Rochester Office
Laura Payne-Bourcy, PhD
8 Parham Drive
Rochester, NY 14526
Syracuse Office
Scott Shablak, PhD
PO Box 35150
Syracuse, NY  13235


The R/E/D Team 


The mission of The RED Group has remained constant since its inception in 2004: to provide quality research, evaluation, and development services to educators, government, and human service agencies, higher education, and community foundations. Each member of our team has the experience and the access to university and professional resources that allow us to tailor our services to your particular needs. Our methods are grounded in solid research and the tools of our trade are drawn from the best practices of the profession or personally designed. Our hope is that your expectations for your service providers are high. Our goal is to meet them.







Laura Payne-Bourcy 

As co-founder of The RED Group, Laura brings more than 25 years of experience as K-12 educator and administrator, university researcher, and consultant to evaluation and development projects supported by local, state, federal, and foundation funds. Specializing in evaluation and professional development in high-needs rural and suburban settings, Laura manages and serves as primary consultant for projects ranging from early childhood education, technology integration, K-12 and adult literacy, to community needs assessments and strategic planning. Her skills in upfront and ongoing hands-on coaching result not only in quality service but in increased client capacity. She brings a lengthy list of successful grant writing experiences at state and national levels to The RED Group. Laura received her doctorate with distinction from Syracuse University and has served as visiting faculty at her alma mater and in the SUNY system.



Scott L Shablak 

Scott has developed a wide array of skills from a broad range of experiences spanning more than 30 years as a public school and university faculty member and administrator, local and national consultant, and co-founder and principal of The RED Group.

Scott has served as the primary investigator/consultant for the US Department of Education, the NYS Education Department, Magellan and HFWCNY Foundations, and more than 150 schools and community agencies. His primary areas of expertise include program and organizational evaluation and development, needs assessment and continuous improvement, and replication/sustainability planning. His research skills portfolio contains both quantitative and qualitative designs and tools adaptable to multiple settings. He has years of successful experience in grant evaluation planning and management. Scott holds a master’s degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University.




Mary Welker

Mary joined The RED Group in 2007 and immediately increased our capacity for qualitative methodologies and participatory evaluation. She has been key to the quality of our research-based survey and focus group instruments, as well as approaches to making clients and stakeholders partners in the evaluation process. Mary has served as the managing evaluator for projects as varied as an emerging and maturing dropout prevention alternative school, a foundation-funded initiative focusing on improved prenatal health care for high-risk populations, and a broad regional school-community STEM initiative. Mary also served as the evaluator for a project aimed at motivating and supporting first-in-the-family high school students in multiple rural schools to choose higher education following their graduation funded by the New York State Education Department. Mary holds a degree in business administration and has a strong background of expertise in school-parent relations regarding children with special needs.


R/E/D Team Senior Associates and Specialties


Anna Dahlstein (B.A. Government, M.A. Library and Information Studies): Social science research; professional and academic literature reviews; grant writing and professional editing; program evaluation coordination. Anna brings to The RED Group experience as an international news analyst, a teacher of English as a second language, and a higher education library and external relations specialist. With degrees from Harvard and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Anna brings her significant expertise in grant writing, research, and evaluation report writing to The RED Group. She is fluent in Spanish and Swedish.


Tom Hadlick (B.A. Secondary Education, M.S. Instructional Design, Development, Evaluation): Program and evaluation development; grant writing and management; project management; workplace and higher education; school/community planning. Tom is former executive director of the Onondaga Council on Alcoholism/Addictions and director of the WorkKeys job analysis and training center at Syracuse University. Tom’s experience also includes grant development focused on human service agencies and school districts. His degree in Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation contributed to his many skills in sound evaluation design and administration.


Lina Harris (M.S. Engineer Biology, M.S. Education): Program and project analysis; evaluation research and design; grant analysis and writing; evaluation management; report design and development. Lina has degrees in Engineering and Education, affording her a keen combination of analytic skills and the ability to apply multiple data-gathering designs and to understand and derive meaning from multiple data sources. As a native of Sweden with work experiences in many countries, Lina provides us with a range of evaluation competencies. She is fluent in English and Swedish.



Tara Wright (B.A. Human Development, M.S. School Psychology): Human service and mental health assessment development, case management, special education, and adult training. Tara’s experience includes individual and group assessment (intelligence, academic, social-emotional, and memory testing for national test publishers), children’s mental health, and organizational psychology. Tara is a certified school psychologist with expertise in the areas of mental health education, behavior management, and human resource necessities. She advises corporations on workplace dynamics as well as investor relationships. Tara serves on the boards of the Elmcrest Children’s Center and the Learning Disabilities Association.


The RED Group Team Specialists

Lucy Allchin, Frank Ambrosie, Mary Ellen Blakey, Elaine Casler, Cindy Daley, Paul Jivoff, Kelly Masters, Joelle Maurer, Tracey Menapace, Peg Peck

Finally, to provide a range of services that meet our clients’ needs, we search out knowledge and counsel from faculty at a major private research university and technical savvy and informed perspectives from specialists in higher education and professional roles throughout the region.