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CEPL Staff


Donald L. Gordon
Donald L. Gordon has been the Executive Director of the Riley Institute since its inception in 1999. Dr. Gordon is a Professor of Political Science at Furman where he specializes in African and Middle Eastern Politics. Under his direction the Riley Institute has grown to include the Centers for Education Policy and Leadership, Diversity Strategies, and Critical Issues all designed to address issues critical to  the future of South Carolina. On leave from Furman, he served as a Chief of Staff and Committee Counsel in the US House of Representatives. Dr. Gordon received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Florida.
Jacki Martin
Jacki Martin is Deputy Director at the Riley Institute at Furman University, where she assists the Executive Director in developing and funding the spectrum of the Institute’s programs and in supporting the staff who are managing them. Jacki also serves as the leader of the Riley Institute’s Center for Education Policy and Leadership. Her background is primarily in policy and program management around community development issues, with an emphasis on management of large-scale, multi-county, multi-sector outreach initiatives. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina.
Brooke Culclasure
Brooke Culclasure is the Center for Education Policy and Leadership’s Research Director. Currently, Dr. Culclasure oversees the Center’s Program and Evaluation Capacity Building Initiative and serves as the Principal Investigator of studies related to Montessori education, New Tech schools, and project-based learning. She also serves as a co-Investigator for the United Way of Greenville County’s OnTrack Greenville initiative. She is a lecturer in the Politics and International Affairs Department at Furman University and an editorial board member for the Journal of Montessori Research. She has had recent presentations at the International Montessori Congress, the American Education Research Association annual meeting, and the American Montessori Society national conference. Dr. Culclasure earned master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of South Carolina and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.
Delia B. Allen
Delia B. Allen serves as a Research Associate in the Center for Education Policy and Leadership. Currently, Dr. Allen is the principal investigator of the College Advising Corps project and assists with the Program and Evaluation Capacity Building Initiative. She also serves as a co-Investigator for the Brady Education Foundation’s Montessori initiative and works on business development opportunities around school safety and issues of equity. Prior to joining the Riley Institute, she was a research assistant at the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development. In addition, Dr. Allen has been a public high school mathematics teacher and an engineer in her earlier career. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Policy from the University of Georgia. She earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Clemson University and master’s degrees from Northwestern University and Converse College. She has served on the student editorial board for the Education Law and Policy Review and has had recent presentations at the Association for Education Finance and Policy annual conference, the Education Law Association annual conference, and the Black Doctoral Network annual conference.
David Fleming
David J. Fleming, is an Associate Professor in the Politics and International Affairs Department and a Senior Researcher with the Richard W. Riley Institute at Furman University. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame, and he received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009. His scholarly work has been published in the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Education and Urban Society, and the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, among other outlets. His current research projects include evaluations of Montessori schools in South Carolina and the Early Warning and Response System and associated interventions in Greenville County. He has recently presented research at the American Montessori Society annual conference and the American Educational Research Association annual meeting. At Furman University, Dr. Fleming teaches courses in American politics, public policy, and political analysis.
Sally Morris Cote
Sally Morris Cote is the Riley Institute’s Director of Planning and Evaluation Capacity Building in the Center for Education Policy and Leadership (CEPL). In this role, she oversees the Institute’s work to address the pressing need for nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and other federally and locally funded programs to have access to affordable services designed to help them build their capacity for evaluation. These services include, but are not limited to, the development of comprehensive program logic models and evidence-based theory of change narratives. In addition, Dr. Morris Cote has extensive experience designing and implementing small and large-scale survey research projects, as well as conducting qualitative research, particularly through the use of in-depth interviews and field observations; she draws on this experience to provide survey design and general research support for the Institute’s numerous programs and research studies. Graduating with a B.A. in Sociology from Furman University, Dr. Morris Cote completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also received a M.A. in Sociology and a Certificate in Survey Methodology.
