Kristen Dechert, M.A.

    A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Kristen Dechert currently works for Ours to Change, a nonprofit agency based in Jackson, Mississippi. As director of women in leadership, Dechert recruits and trains women who are supportive of public education to run for elective office around the state. Previously, she worked for Mississippi State University for over a decade and in several departments and centers. Most recently, she directed communication, research, and evaluation at the Research and Curriculum Unit, a center focused on K-12 public education. In this role, she oversaw production of several communications projects, managed research and evaluation projects, and co-coordinated the Mississippi Education Policy Fellowship Program. Prior to joining the RCU in 2011, she was a technical writer and editor for MSU’s Energy Institute. She has taught technical writing, literature, and academic-writing courses over the years and also has served on textbook editorial review boards and as an expert reviewer for linguistic research.

    Currently pursuing a PhD in public policy and administration, Dechert’s research interests include K-12 education policy and administration with an emphasis on personnel decisions that affect equitable access to school leadership positions. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Montevallo and Mississippi State University, respectively. Her work has appeared in Journal of Educational Leadership in Action and Using Data in Schools to Inform Leadership and Decision Making (essay collection). She has presented at conferences for several national organizations, including University Council of Educational Administration, American Educational Research Association, and Consortium for Research on Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness.

    In addition to her doctoral work and professional duties, Dechert serves her undergraduate alma mater as president of the University of Montevallo National Alumni Association Junior Board of Directors and is on the board of directors for the Starkville Foundation for Public Education.