Dr. Connor Oswald is a part-time Associate of Data and Research for JPEF. In addition, he serves as the Senior Research Administrator at Orange County Public Schools. He previously served as an Associate of Strategy and Innovation at the Texas Education Agency. Connor earned his Ph.D. in Education Policy and Evaluation from Florida State University; he also has an Masters of Arts degree in Teaching Secondary Science from the University of North Florida and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Astrophysics from Florida State University.
Let's get to know more about Connor!
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to JPEF:
I am a product of Jacksonville’s Public Schools having attended Chet’s Creek Elementary, Darnell Cookman Middle School, and Stanton College Preparatory High School. I left Jacksonville to study astrophysics at Florida State University only to return to get my Masters of Arts in Teaching Secondary Science at the University of North Florida. This is how I first was introduced to JPEF. JPEF helped fund the Jacksonville Teacher Residency and helped prepare me for the classroom. During my years in the program, I taught at Andrew Jackson and Raines High School. I spent the last few years earning my Ph.D in Education Policy, working for the Texas Education Agency, and as a program evaluation and research specialist. Finally back in Florida, I am extremely excited to be able to work with JPEF directly to drive changes for all of Jacksonville’s students.
What excites you about using your expertise in research at JPEF?
As a quantitative researcher, seeing patterns in vast arrays of data and making suggested courses of action is my specialty. Often education is referred to as “Data Rich, Information Poor.” This refers to the situation where an organization or individual has access to large amounts of data but cannot effectively analyze or interpret it into meaningful information. I hope to be able to contribute in two ways. I am certain the information collected by JPEF already has influenced countless stakeholders throughout Jacksonville, I want to continue to dive deeper into that data to provide even more evidence about the state of education here in Duval. Second, I wish to improve internal efficiency to guarantee that JPEFs resources are maximizing their impact in the community.
Why does public education matter to you?
It is everything! A life motto I’ve gone by is “Think Globally, Act Locally,” undoubtedly this is an artifact of my education, but it is one that has guided me all over. I want that sentiment guiding all our choices. By maintaining an awareness about how our action interact with every other piece of the social fabric, we behave in a way that will improve life for those around us. It also ties us to the people who have made a difference in the past. In a letter from Isaac Newton to Robert Hooke he wrote “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants,” public education is the way to pay it forward to the next generation, knowing they’ll see even further!
Tell us about a teacher who impacted your life:
I would have to mention every teacher I’ve had but instead I’ll focus on my Physics professor. They gave me the opportunity to TA for a local high school and then a summer experience where I did research for the first time! I collected data from ~30 states and showed that in Florida in 2012 less than 25% of graduating seniors had taken a rigorous high school course. In 2017, the Missouri Legislature argued using the research I’d done that their physics taking was being underreported! That was one of the reasons why I pursued a career in research. I might be a completely different person if I didn’t meet that teacher!