Meet Our Director
Joy Lesnick, Ph.D.
Joy Lesnick is Director of Research, Policy, and Practice. In this role, Joy currently oversees the staff and projects in the Office of Research and Evaluation including overseeing the review of all external requests to conduct research in the District.
The Office of Research and Evaluation is one of three 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; Qlik-BAM, a suite of interactive dashboards; ongoing program evaluations and research; the comprehensive planning process; and professional development and technical assistance offered to leadership, Assistant Superintendents, and Principals.
Prior to joining the District, Joy spent six years at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama administration, where she was the program officer for the What Works Clearinghouse, the Associate Commissioner for the Knowledge Utilization Division in the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) and Acting Commissioner of NCEE. She previously worked at the University of Chicago Consortium for School Research and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
After having both of her parents as teachers (mom in kindergarten and dad in high school), Joy began her career in education as a fourth grade teacher in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She earned a B.A. in History and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Rutgers University, where she was captain of the varsity women’s volleyball team. She earned a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and completed an IES post-doctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University.