Research for Action (RFA) is pleased and proud to announce that Dr. Ruth Curran Neild will be joining the organization to serve as Director of its Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC). PERC, an initiative of RFA launched with a grant from the William Penn Foundation in 2014, is an innovative research-practice partnership serving Philadelphia’s public education sector.
Dr. Neild currently serves as the Delegated Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education. Since joining the agency in 2011, Neild has instituted a wide range of reforms that have strengthened the utility and accessibility of highly rigorous educational research. Under her leadership, the Regional Educational Laboratory program introduced researcher-practice partnerships that have served as laboratories of innovation for knowledge utilization. She has also greatly improved the utility of federal educational research databases and launched a new IES website.
Neild’s appointment is a homecoming of sorts, notes Kate Shaw, RFA’s Executive Director. “Ruth has deep roots in Philadelphia. She received her BA from Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also served on the faculty of the Graduate School of Education. Using Philadelphia as a laboratory for much of her research, she has published extensively on topics such as the importance of early warning systems for high school dropout, career and technical education, and small schools. Moreover, a multi-year collaboration with RFA led to a series of seminal reports on the importance of recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers in Philadelphia. We are excited to welcome her back to RFA, and to Philadelphia.”
“I am thrilled to be returning to Philadelphia,” said Neild. “My early experience at RFA showed me the importance of thinking creatively about strategies that bridge research and practice, and significantly influenced my work at IES,” she noted. “The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium provides me with an important opportunity to expand my vision for knowledge utilization by creating a national model for how rigorous, place-based research can best serve the needs of those on the front lines of public education.”
RFA is an independent, nonprofit education research organization with more than two decades of experience in utilizing research as a tool to improve access to high-quality education for disadvantaged students. With a staff of over 30, RFA retains its historic commitment to Philadelphia, while also engaging in a wide range of K-16 education research across the region and nation. Dr. Neild will join RFA on January 17, 2017.