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Cheri Fancsali

Deputy Director


Dr. Cheri Fancsali is Deputy 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 also manages 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, our study of students with disabilities in NYC schools, and our study of ExpandED’s Design2Learn afterschool initiative.

Dr. Fancsali has over two decades 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 are designed to assist states and local education agencies in implementing school reforms and improvement efforts.

Dr. Fancsali serves on numerous advisory panels, including the National Academy of Sciences’ study of the role of authentic STEM learning experiences in developing interest and competencies for technology and computing. 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.