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Aurora Institute

iNACOL Welcomes Eliot Levine as Research Director

Education Domain Blog

Authors: iNACOL Staff

Issues: Issues in Practice, Lead Change and Innovation


On Nov. 19, 2018, noted educator, researcher and author Eliot Levine became iNACOL’s Research Director. He will spearhead our knowledge management and research agenda, lead project management of CompetencyWorks, with charge over our work of studying and sharing promising practices shaping the future of K-12 personalized, competency-based education.

“I am thrilled to join iNACOL as the new Research Director,” Eliot told us as he was onboarding to his new role. “Having focused on student-centered learning for most of my career as an education researcher, public school teacher and reform advocate, it is great to join an organization that has been a pioneer and leader in this vital work for many years.”

Prior to joining iNACOL, Eliot was senior research manager at the Applied Research and Program Evaluation Group of the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, where he oversaw numerous research and evaluation projects, managing them from design through dissemination and developing products that informed research agendas, policies and program improvements. He was, for example, principal investigator for a research project examining competency education through online courses for credit recovery. He has also worked with the New England Secondary School Consortium, the Massachusetts High School Graduation Initiative and two national school reform networks.

Previously, Eliot spent a decade on the front lines of education innovation. Beginning with his postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, he researched and wrote a book, One Kid at a Time: Big Lessons from a Small School, about the Met School in Providence, Rhode Island. Subsequently he joined the school’s parent nonprofit, Big Picture Learning, to support the national scale‐up of their reform model. Next, he became a teacher with Big Picture Learning and Expeditionary Learning public high schools for seven years before returning to the research world with new insights and deep commitment.

“The breadth of expertise Eliot brings is far-reaching,” said iNACOL President and CEO Susan Patrick. “His command of research, his understanding of high-quality, innovative pedagogical approaches, and his own deep experience as an educator will help drive forward our mission of transforming education, accelerating policy and practice, to ensure high-quality learning for all.”

As research director, Eliot will be responsible for identifying trends, conducting and facilitating research that answers critical questions facing the field, and sharing promising practices and lessons learned by educators across the country. By disseminating resources that equip educators and leaders to catalyze and scale personalized, next-generation learning approaches, he will help iNACOL advance the field and support the development of educators planning, designing and leading new learning models.

Eliot will have full responsibility for CompetencyWorks, which to date has been led masterfully by co-founder Chris Sturgis, who recently announced her departure plans at the end of 2018. Among his first steps will be setting short- and long-term research goals including identifying overall trends in the field, along with research needs and opportunities. He will organize and manage our research agenda and collaborative processes with technical advisory groups, visit schools nationally to learn about innovative practices, conduct annual analyses of the state of the field and serve as a reference point for all publishing under the CompetencyWorks initiative.

Eliot holds a Ph.D. in clinical and community psychology from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and psychology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Please help us welcome Eliot to our network of friends and partners. You may reach him at [email protected].