Morgaen Donaldson

Associate Dean for Research, Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair, Professor, and Director

Educational Leadership


Associate Dean for Research

Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair


Director, Center for Education Policy Analysis, Research, and Evaluation

Coordinator, Ed.D. Program

Academic Degrees:

Ed.D., Administration, Planning, and Social Policy, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ed.M., Teaching and Curriculum, Harvard Graduate School of Education
A.B., History and American Studies, Princeton University

Areas of Expertise:

Educational Leadership

Teacher Quality

Educational Policy

Education Reform



Morgaen L. Donaldson is a Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Connecticut and Director of the University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, Research, and Evaluation (CEPARE). She is also 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 educator quality, educator evaluation, teacher retention, school leadership, and teachers’ unions with a particular focus on urban and rural schools. She is currently conducting studies principal development and evaluation in 23 school districts in Connecticut, Michigan, and Tennessee and teacher development and evaluation across a range of school settings. Dr. Donaldson’s comprehensive examination of teacher evaluation, Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Teacher Evaluation, will be published by Routledge in early 2021.

Funded Research:

District Policies Related to Principal Evaluation, Learning-Centered Leadership, and Student Achievement, Institute of Education Sciences, 2016-2021

Evaluation of the Professional Educator Program, New Haven Public Schools, 2013-2018

SEED Educator Evaluation Pilot Program Study, 2012-14

Teacher Evaluation Reform in New Haven Public Schools, 2011-14

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

School Organization and Science Achievement Project, 2010-15

Selected Publications/Presentations:

Donaldson, M.L. (2021). Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Teacher Evaluation. Routledge Press.

Landa, J. & Donaldson, M.L. (2020 online). Teacher Leadership Roles and Teacher Collaboration: Evidence from Green Public Schools Pay-for-Performance System. Leadership and Policy in Schools.

LeChasseur, K., Donaldson, M.L. & Landa, J. (2019). Role Negotiation and Compromise: The Micropolitics of Expanding Principal Roles. Educational Management, Administration and Leadership.

Firestone, W. & Donaldson, M.L. (2019). Teacher Evaluation as High Stakes Data Use: What Recent Research Suggests. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability. 

Donaldson, M.L. & Woulfin, S. (2018). Going “Rogue”: How Principals Use Agency When Enacting New Teacher Evaluation Systems. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 40(4), 531–556.

Donaldson, M. & Mavrogordato, M. (2018). School Leaders and Teacher Evaluation: The Cognitive, Relational, and Organizational Dimensions of Working with Low-Performing Teachers. Journal of Educational Administration. 56(6), 586-601.

Mayer, A. M., LeChasseur, K., & Donaldson, M. L. (2018). The structuring of tracking: Instructional practice of teachers leading low and high track classes. American Journal of Education, 124 (4), 445-477.

Donaldson, M.L. & Papay, J. (2014). Teacher evaluation for accountability and development. In (Eds.) H.F. Ladd and M. Goertz, Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy.

Donaldson, M.L. & Papay, J. (2014). Teacher Evaluation Reform: Policy Lessons for School Principals. Principal’s Research Review. National Association of Secondary School Principals. 9(5). 1-8.

Green, P.C., Donaldson, M.L., & Oluwole, J.O. (2014). An Analysis of the Policy, Research, and Legal Issues Surrounding the Exclusion of Charter Schools from the Teacher Evaluation Revolution. Journal of Law and Education.

Donaldson, M.L. (2013) Principals’ approaches to cultivating teacher effectiveness: Constraints and opportunities in hiring, assigning, evaluating, and developing teachers. Educational Administration Quarterly, 49(5), 838-882.

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.


AERA Division A Early Career Scholar Award, 2015

AERA Division L Outstanding Policy Report, 2015

William J. Davis Award, best article in Educational Administration Quarterly (with Mayer, LeChasseur, Cobb, and Welton), 2014

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

National Academy of Education/MET Early Career Fellowship, 2013

University Council for Educational Administration: Culbertson Outstanding Junior Scholar Award, 2013

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


American Educational Research Association

Association for Education Finance and Policy

University Council for Educational Administration

In the News:

Here and Now. WNPR. “Private Philanthropy in Public Schools.” By David DesRoches. April 19, 2019. Also broadcast throughout New England via the New England News Collaborative.

Marshall Memo (volume 763). “Principals Freelancing with State Teacher-Evaluation Policies.” by Kim Marshall. November 26, 2018.

Ed Week Inside School Research Blog. “Districts Want Teacher Evaluation. What Do Principals Want?” by Sarah Sparks. July 26, 2018.

Chalkbeat. “The Gates Foundation bet big on teacher evaluation. The report it commissioned explains how those efforts fell short.” By Matt Barnum. June 20, 2018.

Morgaen Donaldson
Contact Information
Phone860 486 4438
Mailing AddressUnit 3064
Office LocationGentry 340B