Center on Research & Evaluation

Our Team

Dr. Akihito Kamata – Executive Director

Dr. Kamata is the Executive Director at the Center on Research and Evaluation. He has also been a Professor at Southern Methodist University since August 2013. Dr. Kamata has done pioneering work on multilevel item response theory modeling, where item response data from individuals are nested within group units, such as schools.

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Dr. Annie Wright – Director of Evaluations

Annie is a Clinical Community psychologist and a program evaluator. Her content expertise covers community-based initiatives, out of school time settings, social and emotional learning, and systems for supporting large-scale social change interventions.

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Hiba Rahim – Assistant Director

Hiba has many years of experience working in the education sector, both internationally and domestically. Her other research interests include international education, pre and in-service teacher professional development, early literacy, and community involvement.

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Kathryn Canterbury – Assistant Dean for Grants and Research

Kathryn worked at SMU for 8 years before moving into the role of Assistant Dean for Grants and Research in 2011. She works with Principal Investigators in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education to manage pre and post-award activities while working closely with the Grant Accounting Office to ensure accurate fiscal accountability for the grants.

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Sitara Joseph – Evaluation Coordinator

Before joining CORE, Sitara worked for the Texas Obesity Research Center through a Centers for Disease Control funded grant dealing with childhood obesity research. Sitara currently performs data collection, management and analysis of different data including survey items, student-level data, observations, and interviews.

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Dr. Yetunde Zannou – Evaluation Project Manager

Yetunde conducts evaluations for education programs that promote equitable opportunities for underserved students. Before joining CORE, she was a postdoctoral fellow in math education and K-20 educator. Her interests include educational context and delivery systems’ impact on program success and technical assistance.

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Dr. Karen Bembry - Evaluation Project Manager

Prior to joining CORE, Karen spent 28 years in public education, with over 20 years in educational research and program evaluation. In her current role, Karen conducts program evaluations, creates qualitative instruments to collect data, and creates comprehensive reports to help clients evaluate the success of their programs.

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Dylan Farmer – Project Coordinator

Since earning a M.Ed. from SMU, Dylan has developed a strong interest in leveraging information collection and management processes for informed decision-making and helping students in underserved communities gain access to quality education and program services.

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Elisa Gallegos – Program Coordinator

Elisa has over 10 years of experience managing research projects, coordinating project activities, and creating and managing databases. Her interests include studying child development and learning through a neuropsychological lens and examining the systems involving children (e.g., schools, CPS).

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Pamela J. Bailey – Administrative Assistant

Pamela is responsible for CORE’s administrative and marketing functions. She has spent many years in the business sector as an executive-level corporate recruiter. Pamela is an experienced adjunct professor, teaching English and World Literature. She is a published author.

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Evelyn Day – Librarian

Evelyn Day is a research librarian at Fondren Library Center, Southern Methodist University’s main library. Day is a member of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Common Reading Committee. She is one of the organizers for SMU’s Living Library.

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Dr. Scott Baker

Dr. Baker joined SMU’s Center on Research and Evaluation in 2013. He has been a Principal Investigator on 30 federally funded grants totaling over 57 million dollars. Dr. Baker is interested in the impact of interventions on child outcomes, mechanisms that underlie effective interventions, and how intervention impact varies by factors intrinsic and extrinsic to the child.

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