J Jacob Kirksey

Educational Policy Evaluation and Analysis Research Lab

J. Jacob Kirksey,
Assistant Professor

Dr. Kirksey’s scholarship is broadly focused on issues at the nexus of education and other areas of public policy, including immigration policy, child and family policy, and health policy. His work stresses a holistic approach to policymaking by drawing attention to knowledge gaps in how changes made in and outside of schools interact with dynamic educational contexts. The goal of his research is to foster data-driven decision making in local, state, and federal policy to forge win-win public policies that reduce inequity in schools. He has published extensively on topics related to student absenteeism and truancy, inclusion and special education, the ripple effects of immigration enforcement, and the teacher workforce.

Download Jacob’s CV here.

Teresa Lansford,
Lab Manager and Ph.D. Candidate

Teresa Lansford is a Ph.D. student in the Educational Leadership Policy program at Texas Tech University. Her research interests lie primarily in the use of Makerspaces to enhance instruction and the impact of school libraries on learning. Teresa Lansford is a National Board Certified Teacher with an M.L.I.S. from the University of Oklahoma and was a finalist for the 2019 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. She has presented at the local, state, and national level on inquiry learning, Makerspaces, and using data to drive instruction and has written for the publications Knowledge Quest and School Library Connection.  

Download Teresa’s CV here.

Kristin Mansell, Assistant Professor of Practice

Kristin Mansell is a PhD student in Educational Leadership Policy at Texas Tech University. She holds a BA in Classical Languages with an emphasis in Ancient Latin and Greek from the University of Alabama and a M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education from the University of Alabama in Birmingham as well as National Board Certification in Early Adolescence Science. She is currently a classroom teacher in middle level science. Her research interests include grading policy reform, increasing teacher efficacy through targeted professional learning communities, special education policy, and the impact of formative assessment on science teacher pedagogical decisions.

Download Kristin’s CV here.

Levi Johnson, Director of TrUE

Levi is the Director of the TTU Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences (TrUE). He holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in mathematics and has more than 10 years of experience connecting Texas PK-12 schools with higher education through a range of STEM outreach and community-engagement initiatives. He is passionate about leveraging the power of big data to make smarter and more impactful education policy. 

Download Levi’s CV here.

Angela Crevar, Postdoctoral Scholar

Angela has over 30 years of educational experience in both the public and private sectors in and around the southeast United States. She holds a BS in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia, and a Masters in Reading from University of West Georgia. Angela is a Writing Fellow at Kennesaw State University and serves as the principal of a hybrid school while pursuing her PhD. She founded and oversees both the Career Technology and Orton-Gillingham programs at the hybrid school where she serves as principal. Angela also serves as the Family Readiness Liaison for the 4th LogCap Army Reserve Battalion, while her husband serves in the Army Reserves. Her research interests include career and technical education and community college and workforce pathways.

Download Angela’s CV here.

Jennifer Freeman, Ph.D. Candidate

Jennifer Freeman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Education Policy Division at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests lie in two areas of education policy: (1) nontraditional pathways into college and careers in STEM fields; and (2) special education policy. Jennifer’s research is motivated by her experiences as a community college transfer student in a STEM field and her experiences as an educator for students with disabilities. 

As a National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellow, Jennifer is currently examining the impact of faculty-mentored undergraduate research experiences for community college transfer students in STEM fields. 

Download Jennifer’s CV here.

Emmy Robinson, Ph.D. Student

Emmy Robison is a current Vice Principal of a large PreK-8th grade Catholic school in Dallas. She has previously worked in administration at the high school level and taught third and first grade. She is a 2013 Teach For America alum who served in New Orleans. She holds a BA in American Studies with minors in Italian and Education, Schooling, and Society from the University of Notre Dame and a MA in Educational Leadership, also from the University of Notre Dame. Emmy’s research interests include the politics of education at the local and national levels, as well as teacher morale/efficacy. These interests intersect in a passion for pursuing policy that helps all students receive an excellent education. Outside of the classroom, Emmy is kept on her toes by her two small children, Henry and Margot.

Other EPEARL Members

Braden Becknell, Ph.D. Student, Educational Leadership Policy

Shruti Nagawekar, Undergraduate Student Researcher, Department of Computer Science

Carolyn Phillips, Ph.D. Candidate, Educational Leadership Policy

Mason Reyna, Undergraduate Student Researcher, Department of Industrial, Manufacturing & Systems Engineering

Andrew Roland, Ph.D. Student, Educational Leadership Policy

Nick Varney, Ph.D. Student, Educational Leadership Policy


Jaden Hendrix
Undergraduate Student Researcher
Department of Biological Sciences

Kevin Alonso
Undergraduate Student Researcher
Department Mathematics & Statistics

Joseph Elefante
Ph.D. Student
Educational Leadership Policy

Elijah Hand
Undergraduate Student Researcher
Department Mathematics & Statistics

Andras Horvath
Undergraduate Student Researcher
Department Mathematics & Statistics

Jerod Jones
Undergraduate Student Researcher
Department Mathematics & Statistics

Spencer Knighton
Undergraduate Student Researcher
Department Mathematics & Statistics

Lena Sarr
Undergraduate Student Researcher
Department Mathematics & Statistics