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Center for Student Success - Center Leadership

Linda Jessell, MA, Director

linda jessell

Linda Jessell’s extensive background in public education in Oregon includes over 40 years of work in schools, school districts, and at the university level. She has been director of the Center for Student Success since 2008 and has also served on the faculty of the Graduate Teacher of Education Preparation Program in the PSU Graduate School of Education. Her current areas of specialization include: program evaluation, charter school evaluation, research and application of research to existing programs, teacher professional development, and school leadership training and development. Jessell’s work in K-12 schools included leadership positions in the Beaverton and Gresham-Barlow school districts including the following positions: assistant principal, principal, director of secondary schools, and K-12 curriculum director. The key areas of focus for her work in schools included: high school improvement, curriculum development and grade level alignment, curriculum alignment with state content standards, teacher and administrator professional development, and school improvement planning and implementation. In 2005, Jessell’s work was recognized by the Business Education Compact and she was selected to receive their annual Education Achievement Award.

Marjorie McGee, PhD, Research Associate

Dr. McGee is the Center’s lead data analyst. She is adept in answering key research or evaluation questions and identifying the appropriate datasets, including Oregon Department of Education student level datasets. She is skilled in a number of software programs used for research such as SPSS, Stata, and Atlas Ti. Her analytical skills include the ability to conduct statistical analyses using complex survey data, as well as using an intersectional, inter-categorical approach to examine educational disparities by multiple social statuses. 

Rick Dills, Ed.D, Consultant 

Dr. Dills has over 30 years of experience as an educational practitioner (teacher, coach, and school administrator). His work with the Center has included grant evaluation design and implementation, logic model-based evaluation plans and the use of data to assess and inform educational improvement. Before his retirement as a school administrator, Dr. Dills was the director of student achievement for the Gresham-Barlow School District. In that capacity, he and the district received state, national and international recognition for leadership in using Rasch-based assessment information to study and promote student growth. Dr. Dills has taught classes on performance assessment and educational measurement for Portland State University, and previously worked for the Oregon University System to develop its Proficiency-Based Admission System (PASS). 

Consultant cadre 

The Center works with a variety of consultants to provide additional expertise and meet the needs of our clients. Our consultant cadre includes educational leaders with extensive backgrounds in K-12 education, including district and school leadership, curriculum and instruction, staff development, strategic planning, grant writing, and program evaluation.