create consortium for research on educational assessment and teaching effectivness

CREATE's Achilles-Harper-Swenson Emerging Researcher Award

The Achilles-Harper-Swenson Emerging Researcher Award was created in 2013 by the CREATE board to honor three  educational researchers profoundly influenced the field. It is awarded to a new researcher on an annual  basis.


Dr. Charles M. Achilles was a professor of Educational Administration at Seton Hall University and  Eastern Michigan University.  Before that, he was a professor at the University of North Carolina  Greensboro from 1988-1994, where he served as Department Chair. From 1967-1988, he was  professor of Educational Administration at the College of Education at University of Tennessee,  Knoxville. Charles had a bachelor's degree in classics, master’s degree in education, and a doctorate in  educational administration all from the University of Rochester. 

Dr. Achilles was one of four Principal Investigators of Tennessee's Project STAR from 1985-1989, the  largest longitudinal, experimental design study in education. He has evaluated policy implementation of small classes in  16 Tennessee counties. A major strand of his work included determining how the use of research results could improve  conditions and outcomes of schooling. 

Achilles had experience in "effective school" efforts, including Project SHAL in St. Louis and the Knoxville Proficiency  Project as an evaluator. He was a member of the Phi Delta Kappa Commission on Public Confidence in the Schools from  1985-1988, and co-author of Handbook on Developing Public Confidence in the Schools (1988). He was co-editor and  contributor to Inside Classrooms: Studies in Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication (1977). Charles was Principal  Investigator in 1995 of Success Starts Small, a yearlong observational study of teaching in primary classrooms. He also  chaired numerous observational studies of teacher and teacher aide processes in classrooms. 

Dr. Achilles worked on school improvement, equity, and desegregation issues in Richmond, Cleveland, Kansas City,  Woodland Hills, Wilmington, and Knoxville. He was author, co-author, or editor of 60 books, chapters, monographs, or  major research reports. Charles Achilles is survived by his wife Karen and his daughter Christina. 


Maxine’s immediate family consisted of her deeply devoted parents, Max and Bernice Harper, sister,  Wanda Harper Clark and niece, Avent Clark.  Her long-time companion dog, Sonny, stayed loyally by  her side and was favored among the employees and students in the School of Education at Ole Miss. 

Maxine graduated from Pillow Academy as valedictorian of her class and went on to earn a master’s  degree in special education from Mississippi State University followed by a doctor of education  degree from Delta State University. Her most recent work was as clinical assistant professor of  education and director of the Center for Educational Research and Evaluation at the University of  

Mississippi. While she enjoyed all her work, teaching and direct contact with students was her real passion, because  she wanted to make sure those who went into the special education field could see firsthand that they should never  put limitations on their own students. She knew how important it was to never tell a child what he or she couldn’t do,  but instead find ways to help them find their gifts and succeed. Two books, “Daffodils in the Snow” and “Journey of  Hope,” were written by her as a way to share her faith and life story. 


Penelope “Penny” Lynn Walters Swenson lived a passion for education and for her students at all  ages and levels.  At the time of her death, she served as professor in Educational Administration  and Curriculum and Instruction as well as Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction in the School  of Education at California State University at Bakersfield.  A K-12 teacher and administrator for  over 25 years, in addition to her career in higher education, she also conducted research, wrote  prolifically, created textbooks, and made presentations across the United States and internationally in multiple areas, including learning, assessment at all levels, distance learning,  and technology for students and educators.   

Dr. Swenson grew up in California schools, earned her undergraduate degree from The University of Southern  California, and both the master’s degree and Ph.D. from The Claremont Graduate University.  Mother of six and  grandmother of many, she lived her educational commitment in her family and as an actively involved member of her  church and community.  

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The Consortium for Research Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness (CREATE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of assessment and evaluation in PK-12 and higher education. 

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