Neil Naftzger is a principal researcher working on afterschool and expanded learning initiatives at AIR. An experienced evaluator and researcher within the field of afterschool programs, Naftzger has spent more than 15 years designing and conducting evaluations and research studies in the after-school and youth development arena that involve the collection and analysis of data in various forms, particularly in relation to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program. Dr. Naftzger studies both the impact of youth-serving programs on various outcomes and the role program quality plays in this process.
Dr. Naftzger has been the principal investigator on research grants from the Charles Stewart Mott, William T. Grant, and Raikes Foundations and on statewide evaluations of the 21st CCLC programs in seven states. He led a study funded by the National Science Foundation to explore how youth interest and engagement develop in STEM-oriented summer learning programs using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM). Dr. Naftzger also is leading a multi-year evaluation of the Community Schools Initiative administered by Chicago Public Schools.