Meet Our Director

Keren Zuniga McDowell, Ph.D.

Keren Zuniga McDowell is the Executive Director of District Performance.  In this role, Keren oversees the staff team and projects in the District Performance Office. The team’s work includes the School Progress Reports (SPR), the Qlik Benchmarking, Analytics, and Management (QlikBAM) interactive dashboards, School Profiles, Open Data, and Data Requests.

The District Performance Office is one of five offices in the Evaluation, Research, and Accountability (ERA) Division, which leads the District’s use of data and evidence to improve outcomes for students. This is achieved through the annual School Progress Report; QlikBAM; ongoing program evaluations and research; the comprehensive planning process; and professional development and technical assistance offered to District leadership, Assistant Superintendents, and Principals.

Dr. Zuniga McDowell has over fifteen years of experience in evaluation, data management, college access/success, and higher education.  Prior to joining the District, Keren served as the Director for College Success with the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) where she managed DSF’s college success services, scholarships, and research and evaluation divisions.  Prior to her time at DSF, Keren served as the Director of the Center for Academic Access and Opportunity at Suffolk University in Boston, MA, where she oversaw the institution’s TRIO college access programs.  Keren has also served as the Director of Research and Evaluation for two national non-profits, TERI (The Education Resources Institute) and Citizen Schools.  In these roles she developed and led various multi-program, multi-site, large-scale program evaluations.

Dr. Zuniga McDowell has committed her career to increasing educational opportunities for at-risk and underrepresented students.  She earned her B.S. in Biology and Society from Cornell University, earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies, with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction, from Iowa State University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, School of Education.  Her work has been published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching and the Handbook of Latinos and Education: Theory, Research, and Practice; she is also one of the authors of the Evaluation Toolkit: Effective Tools for Evaluating Outreach Programs and Practice produced by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education and is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of College Access.