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Denise Airola

Denise Airola

Director

Office of Innovation for Education

College of Education and Health Professions

(RSSV)-Research & Service Units

Phone: 479-575-6414

Fax: (479) 575-7791

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Denise Airola is the Director of the Office of Innovation for Education (OIE) at the University of Arkansas. The OIE is a research and service office with a focus on enabling and accelerating innovative education policy and practices to address barriers to educational progress, build capacity for improving instruction and leadership practices, and inform policy at the school, district and state levels.

Dr. Airola accepted the directorship at OIE after serving two years at the Arkansas Leadership Academy (Academy) as the Academy’s research specialist. She led the research agenda for the Academy, designed the program evaluation for the Academy’s School Support Program, and reported to the Arkansas General Assembly on the Academy’s research and evaluation projects. Prior to joining the Academy, Dr. Airola was the Assistant Director for the National Office for Research on Measurement and Evaluation Systems (NORMES). In her seven year tenure at NORMES, Dr. Airola served as liaison to the Arkansas Department of Education for NORMES’ research and evaluation projects, as well as directing professional development in data analysis and data use for Arkansas educators. She has consulted with several state education agencies on the use of educational data to drive instructional change and systems change, and collaborated with the Oregon Department of Education to develop an instrument to assess teachers’ and leaders’ self-efficacy for using educational data to inform decisions. 

Before completing her Ph.D. in educational statistics and research methods, Dr. Airola worked for 18 years in the K-12 public education system and maintains an active Arkansas teaching license. Her K-12 experience includes classroom teaching at the elementary, middle and secondary levels, designing and conducting professional development, curriculum, instruction and assessment alignment, as well as implementing and evaluating K-12 reform efforts. Her research interests include investigating the links between professional development, educator change and student achievement impact.

  • Ph.D. Education Statistics and Research Methods

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

May 2011

  • M.S. Education Research and Policy Studies, Education Statistics emphasis

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

May 2007

  • Post Baccalaureate Graduate Education Program Science Education emphasis

University of California, Irvine, CA

Multiple Subject Clear Teaching Credential Pre-K-12

May 1985

  • B.S. Environmental Biology, cum laude

Syracuse University/State University of New York, College of Environmental Science & Forestry

            December 1982

(For full listing see attached CV above)

Peer Reviewed/Invited Publications

  • Airola, D. T., Bengtson, E., Davis, D., & Peer, D. (2014). Principals’ Sense of Efficacy: Influence of the Arkansas Leadership Academy. Journal of Educational Administration, 52(6).

  • Dunn, K. E., Airola, D. T., & Garrison, M. (2013). Concerns, knowledge, and efficacy: An application of the teacher change model to data driven decision-making professional development. Creative Education, 10, 673-682.

Technical Reports

  • Airola, D. T., Dean, J. R., Dunn, K. E., & Micheletto, J. (2014). Building a Blueprint for Innovative Change. Final Report for Grant # 9-1323 submitted to the Arkansas Department of Education and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Little Rock, AR.

  • Next Level Evaluation, Inc. (2011, July). Oregon DATA Project Final Evaluation Report. Submitted to the Oregon Department of Education, Salem, OR.

Peer Reviewed Presentations/Papers

  • Airola, D. T., & Medeiros, J. (2013). The Arkansas Leadership Academy External Support Model. In I. H. Yoon (chair), Models of External Support for School Improvement to Ignite Transformation and Build Capacity for Equity. Symposium conducted at the Annual Convention of the University Council for Educational Administration, Indianapolis, IN.

  • Airola, D.T., Bengtson, E., & Davis, D. (2012, November). Principals’ Sense of Efficacy: The Influence of the Arkansas Leadership Academy. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the University Council for Educational Administration, Pittsburgh, PA. 


Office of Innovation for Education January 2013 – Present

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Director

  • Create and direct the Office of Innovation for Education within the College of Education and Health Professions.
  • Research educational innovations to include promising strategies, interventions and programs with high likelihood to improve outcomes for students.
  • Provide research support function to P-20 education system in Arkansas to inform leaders and teachers for statewide capacity building.
  • Consult with state education leaders to provide empirical evidence for policy questions and decisions.
  • Identify and support innovative approaches in educational problem solving and change management.

