Cohort 3 2013-2017



Cohort 2 2012-2016

Chad Argotsinger David Chandler Soraya deBarros Eva dos Santos Melissa Hammond Oksana Jackim Elizabeth Janson  Isaya Odiembo Greg Sethares
Warley Williams III Halley Zanconato        


Cohort 1 2011-2015

Amy Darling Dominique Branco   Joseph daSilva Thad LaVallee  Gary Marden  M. Teresa Mascarenhas Jennifer Pacheco
Benjamin Parsons  Kate Warren 



 Colleen Avedikian

In 1996, I was hired to teach as a Part-time Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Crime & Justice Department at UMD. I really enjoyed the experience of being in the classroom and the interaction with students. Education is a transformative experience, not just for students, but for faculty as well! As time passed, I became more involved on campus, volunteering to work directly with students in a variety of capacities, such as in the Academic Advising Center, and the Student Conduct Board. I became part of the Faculty Federation Union Executive Board after playing a key role in the successful fight for benefits for part-time lecturers at UMD in 2005. During this time, my interests expanded to include political economy, cultural studies, labor history and education policy and social justice. In 2008, I joined PHENOM, the Public Higher Education Network of MA, a grassroots organization of all the stakeholders in the state's public colleges. Together we work create an affordable, accessible, diverse and democratic system of public higher education in MA. Presently I am the organizer for UMD's PHENOM Campus Chapter. This advocacy work involves collaboration with community groups, as well as statewide organizations and political leaders. I was also in 2008 that I became a Full-Time Lecturer at UMD.


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Jason Cervone

My main goal for entering the Educational Leadership and Policy studies program is to increase my knowledge in the political factors that determine school management and my ability to take a leadership role in transforming and redesigning education. We are at a point in today's education system where we have become saturated with ideas about improving schools and personalizing education. Many of the same ideas are being recycled over and again with an inconsistent impact. I believe this is not due to a lack of ability or knowledge on the part of administrators, most educators know what good practice and proper instruction is. The issues instead lie on external factors such as political, economic, and cultural forces on the district. As someone who has worked for several years in research and evaluation, I feel I have a strong understanding of the statistical side of education, that is, data collection and analysis. However, that information is not helpful if I do not know the proper way to use it. Therefore, this program in Leadership and policy would help me to understand the dynamics of education and to use my current knowledge and ability in a more direct and meaningful way.

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Teresa Cruz

I am seeking application to the Educational leadership and Policy Studies PhD program in order to enrich, strengthen and broaden the skills and practices that I bring to the role of educational leader. I believe that my resume and recommendations provide evidence of the growth and attainment of leadership and administrative skills, an understanding of community relationships, a commitment to equity and student achievement and the ability to manage numerous professional responsibilities. As Principal of Abington High School, I have learned the value of collaboration between administrators, teachers and support staff in the development of a shared vision and the improvement of instruction and student achievement. I have been actively engaged in numerous initiatives to improve student performance and achievement across the curriculum. Under my leadership, professional development has focused on teaching and learning, reflects current research and best practices and uses assessment data to inform instruction. Significant restructuring of our Special Education service delivery model and student support team protocols, have provided a stronger and more effective program for our struggling students. The creation of leadership teams, faculty work groups, and the effective paradigm utilized throughout the NEASC self-study, curriculum review, and labor negotiations are all examples of models in my everyday practice that have supported a professional learning community in which teachers and administrators meet regularly to assess the impact of instructional practice on student learning.

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Gregory DeMelo

For over 25 years I have been involved in the travel and tourism industry.  As a managing partner of a leading SE Massachusetts travel company, I have had the good fortune of exploring many interesting destinations throughout the world.  Meeting people and exploring their culture has always been most rewarding for me and has produced everlasting memories. In my role today as the Institutional Travel Coordinator at Bridgewater State University I have come to realize that my knowledge and skills gained from many years of personal and work experience, including that of my current career, are transforming the world, one student at a time.  My goal is to continue to grow as an individual and to have an impact on each student to help them meet their goals and achieve their dreams.  I therefore believe that the successful completion of a doctoral program in Educational Leadership/Policy Studies will be a way to organize that experience and knowledge and better convey it to the students of the public higher education system of Massachusetts.