Alexis Sprogis
Alexis Sprogis joined the Riley team in 2008. She is currently a Research Specialist with the Center for Education Policy and Leadership, where she is responsible for assisting with data collection, instrument and report creation, research logistics, and database compilation associated with several research projects, including the South Carolina Public School Montessori study, the Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program evaluation and the education model evaluation funded by the Education Oversight Committee. She received a B.A. from Winthrop University in 2006 and is in the process of earning her M.A. at the University of Nebraska (Kearney).
Cathy Stevens
Cathy Stevens is the Director of the White-Riley-Peterson Afterschool Policy Fellowship, focused on improving policy in support of afterschool and summer learning across the country. Cathy also directs the WhatWorksSC Clearinghouse Award program and assists with the Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative. From 2005 to 2007, she helped direct the Riley Institute's Hewlett Foundation financed research project on public education, the most comprehensive systematic study of public education ever done in South Carolina. She has a B.A. from Furman and an M.Ed from Clemson University. 
Kate Stevens
Kate Stevens serves as a Research Specialist in the Center for Education Policy and Leadership (CEPL). Currently, she assists with data collection, instrument and report creation, and research logistics for the evaluation of the United Way of Greenville County’s OnTrack Greenville Initiative. In addition, she assists with the Planning and Evaluation Capacity Building Initiative, another program in CEPL where she works with federally and locally funded organizations to develop their capacity for evaluation by creating comprehensive program logic models, evidence-based theory of change narratives, and the operationalization of program outcomes for evaluation measurement. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in Music from Furman University. Previously, she worked as both a student intern and an AmeriCorps Vista with the Riley Institute.
Troy Terry
Troy Terry, Co-Investigator of the Project Based Learning evaluation, received his Ph.D. from Clemson University. As Director of Graduate Studies in Education at Furman, he oversees all phases of the Graduate program and serves as a professor of School Leadership. His past professional experiences include teaching high school English and Drama, and serving as a middle school assistant principal and an elementary principal. Dr. Terry is a literacy and service-learning advocate and has presented at county, state and regional meetings on project-based learning, public school law, integrated literacy programs in the elementary school, creating an exemplary writing school, service learning, curriculum integration, teaming, reading and writing across the curriculum, grant writing, and humanities-based curriculum. Dr. Terry has authored or edited three publications on curriculum integration: ARISE – Integrating Service Learning into the Curriculum 9-12; ARISE: Service Learning at the Middle Level; and REACH: Integrating the Collaborative Humanities and is currently working on a text on project-based learning. His continued research interests include Public School Administration and the Law, Project-Based Learning, and Literacy.
Tracy Waters
Tracy Waters is the Center of Education Policy and Leadership's Assistant Research Director and manages the comprehensive evaluation of OnTrack Greenville, as a part of the Social Innovation Fund grant secured by the United Way of Greenville County. She received her B.A. from Central Michigan University and her Ph.D. from Clemson University and has extensive experience in diverse nonprofits and education research and evaluation. Dr. Waters previously served as Research and Grants Manager for the United Way of Greenville County and has helped plan and implement data collection for several research studies, including an NIH-funded study on rural teen dating violence and a mixed-methods examination of children's neighborhood and civic engagement.



Senior Consultant

Terry Peterson

Terry Peterson, National Board Chair, Afterschool Alliance; Senior Fellow at the Riley Institute and College of Charleston, develops strategies and partnerships for education reform and expanded learning opportunities, and partnerships across America and in such developing countries as Argentina, Brazil, and Mongolia. While holding federal and state executive education positions, Terry helped develop numerous education policies. His federal level policy work encompasses policy related to 21st Century Community Learning Centers, E-rate, GEAR-UP, and teacher and technology quality grants. At the state level it includes early childhood education, teacher recruitment, performance pay programs, innovation funds, accountability systems, and the arts in the basic curriculum. Terry serves on ten different national, state, and local education boards.