Micela Leis, PhD

she / her
Senior Research Scientist

Current Role

Micela Leis is a Senior Evaluation Faculty member, focused on providing internal research and evaluation support. She is currently focusing on building CCL’s capacity to be a provider of evidence-based leadership solutions in the field of education. She is particularly interested in youth leadership development, using research and evaluation to help improve program implementation, and the role of trust as a critical ingredient for organizational change.


Micela has worked in the field of education for over a decade. She began her career by teaching English to students in grades 7–11 in Costa Rica, before moving to Nicaragua to help create a school for students with special needs. She then worked as an elementary school teacher in a public school in rural North Carolina with Teach for America, and in a private school in her hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. After a few years of teaching, Micela decided to pursue a doctoral degree in educational psychology.

As an Institute of Education Science pre-doctoral fellow, Micela worked at the Social Development Lab at UVA, where she worked on a variety of research projects including a mixed methods evaluation of a program that sought to improve communication and collaboration between adults in schools and a partnership with rural districts in Virginia to use data-driven results to improve instructional rigor. Her dissertation work focused on how to build relational trust between principals and teachers.

Micela has presented her work to both researchers and practitioners at a number of different conferences, including the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference, Alignment Nashville’s Social Emotional Learning Conference, the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, and the American Educational Research Association annual conference. Additionally, she has published quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods peer-reviewed journal articles. She has also co-authored 2 books on youth leadership development: Social-Emotional Leadership: A Guide for Youth Development (for adults) and Building Bridges: Leadership for You and Me (for children).

Educational Background

Micela has a PhD in Educational Psychology — Applied Developmental Science from the Curry School at the University of Virginia, as well as a BA in Child Development from Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Professional Affiliations and Certifications

Micela is a member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Honors, Awards, Grants

Micela has received several honors and awards for her work, including the following:

  • Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, University of Virginia, 2016.
  • Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) Pre-doctoral Fellowship, University of Virginia, 2012–2016.
  • Robert Lynn Canady Fellowship, 2015.
  • Alex Elias Memorial Prize Scholarship Award, Tufts University, 2008.
  • NESCAC Team Sportsmanship Award, Tufts University, 2008.

Areas of Expertise

Evaluation K-12 & Youth Leadership Network Analysis Trust
  • Data Visualization
  • Educational Research
  • Mixed Methods
  • Research Design and Analysis Methods
  • Research in Schools
  • Statistics

More About Micela

Download CV | LinkedIn Profile

Related Solutions

Insights From Micela

Our society is usually quick to identify a bad leader, but how do you identify a good one? We’ve found that great leaders consistently possess these 12 core leadership traits.
See how investing in leadership development for K-12 principals, teachers, and staff can transform schools and entire school systems.

Micela in the News

CCL has published 2 books, one for educators and one for children, about Social-Emotional Leadership, strengthening our investment in building tomorrow’s leaders today.

Featured in Other Publications

Interview with CCL Senior Evaluation Faculty, Micela Leis, and Societal Advancement Faculty, Susan Reinecke, on WXII 12 News.