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 Amanda Donovan

A fascination with the leadership that shapes higher education and more importantly how higher education operates collectively within the frameworks of Public Policy is what led me to apply to the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program at your institution. Without leadership or policy, education would not be effective nor would it even be in existence. A concrete structured system is what allows institutions such as education to operate efficiently and effectively. I hold a BA in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a Master of Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a few of the assets I believe I will bring to the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

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 Margaret Drisko-Johnson

With more than 20 years of experience in education, non-profit management  and fund raising, Peg has worked with a dozen Boston-based organizations  including; The Greater Boston Food Bank, Girls’ LEAP, CASPAR, The Home for  Little Wanderers, Hearts & Noses Hospital Clown Troupe, Pine Street Inn, Victory Programs, Historic Boston, Rediscovery, Inc., Justice Resource  Institute and Community Resources for Justice.   Prior to starting her own consulting practice, Peg spent 12 years at Pine Street Inn, New England’s best known resource for homeless men and women.  At Pine Street, Peg served in several capacities including Director of Volunteer Services and Director of Faith Outreach.  In the field of Education, Peg has taught graduate courses at Framingham   State University, served as the Director of Housing, Judicial Affairs and the Conference Center at Curry College, as an Area Director in the Department Student Life at University of Southern Maine, and as a high school classroom teacher.   Peg holds a Master of Education degree in Policy, Research, and Administration from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Westfield State University.

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 April Lavoie

I earned my Master of Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in January 2011. Prior to earning my MPP, I graduated from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in May of 2007 with my Bachelor's Degree in Dental Hygiene Science. Following graduation from MCPHS, I was awarded the Online Bachelor of Science Degree Completion Award for Professional Achievement. I felt an enormous amount of personal achievement upon reaching those goals. Earning my MPP allowed me to teach beyond dental hygiene clinical skills at Bristol Community College, enabling me to create three medical language courses. Teaching these courses has given me great satisfaction. I truly enjoy being in the classroom with students, helping them learn medical language, human anatomy and physiology, and human pathology. Currently, I am an adjunct faculty member. I have been teaching part time for almost five years at the college. My future goal would be to teach full time and become more active in the college community. I have realized that earning a Ph.D. would be beneficial in order to achieve my future goals. I recently heard about the Doctorate program in Educational Leadership from a student currently earning her MPP at the University. Once learning this information I immediately researched the program online and scheduled a meeting with Dr. Paraskeva. Following the meeting, my curiosity was ignited and my determination to apply for the program became reality. I realized my need to immediately apply for the program. I do not feel as though my intellectual desires have been truly fulfilled. Being out of the classroom, as a graduate student since January 2011, has made me realize how much I wish to become a student again. Dr. Paraskeva mentioned the possibility of studying the link between Portuguese-Americans and education. Being Azorean Portuguese, I find that extremely interesting. I am the first person in my family to have earned an undergraduate degree. I am the only person in my family with a graduate degree. I truly feel that this program would be of great interest to me.

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 Alexandra Moniz

I wished to enter the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Doctoral Program so that I could affect change through policy. I knew that this particular program would help to promote change and this was a large factor in my decision to embark on a doctorate within the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. My research focus is to understand the gender inequity within public higher education institutions and help to understand the main force of equalization within the various campus Women's Centers. These centers are often misunderstood and have been under recent political scrutiny and institutional attack with defunding. The research aims to propose a women's center at the Bristol Community College which currently does not offer this space even with over 60% female enrollment. This is an important space for voices to be heard, ideas to be exchanged, and change to be made. This is of even greater importance for institutions with high enrollment of low income students and this research aims to find the relationship between class and educational struggle for females within higher educational institutions and how women's centers can help bridge the socioeconomic gap for educational attainment.

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 Henry Oppong

I have always felt a strong sense of responsibility and dedication to serving society’s most vulnerable people especially its children. President Nelson Mandela once quoted, “there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” My ideas and vision as a leader are consistent with President Mandela’s view of a just and equal society. My life long work has been to foster differences towards creating an equal society for the people for whom I advocate and for all. I see furthering my education as a way to enhance my knowledge towards gaining the information necessary to continue my work for the communities I serve. I hope my decision to pursue a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies also enriches my understanding of the systems and policies that often shape the lives of those in need of support and advocacy.

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 Pedro Reis

I am an educator who strives to be persistent, perseverant, and patient. My priority is to practice equality and expand democracy frontiers. In doing so, I acknowledge individual identities and pass that civil duty onto my students. I encourage social justice and denounce political educational policies that impair students' emotional growth.

