Bill Leon, Ph.D., President
I like to share my passion for strengthening good organizations through evaluation. I have a strong background and deep experience in evaluation plus a history of work in community development (working in urban and rural areas in the U.S., in developing countries and for international organizations like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC)). I have evaluated many kinds of programs as an internal and external evaluator using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
In all my work, I strive to empower my clients to learn and use evaluation tools and methods that allow them to keep collecting, analyzing and using data for ongoing improvement and to communicate their findings and success to all stakeholders. I started Geo Education & Research in 2001 to provide a range of environmental, geographic, educational and evaluation services. I have built on my many years engaged in applied research and community development activities to serve organizations and communities in a variety of ways. I started working in the evaluation field in 1985 and I have since made it my primary consulting focus.
My resume and the Client List tab list examples of my evaluation work. Other research products are listed below in the link Research Products 1976 – 2001.
The following associates work with Geo Education & Research on a regular basis.
Philip Lightstone is a technology expert with long experience in database design and management. He designs and manages Geo’s online evaluation databases and assists with other evaluation activities.
Philip graduated Summa Cum Laude from Regis University in 1993. Believing strongly that life is to be experienced, Philip has done everything from working in refugee camps on the Thai/Cambodian border teaching math and computers to developing projects for Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and different universities. As an evaluation sub-contractor for Geo Education & Research, he has developed innovative ways to collect, store, and auto-analyze data and ways to present results in creative and easily understood ways.
Philip is a patient trainer and coach who has helped many clients understand how to use the data management tools he develops. By designing products that are easy to understand and use, by tailoring them to the needs of the user, by creating easy-to-use manuals that document his systems, and by working with clients until they can take over he empowers our clients to manage their own data more easily.
Philip has knowledge of major programming languages and has extensive experience designing data management solutions with MS Access, SQL and SQL Reports (SSRS). He also has experience as a webmaster doing everything from managing his daughter’s elementary school website in Seattle, Washington to designing and implementing a website that allows a university in Northern Oregon to track and report on all of their prospective students.
Michael A. Power, Ph.D.
Michael began his career in education as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea where he taught English as a Second Language. After earning a master’s degree in ESL and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, he worked in a wide variety of positions in public education including school district leadership in curriculum, instruction, equity and diversity, teacher training, assessment, and program evaluation. He was formerly Assistant Superintendent of the Tacoma Washington School District, and President of the Washington Educational Research Association.
Aside from his career in public schools, Michael was the first Manager of Educational Programs for the Tacoma Housing Authority where he designed and implemented many first-of-a-kind award winning programs to make the housing authority more engaged in the broader success of the families in its residences. Michael has also taught assessment, statistics, and program evaluation courses at the university level.
As an associate with Geo Education & Research, Michael has worked on the design and implementation of a wide variety of projects from evaluating educational and social service programs to determining the effectiveness of software training.
He is a founder and Vice President of Celebrating Students’ Success, a non-profit based in Washington State which supports public schools which are achieving positive outcomes for students despite the dual challenges of community poverty and systemic racism.
Afsaneh Rahimian, Ph. D.
Afsaneh has many years of experience conducting research and evaluation in public transportation, public health programs, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS, violence prevention, and programs targeting children and families. Many of these programs are housed in community-based agencies, as well as health departments, professional associations, and partnerships and collaborations. Afsaneh uses her skills to collect and analyze qualitative data using ethnography, focus groups, and in-depth interviews to supplement survey data. This approach provides a context and a deeper understanding of the findings. She has worked with many community-based programs that serve diverse cultural populations to develop logic models, evaluation plans, and data collection systems, and she strives to illustrate the relevance of evaluation data for strengthening programs. Afsaneh has assisted on various evaluations including Kids Matter, Getting School Ready for the Foundation for Early Learning, and evaluation of the statewide Child Care Resource and Referral Network. Afsaneh earned her Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Southern California and served as a research faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago for almost a decade.
Afsaneh is skilled at evaluating programs and systems as well as developing and implementing strategies that improve health of the most underserved communities of color facing many social determinants of health. In one recent project, she developed with community partners including Food Lifeline, Seattle/King County Public Health, and Children’s Hospital, addressed food insecurity for diabetic patients. A mobile Food Pantry brings fresh fruit and vegetables to diabetic patients who have food insecurity twice a month. The results are promising so far, with significant reductions in A1C levels. Prior to working at Sea Mar, she worked at Center for Community Health and Evaluation, at Kaiser Permanente (formerly known as Group Health Research Institute). Her projects included evaluation of Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL), a five-year initiative to promote health across nine communities in Southern California. This evaluation included examining the role of active transportation in public schools across California.
