Zena H. Rudo
Research Associate

Photo of Zena H. RudoZena Rudo is a Research Associate with SEDL's Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) program. Dr. Rudo works with the Regional Education Laboratory Southeast to design and conduct research studies and provide technical analytic support to build educational research capacity at the state and local levels. Her research focus with states in the Southeast region is on statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS), charter schools, and improving low-performing schools. She also leads an evaluation of the State of Louisiana's afterschool programs. Dr. Rudo conducts research and evaluation on other critical issues in education to inform practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and other education stakeholders. Her work includes research on school support services, school resources, and family and community involvement with schools.

Contact Information
You may contact Zena H. Rudo at 512-391-6554

or by using SEDL's contact form.

Areas of Expertise
Dr. Rudo’s interests include research and evaluation, specifically in the areas of school improvement, afterschool and expanded learning, and family and community engagement. In 2003, she received the Rogers L. Barton Award for outstanding contributions to SEDL’s educational research and development.
  • Research and Evaluation: Dr. Rudo has 20 years of experience in research and evaluation using mixed methods of data collection and analyses focused on school improvement issues. Past projects include studying the effectiveness of initiatives related to afterschool programs, family and community involvement with schools, and school improvement renewal zones. She also has led policy research on education resource allocation.
  • Afterschool and Expanded Learning: Dr. Rudo has worked to increase practitioners’ and policymakers’ research knowledge about out-of-school time and its impact on student and school performance. She has developed afterschool quality indicators used to evaluate afterschool programs for the California After School Demonstration Program as well as nationwide. She has also worked to translate research into practice in this area, providing guidance through professional development and written resources.
  • Family and Community: Dr. Rudo has 35 years of experience in family and community practice, research, and professional development. She provided technical assistance to 62 Parental Information and Resource Centers nationally on evaluation and performance measures. She has worked to develop and evaluate collaborative family, school, and community teams; taught family and community courses in higher education; and assisted state and national agencies in developing and implementing family and community policy.

Before joining SEDL in February 1999, Dr. Rudo was an assistant professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she taught and conducted research with the College of Education's Special Education Department and the Florida Mental Health Institute for Families and Children. She also served as the coordinator of a variety of family and community initiatives while at Research Assessment Management, Inc., and the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and served for 10 years as the executive director of the Child Abuse Prevention Center of Maryland.

Dr. Rudo holds a BA in psychology and social work and a master's of social work from the University of Maryland. Dr. Rudo's PhD is in education from the University of South Florida.

SEDL Publications

Selected External Publications
  • Wynn, K. L., Berry, A. K., Rudo, Z. H., & Wilkerson, P. (2003). AYP compliance educator: The step by step guide to Adequate Yearly Progress and school improvement. Paramus, NJ: Madison Publications, Inc.
  • Rudo, Z., Robbins, V., & Smith, D. (2002). Addressing home, school, and community violence for children with disabilities. In J. L. Paul, C. D. Lavely, A. Cranston-Gingras, & E. L. Taylor (Eds.), Rethinking professional issues in special education (pp. 119–150). Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing, an imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
  • Rudo, Z. H., Powell, D., & Dunlap, G. (1998, Summer). The effects of violence in the home on children’s emotional, behavioral, and social functioning: A review of the empirical literature. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 6(2), 94–113.
Selected Presentations
  • Rudo, Z. (2012, April). Learning more in math than literacy: After-school students’ achievement gains. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Rudo, Z. (2012, July). More academic activities, more success for Louisiana 21st CCLC Students. Presentation at the Annual 21st Century Community Learning Centers Summer Institute, New Orleans, LA.
  • Ferguson, C., & Rudo, Z. (2010, April). Current directions in family-school-and community engagement. Presentation at the Association for Childhood Education International, Phoenix, AZ.
  • Rudo, Z., Ogden, R., & Cron, D. (2010, March). Supporting improvement through policy and governance. Webinar for the Texas Comprehensive Center, SEDL, Austin, TX.
  • Rudo, Z., & Jordan, C. (2009, July). Building family and community partnerships with afterschool to increase student participation and achievement. Presentation at the Annual 21st Century Community Learning Centers Summer Institute, Nashville, TN.
  • Rudo, Z. (2009, April). Staffing and staff development in high quality afterschool programs. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.
  • Rudo, Z., & Parker, J. (2009, April). Quality afterschool: Practice in action. Presentation at the BOOST annual afterschool conference, Palm Springs, CA.
  • Rudo, Z., & Caverly, S. (2008, April). Education Renewal Zones:  Increasing partnerships and sharing resources for school improvement. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
  • Rudo, Z. (2008, March). Identifying quality indicators: A study of afterschool promising practice sites. Paper presentation at the American Educational Finance Association Annual Meeting, Denver, CO.
  • Rudo, Z., Jones, D., & Smith-Hansen, L. (2005, April). Teacher salaries and student achievement in rural areas. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada.
  • Rudo, Z. (2005, March). Achievement gap strategies and policy considerations. Keynote presentation at the Twelfth Annual Conference on Educational Access, Pine Bluff, AR.
  • Rudo, Z. (2005, February). State databases support linking resources and student performance. Presentation at the 18th Annual National Center for Education Statistics Management Information Systems Conference, New Orleans, LA.
  • Rudo, Z. H., & Elder, J. O. (2000, May). Engaging schools, communities and families in collaborative action. Paper presentation at the Building on Family Strengths Conference, The Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children’s Mental Health, Portland, OR.
  • Rudo, Z. H. (2000, April). Assessing shared leadership as a tool in home-school-community partnerships. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.
  • Rudo, Z. H. (2000, April). Evaluations: Why we need them. Paper presentation at the Texas Conference on Education, Austin, TX.
  • Rudo, Z. H. (2000, April). School-based collaborative teams: Evaluating process and student outcomes. Paper presentation at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.