Quality Leadership Matters Blog


Meet the New Members of the GSC

June 1st, 2021 by


UCEA is pleased to introduce five new and exciting members of the Graduate Student Council. Please join us in welcoming Cara Jones from Texas Christian University, Andrea “Andii” Layton from Pennsylvania State University, Jeana Partin from the University of Tennessee (UTK), Dre’Sha Singleton from North Carolina State University, and Nathan Tanner from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These new members will serve for two years and work to increase the presence and the voice of graduate students in UCEA.  

Cara Jones

Cara Jones is a PhD student in the K-12 Educational Leadership program at Texas Christian University. Cara taught English and served as an instructional specialist and data analyst for 6 years in public schools before supporting curriculum and instruction for an educational non-profit. Her research focuses on racial identity development, critical quantitative studies, and using Critical Race Theory to analyze educational policy. Cara is currently an AACTE Holmes Scholar for TCU and has served as an adjunct professor for the past year in the College of Education. Cara holds an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from TCU and a B.S. in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin. Outside of work and studies, Cara loves reading fiction and YA novels and spending time with her partner and toddler.

Twitter: @carajonesed


Andrea ‘Andii’ Layton

Andrea “Andii” Layton is a second-year doctoral student in education policy and leadership at Pennsylvania State University (PSU). Her research interests include creating racial and educational equity, student empowerment, and curricular assessment for teacher preparation programs in higher education institutions. Before attending PSU, Layton received an M.A. degree from the University of Chicago in social work administration and a B.A. degree in sociology and African American studies at Rutgers University. She has also worked as a seventh-grade humanities teacher, and as a high school college, and career counselor for undocumented students who were over-aged and under credited. Her published research has appeared in the American Journal of Education and Critical Race Studies in Education Association. She is also a proud recipient of the Anti-Racism Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center grant. Layton is excited and happy to be a part of the UCEA family.

Twitter: @AndiiL6

Jeana Partin

Jeana Partin is a Ph.D. student in Educational Administration at the University of Tennessee (UTK) and serves as a graduate research assistant for UTK’s Center for Educational Leadership. Her research interests include understanding mindfulness in principals’ decision-making and online and hybrid home-centered K-12 education. Jeana is the founder and administrator of Cumberland Christian Academy in Knoxville, TN. Her previous roles include operations manager and controller for the international software company Waves, Inc. and area representative for the international curriculum and tutor training company, Classical Conversations. In addition, she has participated on several educational non-profit organization boards which serve marginalized youth in her area. Jeana looks forward to helping her fellow graduate students as a member of the UCEA Graduate Student Council.

Dre’Sha Singleton

Dre’Sha Singleton is a doctoral student at North Carolina State University in the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis program in the College of Education. Dre’Sha is also a Graduate Assistant with the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research. In addition to being a doctoral student she is also the Business Development Manager for The Justice Firm, LLC in Charlotte, NC, that represents victims of eminent domain and supports property owners navigating the condemnation process. Her research interests include education policy narratives in the policy making process and justice in education. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor’s of Science from Winthrop University as well as a Graduate Certificate in Counselor Education from North Carolina State University. 

Twitter: thisisdresha

Nathan Tanner

Nathan Tanner is a third-year doctoral student In Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include the history of education and schooling in the Mountain West, addressing racial equity and justice, as well as challenging Whiteness in PK-20 contexts. He transitioned to doctoral studies and educational research after working as a middle school social studies teacher in Salt Lake City, Utah, and as an ESL teacher in Tianjin, China. Nathan holds a B.A. in History and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy. Having benefited greatly from UCEA’s programming and welcoming community, Nathan is excited to serve and work with graduate students as a GSC member. 

Twitter: @mnathantanne

Leave a Reply