Research Team

Susan Moore Johnson

Susan Moore Johnson

Director & Principal Investigator

Dr. Johnson is the Jerome T. Murphy Research Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She studies and teaches about teacher policy, organizational change, and administrative practice. A former high school teacher and administrator, she has a continuing research interest in the work of teachers and the reform of schools. She has studied the leadership of superintendents, the effects of collective bargaining on schools, the use of incentive pay plans for teachers, and the school as a context for adult work. From 1993-1999, Johnson served as Academic Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is the author or co-author of many published articles and six books: Teacher Unions in Schools (Temple University Press, 1984), Teachers at Work (Basic Books, 1990), Leading to Change: The Challenge of the New Superintendency (Jossey-Bass, 1996),  Finders and Keepers: Helping New Teachers Survive and Thrive in Our Schools (Jossey-Bass, 2004) Managing School Districts for High Performance (Harvard Education Press, 2007), Achieving Coherence in District Improvement (2015), and Where Teachers Thrive: Organizing Schools for Success (Harvard Education Press, 2019). Dr. Johnson is a member of the National Academy of Education. She can be reached at

Research Affiliates

Dr. Jill Harrison Berg

Dr Jill Harrison Berg

Research Affiliate

Jill Harrison Berg is principal consultant at Jill Harrison Berg Consulting, LLC.  She is a leadership coach, school improvement consultant and researcher committed to maximizing the leadership potential of teachers.  Dr. Berg is the author of Leading in Sync:  Teacher Leaders and Principals Working Together for Student Learning (ASCD, 2018).  Her monthly column, “Leading Together,” in ASCD’s Educational Leadership, aims to heighten leaders’ attention to the complementary roles that teacher leaders and administrators can play as they co-perform leadership to improve their schools.

Dr. Sarah Birkeland

Dr Sarah Birkeland

Research Affiliate

Dr Sarah Birkeland is the founder of Helix Learning Partners, a research firm specializing in practical, practice-oriented research to drive the continuous improvement of educational initiatives. A former classroom teacher and school-change coach, she brings to her work a deep knowledge of schools and schooling as well as of program evaluation theory and research methods. Since earning her Ed.D. at HGSE in 2005, Sarah has also worked as a senior research associate at Education Matters, Inc, and as co-director of the Teacher Learning Project at Brandeis University.

Dr Megin Charner-Laird

Research Affiliate

Megin Charner-Laird is an assistant professor at Salem State University, where she teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. After graduating from Swarthmore College, she spent four years teaching elementary school in California’s Bay Area. Her research focuses on how urban second-stage teachers experience professional learning opportunities. She also conducts research with newly trained urban teachers. Charner-Laird served as co-chair of the Harvard Educational Review and an editor of Education, Past and Present: Reflections on Research, Policy, and Practice (2005), a volume celebrating the 75th anniversary of the journal.

Morgaen L Donaldson

Dr Morgaen L Donaldson

Research Affiliate

Morgaen L Donaldson is an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut . A former high school teacher, and founding faculty member of the Boston Arts Academy, Donaldson earned an AB at Princeton University and an EdM and EdD from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Donaldson studies policy and practice related to teachers’ career development and professional growth, educator evaluation, teachers unions, with a focus on rural and urban schools. She can be reached at:

Sara E Fiarman

Dr Sarah E Fiarman

Research Affiliate


Sarah E. Fiarman consults with schools, districts, and non-profits to build powerful learning communities where all students excel. A former principal and National Board Certified Teacher, Sarah has written and consulted about school leadership, unconscious racial bias, and system-level improvement. Her books include: Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism (with co-author Tracey Benson), Becoming a School Principal: Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn, Instructional Rounds in Education (with co-authors Liz City, Richard Elmore, and Lee Teitel), and the Data Wise series (contributing author). All are published by Harvard Education Press. As a principal, she was awarded a Lynch Leadership Academy Fellowship, and in 2013, the Boston Globe rated her school the "#1 Dream School in Massachusetts.” She taught in the School Leadership Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education where she also earned her doctorate. She can be reached at:

