Our Team

Karla Lewis - Co-director, Nonprofit Evaluation Support ProgramKarla Lewis
Director of Evaluation Services

Karla C. Lewis has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Policy from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was trained as a qualitative researcher (utilizing case studies, focus groups, and other ethnographic methods). She has been with SERVE Center for over eleven years and served as a Project Director with the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast (2006 – 2011). She supervised the Request Desk that responded to over 900 research requests over six years and the work of the SERVE Center State Liaisons (senior staff assigned to each southeast state) and worked collaboratively with them to understand and respond to state educational agency (SEA) needs. Currently, she is the Project Director for an Investing in Innovation (i3) validation evaluation.


Juanita Hicks - Evaluation AssistantJuanita Hicks
Evaluation Assistant

Juanita Hicks is a graduate student in the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG. She has a B.A. in Psychology from UC Riverside and a M.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine University. She has worked for a number of nonprofit organizations dealing with education in the past and hopes this experience will help her while working with NESP. She is enthusiastic to blend her background knowledge in psychology with her interests in data analysis and research methodology.


Randy Penfield_Co-Director, Non-profit Evaluation Support ProgramRandy Penfield
Director of Planning and Development

Randy Penfield, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG, and the Director of the Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services at UNCG. Dr. Penfield has widespread experience in the areas of assessment, measurement, research design, and applied statistics. A Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, Dr. Penfield is internationally recognized as a leading expert in educational measurement and assessment. He has conducted extensive research in the advancement of methods used in educational measurement, particularly those used in scaling tests (e.g., item response theory), test fairness, and methods used to identify biased test items (e.g., differential item functioning). Dr. Penfield actively serves as a statistical and measurement investigator or consultant on numerous state and federally funded grants (e.g., National Science Foundation, Institute of Education Sciences, USDOE Office of Special Education Programs), and consults on a variety of evaluation projects.


Aileen Reid, Evaluation AssistantAileen Reid
Evaluation Assistant

Aileen Reid is a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG. She holds a B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and a Master’s of Public Administration from New York University. Her background in program evaluation centered on health and social policy development, as well as community-based initiatives. Her current research interests include educational assessment, higher education administration, and program evaluation.


Beth Thrift_Training Specialist - Evaluation Capacity BuildingBeth Thrift
Lead Evaluation Trainer

As a program specialist with The SERVE Center at The University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Beth Thrift has contributed to research, development, and dissemination projects in a variety of areas, including, evidence-based decision making, professional development, literacy, and reducing the achievement gap. Additionally, Ms. Thrift has provided extensive planning and leadership in the development and implementation of both face-to-face and online professional development on a variety of topics, including evidence-based decision making, evaluation capacity building, differentiating instruction, reducing stereotype threat, and migrant education.

Ms. Thrift has experience in collecting and analyzing qualitative data to support various studies, including a two-year project designed to study the challenges and solutions of scaling up an established evaluation capacity-building effort. She has been instrumental in designing protocols, as well as, coordinating, conducting, and analyzing the resulting data for focus group and interview processes at the state, district, and school levels. Ms. Thrift has expertise in educational technology through her work with SERVE’s Southeast and Islands Regional Technology in Education Consortium in which she assisted state and district education agencies in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of their educational technology programs.


JB Weir - Evaluation AssistantJ. B. Weir
Evaluation Assistant

After earning a Master’s of Fine Arts in Poetry, J. B. taught college-level English for 15 years, during which time he developed an interest in assessment and program evaluation. He is now pursuing these interests as a Master’s student in the Department of Educational Research Methodology at UNCG.