Nominations & Elections

Our Current Elected Officers for the term of 2016-2018

SIG CHAIR: Craig Mertler




Candidates for 2016 are listed below 


SIG Chair Candidates
*Craig Mertler
*Kathleen Lepori
*Ani C. Moughamian-Rosenberg
*Charles Bickenheuser

*Elena Polush
*Laura Scheiber

*Andrea Burrows
*Valerie Schmitz

Candidates’ Biographical Statements

1 – Action Research
Candidate for Chair (2-year term begins in 2016)
Craig Mertler, Ph.D.

I am a long-time AERA Action Research SIG member. I currently
 serve as an Associate Professor of Assessment & Research Methodology at Arizona State University, where I am also the Director of the Education Doctorate in Leadership & Innovation. Students complete several cycles of action research during their time in our program, which culminate in action research - based dissertations. I have held positions in the Mid-Western Educational Research Association (MWERA), including Vice President, Program Chair, and President, that contribute to my being qualified for the Action Research Chair position. I have several years of experience in putting together conference programs. I have taught action research at the undergraduate, Masters, and Doctoral levels for nearly 15 years. I have served as the research methodology expert on more than 100 doctoral dissertations and Masters theses; the overwhelming majority of these were action research studies. I have also authored a text on action research, as well as a manuscript and journal articles: Mertler, C. A. (2014). Action research: Improving schools and empowering educators (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Mertler, C. A. Action research communities: Professional learning, empowerment, and improvement through collaborative action research. Manuscript submitted for publication. Mertler, C. A. (2013). Classroom-based action research: Revisiting the process as customizable and meaningful professional development for educators. Journal of Pedagogic Development, 3(3), 39-43. Available online: One of my goals and passions is to facilitate greater use of action research in schools around the country, and for educators at all levels to experience its benefits. To this end, I have been designing and leading action research professional development training for schools and districts across the country since 2005. I would be honored to serve the Action Research SIG Chair. 

2 – Action Research
Candidate for Chair (2-year term begins in 2016)
Kathleen Lepori
I am nominating myself for the position of Action Research SIG Chair. The reason I chose to be in the running is that I am at a point in my life where I can finally contribute (give back) time, expertise and passion to the Action Research community. Although my AERA experience and SIG involvement is limited, my responsibilities as Senior Program Coordinator at WestEd has provided me with multiple opportunities to hone my leadership skills. Taking on this new role will be a challenging, yet rewarding, experience. My educational background is relevant. I have a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University. It was there that I came to understand and appreciate action research. If elected, I will promote the SIGs purpose of encouraging and actively assisting education practitioners to develop their skills in order to improve educational decision-making. Thank you for your consideration.
3 – Action Research
Candidate for Chair (2-year term begins in 2016)

Ani C. Moughamian-Rosenberg
I am running for the office of Action Research SIG chair because I believe in the power and importance of action research and want to find ways to make it more visible both within and beyond the AERA community. I teach several action research methodology courses to students pursuing doctorates in educational leadership and master’s degrees in teaching leadership. This experience has shown me that action research is one of the best ways to bridge the research to practice gap because it gives teachers and educational leaders the skills needed to effect change in their own classrooms and schools. Moreover, action research accounts for the vast knowledge that teachers have about teaching and learning and provides an opportunity for school reform that can have lasting effects on teachers, students, and schools. Although I do not have specific leadership experiences within AERA, I have been a member since my first year of graduate school in 1998 and have attended most of the conferences since then. I do have leadership experience through my service as the chair of the research committee at my university. In this role I am responsible for collaborating with other faculty members to provide resources to students and faculty, developing research methods curriculum, and implementing policies to support student research work in the school. I believe this leadership experience would serve me well as the Action Research SIG Chair. I look forward to the opportunity to develop and coordinate activities to build knowledge about and support action research within AERA.
4 – Action Research
Candidate for Chair (2-year term begins in 2016)

Charles Bickenheuser, EdD
My name is Charles Bickenheuser, and I joined AERA this year after retiring from teaching in 2014. My last 20 years of teaching were in a Title I school district with >70% poverty rates and about 30% second-language learners at levels 1-2. For my last five years in this school district, in addition to teaching, I developed and taught an action research course to secondary classroom teachers in small groups and individually. The need for a focused, methodological based inquiry at the classroom and building level was apparent and necessary to understand one's professional practice and to act as a counter to the incessant demands to increase statewide test scores. My approach to action research is practical and includes a mixed methods approach of formative data and conversational (phenomenological) reductions to understand both ordinal data and the meaning of identified classroom and building experiences respectively. Unlike many of our European counterparts, teachers in the U.S. do not develop a localized research framework to investigate one’s professional practice. Instead of relying on mostly meaningless aggregates of school data at district and state levels, I would like to help promote action research as a necessary and practical inquiry framework in professional practice. Currently I am participating in the formation of a nonprofit statewide professional group for K-14 teachers and instructors with the intention of developing grassroots professional positions for classroom teachers in public schools. In the past two years I have mentored three graduate students in their masters level research, and I am currently mentoring a doctoral student in the development of his research proposal.      

