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CEPL Staff

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.
864.294.3546
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 has an undergraduate degree in communications from the University of South Carolina.
864.294.3578
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.
864.294.3236
Delia B. Allen
Delia B. Allen is completing her dissertation as a part of her doctoral program in Educational Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia. In addition to being a fulltime doctoral candidate, she works with the Riley Institute on research related to Montessori education and is a Research Assistant at the University’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development. As a Research Assistant, Delia supports evaluation and impact activities for the Institute by assisting in the development of evaluation methods, tools, and indicators of program outcomes, analyzing evaluation data, and creating evaluation reports. She has also worked with the Riley Institute on several other research projects and has been a public school mathematics teacher and an engineer in her earlier career. Delia 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 national conference, the Education Law Association national conference, and the Black Doctoral Network national conference. She earned a bachelor degree from Clemson University (electrical engineering) and master’s degrees from Northwestern University (biomedical engineering) and Converse College (teaching secondary mathematics). 
Melanie Armstrong
Melanie Armstrong is the Director and Fundraiser for the Emerging Public Leaders program.  Melanie is a 1994 graduate of Furman with a B.A. in Psychology. She has worked for Furman’s Alumni Association from 2001 – 2013. During that time she focused on projects ranging from Homecoming to alumni events across the country. Prior to Furman, she enjoyed coordinating logistics for the Sundance Film Festival. She has a Master of Science from the University of Utah.  
864.294.3688
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.
864.294.2360
Kelly Gregory
Kelly Gregory serves as a Research Specialist in the Center for Education Policy and Leadership. Currently, she assists with data collection and compilation, instrument and report creation, and research logistics for the evaluation of the United Way of Greenville County’s OnTrack Greenville Initiative. Prior to joining the Riley Institute, Kelly taught special education for eight years at both the elementary and secondary level. From 2005 to 2013, she also assisted with several Institute initiatives, including the Emerging Public Leaders program and the Hewlett Foundation research study on public education in South Carolina. Kelly holds a B.A. in Psychology from Furman and an M.A.T. in Special Education from Converse College.
 
864.294.3806
Sally Morris
Sally Morris is a Research Associate in the Center for Education Policy and Leadership. Sally graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Furman University. She completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she already has received an M.A. in Sociology and a Certificate in Survey Methodology. As Qualtrics Technical Consultant for the H.W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, Sally worked extensively with students and faculty to design and implement small and large-scale survey research on a variety of topics. She also has significant experience in qualitative research, particularly in designing and fielding in-depth interviews in a wide range of settings. Sally’s work history includes the following projects: UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Single Fathers Due to Cancer study; the Survey of International and U.S. Nurses out of UNC’s Department of Health Care Environments; and Research Triangle International’s study on food security, with funding from a grant provided by the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA.
864.294.3300
Alexandra "Lolly" Smith
Alexandra “Lolly” Smith serves as a Research Specialist in the Center for Education Policy and Leadership. She assists with data collection for the South Carolina Project-Based Learning evaluation, as well as data collection and research logistics for the evaluation of the United Way of Greenville County OnTrack Initiative. She also helps coordinate the evaluation of the College Advising Corps’ South Carolina project, which strives to bring greater access to college for underrepresented populations. Prior to joining the Riley Institute, she taught middle and high school history for seven years. She received her undergraduate degree in Secondary Education and history from Vanderbilt University and her M.A.T. in Curriculum and Instruction from Furman University.
864.294.3804
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).
864.294.3696
Cathy Stevens
Cathy Stevens is the Program Director for the White-Riley-Peterson Afterschool Policy Fellowship, focused on improving policy in support of afterschool and summer learning across the country. She is also working on the development of a new teacher certification in project-based learning for South Carolina's teachers. Cathy assists in developing the overall strategic direction for the Center for Education Policy and Leadership. 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. 
864.294.3265
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.
864.294.2213
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.

864.294.3803 

 


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.
 

 

Student Interns

Shekinah Lightner
Shekinah Lightner is from Rock Hill, SC. She is a Politics and International Affairs and Economics double major. Shekinah is also a member of the Riley Institute Advance Team and has an interest in promoting and advancing equality and justice. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in policy research and implementation. 
Ronald "RJ" Rogers
Ronald Rogers is a current Junior majoring in Sociology and Education Studies. He was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. His areas of interest include direct service programs that allow him to serve and understand the complexities of students from disadvantaged communities seeking to pursue and education. 
Peyton Roth
Peyton Roth is a Junior at Furman University where he is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Chemistry. At Riley, Peyton will be serving as a Research Fellow for the On-Track Greenville project in coordination with the Center for Education Policy and Leadership. Peyton has also been an avid member of the Riley Institute’s Advanced Team, and he traveled to Da Nang, Vietnam with the Riley Institute last fall to serve as a U.S. Student Delegate to the APEC Voices of the Future program. In addition to his involvement in the Riley Institute, Peyton serves as the President of Furman’s AEI Executive Council, and as a Tocqueville Fellow. Additionally, Peyton works as the President of Furman Creative Collaborative—the host organization of Furman’s annual TEDxFurmanU conference. At Furman, Peyton leverages his experience in scientific, medical, and political communities to explore issues pertaining to health care policy. Peyton’s career goal is to earn an M.D. and practice medicine while also contributing to the development of modernizing health care reforms.
Kate Stevens
Kate Stevens is the AmeriCorps VISTA member working in conjunction with the Riley Institute's Center for Education Policy and Leadership and the Jefferson Awards Foundation. She graduated from Furman University after receiving a B.A. in both Sociology and Music. She worked as a Summer Fellow through the Furman Advantage, and continued to work as a Riley Institute intern for the 2017-2018 academic year. While at Furman, she completed a quantitative study examining student perspectives of sexual assault and was published in the 2015 Carolina Communications Association Annual as a Debut Scholar in Rhetorical Analysis. Kate is interested in pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector related to social service policy research, implementation, and analysis.