University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Office for Education Policy Names McKenzie as Executive Director

In The View from the OEP on January 7, 2015 at 10:36 am

McKenzie_2015We are pleased to announce that Dr. Sarah McKenzie has been named to a newly formed Executive Director position at OEP.  Dr. McKenzie will spearhead OEP’s support to policy makers and education leaders in encouraging evidence-based decision-making.

“The Executive Director will serve alongside me as OEP’s representative to the policy and education communities,” says Dr. Gary Ritter, who began OEP in 2003 and will continue to steer the office as faculty director.  “For eleven years, OEP has aimed to support education leaders in Arkansas.  Dr. McKenzie brings the expertise and passion to refine current programs, create new partnerships and continue to incorporate high quality data into education conversations.  We are very excited about the combination of skills that Dr. McKenzie brings: not only does she understand the top to bottom complexities of education, but she can also effectively communicate that knowledge to others.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Office for Education Policy as Executive Director,” says McKenzie. “One of the main lessons I have taken from 20 years of teaching in classrooms and working with educational leaders is that the best thing we can do for kids is use data wisely.  By ensuring that high quality data are included in decision making, students receive the best education and funding efficiency is maximized.”

“OEP is always trying to determine what really works for Arkansas students,” said Jennifer Ash, OEP’s Managing Director. “Under Dr. McKenzie’s leadership OEP will expand program evaluation support to districts and help determine how to most effectively build student learning.”

Originally from Arizona, Dr. McKenzie was most recently the Director of Assessment, Research and Accountability for Fayetteville Public Schools.  Sarah is a certified Phi Delta Kappa International Curriculum Auditor, and has presented at conferences nationally and internationally on educational statistics.  Previous experience includes the National Office for Research on Measurement and Evaluation Systems, Central’s Center for Children, and  San Ramon Valley Unified School District in California.

Sarah received her Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas in Educational Statistics and Research Methods in 2009 and was awarded a Walton Foundation Doctoral Fellowship Award.  She received her M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Mills College and her B.A. in Literature from Claremont McKenna College.

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