Arkansas Leadership Academy November 2010 – December 2012

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Research Specialist

  • Conduct research and program evaluation to inform best practices in leadership and instruction for statewide professional development and school improvement practices. Develop cognitive and attitude measures for teachers, leaders and students as needed to inform evaluation.
  • Support capacity-building efforts in struggling schools through consultation on assessment and data use practices.
  • Liaison with state, district, and school officials on adequate yearly progress methods and determinations, federal programs, education data, assessment, professional development, evaluation and accountability needs and services.
  • Proficient in SAS Programming for data analytics and quantitative analyses.

Part-time Consulting Experience, Responsive Education Services, Inc. & Next Level Evaluation, Inc.

Fayetteville, AR January 2007 – Present

  • Consult as member of Arkansas Technical Advisory Committee for Education Accountability.
  • Conduct program evaluation and develop cognitive and attitude measures for teachers and leaders as needed for evaluation. Proficient in SAS Programming for data analytics and quantitative analyses.
  • Design and implement statewide professional development for teachers and administrators in assessment literacy.
  • Provide professional consulting for state departments of education and local education agencies for data-driven decision making initiatives, data analytics and decision support system development.
  • Provide professional development and consulting in the development, selection and use of formative and summative assessments.
  • Current projects include the Oregon Direct Access to Achievement (DATA) Project for the Oregon Department of Education. Previous projects completed for Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

National Office for Research on Measurement & Evaluation Systems

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR August 2003-November 2010

Assistant Director

  • Liaison with state, district, and school officials on federal programs, education data, assessment, professional development, evaluation and accountability needs and services. Current collaborations include Arkansas and Michigan.
  • Design and implement statewide professional development programs to include curriculum and materials.
  • Design and implement interactive online educational assessment course for K-12 educators.
  • Principal investigator for evaluation of Arkansas Reading First.
  • Direct and manage longitudinal assessment database and reporting systems development.
  • Proficient in SAS Programming for data analytics and quantitative analyses.
  • Develop web-based multi-media support materials for education administrators and teachers
  • Co-author research and development grants.
  • Present at state, regional, and national conferences.

Fayetteville Public Schools

Fayetteville, AR

Director of Instructional Programs May 2002-August 2003

  • Led and managed curriculum development, instruction and assessment alignment and support for public school district with 8,000 students.
  • Developed, implemented and managed teacher and administrator professional development for the district.
  • Administered federal Title II & Title V programs and budgets in excess of $1,000,000 annually.
  • Managed district curriculum and instruction budget.
  • Supervised certified and classified staff.
  • Wrote and administered grants to include co-PI of NSF funded middle-level GK-12 grant in collaboration with the University of Arkansas, Microelectronics and Photonics Program ($2.75 million over 6 years)
  • Designed and conducted training for principals and school leadership teams in a) comprehensive school improvement processes, b) data-driven decision-making, c) school organizational change, d) technology integration, e) NCLB and policy implementation, f) curriculum mapping and alignment, and g) research-based best-practices in instruction.

Math and Science Curriculum Facilitator September 1997-May 2002

  • Provided leadership and subject matter expertise in development, achievement, and sustainability of the excellence of educational programs and student achievement in mathematics and science.
  • Administered federal programs to include the Eisenhower Professional Development Program, Title VI, and Class-Size Reduction Program
  • Managed math and science curriculum budget; developed and supervised instructional materials adoptions processes.
  • Facilitated district math and science curriculum teams for continuity and articulation of curriculum & instruction programs
  • Reviewed research and reported on the effectiveness of courses and instructional materials for mathematics and science instructional programs.
  • Evaluated systemic needs for mathematics and science programs and developed five year improvement plan to include resource allocation.
  • Wrote and administered federal and state grants.
  • Conducted teacher professional development and mentoring in standards-based instruction, inquiry science, & standards-based mathematics and science, and new teacher training.

