Leigh
Parise
Senior Program Development Associate

Parise, who joined MDRC in 2011, engages in program development and conducts research in the K-12 Education policy area. Her program development work focuses on funder relations and project incubation, primarily involving MDRC’s education work. During her time at MDRC, Parise has been a lead researcher on several projects; she is currently the deputy project director on a large-scale randomized-controlled trial funded by the Institute of Education Sciences evaluating the impact of language interventions on the academic achievement of English language learners and economically disadvantaged students. In addition, Parise is working on MDRC’s evaluation of the P-TECH 9-14 high school model — a multifaceted career pathway model that begins in high schools and extends into postsecondary education and the workforce. Parise was also the deputy director of MDRC’s evaluation of the Innovative Professional Development Challenge and was the lead implementation researcher on an investigation of the implementation and impacts of Communities In Schools, a dropout prevention and integrated student support program. Before joining MDRC, Parise received her PhD in human development and social policy from Northwestern University, where her work focused on teacher development and school leadership. She also holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in teaching from Pace University. Parise began her career as an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, and she is the cofounder of Classroom Champions, a nonprofit organization that connects Olympic and Paralympic athletes with students in low-income schools to foster students’ social and emotional skill development.