UW Research Team

Ann's scholarship focuses on the intersection of leadership, school-community relationships, and educational equity in P-12 systems. Her work focuses on improving educational leadership – both formal and family/community – to create equitable educational environments, with a particular focus on students, families, and communities who have been historically marginalized in education. Formal P-12 educational leadership plays a vital role in addressing persistent disparities in student learning, outcomes, and success, but the field continues to struggle with how to understand and engage in practices that will provide meaningful educational opportunities for non-dominant students. Moreover, parent and community leadership holds promise for improving educational systems, but equitable collaboration across educational and parent leadership is rare. Dr. Ishimaru engages in community-based research to build collaborative leadership capacity for improving educational systems and leveraging the expertise and priorities of the students, families, and communities who have been least well served in these systems.

Ann Ishimaru – Project Investigator
Ann’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of leadership, school-community relationships, and educational equity in P-12 systems. Her work focuses on improving educational leadership – both formal and family/community – to create equitable educational environments, with a particular focus on students, families, and communities who have been historically marginalized in education. Formal P-12 educational leadership plays a vital role in addressing persistent disparities in student learning, outcomes, and success, but the field continues to struggle with how to understand and engage in practices that will provide meaningful educational opportunities for non-dominant students. Moreover, parent and community leadership holds promise for improving educational systems, but equitable collaboration across educational and parent leadership is rare. Dr. Ishimaru engages in community-based research to build collaborative leadership capacity for improving educational systems and leveraging the expertise and priorities of the students, families, and communities who have been least well served in these systems.

Megan Bang – Project Investigator
Megan focuses her work on two critical components: (1) working at the immediate and practical levels of improving teaching and learning with Indigenous youth and communities with a primary focus on science education (and through this I believe other children and communities), and (2) to conduct transformative research that deepens our understandings of the relationships between culture and cognition in and across learning settings. My research is currently focused on understanding the ways in which culture – understood as a diverse repertoires of practice individuals and community engage in – impact learning, development, and teaching. I am particularly focused on science education as the context in which to study these broader issues.

Aditi Rajendran – Research Assistant

Aditi is a PhD candidate in Educational Policy, Organizations, and Leadership. Her research interests include how leadership (families, educators, systems leaders) shifts policies and practices towards more just schools and systems, equitable processes of partnership between schools and communities, and community-driven reform. Her dissertation focuses on how a teachers union enacts leadership towards racial equity in a union-district collaboration. She is a research assistant on the Family Leadership Design Collaborative and the Leadership for Learning Ed.D program.

Charlene Nolan – Research Assistant 
Charlene is a doctoral student in Learning Sciences and Human Development. My research interests are in early childhood science learning and family/community leadership and engagement. Utilizing participatory design research methods, I am interested in co-creating equitable spaces for families, communities, educators, and researchers to design and implement (and re-design) early learning environments that foster expansive forms of science education. I am a research assistant on the Family Leadership Design Collaborative project and the Learning in Places project.


Mario Guerra – Research Assistant
Mario Guerra is a PhD student in Learning Sciences and Human Development. His research interests include understanding the networks that form between home and school in non-dominant groups, identity acquisition of children in early education, and cultural inequities created within these spaces. Besides FLDC, he’s involved in a few other projects around UW including the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program and iSTEAM. Mario can often be found hiking with his dog around Seattle or attempting to befriend squirrels and ravens around the UW campus.


Henedina Tavares – Research Assistant
Henedina Tavares is a doctoral student in the Educational Policy, Organizations, and Leadership program. Her research interests center on school-community relationships, educational equity, and community engagement models. She is specifically interested in studying parent engagement practices in (im)migrant, farm-working, Latino families, and examining the ways reciprocal relationships between schools and nondominant families/communities cultivate equitable learning spaces and educational systems that validate parents’ cultural capital and funds of knowledge. Henedina earned her M.Ed in Social and Cultural Foundations in 2015 and her B.A in American Ethnic Studies with Honors in 2013 from the University of Washington.

Jondou Chen – Project Director
Jondou’s work seeks to understand how individuals, communities, and institutions conceptualize and enact educational equity (and inequities). More specifically, Dr. Chen focuses on developing authentic partnerships between P-20 families, practitioners, and researchers through intentional and ongoing facilitation centered on self-understanding, systemic awareness, and collective agency. Dr. Chen currently serves as Project Director for the Family Leadership Design Collaborative with Principal Investigators Ann Ishimaru and Megan Bang, the Research Associate for Education, Equity, and Society at the University of Washington, and the a Co-Director of the National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project.