Dr Anne E Jones

Research Affiliate

Anne E Jones is the Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer for Project Lead the Way (PLTW), where she works with a talented team of educators in curriculum, assessment, and professional development on issues of STEM education. Her work is informed by her time as a partner in the Data Wise project, middle school science teacher, department head, and 8th grade team leader as well as her opportunities to work with the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's Education Issues Committee. Jones has collaborated on the creation and implementation of teacher professional development experiences with TERC, Scientific American Frontiers, and the Education Development Center. She co-authored a chapter in Uncovering Teacher Leadership, edited by Richard Ackerman. She holds a doctorate in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She can be reached at:

Susan M Kardos

Dr Susan M Kardos

Research Affiliate


Susan M. Kardos is Chief Strategy & Advancement Officer at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City. Her career in education spans three decades of teaching, planning, strategy, philanthropy, and scholarship at the school, communal, and national levels. She has expertise in the areas of organizational capacity building, financial resource development, governance, school leadership, professional culture, mentoring and induction, program design and evaluation, research, and Jewish education. She received her AB from Brown University and master’s and doctoral degrees in Administration, Planning & Social Policy from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She is a founding member of the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers and the inspired mother of two elementary school children. Email her at

David Kauffman

Dr David Kauffman

Research Affiliate

David Kauffman has worked as a public school teacher and administrator, school leadership consultant, and educational policy researcher. He opened and is currently the principal of Lance Corporal Nicholas S. Perez Elementary School in Austin, Texas, where he was named the district’s 2013 Principal of the Year. He also serves on the advisory board of the Harvard Principals’ Center. David received his AB from Stanford University and his EdM and EdD from Harvard University. He was a founding member of the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers. You can contact David by email at and follow him on Twitter at @david_kauffman.

Matthew Kraft

Dr Matthew Kraft

Research Affiliate


Matthew Kraft is an Associate Professor of Education and Economics at Brown University. His research and teaching interests include the economics of education, education policy analysis, and applied quantitative methods for causal inference. His primary work focuses on efforts to improve educator and organizational effectiveness in K–12 urban public schools. He has published on topics including teacher coaching, teacher professional growth, teacher evaluation, teacher-parent communication, teacher layoffs, social and emotional skills, school working conditions, and extended learning time. Previously, he taught 8th grade English in Oakland USD and 9th grade humanities at Berkeley High School in California. He holds a doctorate in Quantitative Policy Analysis in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education as well as a master's in International Comparative Education and a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University. He can be reached at

Link to website:

Edward Liu

Dr Edward Liu

Research Affiliate

Ed Liu is Director of Organizational Learning at BPE, which runs the Boston Teacher Residency and develops great teachers and great schools for Boston. Formerly, he was an assistant professor of educational theory, policy, and administration at Rutgers University. He received his BA from Yale University, his MBA and AM in Education from Stanford University, and his EdD from Harvard University. A former high school history teacher and director of Summerbridge Portland (a Breakthrough program), Liu studies teacher hiring, teacher quality, school improvement and organizational change, and education policy. He was a founding member of the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers. His email address is

William H Marinell

Dr William H Marinell

Research Afiiliate

Will Marinell is Senior Research Manager with the Strategic Data Project at Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research. Formerly, he was a Research Associate at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools. He studies policies and programs related to recruiting, preparing, supporting, and evaluating public school teachers. Marinell’s doctoral research focused on mid-career entrants to teaching – teachers who enter the profession after having worked in fields outside of education. Marinell is author or co-author of published articles and book chapters. He is a former English teacher, who holds a B. A. in English from Amherst College and Ed. M. and Ed. D. degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He can be reached at

Mindy S Munger

Dr Mindy S Munger

Research Affiliate

Mindy received her doctorate in Education Policy Leadership and Instructional Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A former middle school math teacher, she also served as Education Policy Advisor to Governor Jim Edgar of Illinois from 1994-1997. Munger studies teacher policy, teachers unions, and instructional leadership by teachers and principals. She has conducted research on international teacher policy for the Aspen Institute. She is a graduate of Harvard (AB, 1994) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (Ed.M., 2001). She can be reached at:

Monica Ng

Dr Monica Ng

Research Affiliate

Monica earned her EdD in Education Policy Leadership and Instructional Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2017. Her research focuses on teacher leadership and teacher collaboration. Before arriving at Harvard, she taught elementary school in Oakland and San Francisco, California. Ng holds a B.A. in Literature/Writing from the University of California, San Diego and a Ed.M. in School Leadership from Harvard University.

