Mary Padden

(she, her, hers)

Researcher, Applied Research & Equitable Evaluation

Mary is driven by a deep commitment to racial justice and a belief that a more equitable future exists. As a researcher, she is passionate about humanizing, community-engaged research that disrupts the status quo and advances justice. Mary believes that authentic, equitable collaborations between schools and families are essential and students and families most impacted by inequities should be leading the way. She hopes her work contributes to liberatory educational experiences for students and fosters community well-being.

Mary started her career as a special education teacher in Oakland, California and also taught creative writing to students in juvenile hall. Later, she worked for the mayor of Oakland where she helped launch the Oakland Promise, a cradle to career initiative that supports students’ post-secondary success. In this role, Mary served as the director of the Kindergarten to College program. More recently, as a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, she worked for the Center for Evaluation and Research in STEM Equity and Seattle Public Schools’ Research and Evaluation team as a community partner fellow.


  • M.Ed., Education Policy, University of Washington
  • B.A., Public Policy Analysis, Sociology, and French, Pomona College

I could talk for hours about...


I don't trust people who don't like...


My favorite villain in a book, movie, or TV show is...

Ursula from The Little Mermaid

My kryptonite is...

Ice cream

Mary Padden

Areas of Expertise

  • Qualitative methods
  • Family engagement
  • Educational equity
  • Participatory methods

Blog Posts
Case Briefs & Publications

Partnering to Support Students Holistically

Colleges and universities are partnering with community-based organizations to support students holistically—including their basic needs. We looked at what makes these partnerships successful.