Office of Research
Our expert staff is trained and experienced in conducting state-of-the-art qualitative and quantitative social science and assessment methodologies.
Nathaniel “Nate” K. Hixson, Assistant Director
We are supported by two staff associates:
Nathaniel (Nate) K. Hixson
Mr. Hixson has worked for the West Virginia Department of Education since 2009, in both the Office of Assessment and Accountability and the Office of Research. He began his service to the WVDE as a coordinator of research and evaluation where he directed various research and evaluation projects primarily supporting the areas of assessment, accountability, and special education. He currently serves as assistant director for the Office of Research where his projects focus primarily on K-12 program evaluation, education policy evaluation and research, large scale assessment and accountability, and school improvement. Prior to working in the Department, Mr. Hixson held research positions with Edvantia, Inc. and the West Virginia University Department of Community Medicine. He has experience in conducting research and evaluation projects in a variety of contexts using multiple methods. His work has been presented to various state agencies, the West Virginia Board of Education, and nationally. He is a member of the American Evaluation Association and the American Educational Research Association. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communication Studies with a concentration in theory and research, both from West Virginia University.
Dr. Beane has worked for the West Virginia Department of Education since 2005, as a certification coordinator in the Office of Professional Preparation, and as a coordinator and assistant director in the Office of Instruction. Her current projects in the Office of Research focus primarily on grant procurement and management. Prior to working in the Department, Dr. Beane served as an elementary school principal, middle school English/reading teacher, preschool/special needs teacher, and elementary teacher. She earned National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification in 2003 in the area of early adolescence English/language arts, and was a two-time recipient of the prestigious Arch Coal Golden Apple Achiever Award. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English (minor in journalism) from Glenville State College, a master’s degree in elementary education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Salem International University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Argosy University of Chicago.
Patricia Cahape Hammer
Ms. Hammer has worked for the West Virginia Department of Education since 2010, as a research writer and evaluation project lead. Her current projects focus primarily on professional development, closing the achievement gap, early childhood education, and arts education. Prior to working in the Department, Ms. Hammer held a position with a federal government contractor, Synergy Enterprises, Inc. in Maryland, where she worked extensively with the National Center for Education Statistics and the Institute of Education Sciences. Prior to that she worked for more than two decades for a nonprofit research and development organization, Edvantia, Inc., where her focus was primarily in rural education research. She was recipient of the Stanley Brzezenski Rural Education Research Award from the National Rural Education Association in 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in sociology from Marshall University. She has also completed coursework toward a doctorate in education administration at Ohio University.
Jason E Perdue
Mr. Perdue has worked for the West Virginia Department of Education since 2004. Initially he coordinated the i∙Know Item Bank and Testmate Clarity Software; in addition he provided technology support to the Office of Student Assessment Services and helped with the implementation of the first large-scale online writing assessments. He currently serves the Office of Research as a technology and data manager. Prior to his arrival at the West Virginia Department of Education, Mr. Perdue was the training manager for the southern West Virginia branch office of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. Mr. Perdue has a master’s degree in secondary education from Marshall Univeristy and a bachelor’s degree in social studies education from West Virginia Institute of Technology. He is also an avid photographer.
Amber D Stohr
Ms. Stohr has worked for the West Virginia Department of Education since 2012 as a researcher and evaluator. Her current projects focus primarily on special education. Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Stohr was an epidemiologist with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, Health Statistics Center. Additionally, she has over five years of teaching experience, both in the United States, and in China. Her professional and educational focus areas include evaluation; policy, systems and environmental change; social determinants of health; equity studies in race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status; and Chinese politics and economics. Ms. Stohr received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Marshall University. She holds a master’s degree in international development with a certificate in global health studies from the University of Denver.
Steven A. “Andy” Whisman
Dr. Whisman has worked for the West Virginia Department of Education since 2010 as a researcher and evaluator. His current projects focus primarily on healthy schools, school climate measurement, and prevention. Prior to working in the Department, Dr. Whisman held positions as senior evaluation specialist with the West Virginia Prevention Resource Center at Marshall University, and as research associate faculty with the Division of Forestry at West Virginia University. Earlier, he worked as a consulting geologist in the coal and construction industries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Marshall University, a master’s degree in wildlands recreation management and a doctorate in forest resource sciences with an emphasis in social science research from West Virginia University.