John P Papay

Dr John P Papay

Research Affiliate

John P. Papay is an Associate Professor of Education and Economics at Brown University. His research focuses on teacher policy, the economics of education, and teacher labor markets. He has published on teacher professional learning, teacher improvement, teacher evaluation, teacher working conditions, teacher compensation, school turnaround, high-stakes testing, and program evaluation methodology. His current work examines the conditions that support or constrain teacher professional growth. A former high school history teacher, he earned his doctorate in Quantitative Policy Analysis from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He can be reached at

Dr Heather Peske

Research Affiliate

Heather is Associate Commissioner for Educator Quality at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in Massachusetts. She had previously served as Vice President for Programs at Teach Plus in Boston and as Director of Teacher Quality at the Education Trust in Washington, D.C. She was a founding member of the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers. Heather received her master’s and doctoral degrees in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her BA from Kenyon College. She can be reached at:

Emily Kalejs Qazilbash

Dr Emily Kalejs Qazilbash

Research Affiliate

Emily Kalejs Qazilbash serves as the Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Human Capital in Boston Public Schools. In this role, she is part of a team implementing hiring practices that enables BPS to have an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every school, and an innovative performance evaluation system focused on growth and development. She previously served as the Executive Director of the Office of Human Capital, where she worked as a strategist for the department. Before that, she was an Implementation Specialist in the Office of Educator Effectiveness, where she supported and coached principals to help teachers improve their instruction through implementation of the performance evaluation system and also designed professional development for aspiring and current principals to deepen their skills in instructional leadership. Emily began her career as a teacher in Baltimore and Boston, and then created and directed professional development programs for both new and experienced BPS teachers. In subsequent positions, Emily conducted research focused on issues of teacher quality and has consulted with a variety of non-profits on issues such as educator evaluation, teachers unions, school reform efforts, and Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) programs; Emily also helped design Massachusetts’ 2011 regulations on educator evaluation. Emily is a research affiliate with the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers (NGT) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she earned her masters and doctoral degrees in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy. She also holds a B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia. She can be reached at:

Stefanie Reinhorn

Dr Stefanie Reinhorn

Research Affiliate

Stefanie completed her doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice. Previously, she worked as an instructional coach and teacher in the Boston Public Schools for 10 years. During this time she also served as a faculty member for the Boston Principal Fellows Program for aspiring school leaders in the Boston Public Schools. Prior to coming to the Boston Public Schools, Reinhorn taught for a total of 7 years in the suburban private and public schools as well as an international school. Currently, she also facilitates networks of educators in using Instructional Rounds as a learning process to support instructional improvement. Reinhorn has an MA in elementary education from Manhattanville College and a BA in Art History from Princeton University. She can be reached at:

Nicole Simon

Dr Nicole S Simon

Research Affiliate

Nicole completed her doctorate in Culture, Communities and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before HGSE, she served as the Director of Early College Awareness Programs and Hiring Committee Chair at a new, small, public high school in Brooklyn, NY. Simon holds a B.S. in Human Development and an M.S. in Design & Environmental Analysis, both from Cornell University. She received the 2007 Global Kids Urban Educator Fellowship, which supported her work developing a mentoring program for young men of color, and the 2011 Radcliffe/Rappaport Doctoral Policy Fellowship, which supported her work on educator evaluation at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She can be reached at:

Dr Stacy Agee Szczesiul

Research Affiliate

Stacy Agee Szczesiul is an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Prior to joining the faculty at UML, she was a teacher at the League School in New York City and at Souhegan High School in Amherst, New Hampshire. Szczesiul earned a BA in Political Science and an MEd in Special Education at the University of South Carolina. She has an Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Recently, Szczesiul has partnered with the National Parks Service to develop a sustainable leadership development model for the organization. Her current research focuses on organizational leadership teams, schools as teacher workplaces, and second-stage teachers. She can be reached at: