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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. I’m also a mother, daughter, wife, dog and cat parent, gardener, knitter, lover of arts and artists and watcher of bad reality TV (balance is good, right?). I’m passionate about helping people thrive and bring my mind, heart and whole self to my work.

I practice equity-driven, human-centered program evaluation to strengthen teams, programs, and organizations and to positively impact the systems and conditions that should ensure equity and justice. For the last nine-plus years, I’ve had the privilege of shaping this work within a large statewide community foundation, where I am part of the leadership of an incredible Research & Learning team.

I have also spent the last decade building expertise in respondent-centered survey design in collaboration with Sheila B. Robinson. Together, we authored Designing Quality Survey Questions, published in 2018 and popular with both practitioners and students. Sheila and I regularly conduct workshops and provide consultation to organizations and researchers who want to gather more meaningful, useful information.

How I work

No matter the project, I:

  • Begin with authentic relationship and trust building
  • Strive to advance equity, honor multi-cultural ways of knowing, prioritize community-identified definitions and measures of success, and embrace complexity
  • Focus on what is most useful to program participants and decision makers
  • Plan realistically with respect for available resources, needs and assets
  • Leave room for inevitable change and support adaptation
  • Support use of learning and capacity building beyond delivery of evaluation tools or results themselves

I love to work collaboratively with clients, program staff, partners, program participants and community members. Together we’ll determine your information needs, work to gather and make sense of the data needed, and share what we learn to cultivate genuine positive change.

Area 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
  • Advocacy/policy
  • 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 love that as a program evaluator, I get to be a generalist. Every new project is a rich opportunity for me to learn from and with others, regardless of the topic or focus.

Publications and projects

Examples of evaluation work at Oregon Community Foundation:

My background

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 live in Milwaukie, Oregon on the ancestral lands of the Clackamas people, with my wonderful husband Scott, our kindergartener and our very silly animals. 

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