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College of Education

Faculty and Staff


Dr. Diane M. Monrad

Dr. Diane M. Monrad is the director of the South Carolina Educational Policy Center in the College of Education at USC-Columbia and a research associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policies. Dr. Monrad has extensive research experience in program evaluation, educational policy analysis, and assessment of educational reform programs. She is currently a principal investigator for the evaluation of South Carolina's Reading First (SCRF) program and the Center's ongoing study of school climate. She also has expertise in research methodology and instrument development; establishing team relationships, and consensus building with diverse groups.



Sarah Gareau

Sarah Gareau is a Research Associate at the South Carolina Educational Policy Center, where she has worked collaboratively with the USC Office of Program Evaluation to evaluate state and federal education programs, including SCRF, a study of magnet programs, an investigation of gap-closing schools, and analyses of the state's gifted education program and teacher loan forgiveness program. Currently finishing her doctorate in public health, her research interest is policy analysis impacting women and families.

Tommy Ishikawa

Tommy Ishikawa is a PhD Candidate in Statistics at USC. He earned an S.B. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Graduate Research Assistant in the USC Office of Program Evaluation and the South Carolina Educational Policy Center. Previously, he was a consultant to businesses in online education, hospitality, and wireless telecommunications. He served as the Director for Statistical Analyses and Programming at the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee.

Diana Mindrila

Diana Mindrila is a doctoral candidate in the Educational Psychology, Research, and Foundations Program, College of Education at the University of South Carolina. She is currently a research assistant in the South Carolina Policy Center. Her research interests include factor analysis, cluster analysis and structural equation modeling.


Associate Faculty

Dr. Chistine DiStefano

Dr. Chistine DiStefano is an Associate Professor of Educational Research. Her research interests include structural equation modeling, survey design, and latent class clustering/cluster analysis. She is also involved with the application of advanced statistics and measurement methods to issues related to school psychology. Dr. DiStefano teaches courses in educational research, statistics, and measurement.

Dr. Robert Johnson

Dr. Robert Johnson is a Professor of Educational Research and is currently serving as the department chair for the Educational Studies Department at the University of South Carolina. He teaches courses on classroom assessment and survey design. Robert also serves as Director of the Center for Excellence in the Assessment of Student Learning. Dr. Johnson's research focuses on the scoring of performance assessments, educators’ perceptions about ethical classroom assessment practices, and the implementation of collaborative evaluations.

Dr. John May

Dr. John May is senior research analyst in the SC Educational Policy Center and also President of his company, Palmetto Educational Research Solutions. He has worked in educational research for the past 35 years, including 14 years in accountability and research at SCDE and 15 years directing the research and planning efforts in Richland County School District One. Dr. May has authored numerous evaluation reports, coordinated state and district survey programs, and developed and applied approaches to improve schools.


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