Hi! I'm Kim Leonard
Principal & Founder of Leonard Research & Evaluation
I’m a researcher, evaluator, facilitator, collaborator, and communicator with over 15 years of experience in program evaluation and improvement, most recently within philanthropy. I am incredibly fortunate to be a practitioner and champion of the Equitable Evaluation Framework (TM).
I’m also a mother, daughter, wife, dog and cat parent, gardener, knitter, lover of arts and artists and bad reality TV (balance is good, right?).
I bring a range of experiences to this work. I am currently a Senior Research & Learning Officer at the Oregon Community Foundation where I’m responsible for designing, managing and conducting evaluations of Foundation programs and initiatives in collaboration with a range of community partners. I’ve previously held roles in program evaluation, higher education learning assessment, and organizational improvement.
I completed undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Anthropology at Linfield College and a Master’s in Public Administration at Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government. How people gather, make sense of, and use information has always intrigued me.
I grew up in Montana but have been in Oregon for well over half my life. Home is in Milwaukie, Oregon on the ancestral lands of the Clackamas people, with my wonderful husband Scott, our kindergartener and our very silly animals.
How I work
I work collaboratively to build shared ownership of what we learn.
I start with curiosity and work to get to know the people and context of a project or program. I act as a facilitator of learning and a promoter of equity and justice. I’m passionate about helping people thrive and empathetic to a fault, if that is possible.
My aim is to minimize burden and build power (which is not finite). I want people to feel and be seen, heard, understood and trusted so that our collective expertise leads to better decisions and more humane programs and systems.
I want research and evaluation activities to be rewarding experiences for everyone involved. I believe evaluators have to work thoughtfully to minimize and repair harm whenever possible. And that that this work can also be joyful and engaging, and that creating space for connection is vital to making our communities more just and equitable.
I know this can lead us to more meaningful, valid, and useful data and enable more intentional use of that data.
Authenticity – Being human is messy – let’s embrace it.
Community, not competition – I believe that resources are plentiful and that we can do more together than alone.
Creativity & adaptability – Creative thinking is necessary. I assume things will evolve and change.
Learning & curiosity – Learning and curiosity are core to my practice, and I love when questions result in more questions.
Future-facing – I want to focus on what is possible, and spend more of my time imagining our way to a better future.
These values help me contribute to a more equitable, just world. The pursuit of equity and justice are my why — the reason I do this work and in the way that I do it.
Areas of experience and expertise
Much of my career has focused on improving programs and systems that support children and families. This includes work in (and at the intersections of):
- Adult learning
- Arts education
- Child care and early childhood learning
- Children’s dental health
- Diversity, equity and inclusion
- Higher education learning assessment
- Organizational learning
- Out-of-school time programs
- Population-specific educational equity
- Program quality improvement
- Social and emotional learning
- STEM/STEAM programs
- Systems and process change
I'm so proud to have co-authored Designing Quality Survey Questions with Sheila B Robinson, published by Sage in 2019
Other publications and projects
Examples of evaluation work at Oregon Community Foundation: