Leigh
Parise
Senior Associate

Parise conducts mixed-methods research in the K-12 Education policy area and plays a lead role in MDRC’s program-development efforts in all areas of K-12 and postsecondary education. Her program-development work draws on her expertise in educational policy and the associated evidence base, and focuses on incubating and launching new projects and on funder relations. Since joining MDRC in 2011, 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 leading the implementation research in 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 a lead researcher on a study 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 athlete mentors with students in underserved schools to foster students’ social and emotional skill development.