A focus on evidence is at the heart of City Connects. Its evaluation plan was designed by George Madaus, an internationally recognized expert in educational evaluation and emeritus professor at Boston College’s Department of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation. Researchers from his department continue to form the core evaluation team for City Connects.

Data and Evaluation Staff


Courtney Pollack

Senior Researcher


Anastasia Raczek

Associate Director of Research & Evaluation


Yan Leigh

Director of Research & Evaluation

The evaluation team is independent from the City Connects implementers and also ensures impartiality through two approaches.

1. External review. The team convenes experts from outside Boston College to review data structures, methods, findings, and conclusions, then implements experts’ recommendations.

Past reviewers include:

  • Albert Beaton, Ph.D., Augustus Long Professor of Education Emeritus, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College
  • Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education, Columbia University
  • Jennifer Hebert-Beirne, Ph.D., M.P.H., Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
  • Paul Holland, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Statistics and Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley
  • Thomas Kellaghan, Ph.D., Director, Educational Research Center, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin
  • Patrick McEwan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics and the Whitehead Associate Professor of Critical Thought, Wellesley College
  • Elizabeth Reisner, M.Ed., Founder, Policy Studies Associates, Inc.
  • Peter Steiner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

2. Anonymous peer review and publication. The team submits its research to rigorous professional journals that implement anonymous review by experts.