Office of Innovation for Education
Denise Airola founded the Office of Innovation for Education (OIE) at the University of Arkansas in 2013 with a grant from the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). The OIE focuses on enabling and accelerating innovative policies and practices to address barriers to educational equity and student success. She acts as a liaison with the ADE and other organizations to advance student-focused learning systems.
Dr. Airola has served public education for 34 years. Her first 18 years were spent first as a classroom teacher, then as a curriculum fellow designing and facilitating professional learning for math and science, and finally as a district administrator supervising curriculum, instruction, and assessment in public school systems. In 2003 she joined the University of Arkansas to work on her Ph.D. in education statistics and research methods.
Her roles at the University of Arkansas include her current role at OIE, as well as prior roles as the research specialist at the Arkansas Leadership Academy, and the assistant director for the National Office for Research on Measurement and Evaluation Systems. Her diverse experiences have included consultant with several state agencies on education research and evaluation projects, developing professional learning curricula for the use of educational data and balanced systems of assessment to drive instructional systems change, and developing survey instruments to assess self-efficacy and knowledge related to assessment and data use.