Acorn Evaluation, Inc., or simply “Acorn” , was founded in 2013. The name comes from the many acorns and oak trees surrounding the headquarters in Poway, California, a suburb of sunny San Diego. Acorn began because early childhood education organizations were asking for help with using their existing data for program planning and to enhance the quality of their services in response to rapidly changing requirements.
Acorn serves Early Head Start/Head Start (EHS/HS) recipient agencies throughout the country, and works collaboratively with the National Head Start Association (NHSA) to provide professional development through data literacy training for line staff and a formal credential for managers and directors. Acorn provides data literacy education and credentialing, organizational data capacity assessment, and training and technical assistance to support the entire Head Start field in continuous quality improvement (CQI). Organizations that successfully implement CQI are enabled to share their success stories, retain/increase their funding, and provide the highest quality services to their children and families. Acorn works seamlessly alongside each of our partners and clients, providing support services within the context of each organization’s unique needs and interests.
Our team is made up of experienced professionals including experienced Head Start and Early Head Start professionals, external evaluators, data scientists, social workers, management consultants, and early childhood education experts.
Helping Early Childhood Education programs use data for continuous quality improvement to increase the well-being of children and families.
Stuart Jones, M.A. (LinkedIn)
Partner, Chief Executive Officer, Founder
Stuart has spent over 20 years working as a professional evaluator and management consultant, primarily focusing on organizations that serve the early childhood community. In 2013 he founded Acorn Evaluation to further the goal of providing quality educational and consulting services to the Head Start/Early Head Start community.
Stuart's previous experience includes responsibility for large-scale process and outcomes evaluations of the California Department of Education, First 5 San Diego, San Diego County Office of Education, Rady Children's Hospital San Diego, and federal Even Start grant programs, focusing on early childhood education, family engagement, family literacy, developmental screening, smoking cessation, breastfeeding education, and access to healthcare.
As CEO of Acorn, Stuart works with senior leaders throughout the Head Start/Early Head Start field to champion best practices in data-driven implementation of continuous quality improvement. He is the lead instructor for The Academy at NHSA's Data Literacy Credential.
Greg Dixon, Ph. D. (LinkedIn)
Partner, Chief Learning Officer
Dr. Dixon is the leading designer of professional development programs to build data literacy in Head Start. He brings two decades of award-winning experience as a professor and curriculum designer to the development of programs that make data fun and accessible to all.
Dr. Greg previously served as an award-winning professor and applied social scientist, as Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of West Georgia; Associate Director of Analytics Services at Murphy Center for Public Service; and a quantitative methods expert in the MPA and PhD Programs at Walden University.
As Chief Learning Officer of Acorn, Dr Greg is directly responsible for Acorn's educational offerings, serving as both curriculum expert and senior course designer. Thousands of Head Start/Early Head Start professionals nationwide have learned more about data literacy and using data in their programs from Dr. Greg's friendly, instructive videos, in both The Academy at NHSA's Data Literacy Credential, Data Basics, and Data Essentials, and in Acorn's own Data Analyst Certificate.
Rachel Hoffman, M.S.
Director of Operations
Rachel is responsible for Acorn's day-to-day operations, coordinating all aspects of service implementation, staff assignments, and deliverables. She previously served as the Health Specialist for STG International in Head Start Region IX, and prior to that worked as a Health Coordinator and Management Analyst at Neighborhood House Association in San Diego, CA.
Stephanie A. Tesch, M.S.W.
Director of Partnerships
Stephanie is responsible for Acorn's partnerships - supervising a project coordinator team to develop and implement data-driven decision making informed road maps that demonstrate continuous quality improvement at Head Start/Early Head Start recipient programs nationwide. Stephanie also serves as a faculty lecturer with California State University San Marcos' Master of Social Work program.
Candice DeVane, M.B.A.
Director of Analytics
Candice is responsible for Acorn's custom deliverables that support data-driven decision making within the framework of continuous quality improvement. She previously served as CEO of a Sylvan Learning Center, a Manager of Policy at Intelsat, and several engineering positions. She holds a MBA as well as a BS in Electrical Engineering.