Classroom Teacher

Arkansas, California, Virginia, Smithsonian Institute/National Zoo August 1999-June 2000

August 1995-June 1997

September 1985-June 1987

Summer 1984

  • Implemented integrated, investigative approach to math and science education.
  • Lead teacher for Model Kit-based Science School.
  • Instrumental in securing $19,000 grant for new playground as student council advisor.
  • Designed early childhood program and school age childcare program for school.
  • Co-wrote grants to secure $325,000 in funds for childcare programs and school social worker.
  • Coordinated district-wide collaboration with Washington County Head Start and 3 Fayetteville early childhood programs to provide seamless service to families in need.
  • Co-authored and co-taught a short course on animal adaptations, structures and functions.

Director and Teacher Preschool and After School Childcare August 1990 – July 1993

  • Directed preschool, day care and after school care program for 100 children from infants to grade 6.
  • Supervised preschool teachers, day care staff, as well as maintenance and kitchen staff.
  • Developed and supervised curriculum for all programs.
  • Provided certified Red Cross childcare training, CPR and first aid training for staff.
  • Provided crisis child care for children of families in crisis.
  • Completed all requirements to receive reimbursement from the USDA Food and Nutrition Program.
  • Maintained all 
  • Outstanding Doctoral Student for Education Statistics & Research Methods Program, University of Arkansas 2010
  • Outstanding Master’s Student for Educational Foundations Program, University of Arkansas 2005 & 2007
  • Fayetteville Public Schools Impact Awards, 2002 & 2003
  • Elizabeth Roskins Memorial Award for Scholarship, State University of New York CESF, 1982 - 1983
  • President, Forestry Honor Society, State University of New York, CESF, 1982-1983
  • Athletic Scholarship, Swimming, Syracuse University, 1979--1981

Organization: Arkansas Department of Education

Title: Office of Innovation for Education Amount: $852,000

Project Director: Denise T. Airola

Timeline: January 2013 ongoing

Organization: Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Title: Building a Blueprint for Innovative Change Amount: $75,000

Project Director: Denise T. Airola

Timeline: July 2013 – December 2013

Organization: Oregon Department of Education Amount: $10,000

Awarded to Responsive Education Services, Inc.

Title: Advanced DATA Project Professional Development and Continued Knowledge Measure Item Development

Project Director: Denise T. Airola

Timeline: July 2013 – July 2014

Organization: Oregon Department of Education Amount: $4,900

Awarded to Responsive Education Services, Inc.

Title: Item Development for Version 2 DDDM Knowledge Measure

Project Director: Denise T. Airola

Timeline: March 2013 – July 2013

Organization: Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Title: Arkansas Department of Education Strategic Planning Amount: $35,000

Project Director: Denise T. Airola

Timeline: January 2013 – April 2013

Organization: Oregon Department of Education Amount: $4,555

Awarded to Responsive Education Services, Inc.

Title: Advanced DATA Training Year 2, Oregon DATA Project

Project Director: Denise T. Airola

Timeline: May 2012 – February 2013

Organization: Oregon Department of Education Amount: $4,850

Awarded to Responsive Education Services, Inc.

Title: Advanced DATA Training, Oregon DATA Project

Project Director: Denise T. Airola

Timeline: April 2011 – May 2012

Organization: Oregon Department of Education Amount: $195, 275

Awarded to Next Level Evaluation, Inc.

