Professor; Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair; LPO Chair, Dept. of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Ellen B. Goldring is the Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Education Policy and Leadership, and Chair, Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. She received her Ph. D from the University of Chicago.  At Vanderbilt she won the Alexander Heard Distinguished Professor award. She is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and is Vice-President elect of AERA’s Division L (Policy and Politics). 

Professor Golding’s research interests focus on the intersection of education policy and school improvement with particular emphases on school organization, school choice, and education leadership.  She conducts research on developing effective and psychometrically valid and reliable principal evaluation practices and policies with funding from the Wallace Foundation and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).  She is a co-author of the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education ( Professor Goldring’s research on school leadership examines leadership practice, and the implementation and effects of professional development, coaching, and performance feedback.

She was principal investigator of the IES-sponsored National Center on School Choice and co-edited the Center’s recent publication, School Choice and School Improvement:  Research in State, District and Community Contexts (Harvard Education Press, 2011).   In her research on school choice, Professor Goldring addresses questions about access and equity including how parents choose, why parents choose, parent involvement and, leadership in both magnet schools and charter schools (

Her other current research projects include the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools, an IES-sponsored consortium of five universities two urban districts, and an intervention support provider, that focuses on identifying programs, practices, and processes that make some high schools in large urban districts particularly effective with low-income, minority, and English language learning students and transferring these practices to less effective schools (

Professor Goldring serves on numerous editorial boards, technical panels, and policy forums. Her books include Principals of Dynamic Schools, School Choice in Urban America, Successful Schools and the Community Relationship, Leading with Data: A Path to School Improvement, From the Courtroom to the Classroom, and Leading with Inquiry and Action. She has worked with school systems, universities and governments in the US and internationally. She has designed and implemented a principal leadership academy in partnership with the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.