Acorn Evaluation, Inc., or “Acorn” as it is usually called, 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 was started 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
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 formed Acorn Evaluation to further the goal of providing quality evaluation and consulting services to the Head Start/Early Head Start community.
Stuart's previous experience includes responsiblity for large-scale process and outcomes evaluations through 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.
Greg Dixon, Ph. D. (LinkedIn)
Partner, Chief Analytics Officer
Dr. Greg is an educator and data scientist dedicated to making the world a better place through the use of data. With a teaching career spanning nearly two decades and a decade of applied social science research, Dr. Dixon is an experienced scholar practitioner. As the Chief Analytics Officer at Acorn Evaluation Dr. Greg works with Head Start and Early Head Start programs nationwide to make the most of their data through analysis, evaluation, professional development, and process improvement.
Dr Greg previously spent 20 years as an award-winning professor and applied social scientist, serving as an 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. He now serves as lead professor for the Data Literacy Credential program at NHSA Academy.
Rachel Hoffman, M.S.
Director of Operations
Rachel holds responsibility for all of Acorn's services and offerings, directly supervising our project managers and staff. She previously served as the Health Specialist for STG International in Head Start Region IX, and before 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 - working 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.