Research Alliance Expands Leadership Team

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools is pleased to announce two significant new appointments: Dr. Adriana Villavicencio, one of the Research Alliance’s longest tenured staff members, has assumed the role of Deputy Director, while Dr. Cheri Fancsali has joined the team as Research Director.

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio has been at the Research Alliance for almost six years. She has conducted high-profile studies of NYC’s small high schools, as well as strategies used by middle schools to dramatically improve their performance. She leads the Research Alliance’s evaluation of the City’s Expanded Success Initiative, which aims to improve college and career readiness for Black and Latino male students. Executive Director Dr. James Kemple says, “Adriana’s role as Deputy Director will capitalize on her unique depth and breadth of institutional knowledge, as well as her outstanding communication skills and track record building effective partnerships.”

Prior to joining the Research Alliance, Dr. Villavicencio conducted research at MDRC, the RAND Corporation, and Westat. She has also served as a department chair and interim principal at a charter high school in Oakland, California. She taught high school English in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, middle school in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and worked on the development of a new school in Bangalore, India. Dr. Villavicencio holds a Ph.D. in education leadership and policy from NYU Steinhardt.

We are also pleased to announce that Dr. Cheri Fancsali is joining the Research Alliance as Research Director. For more than two decades, Dr. Fancsali has conducted research on school- and community-based education initiatives, with a focus on identifying strategies that improve outcomes for high-risk youth. Dr. Kemple says “Cheri brings extraordinary experience developing and producing high-quality research—as well as a strong track record forging strong collaborative relationships with policymakers, funders, and practitioners.”

Dr. Fancsali joins the Research Alliance from IMPAQ International, where she was the managing director of education research. Previously, she was the director of research and evaluation for AED’s Center for School and Community Services. She has served as the principal investigator on a number of large-scale, federally funded studies, with a particular focus on STEM education, social-emotional learning, and afterschool programming. She has also worked as an early childhood and special education teacher in NYC. Dr. Fancsali holds a Ph.D. in sociology and education from Columbia University.