Dr. Blackmon is CEO and Chief Inspiration Officer at ILC. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Studies with an emphasis in Science Education from Emory University. She has a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Southern University and a M.S. degree in Analytical Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Blackmon completed a two-year AERA-IES Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cultural Anthropology.
Dr. Blackmon has an extensive background in developing and executing performance, outcome, and impact-based evaluations. She has a depth of knowledge of mixed methods research and specializes in qualitative methodologies. Her work focused on the influence of sociocultural contexts on science teaching and learning. Prior to entering the field of education, Dr. Blackmon worked as a research chemist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Dow Chemical and 3M.
Dr. Blackmon served as the Lead Evaluator of a 15-member team to evaluate a $12.5 million Annenberg Foundation grant to Enterprise Community Partners. She has served as the external evaluator or researcher for 20 funded programs designed to increase students’ knowledge, skills, interests, attitudes, and efficacy in STEM, produced over 20 reports, and has one research publication and one book chapter.
Dr. Blackmon’s and ILC associates support leaders in STEM education to secure external funding so that students (K-16), who would not ordinarily receive high quality STEM experiences, can experience the benefit of such programs. She works with program leaders to construct STEM education contexts that build on underrepresented students’ assets. Her work includes collaborating with organizational executives and Principal Investigators to provide feedback on the performance of their programs, mainly so that students receive the optimal benefit of allocated financial resources. In addition to evaluating programs, she also works with educational leaders to create strategic plans for program design and implementation, develops logic models and provides clients with data visuals of research and evaluation findings.
She has a Collaborative Institutional Training Certification (CITI) certification that is valid from 2010-present and a NIH Human Research Participant Certification valid from 2013-present.
When most people review her professional background, they do not realize that Dr. Blackmon loves to laugh and tell jokes. Sometimes, she is even funny. She has three children, Taylor, Nate, and Morgan, all of whom participate in competitive athletics, including cheerleading. Dr. Blackmon, when younger, tried numerous times to become a high school cheerleader—to no avail. So, she decided to become a Professional Cheerleader of Life and Success.
Dr. Heather Pleasants is a Qualitative Analyst at ILC. She received her PhD in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Language, Literacy and Learning from Michigan State University.
She has worked in higher education and community contexts for the past sixteen years. Dr. Pleasant’s skill set also includes program evaluation, project development and management, expertise in community-based scholarship (esp. community-university collaboration and family-school-community partnerships), and digital storytelling.
She has provided qualitative data collection and analysis to ILC for 10 years. She is an experienced qualitative researcher and instructor of qualitative research methods. Her scholarship focuses on issues of voice, leadership, storytelling and identity, particularly as these are connected to the lives and experiences of individuals who have been historically marginalized. Her most recent publication is “Community-Based Mulitliteracies and Digital Media Projects: Questioning Assumptions, Exploring Realities” (co-edited with Dana Salter, published by Peter Lang, 2014).
Dr. Franita Ware is a Qualitative Analyst at ILC. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Studies with an emphasis in Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Cultural Diversity in Urban Schools from Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
At ILC, she has collected and analyzed qualitative data for 15 years. She is a Culturally Responsive Educational Consultant and Professional Developer. She has provided culturally responsive professional development for hundreds of K12 teachers and administrators for over 20 years.
Her publications include:
Ware, F. (2008). Culturally Responsive Constructivism: Creating a culture of achievement. The National Journal of Urban Education and Practice. 1(4).
Ware, F. (2006). Warm Demander Pedagogy: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy that supports a culture of achievement. Urban Education 41(4).
Ware, F. (2002). Black Teacher’s perceptions of their professional roles and practices. In J.J. Irvine, ed., In search of wholeness: African American teachers and their culturally specific classroom practices (pp.33-45) New York: Palgrave.
Cassandra provides data visualization support for ILC’s quantitative and qualitative evaluation projects. She has been providing services to ILC for the past two years and enjoys creating interactive data visuals to show the impact of our clients’ work on their key stakeholders.