Dara Zeehandelaar Shaw is the research director for the DC Education Research Collaborative, where she oversees and manages the execution of the collaborative’s research agenda. Previously, she was the founder and executive director of the Office of Research and Strategic Data Use at the Maryland State Department of Education, where she led the department’s research and evaluation work, designed and executed the agency’s research agenda, and promoted a data-driven culture throughout the agency and the state. She also worked as the national research director at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington, DC–based education policy think tank. She started her career in education as a high school mathematics teacher for District of Columbia Public Schools.
Shaw holds a bachelor’s degree in astronomy from Cornell University and a master’s degree in astrophysics from the University of Maryland. She earned her doctoral degree in urban education policy with a concentration in quantitative methodology from the University of Southern California.
Shaw currently cochairs the policymakers and practitioners community group of the Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) and is a former AEFP board member. She also sits on the board of a DC charter school.
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