Skip to Content

Research Staff

Core Staff

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.
Tracy Waters
Tracy Waters is the Center for 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.


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.
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.
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).


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.




Project Team Members

Lorraine DeJong
Lorraine DeJong, Co-Investigator of the South Carolina Public School Montessori study, is associate professor of education and the coordinator of Furman’s early childhood teacher education program. Dr. DeJong received her B.A. from Cornell University and Ph.D. from Florida State University. Her research and scholarly interests include early childhood teaching models and pedagogy. She has published several book chapters and articles related to service learning, project based learning, and integrated curriculum designs. Dr.DeJong has experience developing, coordinating and reporting numerous grant projects related to early childhood education. She currently serves as president of the South Carolina Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.
Rashmi Janakiraman
Rashmi Janakiraman serves as a data collector for the South Carolina Public School Montessori study. She currently teaches in the Greenville Country School System and is a graduate student in Early Childhood Education at Furman University. She has a degree in computer science and engineering from Madras University, and completed her elementary teacher training at Furman University. Rashmi is familiar with many early childhood curriculum models including Project Approach, Montessori, Reggio Emilio, High Scope and Creative Curriculum. She is keenly aware of the diverse cultural, social, and family backgrounds that influence families from outside of US, especially Asia, and is interested in bringing sustainability initiatives into the primary and elementary classrooms.
Ginny Riga
Ginny RigaProject Consultant for the South Carolina Public School Montessori Project, has held numerous teaching and administrative positions in public education for over 30 years. The majority of her work has been in Columbia, SC, where she was principal of the first total Montessori public school in the state in the early 2000’s. She led the growth of Montessori in public schools throughout South Carolina as Coordinator of Montessori Public School Programs at the South Carolina Department of Education from 2008-2011. Dr. Riga earned a doctorate from the University of South Carolina in Educational Leadership and Policy and is Montessori  trained in primary and lower elementary levels. She also serves on the board of directors of the American Montessori Society (AMS) and is a member of the Montessori Leadership Collaborative, a national group working towards unifying the Montessori movement in America. She is a past board member of Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI) and a founding member and former officer of the South Carolina Montessori Alliance.
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.




Co-researchers on the New Tech Schools project are Drs. Eric Stocks and Mike Odell, University of Texas (Tyler)