The DMDS Partners, Inc. team holds over two decades' of experience in evaluation and applied research activities for the K-12, higher education, and non-profit sectors. We are committed to facilitating institutional knowledge, best practices, professional development, continuous quality improvement, and data-driven decision making through our evaluation and applied research services and professional development workshops.
In September 2021, DMDS Partners, Inc. emerged from the Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative (PERC), located in the Charter College of Education at California State University Los Angeles. PERC was founded in 1995 by faculty in the CCOE, out of a desire to collaborate in research and evaluation projects in education and related service areas. PERC has grown from a small collaborative of faculty to an external, full-service evaluation and applied research firm.
Dawn Digrius Smith, Ph.D.
President/CEO and Senior Evaluation Consultant
Dawn Digrius Smith earned her award winning Ph.D. in History/History of Science from Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. She holds a M.Phil. in European Intellectual History and the History of Science, and a B.A. summa cum laude with Specialized Honors in Anthropology/Archaeology from Drew as well.
Over the last 15 years, Dr. Digrius Smith has worked in higher education as a faculty member, administrator, project manager, and consultant. Her expertise in mixed methods evaluation emerged from her extensive research project experience working with ESPOL in Ecuador, the United Nations SDGs, and her work with the Permanent Mission of El Salvador and Ambassador Carlos Garcia.
Prior to her role as CEO of DMDS Partners, Dr. Digrius Smith was Senior Project Manager for the California State University STEM Collaboratives Project, a $4.64 million initiative to increase persistence and close opportunity gaps for URMs majoring in STEM at eight (8) CSU campuses. She has also served as Executive Director for STEM Advantage, a 501c3 based in Southern California.
Partners include Stevens Institute of Technology, the California State University Office of the Chancellor, the LA Regional STEM Hub, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Monterey Bay, El Monte Union High School District, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Rest Stop Ministries, Inc.
Melissa MacDonald, Ph.D.
Senior Evaluation Consultant
Melissa MacDonald earned her Ph.D. in Education at UCLA, holds a M.A. in Education from UCLA and a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Georgetown University. As a scholar and independent contractor, she has extensive experience with research, evaluation, facilitation, strategic planning, and project management for clients including the California Department of Education, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the Orange County Department of Education, the San Diego County Office of Education, and Jamboree Housing Corporation.
Ginna Myers, Ph.D.
Ginna Guiang-Myers taught secondary school for 20 years in the Phillipines and in the United States. She holds a National Board certification in science and is currently the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Professional Development, and Student Assessment for Eureka Union School District, a K-8 district in Granite Bay, California. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Northcentral University. In addition to understanding Covid Learning Loss, Dr. Myers is also interested in the construct of Learned Helplessness in Classrooms.
Brian J. Robinson, Ph.D.
Senior Data Analytics
Brian Robinson comes to DMDS Partners from the world of higher education. Having earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies in 2018 and teaching since 2014, Dr. Robinson's work centers on the intersection of gender, race, and identity in religious texts. This work combines the best of cutting-edge methodology to identify new insights and pathways through seemingly intractable problems and giving people new ways of thinking about themselves and others.
In pivoting to data analytics, Dr. Robinson brings a robust set of analytical and technical skills together with the ability to synthesize results pointing to actionable insights for stakeholders. His passion for rigorous investigation and analysis can be seen in projects such as his use of unsupervised machine learning to better understand and predict voter behavior and identifying focal points of conversation using natural language processing.
Kelli Hanson, Ed.D.
Senior Leadership Consultant
Kelli Hanson has worked in education since 1995 in Northern California in the leadership roles of Teacher, Teacher-in Charge, Vice Principal, Principal, and for seven years as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. Kelli has supported varied types and sizes of schools that all have their own unique challenges and hence opportunities. Kelli holds Masters degrees in education for both Classroom Guidance and Educational Management with a focus around school safety. She completed her Ed.D from the University of LaVerne in Organizational Management in 2010. Kelli’s passion is in the areas of administrator coaching, school safety, increasing morale and school or organizational culture, and leadership development. One of Kelli’s favorite quotes that she believes to be true is from a student, “Learning something new is the bestest thing of all.” We are always learning.
Courtney Carter, M.A.
Courtney Carter earned her M.A. degree in English from Azusa Pacific University in 2021, her B.A. degree in English from the University of California, Irvine 2019, ands holds a Certificate in Grant Writing from San Diego State University (2019). She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society.
Sofia is a current third year graduate student at CSULA studying School-Based Family Counselling. She will receive her license in Marriage and Family Therapy, along with her LPCC license and CWA credential that will allow her to work in a school setting.
Her area of research involves looking at populations which are often overlooked, as well as trauma specifically in children of color.