Director of Operations, Finance, & Strategy
Annice Correia Gabel (she/her) is the Director of Operations, Finance, & Strategy at RPPL. She is thrilled to be at RPPL where equity is central to the mission, and where we bring high-quality research into practice. The role is her ideal alignment of skills and passion. Annice previously worked in roles spanning from direct social service to education research to operations and analytics in local and state agencies. She holds a B.A. in Social Science with a minor in Public and Community Service Studies from Providence College, an M.A. in Education and Social Policy from NYU, and completed the Strategic Data Project fellowship through Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research.
Q & A
Q: How did you get into the education field?
I had always been interested in entering the education field and while I was drawn to the classroom I knew I wanted to leverage my analytic skills to impact the field from a research and policy perspective. I’ve so enjoyed the many opportunities I’ve had to work supporting educators, school and district leaders, while learning new skills along the way. All that said, I expect the final chapters of my career to be in a classroom setting. I’m already looking forward to it!
Q: What can data tell us about education?
While data and research findings are a great tool in the education space, I’ve experienced a healthy skepticism about data, research, and results from many. Collectively, we’ve ramped up the amount of data in education and it can be overwhelming! I do believe that a well-designed analysis or study that includes the voices of those represented in the data is best practice. I’ve seen firsthand how impactful that can be.
Ideally, data in education can tell us many things: How are we performing overall as a country, a state, a district, a school? What is working well, and what needs improvement? How can an educator best support the needs of their students?
I feel extremely fortunate to join the RPPL team where we get to both impact the production of high quality research and then connect it to practitioners. And all of this with equity at the core. I’m enthusiastic to get to work supporting that vision.
Q: What challenges do you feel professional learning can and needs to address?
I have experience working with a PL organization where I helped to design and analyze the anonymous surveys we would administer to educators at the end of sessions. I know through that experience and through my relationships with many educators that PL does not always feel relevant. I’d love for RPPL to play a role in changing that reality. I’m really impressed that my colleagues sought feedback from a broad community to develop the Call to Action and Learning Agenda and I look forward to working on all the challenges addressed there.
Q: Do you have a favorite teacher?
I’ve had so many wonderful teachers - each year growing up my most recent grade school teacher was my favorite. I will say that two particular educators in high school left a lasting impact on me.
Mrs. Dall was my AP English teacher in 11th and 12th grade. She created a classroom where respectful dialogue and creativity were highly valued. She offered us a lot of freedom while ensuring we were learning the rigorous curriculum. I hope to be like Mrs. Dall in many ways, most of all as a future educator.
Mr. Rod was never actually my classroom teacher (though he taught in my high school). He was my track and field coach and he imparted so many lessons that continue to inspire and guide me: champions are made at practice, we’re always working on our personal best, not to beat another athlete or team.
Q: What is the best thing someone could do to improve education for kids?
This is such a difficult question! I think we do a great disservice to children when we do not acknowledge their health and safety within the education system. In my last role, I worked with data that showed a steeply rising trend in children’s mental health diagnoses. This is a national crisis widely reported on that I think needs to be a bigger part of our thinking around effective classrooms, schools, and education systems.
Beyond this, I am personally passionate about addressing and ending homelessness. Like the mental health crisis, there is a steadily growing number of students, albeit smaller, who experience homelessness each year. I would like to see more attention paid and funding available for these students.
Q: How do you like to spend your free time?
I love to spend time with my husband and our foster children. We’ve been foster parents for about 4 years and have had the great privilege of loving 5 children and their families so far.
I really enjoy riding my e-bike to the beach and going on long walks and hikes with my pup. I made a point of using my library card as much as possible in 2022 and look forward to keeping that up!