Model Demonstration Coordination Center

About Us

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) awarded contracts in 2005 and 2010 to the Center for Education and Human Services at SRI International to establish and operate the Model Demonstration Coordination Center (MDCC).

SRI’s Center for Education and Human Services (CEHS) performs research, evaluation, policy analysis, and planning studies on socially significant issues in K–12 education, special education, early intervention, early childhood education, mental health, and health and human services. The center is renowned for multiyear, large-scale national studies such as the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) and the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS). The center has conducted numerous studies using experimental designs on specific education and human service policies, programs, or interventions. CEHS staff members also provide national leadership on assessments for students with disabilities through such projects as the National Study on Alternate Assessments and the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center. In addition, CEHS staff members provide technical assistance on evaluation and policy analysis for nonprofit organizations, foundations, school districts, states, and other government and private agencies.

SRI International

SRI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute conducting client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, foundations, and other organizations. SRI is well known for its legacy of innovations in education, communications and networks, computing, economic development and science and technology policy, energy and the environment, engineering systems, pharmaceuticals and health sciences, homeland security and national defense, materials and structures, and robotics.


MDCC Leadership

Principal Investigator
Mary Wagner, Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator
Debbie Shaver, Ph.D.

Other Key Staff
Erika Gaylor, Ph.D.
Kate Nagle, Ph.D.
Cornelia Taylor, Ph.D.

SRI Staff Bios

Mary Wagner, Ph.D.
In her 34 years at SRI, Dr. Wagner has focused on longitudinal studies of children and youth with disabilities and experimental evaluations of interventions. She has provided leadership on the design and conduct of four national longitudinal studies of children and youth with disabilities: the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS), the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2), the National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study (NEILS), and the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS). She is currently co-principal investigator on two grants to examine the relationship between the receipt of school-based interventions and secondary and postsecondary outcomes for students in specific disability categories, using NLTS2 and SEELS data. Dr. Wagner also has extensive experience with evaluations of interventions using experimental designs with randomized controlled trials (RCTs). For example, she served as co-principal investigator of a national RCT being conducted under scale-up conditions to assess the academic and behavioral effects of First Step to Success on elementary school children who exhibit behavior problems at school. Dr. Wagner also was principal investigator of the National Behavior Research Coordination Center, which worked closely with four university-based behavior research centers in coordinating their RCTs of interventions for students with severe behavior problems.


Debbie Shaver, Ph.D.
Dr. Shaver has more than 20 years of experience in education research and policy analysis. She has served as a reviewer for the What Works Clearinghouse, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). In this role, she has reviewed nearly 100 research studies to evaluate the scientific merit of their research designs and the strength of their evidence for educational interventions. Dr. Shaver’s research has focused on students with disabilities, students at risk of academic failure, and collaborative school-linked services. She was on the leadership teams of the National Longitudinal Transition Study of Students with Disabilities (NLTS) and its successor, the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). Dr. Shaver is co-principal investigator on an IES grant to conduct secondary analyses using the NLTS2 dataset to examine factors associated with positive outcomes for deaf and hard-of-hearing students and a lead investigator on an IES grant investigating postsecondary persistence and completion for young adults with disabilities. In addition to her research experience, Dr. Shaver has provided technical assistance to schools and nonprofit organizations on evaluation design, analysis, and interpretation for policy and practice.


Erika Gaylor, Ph.D.
Dr. Gaylor has worked as a researcher and evaluator in both clinical- and community-based settings for more than 15 years. Her research and evaluations have focused primarily on understanding the policies and contexts that shape early childhood development. Dr. Gaylor is the principal investigator of the Early Mathematics Education Project evaluation, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program and designed to improve math instruction in prekindergarten to third-grade teachers by providing professional development in the Chicago Public Schools. She is also the principal investigator on an evaluation of the Child-Parent Center expansion study, a validation i3 grant designed to improve child outcomes following a comprehensive preschool to third-grade intervention. Dr. Gaylor served as project director of the Illinois Statewide Birth to Five Early Childhood Block Grant Program and the Early Childhood Scholarship Program, a market-oriented early childhood education quality initiative in Saint Paul, Minnesota.


Jennifer Yu, Sc.D.
Dr. Yu conducts disability policy and services research, particularly in the area of behavioral and mental health. She is currently co-principal investigator on grants from the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Science Foundation to examine interventions and outcomes of students with autism using the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) and the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) datasets. Her research contributions have included the analysis and reporting of findings from the National Behavior Research Coordination Center, which supported randomized trials of four evidence-based interventions aimed at improving behavioral and academic outcomes of young students with severe emotional and behavior disorders. Another study was an analysis of substance abuse findings for NLTS2, which documents the lives of youth with disabilities as they transition from high school to young adulthood. Dr. Yu is also a certified reviewer for the What Works Clearinghouse.


Office of Special Education Programs, SRI International, copyright 2015 SRI International