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  Michael Savaria

Throughout my college career, I have been trained and immersed in biology and research. I now stand at a crossroads of where I am to take my life, either by continuing on with my education, or by entering the work force, each containing another set of endless options. The decision becomes clear through the fact that biology and research are not just subjects I learned, but have become a part of who I am. Through attaining a Master's degree at UMass Dartmouth, I have finely tuned my focus onto something greater, something that inspires me to integrate my experiences in my own education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. I entered UMass Dartmouth with the initial thought of becoming a professor, and I chose a field that I loved, biology. I continued on with the major, and during my senior year I was presented with the opportunity to undertake in a research project under Dr. Kenneth Oliveira. This project entailed both field and lab components, collecting migrating American eels and performing artificial maturation techniques on them, which is a vital step in studying a fish that is under review for becoming an endangered species. This project provided me with an in depth glimpse of research methodology, from data collection and statistical analysis, to presenting the data in two posters at a national conference, the American Society of Ichthyologists (2010). After attaining this basic research foundation, I was ready and yearning to continue on into graduate school.

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 Tobias Stapleton

I am the Assistant Dean, Graduate Programs, at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Charlton College of Business.  Prior to assuming this position, I held senior-level positions with TXX Strategies Group, the US Cranberry Marketing Committee and the International Trade Assistance Center, Inc.  I have over 19 years of international business experience, 12 of them in a management or supervisory role, and have worked in over 20 countries.  During my career, I have provided international business assistance and guidance to hundreds of small-to-medium sized companies.  In addition to being a frequent speaker on the topic of international trade, I have authored and co-authored a number of articles on the subject.  I have been quoted in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Providence Journal and other national and regional publications.  I currently serve on the board of directors of a number of non-profit and community based organizations.  I hold a Bachelor’s degree from Bryant University and MBA from Suffolk University and have been a part-time lecturer at the University, teaching classes in supply chain management, marketing and international business, since 1996.

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 Brandon Strickland

I chose this program because it will best suit my future career goals as an administrator in urban public schools. The university's proximity to and collaboration with, my current employer, the Fall River School District, make this program the best choice for my education. I recently finished my Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in middle school mathematics at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. I will begin my third year of teaching at the Stone Therapeutic Day Middle School, a public alternative school for students with behavioral and social-emotional needs. Working with these students has helped me realize that a child's education is impacted by a number of factors both inside and outside of the classroom. An urban educator must not only deliver the curriculum, but he or she must also be attuned to the socioeconomic issues and family stressors also impacting the student's education. I plan to focus my research on urban schools' efforts to strengthen family engagement and wraparound services in education as well as increasing educators' investment into the local community.

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 Robert Thibault

This program of study will best suit my goals of becoming an administrator in the Fall River Public Schools. The university's proximity to and collaboration with, my current employer, the Fall River School District, make this program the best choice for my education. In 1999, I started my career at St. Vincent's Home (residential program) for Children with a range of four to twenty one year old clients. This experience of working with students and families has been invaluable as I continue my Educational career. Starting with a job on third shift as a residential counselor, I was quickly promoted to first shift as a substitute teacher. From that point onward, all of my job titles have involved working in a classroom. I have worked as a high school teacher, while functioning as a part of the management team; as well as a teacher in the community based acute treatment program. I currently am employed by the Fall River Public School system, and I have been employed by Fall River since 2010. I currently teach science at the Stone Therapeutic Day Middle School, a public alternative school for students with behavioral and social-emotional needs. As an educator, I must not only deliver the curriculum, but also be accustomed to the socioeconomic issues of family stressors that can impact a student's education. If I am chosen as a doctoral student in this program, I plan to focus my research on underperforming schools with efforts to strengthen family engagement in education as well as increasing educators' investment into the community.

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C. Chad Argotsinger

I currently serve as Director of Alumni Relations at UMass Dartmouth where I celebrate and engage alumni and friends with the University and each other through lifelong connections.  I was drawn to the Educational Leadership and Public Policy doctoral program for its blend of theory and practice, the combination of higher education and public policy, and the strong connection to the local educational community.  In terms of research interests, I am particularly drawn to the distinctions and similarities between public and private institutions of higher education and college retention/transition including the inequalities of persistence by various minority populations.

