REL Pacific Staff


Dr. Phillip Herman, REL Pacific Director
Dr. Herman is a Learning Scientist who has extensive expertise in educational research and development. Herman served as Director of Research at the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh where he was a research faculty member in the Department of Learning Sciences and Policy. He has also served as Research Director for the Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools (LeTUS) at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, which was an NSF-funded project, to research and develop project-based science units in Chicago and Detroit schools. Herman holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a MAT in Applied Linguistics and a BS in Russian Language, History, and Culture from Georgetown University.


Dr. Robin Jarvis, REL Deputy Director
Committed to ensuring that all children are given high-quality educational opportunities, Robin and her team work with school and system leaders to put in place policies, structures, and practices that help all students succeed. Prior to joining McREL, Robin was the program director at SEDL, the Austin, Texas-based education research and development organization, where she led several education system support programs. Robin also served as the acting superintendent of the Recovery School District in New Orleans, working with the community, neighborhood groups, school board members, and staff to rebuild and lead the school system following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. She has held superintendent, principal, and K–3 teaching roles throughout her extensive career. Robin holds three degrees from Louisiana State University: a bachelor’s in elementary education, a master’s in elementary and early childhood education, and a doctorate in education leadership and research.


Ms. Johanna Carillo, Administrative Specialist
As the Administrative Specialist at McREL’s Pacific Center for Changing the Odds, Johanna provides administrative support to office personnel. Her duties include formatting documents, preparing information packets for meetings, copying, data entry and other related duties as assigned. Johanna has worked as an administrative assistant in both the transportation and dining industries, and most recently served as an event coordinator for Kamehameha Schools. She graduated with a diploma from Lahainaluna High School on Maui. As a wife and mother of 4, Johanna enjoys spending her free time with her family.


Dr. Daisy Carreon, Researcher
At REL Pacific Dr. Carreon conducts research and evaluation studies of K-12 educational programs. Her expertise is in quantitative analysis of large nationally- representative databases and survey research. Dr. Carreon also serves as the lead for the Palau Research Alliance and the American Samoa Research Alliance, and co-lead for the FSM Research Alliance. Dr. Carreon has published peer-reviewed journal articles in the areas of program evaluation, racial and ethnic health disparities, and neighborhood and contextual effects. Prior to joining McREL, Dr. Carreon worked as a researcher at two University of California campuses (Irvine and Los Angeles) and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and an M.P.H. in Community Health from these respective schools. When not working, she enjoys being outdoors and going on long walks with Durk, her dog.


Mr. Ben Cronkright, Consultant
Ben’s work with REL Pacific includes serving the region through technical assistance consultations and workshops. Prior to joining McREL, Ben was the Federal Programs Manager/Academic Officer for the Hawaii State Charter School Commission where he delivered technical assistance to charter schools across the state. Ben has also served as an elementary school principal, high school vice principal, and 8-12 grade teacher in the state of Michigan. Ben holds an M.A. in Educational Leadership and a B.A. in Secondary Education from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. When not working, he enjoys spending time with family, watching and coaching baseball, and being outdoors.


Dr. Barry Harris, Managing Consultant
As a managing consultant, Dr. Harris provides technical assistance and support to the Palau Research Alliance, and consults with educators across the region on high-priority topic areas, including college and career readiness. Previous to joining McREL, Dr. Harris worked with the Hawaii State Department of Education, Professional Development and Educational Research Institute (PDERI). There, he worked with educators preparing them for administrative certification. Before moving to Hawaii, Barry was a Principal with the Cobb County School District in Marietta, Georgia. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Valdosta State University, received his M.Ed. in Counselor Education from Georgia Southern University, and his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. Barry is a self- proclaimed foodie and has a passion for history, travel, and culture.


Ms. Susan Lopez, Program Manager
At McREL, Susan summarizes progress and information from a variety of sources, such as research case studies, and makes it accessible to specific audiences. Her work with policymakers, school leaders, teachers, and community partners led to the publication of several government publications that served as the basis for national policy summits and state-level meetings. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Colorado Boulder and a master’s in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.


Ms. Kirsten B. Miller, Communications Manager
As a communications manager for McREL, Kirsten manages dissemination under the REL Pacific contract, and writes and edits a variety of reports, articles, and other publications. She has published articles in Educational Leadership, Principal Leadership, Phi Delta Kappan, Science Scope, and Principals Research Review, and is a coauthor of Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners, 2nd edition. She holds a B.A. in English from Southern Utah University.


Ms. Rebeka Rainwater, Executive Assistant
Rebeka performs a wide range of administrative duties as executive assistant for the vice president of our Pacific Center. Prior to joining McREL, Rebeka was the office manager for Hawai’i’s health insurance marketplace created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. She has also served in various capacities at the Research Corporation at the University of Hawai‘i and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston. She began her career teaching K–3rd grade at a private school in Austin, Texas. Rebeka holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied business, liberal arts, and fine art. In her spare time, she enjoys water sports, local food, Kakaʻako culture, and listening to her vinyl record collection.


Ms. Susan Ryan, Curriculum Services Consultant
Susan Ryan is a former classroom teacher at the secondary grades. She is certified as an English language arts teacher in Colorado. As a standards consultant at McREL, she has reviewed and revised language arts, social studies, and other standards documents for numerous districts, state agencies, and organizations. She has developed assessment items, reviewed instructional materials, and created lesson plans. Susan is an experienced editor and proofreader. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Colorado and completed the teaching licensure program through Metropolitan State College of Denver.


Mr. Spencer Scanlan, Research Specialist
Spencer supports regional research studies, technical assistance projects, data analysis requests, and collaboration with REL Pacific research alliances. As a native Pacific Islander, Spencer is committed to improving the education experience for students, teachers, and administrators across the region. Spencer uses his vast cultural knowledge and research background to make a difference in the lives of the people of the Pacific region. Spencer holds a B.A. in psychology from Brigham Young University, and an M.Ed. in educational psychology specializing in measurement, statistics, and evaluation from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.