Title: Statewide Evaluation of the Oregon DATA Project

Principal Investigators: Denise T. Airola and Sean W. Mulvenon

Timeline: April 2010 - June 2011

Organization: Oregon Department of Education

Awarded to Next Level Evaluation, Inc. Amount: $200,000

Title: A Framework for K-12 Educational Assessment Literacy

Professional Development for Oregon Growth Model

Principal Investigators: Sean W. Mulvenon and Denise T. Airola

Timeline: September 2008 – present

Organization: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Awarded to: Next Level Evaluation, Inc. Amount: $85,000

Title: Longitudinal Data Systems Analytics and Professional Development Consulting

Principal Investigators: Sean W. Mulvenon and Denise T. Airola

Timeline: January 2007 – August 2008

Organization: Calhoun Intermediate School District

Awarded to: NORMES Amount: $275,000

Title: Data for Student Success Dynamic Inquiry Tool

Principal Investigator: Denise T. Airola

Co-PI: Charles Stegman

Timeline: January 2007 – May 2008

Organization: Michigan Department of Education, Office of Educational Assessment and Accountability

Awarded to: NORMES Amount: $184,000 annually

Title: Michigan Education Performance Reports

Principal Investigator: Denise T. Airola

Co-PI: Charles Stegman

Timeline: June 2006 - present

Organization: Arkansas Department of Education

Awarded to: NORMES Amount: $79,000 annually

Title: Arkansas Reading First Evaluation

Principal Investigator: Denise T. Airola

Timeline: June 2006 - present

Organization: Arkansas Department of Education Amount: $950,000 annually

Awarded to: NORMES

Title: Integrated School Improvement Model

Principal Investigator: Sean W. Mulvenon

Co-PI: Denise Airola, Charles Stegman

Timeline: 7/2004-6/2008

Organization: Walton Family Foundation Amount: $1,000,000

Awarded to: Fayetteville Public Schools

Title: Models to Accelerate Performance of Students (MAPS)

Principal Investigator: Judy Rana

Evaluators: NORMES

Timeline: 1/2004-1/2007

Organization: National Science Foundation Amount: $1,499,995

Awarded to: University of Arkansas, Microelectronics and Photonics Program & Physics ($1,250,000 UA match)

Title: GK12: Teaching the Science in Everyday Life

Principal Investigator: Art Hobson, Physics Department

Co-Principal Investigators: Denise Airola, FPS; Gay Stewart, Physics Education;

Greg Salamo, Physics; Ronna C. Turner, Educational Statistics; Lynne Hehr, Education

Timeline: 6/1/02 - 5/31/05

Organization: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Amount: $16,000

Awarded to: Fayetteville Public Schools

Title: Streams as Living Laboratories

Project Director: Rex Dufour, AFTRA

Timeline: 8/1/99 – 7/31/00

Organization: National Council for Teachers of Mathematics & Toyota, Inc. Amount: $10,000

Awarded to: Jefferson Elementary, Fayetteville Public Schools

Title: Integrating Mathematics in Environmental Education

Project Director: Mary Nordon, Elementary Education

Timeline: 9/98-6/00

Organization: Arkansas Department of Education Amount: $104,000

Title: T2K—Teachers Teaching with Technology Grant

Awarded to: Fayetteville Public Schools

Project Co-Directors—Gail Quillen, FPS Technology; Denise Airola, FPS Curriculum

Timeline: 9/99-6/01

Organization: Arkansas Statewide Systemic Initiative Amount: $18,900

Title: Curriculum Implementation Grant

Project Director: Denise Airola

Timeline: 9/98-6/99

Organization: Arkansas Statewide Systemic Initiative Amount: $45,766

Title: GOALS 2000—Professional Development Grant for Math & Science Systemic Reform

Project Director: Denise Airola

Timeline: 9/98-12/99

Organization: Arkansas Department of Education Amount: $15,000

Title: Act 453 Grant (Awarded 3 times, $5,000 per award)

Project Director: Denise Airola

Timeline: 9/98-6/02

Organization: Arkansas Early Childhood Commission Amount: $230,000

Title: Fayetteville Collaborative Childcare Program

Project Director: Denise Airola

Timeline: 9/96-9/99

Organization: Arkansas Early Childhood Commission Amount: $98,500

Title: Jefferson School Child Care Program

Project Director: Denise Airola

Timeline: 9/96-9/99

Organization: Fayetteville Parks and Recreation

Title: Jefferson Student Council Playground Project Amount: $34,000

Project Director: Denise Airola

Timeline: 9/95-5/96