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David Chandler

 My name is David Chandler.  I received my Masters of Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2009, and I am a graduate of the Leadership South Coast Program in 2008.  I have been employed with the Department of Youth Services since 1998, and have been actively involved in initiatives to improve positive outcomes for  court involved youth and other vulnerable populations.  My research interests involve social justice in the juvenile justice system including; Positive Youth Development, Disproportionate Minority Confinement, Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, Workforce Issues for juvenile corrections employees, and use of Social Impact Bonds.

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Eva C. dos Santos

I am currently the founder and President of Hemingway English Institute in Fall River.  At the institute, we teach English as a Second Language, Portuguese, Mandarin-Chinese, and Spanish. I first taught English at local community colleges and then worked as an ESL coordinator for Catholic Social Services, designing and coordinating a number of programs for the local immigrant community.   My research will focus on psychosocial issues that are associated with achievement disparities among second language learners. 

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Melissa Hammond

Both my BS and MS degrees are in the field of biology.  I have been working as the laboratory coordinator for the sciences at a local community college for the past six years.  Working at a community college and being involved with various college committees has exposed me to the many problems facing students, instructors, staff and administrators.  After listening and taking part in many conversations outlining the issues, I realized that I wanted a more active role in education.  This led me to the graduate program in educational leadership and public policy at UMASS Dartmouth.  This program allows me to earn a PhD while working full time and involves face-to-face interactions with faculty and students in my cohort.  My research interests are continually changing but I believe that this program will help me become a transformative leader so that I can do more than discuss the current issues in education, I can be part of the solutions.

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Elizabeth Janson

 Since I was a child, I have had the opportunity to simultaneously view the educational system from the eyes of a student and also through the voices of the many teachers within my family. I attempted to break from the family tradition of teaching and explored psychology and criminal justice as an undergraduate. However, the stories of the youth that I worked with pulled me back to teaching as I realized the need to help them within high school, not just afterwards. As a teacher, I continue to reflect on this system of which I am now a part, as well as the hegemonic power relations authenticated through the accepted curriculum and pedagogy. Education is changing, drifting even further from a democratic vision of participation and critique and towards a culture of standardization, which disempowers youth from surpassing expectations and creating a society linked with humanity. Through this program, I hope to analyze how schools play a role in the development of identities, discourses, and hegemony within a globalizing and technologically advancing society.

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Isaya Odiembo

I am currently serving as an Assistant Manager at Justice Resource Institute. Worked at Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (Canton) for 8 years in various capacities - residential coordinator, teacher assistant, Monitor, Quality assurance among others. An Alumnus of Salve Regina University (Newport) and University of Nairobi (Kenya). Learnt about Educational Leadership program when I was at cross roads - and managed to turn to SEPPCE - UMass Dartmouth, where I saw my dream. I embrace social justice and the fight for equality and equal opportunities. My research interest is in education systems in developing countries with special interest in Kenyan education system.

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Greg Sethares

I have been a math teacher since graduating with my bachelor’s degree 27 years ago, both in high school and at a community college.  Over the years I have found myself involved in a variety of organizations and activities, union, faculty senate, creating and directing academic programs and departments, and advocating for student opportunities and faculty rights.  These experiences have frequently caused me to look at my schools and their policies with a critical eye.  So when I first read about this program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, it almost seemed as if the program had been created for me.  It would allow me to engage in study of issues related to education, leadership, and policy, which would hopefully help make me better able to transform the lives of students in my classes, colleagues at my institution, and even the institution itself.  In the future, whether as a faculty leader or as an administrator, I believe the contemplation associated with this program will help me become a better educator and leader.

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Carmelia P Silva

 I am currently a Spanish language and culture teacher.  As a secondary public school educator for the past twelve years, I have seen many policies trickle-down from the top that seem to have little to do with the growth and development of every child.  My own personal experience as a second-generation Azorean immigrant student, attending one of the largest school districts in Rhode Island, I feel that there was a lack of connection and understanding to appropriately serve the diverse student’s individual needs.  My personal experiences have made me sensitive to the complex effects of assimilation into mainstreamed American culture, as well as, the detriment associated with the loss of the minority culture.  In this program, I would like to further investigate the effects of hegemonic cultural views and the deficient integration of culture in the formation of the adolescent’s development and academic attainment.

