and high schools.

Jennifer K. RiceJennifer King Rice

Jennifer King Rice is dean of the University of Maryland College of Education and professor of education policy. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University. Prior to joining the faculty at Maryland, she was a researcher at Mathematica Policy Research in Washington, D.C. Dr. Rice’s research draws on the discipline of economics to explore education policy questions concerning the efficiency, equity, and adequacy of U.S. education systems. Her current work focuses on teachers as a critical resource in the education process. Her authored and edited books include Fiscal Policy in Urban Education; High Stakes Accountability: Implications for Resources and Capacity; and Teacher Quality: Understanding the Effectiveness of Teacher Attributes, winner of the 2005 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education book award. As a national expert in education finance and policy, Dr. Rice regularly consults with numerous policy research organizations and state and federal agencies. She was a National Academy of Education / Spencer Foundation post-doctoral fellow in 2002-03, and spent a recent sabbatical leave as a Visiting Fellow at the Urban Institute. She is a past president of the Association for Education Finance and Policy.

Steven KleesSteven Klees

Dr. Klees is a Professor of International Education Policy at the University of Maryland. He eanred his Ph.D. at Stanford University and has taught at Cornell University, Stanford University, Florida State University, and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil. He was a Fulbright Scholar on two occasions at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil. Prof. Klees' work examines the political economy of education and development with specific research interests in globalization, neoliberalism, and education; the role of aid agencies; education, human rights, and social justice; the education of disadvantaged populations; the role of class, gender, and race in reproducing and challenging educational and social inequality; and alternative approaches to education and development.

Marvin TitusMarvin Titus

Dr. Titus is an associate professor of higher education and the coordinator of the Higher Education concentration within the Higher Education Student Affairs and International Education (HESI) program at the University of Maryland. Prior to joining the University of Maryland in 2007, Dr. Titus was at North Carolina State University, where he taught and did research in the Adult and Higher Education program. Before then, he worked for the University System of Maryland Office as a policy analyst for 13 years. He also worked as an institutional research analyst, labor economist, and economics lecturer. Dr. Titus earned a bachelor of arts in economics and history from York College of the City University of New York, master of arts in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a PhD in higher education policy, planning, and administration from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Jennifer TurnerJennifer Turner

Dr. Jennifer Danridge Turner is Associate Professor in Reading Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Literacy from Michigan State University. Dr. Turner’s scholarship centers on a) culturally responsive and rigorous instruction for African American elementary readers, b) preparing socially-just and equity-minded K-5 literacy teachers, and c) college and career readiness in K-5 literacy classrooms.


Graduate Students

divided lineFrancisco LagosFrancisco Lagos

Francisco is a doctoral student in Education Policy at the University of Maryland, where he is also completing a Certificate in Population Studies through the Maryland Population Research Center. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of educational inequality, both in developed and developing countries. Francisco’s work characterizes the dynamics of educational stratification; exploits different sources of exogenous variation to identify plausible determinants of between-school segregation; and investigates the consequences associated with changes in the composition of schools on educational and social outcomes.

Marissa Sariol-CloughMarissa Sariol-Clough

Marissa is a research assistant with the Maryland Equity Project and first-year Ph.D student in the Education Policy and Leadership Program. She received her M.A. in Experimental Psychology from Appalachian State University. Her research interests broadly focus on early childhood education inequities and program interventions for low-income families. Before beginning the doctoral program Marissa taught Math, Money, and You, a class she developed to focus on personal finance for gifted middle school students, for Duke TIP at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina and Sherman College in Sherman, Texas. 


Jiehui ZhaoJiehui Zhao

Jiehui is a research assistant with the Maryland Equity Project and first-year Ph.D student in the Education Policy and Leadership Program. She received her M.A. in Educational Theory and Policy from The Pennsylvania State University in 2019. Before studying in the U.S., she obtained her M.A. in Higher Education from Fudan University, China. Her research interests include sociology of education, educational inequality, social and cultural context’s influence on family practices, schooling, and student academic achievement.