Principal Education Researcher, SRI Education
Victoria Schaefer leads the training, coaching, and technical support task for SRI’s Regional Education Laboratory Appalachia (REL AP). A regional center funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) that serves Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, REL AP works in partnership with school districts, state departments of education, and other education stakeholders to use data and research to improve outcomes for children and youth. Schaefer also leads the REL AP Cross-State Partnership to Effectively Communicate Data and Evidence, where state partners aim to improve local stakeholders’ use of data for continuous improvement. As task lead, she manages the quality assurance process for multiple projects across the region, leads and supports conceptualization of problem-solving high-priority regional needs and ensures projects meet regional needs with high-quality, on-time delivery.
Schaefer is recognized for excellence in technical assistance and as a national leader in rural education. She offers a rare combination of technical expertise, grassroots education-related experience, and keen insight based on her academic training and professional experiences. Schaefer’s expertise includes education evaluation and technical assistance services, where she excels in supporting clients with multifaceted problems and the need to bridge the best of research with practice. Content expertise includes motivation, school transitions, education and career expectations, poverty’s influence on development, performance measurement, and rural education. She has been recognized for excellence in leading cross-organizational teams as they tackle complex challenges related to grants administration and management, helping to problem-solve and identify future directions.
Before joining SRI, Schaefer was a senior study director at Westat, where she honed her skills and reputation for excellence in technical assistance through education-related projects that tackled complex challenges related to improving data quality, innovation in education, and performance measurement. Her prior work experience also includes serving as a research assistant at the IES-funded National Research Center for Rural Education Support at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she applied her experiences teaching in rural schools to help bridge research to practice as she worked directly with teachers in rural schools around the nation on the Rural Early Adolescent Learning (REAL) Program.
Schaefer chairs the Research and Higher Education Committee for the National Rural Education Association, leading the review process for proposals submitted for presentation at the annual conference and representing the organizational at national events.
Schaefer holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology, measurement, and evaluation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds both an M.A. and B.S. in history from East Carolina University.
- Schaefer, V., Harps, S., Moore, H., & Lammert, J. D. (2018). Grantee guide to project performance measurement. Rockville, MD: Westat.
- Investing in Innovation (i3) Program’s Improving Rural Achievement Community of Practice. (2017). Leading education innovations in rural schools: Reflections from i3 grantees. Washington, DC: Author.
- Meece, J. L., & Schaefer, V. A. (2010). Introduction. In J. L. Meece & J. S. Eccles (Eds.), Handbook of research on schools, schooling, and human development. London, England: Routledge.
- Farmer, T. W., Leung, M.-C., Banks, J. B., Schaefer, V., Andrews, B., & Murray, R. A. (2006). Adequate yearly progress in small rural schools and rural low-income schools. Rural Educator.