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 Joel Singer

I graduated from Roger Williams University with a double major in History and Secondary Education. I taught history at Durfee High School and Sandwich High School. I completed my MAT at UMass Dartmouth and am currently a second year doctoral student at UMass Dartmouth in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. My research interests span an array of topics; however, two key concepts I have recently pursued are academic imperialism and democracy's place in discipline. I am currently employed by Wareham Public Schools and within the school community I am an in-school suspension supervisor at the middle school; a high school history teacher for the town's night school program and a member of the district's CARE program.

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Lisa Whelan

My name is Lisa Whelan and I am a student in Cohort II of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program at UMass Dartmouth.  I have been involved in education and working with children for the past 21 years.  This has included preschool, teaching Grade 3, as well as Principal and Curriculum Coordinator.  I plan to continue my research in Educational Leadership around student attendance and learning, and how socioeconomic factors play a part in this.  As we know, when students are not in school, they are not learning.  It is my goal to determine significant factors that play a role in this critical issue, and how school leadership can be a primary role model in improving attendance in school.

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Warley J. Williams, III

I was born and raised in New Bedford and I am passionate about increasing the strength of my community through educating its youth. Before becoming the principal of New Bedford’s Alternative school, Whaling City Jr/Sr High School, I taught social studies for over three years, and as a lifelong resident of an urban city that deals with high levels of poverty, pollution, homelessness and substance abuse; in the classroom, as well as in the community, I became a delegate for social justice and interwove my philosophy into everyday lessons in order to educate students in thinking critically about conditions surrounding them. I have entered the Educational Leadership Program for the specific reason of equipping myself with the tools necessary for being a transformative leader on New Bedford’s school committee, while serving New Bedford’s students as principal, with the intention of leading by example with cogent, modern, and tried methods through “critical” lenses. Ultimately, I would like to focus my research on compiling engaging, yet rigorous instructional planning and pedagogy that caters to urban teens that have been historically marginalized.

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Halley Zanconato

 I have always loved to read and write. I earned my bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing from Mount Holyoke College, and I taught 10th and 11th grade English for a couple of years in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. During that time, I pursued my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) with a specialization in Digital Libraries through Rutgers University. I became a Library Media Specialist at Egremont Elementary School, the largest elementary school in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, while also working for the Reference Department of the Berkshire Athenaeum. My husband and I have recently relocated to the South Coast, and I am excited to begin my new position as Library Media Specialist at Dartmouth High School. I am honored to be a part of the second cohort in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program at UMass Dartmouth. When I originally discovered the program, I knew that it would be an ideal fit with immense possibilities for broadening my knowledge and experiences in this important and ever-changing field. I am specifically looking to consider the interplay between libraries and the larger landscape of education in terms of impact, effectiveness, and growth.

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Dominique Branco

Having worked in the public sectors of health care, justice system, and education; the issues in which society are faced with such as social, racial, and ethical disparities drove me to inquire and take on this journey towards critical transformative leadership. I am interested in researching the “zero tolerance” policy and the school-to-prison pipeline. Today’s education system is in crisis; as a new wave of administrators enter the field of education, the focus of human growth and need for social justices are essential.  

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Amy Darling

As an elementary school teacher I am interested in the educational policies and curricula that impact young students.  My research interests include how we are preparing our teachers for their leadership role as they enter a classroom as well as the importance of humanities and character development in education. The courses I have taken so far have allowed me to learn more about the world that surrounds me, the impact it has on the educational system, and how I can affect change. Throughout this program I am developing skills critical to being a transformative leader.

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Joseph daSilva 

I am an award-winning registered school architect and a public servant for the Rhode Island Department of Education. I am responsible for the construction oversight of the State’s public school facilities. Under my  leadership, the Department’s School Construction Program has been transformed into a nationally recognized “green schools” exemplar. I received my Associate’s degree from Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA, and my Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Following my Master’s degree in environmental science with a sustainability focus from the University of Rhode Island; I received an adjunct appointment at Bristol Community College in the Mathematics, Science and Engineering Division. My doctoral work explores hegemonic elements of school architecture and planning to promote student learning and improve educational attainment.