1 –  Action Research
Candidate for Program Chair (2-year term begins in 2016)
Elena Polush

Greetings Fellows Researchers: I am Elena Polush. I am interested in the Action Research SIG Program Chair position! I have been a member of and actively involved in our beautiful SIG’s community life for the last five years. Most recently, I served as chair of the Action Research SIG's Best Paper Committee, where I enjoyed being able to work with others to identify and award outstanding research from our community. 
Within AERA, I also served as the Secretary (two year term) for the Research on Evaluation SIG. I am also a founding member of the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA). For the past two years I served as a Lead Editor of the ARNA Conference Proceedings. I also served as part of a research team with other leading researchers, Margaret Riel and Lonnie Rowell, to initiate a study leading to a formal dialogue with members of the AR SIG about the nature of contemporary action research at our 2014 business meeting. The dialogue was part of our data collection process and contributed to our report. As research and SIG communities we are diverse. Differences matter and we wanted to engage our SIG in dialog and critique to make a difference, to contribute, and to positively impact the future development of our field. My scholarly interests are in research methodologies with a focus on community based participatory research, action research, process use evaluation, narrative research and oral history. I am especially passionate about youth participatory action research. I would like to collaborate on and to develop an action research based project with youth across borders to address critical environmental challenges.  As a research methodologist, my recent interests are in re-imagining our thinking about inquiry as it relates to dialogical space, ethics (informed by Foucault’s notion of parrhesia), quality criteria, and claims of knowledge. My background and my work have been within interdisciplinary perspectives and settings. I am also an assistant professor of educational studies, Department of Educational Studies, Teachers’ College, Ball State University, Indiana, USA. I am grateful to have been a part of our AR SIG community and am excited about the opportunity to serve in a capacity of the SIG Program Chair. 

2 –  Action Research
Candidate for Program Chair (2-year term begins in 2016)
Laura Scheiber

Please accept my nomination for Program Chair of AREA’s Action Research SIG. My aim in pursuing this position is to work collaboratively with some of the top action researchers in education so that we can collectively advance the work of AR SIG, and push the research boundaries in education and other related fields. Because of my action research background, as well as my unique leadership experiences, I am qualified to take on the responsibilities of Program Chair. I co-authored Unequal Fortunes: Snapshots from the South Bronx with President Emeritus Arthur Levine of Teachers College, Columbia University. The study examined the lives of youth growing up in the South Bronx who statistically were more likely to end up in jail than graduate from high school. Using an action research approach, the research participants in our study not only graduated from high school but also attended college and graduate school. Currently I am completing a postdoctoral fellowship in Brazil, and I was involved in a participatory action research project aimed at improving teacher education. I took on the leadership role of documenting and analyzing our action research approach, which was a collaborative effort among 30 university and high school educators. My experience can bring an international perspective to AR SIG. Among other leadership roles, I helped launch a daily mobile publication focused on the future of education called, New Learning Times. I was responsible for reviewing article proposals, editing accepted articles, communicating with authors to ensure publication deadlines were met, and maintaining the overall integrity of the site. My role required excellent organizational and communication skills, which I would utilize as Program Chair. I thank you in advance for considering me for Program Chair 

1 – Action Research 
Candidate for Secretary (2-year term begins in 2016) 
Andrea Burrows

My work includes 23 years as a practitioner in K-12 ranging from teacher to technology director to administrator to college faculty member.

It would be an honor to serve as AERA’s Action Research SIG Secretary. I am currently an Assistant Professor in Secondary Science Education at the University of Wyoming, and have worked extensively with STEM integration and partnerships since 1992. Since 2006 I have conducted research in the STEM field and publishing action research studies. I have been successful in accomplishing the following: 1) authored peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Educational Action Research; 2) Presenting at national/international conferences such as AERA and ASTE; 3) Teaching undergraduate/graduate courses and professional development workshops for K-12 teachers; 4) Creating and receiving research funding for several NSF and MSP grants totaling near 2 million dollars that incorporate research on partnerships (meanings, conceptual changes, and negotiations); and 5) Serving as one of the American Society of Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Members at Large. Before earning my doctorate, I taught middle and high school science for 12 years in Florida and Virginia. Throughout every aspect of K-20 education I have made lasting connections with colleagues and researchers in all disciplines, and have striven to ensure openness, acceptance of different viewpoints, and transparency in all matters. I continue to improve my knowledge base while helping others. I believe in the power of different perspectives and of including voices from different disciplines.I find this immensely important to successful team work. I will begin my service to AERA and to the AR SIG with my election as secretary. I look forward to the opportunity to work with the AR SIG Executive team, with SIG members and with AERA. 

2 – Action Research
Candidate for Secretary (2-year term begins in 2016)
Valerie Schmitz 

I am Coordinator of Educator Effectiveness for 190 districts in Wisconsin. In my professional capacity, I coach teachers and administrators in their own mini action research projects whereby they identify student/school learning objectives and devise strategies for implementation, measurement, and revision. In my work at Pepperdine University, I advise a cadre of graduate students through their action research projects in learning technologies. This work is incredibly rewarding and involves graduate students with professional backgrounds ranging from military to corporate training to K-12. I do not have a great deal of experience in AERA but did have the opportunity to present to the Peace Education SIG a number of years ago. I am interested in expanding my leadership work in this area. Thank You! 

An American Educational Research Association List If you need assistance with this list, please send an email to

Past AERA Elections – Action Research SIG



Donna Johnson*, Cowen Institute for Research in Public Education

Barbara Kawulich, U. of West Georgia

Jennifer Robins, U. of Central Missouri


Megan Manfra, North Carolina State U.

Linnea Rademaker*, North Central U.

Chastity Williams-Lasley, Dusquene U.


Meagan Call-Cummings, Indiana U.

Bernd Ferner, Portland State U.

Ellen Reames, Auburn U.

Debby Zambo*, Arizona State U.



Dannelle Stevens, Portland State University


Lonnie Rowell, U. of San Diego

Joyce Pittman, Drexel U.

Ellen Reames, Auburn U.


Crystal Jensen, Pepperdine U.

Barbara Kawulich, U. West Georgia