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.