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Thad LaVallee

The SEPPCE Educational Leadership and Policy doctoral program is the ideal venue to become critically engaged with current "reform" movements effecting everybody who has a stake in education. As an ardent defender of public institutions and democratic spaces, the program is equipping me with the analytic tools and complexificity to become a leader in the move to progressively transform and shape education policy on the local, state, and federal levels to help create learning environments that are more just, equitable, and authentic. Within the program, my lens is focused on "commonsense" - exploring such oft neglected questions as what is commonsense, why did it become commonsense, and how is commonsense maintained or altered at various cultural levels. Inquiry into commonsense is at the heart of understanding why things are the way they are in society and why the things we take for granted go critically unchallenged, namely, in reference to education, why data-driven accountability is now the commonsensical means by which to assess students, teachers, and school districts. My aim is to dissect commonsense so as to grasp how it effects the public's view of policy and then use that knowledge to help progressive initiatives become desired by the public and thus become politically mandated.

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Gary Marden

I am the Civic Engagement Grant Coordinator for the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. I manage numerous grants, including federal, state and foundation grants. My research interests include cultural capital theory, critical social theory and power theory, organizational behavior, and LGBT issues.

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M. Teresa Mascarenhas

My interest and involvement in education date back to 1980 when I started teaching a combined second and third grade bilingual class in South Boston. The experience of helping disadvantaged students led me to pursue a Master’s of Education in School Counseling and Consulting, at UMASS Amherst, where I also worked as a Bilingual Academic Advisor, from 1982 to 1986.  Due to an educational project established between the UMASS Amherst Institute of Governmental Services and General Motors, I became Educational Services Coordinator at the GM plant in Framingham, MA. I was responsible for the development and implementation of college classes for plant workers seeking an Associate’s degree as a way of helping them with their outplacement given the fact that the plant was slated to close in 1989. From there I moved to Portugal where I continued I continued my professional work in education but with more fortunate and elitist students by working at the American School in Lisbon from 1989 to 1992, as an Equivalency Advisor, and then at a private international university, first as an Academic Administrator and then as Assistant Dean. After returning from Portugal in 1999, I have been a guidance counselor at Brockton High School, a diverse, comprehensive high school of approximately 4,300 students and am very happy to be helping students in need.  In 2011 I embarked on a lifelong goal of pursuing a doctorate. My entry into the UMASS Dartmouth Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program will further enhance my commitment and dedication to public school education simultaneously leading me to continuously refine my skills, philosophy, and outlook as a critical transformative leader.  My interests lie in the areas of assisting disenfranchised students become motivated to pursue higher education and their specific goals, as well as utilizing community programs and agencies to create a triage between school, family, and community to help students overcome the barriers they face and become more resilient in school.  This can only be done with alterations to current educational policies and buy in from pertinent entities.

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Jennifer Pacheco

I am enrolled in the Education Leadership & Policy Studies Doctoral Program because I am passionate about protecting and critically transforming public education, removing the social injustices and making it a more equitable and attainable public good for all. I believe that public education is the core of a democracy and with a distinctive doctoral program as this we can begin the plight to change public education in this region and beyond. My research interests are focused on public higher education in the areas of ethnic studies in curriculum, class issues, and critical race theory. 

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Benjamin Parsons

I currently teach French and serve as Dean of Students at Falmouth Academy, a 7-12 grade independent school in Falmouth, MA.   I was drawn to the program for its interdisciplinary curriculum, its commitment to social justice, and its outstanding faculty.  In addition, I was interested in the bridge the program could create for me between private and public education.  I could never have imagined how rich in interests and backgrounds our pioneering cohort would be, and how supportive they would be to an aspiring school leader like myself.  My research interests include the small-schools movement and its impact on ideological transformation, democratic schools and school culture, and alternative forms of assessment. 

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Kate Warren

I first entered UMass Dartmouth’s Education Leadership and Policy Studies Program as a Massachusetts licensed administrator and teacher. While I had studied state and federal law, finance, personnel, and other administrative related topics, I was not quite ready to enter an administrative role.  Though my prior education had prepared me for a career advance, my soul still struggled with several concepts.  In fact, it was those notions that led me to the Education Leadership and Policy Studies Program.  With the guidance UMass Dartmouth’s doctoral program provided, I started to address several contentious subjects.  It became personal habit to complexify and research standardization, deprofessionalization of teachers, adolescent identity, integrated academics, and best practices in vocational education. Via online discussion, face-to-face interaction, in-depth text analysis, and written discourse, I navigated a path through many education-related positions, and, despite the conceptual strife doctoral all students face, narrowed my own thesis interests to include topics relating to the Common Core State Standards. With the help of my professors and colleagues, I hope to investigate this continuation of standardization and add merit to the field by proving the Common Core to be nothing more repetitive policy practice. 

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