KIM CURTIS, Ph.D.

Research Scientist. Kim is an experienced qualitative researcher with a particular interest in case study methodology. She has extensive experience utilizing a variety of qualitative data collection methods including interviews, focus groups, surveys, field observations and primary and secondary source document analysis. Kim has conducted research that focuses on state education policymaking, school finance, teacher accountability and international basic education. Prior to joining Activate, Kim worked as a research associate at the University of Maryland where she taught case study methodology to graduate students and coordinated the study of a school finance initiative for a local school district. In the area of international education, Kim has served as home office staff to various World Bank and U.S. Agency for International Development funded education projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. She holds a M.A. and a Ph.D. in education policy studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Experience


Research Scientist,  Activate Research, Inc.

Washington, D.C.
Jan 2016 – Present

Provide research support for qualitative data collection and analysis including focus groups, content analysis, case studies and support business development activities

  • Work directly with clients on analysis and production of education research
  • Represent Activate Research at research symposiums and capabilities briefings
  • Manage and edit proposal materials for business development

Research Associate,  Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership Department (UMD)

College Park, MD
Aug 2012 – Aug 2013

  • Assisted with teaching all aspects of a graduate level practicum entitled In Pursuit of Equity, Autonomy and Improvement: A Case Study of the Student-Based Budgeting Initiative in the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS)
  • Worked with the professor to design a mixed methods case study relating to the implementation of PGCPS’s School Based Budgeting funding initiative
  • Supervised all aspects of graduate student research, including literature review, site selection, interview and focus group instrument development, data collection, interview transcription, coding, analysis and presentation of findings
  • Co-authored final evaluation of the project

Research Assistant,  Education Policy and Leadership Department (UMD)

College Park, MD
Aug 1999 – Nov 2001

Conducted qualitative and survey research and wrote case studies of two schools in Baltimore City and Prince Georges County, Maryland which were participating in a K-12 high stakes accountability study for the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Conducted interviews with teachers and school administrators
  • Administered teacher survey relating to school climate and perceptions of accountability
  • Performed observations of classroom instruction and administrative meetings
  • Transcribed, coded and analyzed interview and observation data
  • Composed case studies

Educational Consultant, World Bank

Washington, DC
May 2000 – Jan 2001

Served as a consultant in the World Bank’s Latin American and Caribbean Region office developing and supervising education projects in Brazil and the Dominican Republic.

  • Conducted literature reviews
  • Assisted with the development of proposals, memoranda of understanding and loan agreements
  • Met with ministry officials to coordinate technical assistance
  • Performed school site visits
  • Provided home office support to World Bank staff in Brazil

Program Coordinator, The Academy for Educational Development

Washington, DC
Nov 1993 – Aug 1998

Provided all aspects of home office support to the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded El Salvador Strengthening Achievement in Basic Education (SABE) project.

  • Managed the SABE Project’s $30 million budget
  • Worked with the field office and contracts department to procured goods and services including textbooks, educational materials and bookmobiles
  • Recruited short- and long-term educational experts to serve as field consultants in areas relating to curriculum development, teacher training, textbook writing, etc.
  • Met with ministry officials on a regular basis to coordinate technical assistance
  • Performed school site visits and met with principals and teachers to evaluate program initiatives
  • Wrote monthly and annual progress reports to USAID
  • Assisted with proposal development
EDUCATION

Ph.D., Educational Policy Studies

University of Maryland at College Park, College Park, MD
May 2011


M.A., Educational Policy Studies
University of Maryland at College Park, College Park, MD
May 2002


B.A., History
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
May 1992
PUBLICATIONS

Academy for Educational Development. (1998). Strengthening Achievement in Basic Education Project Final Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Agency for International Development.

Malen, B., Curtis, K., Sinclair, K., Croninger, R., Garcia, A. & Egan, L. (2013). In pursuit of equity, autonomy and improvement: A study of the Student-Based Budgeting initiative in Prince George’s County Maryland. Upper Marlboro, MD: Prince George’s County Public Schools.

Mintrop, H., Curtis, K. & Plut-Pregeli, L. (2004). “Schools Moving Toward Improvement.” In Schools on Probation. How Accountability Works (and Doesn’t Work) (pp. 69-88). New York: Teachers College Press.

Mintrop, H. & Curtis, K. (2004). “Schools Stuck in Low Performance.” In Schools on Probation. How Accountability Works (and Doesn’t Work) (pp. 89-103). New York: Teachers College Press.

CONFERENCES

Student Based-Budgeting (SBB) as an educational reform strategy: Theory and Evidence. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, San Antonio, TX, March 13-15, 2014. (With Laura Egan and Kristin Sinclair)

Designing and implementing Student-Based Budgeting (SBB) in a resource-strapped context. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, San Antonio, TX, March 13-15, 2014. (With Laura Egan, Justin Dayhoff and Amaya Garcia)

Assessing the viability of Student-Based Budgeting (SBB) in resource-strapped, rule-bound context. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education Finance and Policy, San Antonio, TX, March 13-15, 2014. (With Betty Malen)

The politics of non-incremental school finance reform: A case study analysis of Vermont’s Act 60. Paper presented at the David L. Clark National Graduate Student Research Seminar in Educational Administration and Policy, San Francisco, CA, April 4-6, 2006.

Organizational responses to probation. High-stakes accountability and school improvement: Results from a three-year study of schools on probation in Maryland and Kentucky. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle, WA, April 10-14, 2001. (With Heinrich Mintrop)

AWARDS

2013 Outstanding Dissertation Award – Politics of Education Association