Independent Analysis Unit
The IAU was reconstituted by the Board of Education by an action of the Board on June 21, 2016. The Director of the Independent Analysis Unit was hired on April 28, 2017. Additional analysts came on board about four months later. The Unit has consisted of as many as five analysts, in addition to the Director.
The purpose, scope of work, and operating policies of the Independent Analysis Unit (IAU) are defined in the Charter approved on November 14, 2017.
The purpose of the IAU is to inform and advise the Board of Education with objective and nonpartisan analyses regarding the District's current, proposed, and potential policies, budgets, priorities, plans, practices, and initiatives.
The IAU is intended to help the Board develop long-term vision, establish priorities, and ensure that District budgets and initiatives are aligned with the Board’s priorities. Additionally, analysis of proposals prior to Board action is an important role of the IAU, to help the Board make better-informed, high-quality decisions. Both the Board and District staff may benefit from the IAU’s early engagement with District staff about forthcoming initiatives, whereby clarifications may be made prior to submission to the Board.
The IAU provides an independent viewpoint:
- The IAU reports directly to the Board. Candor and credibility are obtained by not having its work controlled by District staff, the Superintendent, or any individual Board member.
- The IAU is able to look at issues from a perspective bridging multiple disciplines and crossing District organizational boundaries.
- The IAU is able to examine deep policy issues, strategies, and long-term risks and opportunities more easily than operational staff bound to the annual decision cycle and immediate priorities.
Meet the IAU Team
Andrew Thomas, Director (Email)
PhD in Urban Education, UCLA
BA in Urban Studies, Columbia University
Research Areas: State, District and School Site Budgeting, Program Evaluation, Education Technology, After School Programs
Megan Besecker, Policy and Program Analyst (Email)
MPP, University of Southern California
B.S. in Neuroscience, University of Miami
Research Areas: STEM Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Teacher and School Effectiveness, Program
Haydee Vasquez, Research Support Specialist (Email)
AS in Business Management and Leadership, Santa Monica College