Principals' Contributions to Student and Teacher Outcomes in Oregon
David Liebowitz

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Research Development Award

Award Year



University of Oregon

Primary Discipline

Educational Leadership
School principals have long played a central role in managing building operations and supervising school employees. Over the past two decades, however, policy developments have increased expectations that principals also improve school climate, instructional practices, and student outcomes. While mounting evidence highlights that principals do exert substantial influence on these contemporaneous outcomes, there remain important methodological questions about how to best examine principals’ contributions to these near-term outcomes. Critically, even less is known about principals’ effects on longer-term student outcomes. This project will examine how students’ high-school and post-secondary outcomes are influenced by their principals in elementary and middle school. My analysis will draw on over 13 years of statewide data on students and educators in an effort to obtain reliable and unbiased estimates of principal effects on contemporaneous and longer-term outcomes. The findings from my proposal have the potential to inform educational agencies’ decisions regarding investment in school leaders. The project builds on an existing partnership with the Oregon Department of Education to improve statewide human resources management policies for school leaders.
About David Liebowitz
David Liebowitz is an Assistant Professor in the department of Educational Methodology, Policy and Leadership at the University of Oregon. David studies the challenges facing schools with concentrations of traditionally under-served students as well as policy and leadership strategies to address these challenges. His work has been published in leading educational journals including the Review of Educational Research, the American Educational Research Journal and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis and has been featured in prominent media outlets such as The New York Times, Education Week and Chalkbeat. Prior to Oregon, David was a middle school principal in Chelsea, Massachusetts for five years. Previous to that, he taught 6th through 8th grade English in Colorado for six years, served as a policy advisor to the Massachusetts Secretary of Education and the New York Commissioner of Education, and was a policy analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. He holds an undergraduate degree from Columbia University and graduate degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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