Most recently, Afsaneh served as a senior evaluation consultant for ORS Impact and as Director of Preventive Health Services with Sea Mar Community Health Centers. Besides research and evaluation, Afsaneh has a passion for painting landscapes in watercolor and making functional, hand-built pottery.
Sinan Demirel, Ph.D.
Sinan Demirel grew up in Ames, Iowa, the first member of his Turkish immigrant family to be born in the United States. He moved to Seattle in 1988 and began volunteering at soup kitchens and food banks there in 1989. From 1994 to 1999 he undertook a participant-observation study while a graduate student at the University of Washington, culminating in his Ph.D. dissertation on the topic of organizations that engaged with Seattle’s homeless community for direct action.
In 1996, he began the Friday Feast meal program, which Seattle’s street newspaper Real Change has called “the best of all soup kitchens.” During 2000-2001, he was Project Director of the State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services Homeless Families Study, which was at that time perhaps the largest survey yet undertaken of families served by emergency shelters. Following this, he served as the first Program Director (2002-2003) and then the first Executive Director (2003-2010) of Rising Out of the Shadows (ROOTS), which for many years operated the only shelter in the region dedicated specifically to serving homeless young adults. After securing a $2-million grant for that agency, he then moved to Elizabeth Gregory Home where, as Executive Director from 2010 to 2012, he oversaw the rebuilding of that organization, a relocation of its housing program for homeless women and the recruitment and transition of his successor.
Sinan now works as a consultant to local non-profit organizations and governmental agencies that address homelessness and is in the process of writing a book, tentatively titled Homeless in Seattle: A Local History of a National Tragedy. Sinan Demirel is a member (and former co-chair) of the Seattle-King County Health Care for the Homeless Planning Council and the former co-chair of the Seattle-King County Coalition on Homelessness. He has served on several advisory boards, the Washington State Coalition for the Homeless Management Information System Advisory Committee, and various McKinney-Vento funding review boards. Sinan is an avid gardener, community volunteer, and enjoys writing about social issues and simple living. For articles on homelessness written by Sinan, see this link: https://crosscut.com/author/sinan-demirel
Suzanne Meller, MPH, MSW, LICSW
Suzanne is a licensed clinical social worker and public health professional with over a decade of experience in mental health. She is a program evaluator, clinician, researcher, and manager and has worked across multiple settings including non-profits, healthcare, and industry. Suzanne has experience in community-based participatory research and mixed-methods research analysis which are skillsets she brings to her work at Geo Education and Research.
Don Norman, M.A.
Don came into evaluation from a background in adaptive management in wildlife conservation. He assists Geo with project design, data collection, data management, and statistical analysis. Don has worked as a Board Member and as director of projects at numerous non-profits involved with environmental monitoring and has served as an expert in ecological risk assessment. Don’s consulting experience includes work with FEMA (after Katrina devastated his home city), EPA Superfund and the oil industry, and beach restoration work. These give him perspective in suggesting approaches to alternative development, conservation, and environmental justice on local and regional scales.
Don also spreads his love of native environments by selling native plants through his nursery, Go Natives. See his inventory and more about his work at www.gonatives.com
Ken Winnick, M.A., MBA
Ken is a project manager and analyst in sustainability services, with a focus on information technology and integrating the social, economic, and environmental aspects of a project. He has 20 years of consulting experience in analysis, solution design, and marketing. He has worked both independently and with consulting companies CH2M Hill, URS, and Ebasco Environmental. Recent projects include an environmental economics analysis for Earth Economics and a wide variety of information system strategic plans for King County, the US Air Force, The Indian Health Service, and others. Ken is proficient in GIS, is Project Management Institute (PMI/PMP) certified, and holds an M.S. in Marine Ecology and an MBA from the University of Washington.
With over 25 years of information management experience and graphic design background, Jim is an expert at developing web sites and hard copy materials that are effective, logically organized, easy to understand, and visually appealing. His understanding of information presentation comes from a diverse background in addition to Information Technology including sales, training, and business ownership. He knows many technical languages and formats and has used them in many web and print projects. He also assists clients with strategic planning and data management tasks.