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Cheri Fancsali

Cheri Fancsali

Executive Director

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools


Dr. Cheri Fancsali is Executive Director at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, where she provides leadership for strategic planning and organizational development. She advances the Research Alliance’s mission by building effective collaborations with the New York City Department of Education, other local stakeholders, and education researchers across the country. She has managed the development, design and execution of a variety of important studies, including our evaluation of NYC’s Computer Science for All initiative, the National Science Foundation-funded Maker Partnership project and Beyond Access and Participation in CS for All: Measuring Equitable CS Learning Environments, our study of students with disabilities in NYC schools, and our study of the ASD Nest model for Autistic students.

Dr. Fancsali has over 25 years of experience in research and evaluations of school- and community-based educational programs that target underserved youth, with a strong focus on teacher effectiveness and professional development, school reform initiatives, STEM, computer science education, afterschool programs, and socio-emotional learning. Dr. Fancsali has served as principal investigator and project director for many large-scale studies; these include national evaluations supported by the Institute for Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other funders. Prior to joining the Research Alliance, she was the Managing Director of Education Research and principal research scientist for IMPAQ International. Before that, she was Director of Research and Evaluation for AED’s Center for School and Community Services.

Much of Dr. Fancsali’s work has focused on helping practitioners and policymakers use evidence more effectively. She has played a pivotal role in developing and facilitating processes for teachers and administrators to use project implementation and outcome data to improve their programs. Dr. Fancsali has also conducted research about capacity-building initiatives, including a study of the U.S. Department of Education’s Comprehensive Technical Assistance Centers, which were designed to assist states and local education agencies in implementing school reforms and improvement efforts.

Dr. Fancsali has served on numerous advisory panels and committees, including a National Academy of Sciences’ panel that developed the report Cultivating Interest and Competencies in Computing, and the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships steering committee. She has also contributed to many publications and peer reviewed journal articles, and presents frequently on her work.

Before beginning her career in education research, Dr. Fancsali was an early childhood and special education teacher in New York City. She has also taught graduate level courses in evaluation at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Fancsali holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and Education from Columbia University, as well as an M.S. in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.S. in special education from the University of Wisconsin.

Selected Publications

Fancsali, C. (2022). CS4All: Examining Equity in Computer Science Access and Participation in NYC Schools. Research Alliance for New York City Schools.

Fancsali C, Klevan S, Mirakhur Z. (2021). Making Research Practice Partnerships Work: An Assessment of The Maker Partnership. Research in Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT) Annual Conference Proceedings. pp. 1-6, doi: 10.1109/RESPECT51740.2021.9620713.

Fancsali, C. (2021). Design2Learn: Implementation and Impact Study. Research Report. Research Alliance for NYC Schools.

Fancsali C, Mark J, DeLyser L. (2020). NYC CS4All: An Early Look at Teacher Implementation in One Districtwide Initiative. Research on Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT). 1:1-8. DOI:10.1109/RESPECT49803.2020.9272418

Fancsali, C. (2019). Special Education in New York City: Understanding the Landscape. Brief. Research Alliance for New York City Schools.

Fancsali, C., Abe, Y., Pyatigorsky, M., Ortiz, L., Chan, V., Saltares, E., ... & Jaciw, A. (2015). The Impact of the Reading Apprenticeship Improving Secondary Education (RAISE) Project on Academic Literacy in High School: A Report of a Randomized Experiment in Pennsylvania and California Schools. Research Report. Empirical Education Inc. 

Gulemetova, M., Beesley, A. D., Fancsali, C., & Balakrishnan, U. (2022). Elementary Students’ Mathematics Identity: Findings from a Longitudinal Study in an Out-of-School Setting. Journal for STEM Education Research5(2), 187-213. DOI:10.1007/s41979-022-00067-5.

Hill, K., & Fancsali, C. (2021). Bridging Professional Development to Practice: Using School Support Visits to Build Teacher Confidence in Delivering Equitable CS Instruction. In Proceedings of the 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (pp. 725-731).

Jaffe-Walter R, Fancsali C. (2020). Complicating the Conversation on Teacher Quality: A Comparative Examination of Contextual Supports for Effective Teaching. The Educational Forum. 1-20.

Mirakhur Z, Fancsali C, Hill K. (2021). The Potential of CR-SE for K-12 Computer Science Education: Perspectives from Two Leaders. VUE (Voices in Urban Education). 50(1). 

Murchison L, Brohawn K, Fancsali C, Beesley A, Stafford E. (2019). The Unique Challenges of Afterschool Research: A Practical Guide for Evaluators and Practitioners. Afterschool Matters. 29:28-35.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Cultivating Interest and Competencies in Computing: Authentic Experiences and Design Factors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 

Savitz-Romer M, Rowan-Kenyon HT, Fancsali C. (2015). Social, emotional, and affective skills for college and career success. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. 47(5):18-27. doi: 10.1080/00091383.2015.1077667.

Snipes, J., Fancsali, C., & Stoker, G. (2012). Student academic mindset interventions: A review of the current landscape. San Francisco, CA: Stupski Foundation.