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About Us

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. 

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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 Monterey Bay, El Monte Union High School District, Fontana Unified 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.

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Ginna Myers, Ph.D.

Senior Impacts 


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. 

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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. 

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Brian J. Robinson, Ph.D.

Junior Data Analytics


Jackson Torres earned his B.S. in Statistics at UCLA in 2020. He has always had a passion for education and helping others.  Jackson has worked as a statistical consultant at UCLA Psychiatric Laboratory and as an operations analyst for Kerckhoff Coffee House. Proficient in R programming, data cleaning, regression analysis, and data visualization, he brings not only his technical skills to the team, but also is passionate about using data to improve student well-being and learning outcomes. Jackson has worked in and volunteered at local underserved high schools since he was in high school himself. With his background in statistics, he is excited to utilize data analytics to make a difference in the field of education.


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.

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Christopher Carter 

Project Manager and Data Analyst

Christopher Carter is studying Business Management at California State University, Northridge and will soon earn his Bachelor's Degree. Christopher has experience in managing information and teams in an ethical manner and enjoys using data to solve problems. In his spare time, he likes to play e-sports and various forms of racing. 

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Ethan Rhoden

Research Intern

Ethan Rhoden is a senior studying Marketing and Finance at Cumberland University and will soon earn his Bachelor's Degree. Ethan has experience managing inventory for a local company and has conducted research and collected recruiting data for his university's cross country and track programs. 


Courtney Carter, M.A. 

Research Associate

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. 

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