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Alumni Success Stories

Carrie Giovannone, Ph.D.

CarrieWhat year did you graduate?
December 2010

Which program(s) did you complete?
Ph.D. in Evaluation and Measurement

Are you currently employed, and if so, where?
Currently, I am employed at the Arizona Department of Education as the Deputy Associate Superintendent of Research & Evaluation.

Professionally, what is your day like?
My day typically starts (7 a.m.) and ends (approximately 5 p.m.) with an hour of answering emails for a total of two hours a day. Currently, we have a staff of 11 who cover an accountability unit, a research unit, and a program evaluation unit so throughout the day I attend quite a few meetings regarding multiple projects covering all of those areas. I manage the R&E division so during the day, often times, I meet with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Huppenthal, and various ADE divisions to talk about potential projects to be scheduled into our workload.

We work on multiple projects throughout the year. The following are a few large projects that we are currently working on. School accountability is a large high profile annual project for R&E so during January through June we keep up to date on legislative bills that may have some effect on state school accountability. Federal and state deliverables (i.e., reports) generally run from June through August. These are complex calculations that include very large data sets. From September through April we message out to the schools any adjustments we need to make to the accountability model for the following years and gather feedback.

Currently, across the nation teacher and principal evaluations are being devised and implemented. This is a very challenging project since legislative policy is ahead of research in this area. We have created a teacher and principal evaluation model that we are piloting over the next year and one half. We are working closely with other states, often sharing lessons learned to help with the large learning curve in an area that does not have much research to rely on.

Our staff also works on research that range from annual reports to analyses run at various grade levels investigating nuisances we see in the state data from multiple Arizona state assessments. It is definitely exciting working for the state department and playing a role in bridging the gap between policy that is written and operationalizing education law in the schools throughout the state of Arizona. We see changes that are taking place in schools annually and we work very hard to conduct research on topics that will aid the ADE in implementing these adjustments in the most effective, efficient manner.

What were some of your biggest challenges after graduating that shaped your career?
One of the biggest challenges that I face is the fact that I do not have experience teaching in a K-12 setting. This has caused me to reach out to teachers at all levels to gather feedback and gain insight from their perspective on projects we work on that may affect their daily work. I am empathetic to those in the teaching profession as this is a very difficult time to be working in a K-12 setting. I feel this obstacle that I face drives me to reach out to teachers perhaps more than I would if I had this teaching experience. Gaining insight from an array of teachers definitely help shapes my work and is making an impression on my career choices.

What is one piece of advice you would offer to those interested in pursuing a career in Evaluation and Measurement?
The advice I would give those in Evaluation and Measurement planning to work for a state department is to take some time to teach in the field (preferably in a K-12 setting) to gain experience that you can draw on when working with teachers.

What is your favorite thing about KSU?
At Kent State I was able to obtain a quality education that has opened many professional doors for me. I'm grateful to the professors and assistant professors that played a role in shaping my education. My favorite memory about Kent State is how personable my professors were, fostering an open door policy and always encouraging exploration in areas that would expand my horizons professionally.