Dr. Stephanie Baird Wilkerson founded Magnolia Consulting in 2002, following a wide-ranging career in education that started over 20 years ago. Her drive to cultivate learning and positive change through education (the heart of Magnolia’s mission) began when she was a preschool teacher in a private school in Texas during the early 1990s. She experienced firsthand the critical dynamic between teacher, curriculum, and student that can create or impede learning from moment to moment. From there, she stepped outside the classroom to dedicate her career to helping students through research and program evaluation. That drive led her to the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, where she earned a Ph.D. in educational evaluation.
Since 1991, Stephanie has worked on national, state, and local ev
aluation and research studies involving schools at every level, from preschool to higher education. She has constructed quantitative and qualitative research instruments, developed logic models, and designed and managed multi-state randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental studies, and case studies across multiple sites. Working in collaboration with clients, classroom teachers, administrators, and students, she has investigated math, science, English language, and reading programs, as well as broader systemic reforms. She has particular interest in studies of organizational change, systemic reform, curriculum efficacy, and STEM programs. While serving as a principal evaluator for Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) in Colorado, Stephanie began to conduct evaluations of NASA’s mission outreach programs—work she continues to enjoy. At Magnolia Consulting, Stephanie assembled a team that shares her respect for educators and her determination to provide clients with the tools and knowledge necessary to implement and sustain educational improvements.
As part of her dedication to creating a balanced, high-quality life, Stephanie enjoys international travel, yoga, meditation, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and horseback riding. But she revels most in the simple, precious moments with her husband and two sons.
Dr. Carol Haden began her education career as a high school biology teacher on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. She went on to earn a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Northern Arizona University, where she also began her career in evaluation at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning. She has a special interest in supporting exemplary and equitable science education for traditionally underserved populations.
As an educational evaluator, Carol specializes in standards-based best practices in STEM. She has served as evaluator for STEM education projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Arizona Board of Regents, and the Arizona Department of Education, among others. Her evaluations have included studies of:
- NASA education and public outreach programs
- Curriculum materials and support programs for undergraduate engineering students
- Pre-service teacher development programs
- Science professional development for elementary and middle school teachers
- Recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in the sciences
- Global climate change education programs
- Summer research experiences for undergraduates
She also specializes in evaluation capacity building. Through this work, she helps program planners and staff to develop the skills to clearly articulate program outcomes and internally evaluate their effectiveness.
Carol has been with Magnolia Consulting since 2007. Her areas of expertise include proposal development, evaluation design and implementation, logic modeling, qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, report writing, and the presentation of findings. In her role as vice president, she supports Magnolia’s exemplary team through strategic planning and visioning, and support of employee development.
In her free time, Carol enjoys yoga and spending time with her family while rafting, climbing, and camping.
Dr. Lisa Shannon’s professional interest in education stems in part from her experience teaching an after-school creative writing program for a public school system in North Carolina. While earning her Ph.D. in psychology and program design, administration, and evaluation from North Carolina State University (NCSU), she interned with the local public school system and taught undergraduate courses at NCSU. From 2000 to 2006, Lisa was on the faculty of NCSU’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, where she studied programs serving youth and families and evaluated the North Carolina Cooperative Extension System’s efforts around systemic improvement.
In 2006, Lisa joined Magnolia Consulting, where she currently serves as director of research and evaluation. In this role, she manages and guides a large portfolio of Magnolia’s research and evaluation work, with responsibilities including strategic and fiscal planning, business development, organizational capacity building and leadership, client and customer relations, and project oversight. Lisa is skilled in conducting complex statistical analyses, including multilevel modeling, modeling for cross-classified random effects, multiple regression, and logistic regression. Her work includes regional, state, and national research and evaluation studies in the following content areas, among others:
- Reading, math, science, and preschool curricula
- Nonprofit programs serving at-risk youth, families, and communities
- Parent education and child abuse prevention programs
- College readiness and success
- Community college programs
- Informal learning
- School improvement and systemic reform interventions
- State and district education policy
In her free time, Lisa enjoys reading, taking long walks with her dog, going to the beach, and spending time with her husband and their four children.