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Morgaen L. Donaldson
Assistant Professor

Morgaen L. Donaldson is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Connecticut, a Research Associate at the Center for Policy Analysis, and a Research Affiliate of the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers at Harvard University. Dr. Donaldson began her career as a high school teacher in urban and semi-urban schools and was a founding faculty member of the Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s public high school for the arts. She also served as a Project Director in a Gates Foundation-funded effort to replicate the best practices of small schools successfully serving low-income and minority populations. As a researcher, Dr. Donaldson conducts quantitative and qualitative studies on teacher quality, teacher retention, school leadership, and teachers’ unions with a particular focus on urban and rural schools. She is currently conducting studies on New Haven (CT) Public Schools' teacher evaluation system and other human capital development efforts; the state of Connecticut's new education evaluation system; and the relationship between school organization and science achievement.

•Ed.D., Administration, Planning, and Social Policy, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2008

•Ed.M., Teaching and Curriculum, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 1997

•A.B., History and American Studies, Princeton University, 1994

« Full C.V. »

Contact Information: 

Gentry - 242A

Phone: (860) 486-4438


Mailing Address:
Neag School of Education
Department of Educational Leadership
249 Glenbrook Road, Unit 3093
Storrs, CT 06269-3093

Current Courses Taught:

Program Evaluation for School Improvement

Supervision of Educational Organizations

Educational Policy

Teacher Leadership


Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education Post-doctoral Fellowship, 2013

National Academy of Education/MET Early Career Fellowship, 2013

Outstanding Article: “No More Valentines: Making Teacher Evaluation Matter” Best of Educational Leadership, 2009-10.


American Educational Research Association

University Council for Educational Administration

In the News:

Interviewed for The Hartford Courant, “State Board of Education May Slow Roll-out of New Evaluation System.” February 5, 2013.

Interviewed for The Huffington Post, “Chicago Teachers Strike Shows Teacher Accountability At Charters Differs From Union-Contract Schools.” September 20, 2012.

Interviewed for The Boston Globe, “Leading Unions Vow to Fight Deal to Curb Teachers’Seniority.” June 9, 2012.

Interviewed on WNPR's Where We Live. January 23, 2013.

Interviewed for Education Week. “New Vigor Propelling Training.” Education Week, 30(13), 1-20. December 1, 2010.

Report on evaluation in charter schools provided basis for New York Times. “Who Grades the Graders?” March 20, 2010.

Areas of Expertise:

Educational Leadership

Teacher Quality

Educational Policy

Education Reform


Funded Research:

SEED Educator Evaluation Pilot Program Study, 2012-14

Teacher Evaluation Reform in One Pioneering Urban District, 2011-13

Distribution of Teacher Quality and Instructional Resources Among Connecticut School Districts, 2010-12

School Organization and Science Achievement Project, 2010-15

Selected Publications/Presentations:

Irizarry, J.G. & Donaldson, M.L. (2012). “Teach for América: The Latinization of U.S. Schools and the Critical Shortage of Latino/a Teachers.” American Educational Research Journal, 49(1), 155–194.

Donaldson, M.L. & Donaldson, G.A. (2012). “Strengthening Teacher Evaluation: What District Leaders Can Do.” Educational Leadership, 69(8), 78-82.

Donaldson, M.L. & Papay, J.P. (2012). Reforming Teacher Evaluation: One District’s Story. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.

Donaldson, M.L. (2012). “The Promise of Older Novices: Do Older Entrants To Teaching Remain In Low-Income Schools Longer Than Their Younger Counterparts?” Teachers College Record, 114(10).

Neufeld, B, & Donaldson, M.L. (2012). “Coaching for Instructional Improvement: Conditions and Strategies that Matter.” In B. Kelly & D.F. Perkins (Eds.). The Cambridge Handbook of Implementation Science for Educational Psychology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Donaldson, M.L., Cobb, C., & Mayer, A. (2010). Contested Terrain: Principal and Teacher Leadership at Grove Street Elementary School. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 13(2), 29-38.

Donaldson., M.L. (2010). No More Valentines: Making Teacher Evaluation Matter. Educational Leadership, 67(8).

Donaldson, M.L., & Johnson, S.M. (2010). The Price of Misassignment: The Role of Teaching Assignments in Teach for America Teachers' Exit from Low-Income Schools and the Teaching Profession. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 32(2), 299-323.

Johnson, S.M., Donaldson, M.L., Munger, M., Papay, J., & Qazilbash, E. (2009). Leading the Local: Teachers Union Presidents Chart Their Own Course. Peabody Journal of Education, 84(3), 374-393.

Donaldson, M.L., Johnson, S.M., Kirkpatrick, C., Marinell, W., Steele, J., & Szczesiul, S. (2008). Angling for Access, Bartering for Change: How Second-Stage Teachers Experience Differentiated Roles in Schools. Teachers College Record, 110(5), 1088-1114.

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