Kara Finnigan joined the University of Rochester in 2003 and is director of the educational policy program in the Warner School's Department of Educational Leadership. She has conducted research and evaluations of K-12 educational policies and programs at the local, state, and federal levels for more than 25 years through her work at several prominent national research organizations. She has written extensively on the topics of low-performing schools and accountability policies; school choice, including charter schools and inter-district choice; social networks, trust, and school and district improvement; and principal leadership. Finnigan’s research blends perspectives in education, sociology, and political science; employs both qualitative and quantitative methods, including social network analysis; and focuses on schools serving low-income students and students of color in urban communities.
She has published articles in the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Educational Change, Educational Policy, Educational Administration Quarterly, Journal of School Leadership, Leadership and Policy in Schools, Journal of Educational Administration, Journal of School Choice, Urban Review, and Education Policy Analysis Archives. Her research also has been featured in practitioner-oriented publications, including School Business Affairs and District Administration magazines. Finnigan has edited two books, From the Schoolhouse Door to Capitol Hill (Springer) and Thinking and Acting Systemically: Improving School Districts Under Pressure (American Educational Research Association), as well as recently co-authored Striving in Common: A Regional Equity Framework for Urban Schools (Harvard Education Press).
Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy
University of Rochester
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