Recent M.P.P. Graduates
Oma Kofi Darku, M.P.P. ‘11
Kofi Darku is the Research and Information Coordinator at 55,000 Degrees, an organization committed to improving postsecondary educational attainment and access in the greater Louisville, Kentucky area.
Through his fifteen years of experience in education-- at the Child Development Program at Chicago Commons, STEM Preparatory Academy in Nashville, and currently at 55,000 Degrees —Kofi has developed a useful balance of analytical skills in the policy context and the use of data to inform action. A graduate of Wabash College, Kofi completed his M.P.P. practicum at the Washington D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education.
“Through the Peabody MPP program, I improved the quality of my research and analytical skills. I remain close with my cohort and continue to receive the positive peer effects of learning and growing with highly competent and focused people working to make necessary changes in education.”
Tiffany McDole, M.P.P. '12
Tiffany McDole currently serves as Deputy Director in the Division of Curriculum & Instruction at the Tennessee Department of Education, where she oversees the statewide training and support strategy for the transition to the Common Core State Standards and other statewide instructional improvements. Originally from Denver, CO, she received a B.A. in public policy and business administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and taught 5th grade in a rural North Carolina town through Teach for America. While pursuing a Masters in Public Policy, Tiffany completed her practicum at the Tennessee Department of Education in the Race to the Top office, coordinating work on teacher evaluation for non-tested grades and subjects.
"The M.P.P. experience at Peabody allowed me to deeply engage with the issue areas I found most pressing as a classroom teacher, and that I now interact with daily working at a state department of education. The coursework and practicum experience provided a balance of research and practice, and a balance between breadth in exposure with the opportunity to specialize. The opportunity to work with and learn from our faculty and the members of my cohort not only prepared me to move into a policy position, but also connected me with a strong and growing network of individuals dedicated to the improvement of education for all children."
Mark Dunn, M.P.P. ‘12
Mark Dunn is currently the Director of Outreach and Recruitment for Yale University’s Undergraduate Admissions Office.
“I began the M.P.P. program in 2010 after three years of working as an undergraduate admissions officer, with an itch of curiosity about the larger policy frameworks shaping how students prepared for and entered college. I was attracted to Peabody for its emphasis on opportunities outside of the classroom, and its many connections with state and local policymakers. During my two years in the program I pursued different internships with very different organizations – bolstering both my résumé and my sense of where to make my next career move. As someone whose interests straddle both K-12 and higher education, I was able to pursue coursework in both fields including several courses that bear directly on the intersection of the two. I also greatly improved my fluency and capacity with quantitative analysis and data-driven decision-making. I use these skills and many of the lessons I learned on a daily basis in my current position at Yale. “
Drew Jacobs, M.P.P. ‘10
Drew Jacobs is a data and policy analyst for The Education Trust-Midwest. Drew’s career includes work with teachers unions, government, non-profit organizations, and faith communities to improve the educational experience of public school students. Drew’s work at the Education Trust includes data and policy analysis, crafting legislation, and working with practitioners to improve educational access and outcomes for Michigan’s most underserved students. Prior to joining The Education Trust—Midwest, Drew was the State Network Organizer for Tennessee's Safe Routes to School program. In addition, Drew taught world geography at LaVilla School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was involved in curriculum development. A Michigan native, Drew received his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in social studies education with a focus on urban and under-resourced education.
Drew’s practicum experience in the M.P.P. program was with the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization where he explored the intersection of education, health, and transportation policy to improve walking and bicycling conditions for students in Nashville. According to Drew, “this experience has paid dividends as I work to build coalitions on education reform in Michigan.”
Sara Waly, M.P.P. '12
Sara Waly is an Education Program Specialist in the Office of School Turnaround in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education in the United States Department of Education. Sara serves as a state program officer and also leads and assists on technical assistance, grant monitoring, and internal capacity initiatives. Prior to joining the Department, Sara served in state government on policy development and implementation related to teacher and principal preparation, licensure, recruitment and retention, and leader evaluation. Previously, Sara taught sixth grade writing in Gary, Indiana, seventh and eighth grade reading, writing, and social studies at a bilingual charter school in Phoenix, Arizona, and served as a special education teacher’s aide in Germantown, Wisconsin. As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sara majored in international studies and journalism and studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador. She holds a Master in Teaching from Dominican University and a Master of Public Policy in Education from Vanderbilt University.
“My studies at Peabody greatly inform the work I do every day at the US Department of Education. My practicum experience at the Tennessee Department of Education—made possible by one of my professors at Peabody—was an incredible experience and contributed enormously to my professional development and my ability to more meaningfully collaborate with states in supporting our efforts to turnaround the nation’s lowest-performing schools.”