Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair; Professor of Public Policy and Education, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University; Faculty Director, Tennessee Education Research Alliance

Jason A. Grissom is Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Public Policy and Education and (by courtesy) of Political Science at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. He also serves as Faculty Director of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance, a research-policy-practice partnership that produces research to inform Tennessee’s school improvement efforts. He is immediate past-president of the Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP).

An interdisciplinary scholar, Professor Grissom’s work applies perspectives from political science, public administration, and economics to the study of school and district leadership, educator mobility, educational equity, and the intersections among the three. His research typically makes use of large-scale administrative and survey data—often supplemented with data from interviews and observations—to answer questions in these areas. He has ongoing research projects on the impacts of school leader diversity, the measurement and evaluation of principal job performance, and how principals make human talent management decisions in their schools.

Grissom’s coauthored article on how principal time management skills influences their time use, job stress, and job performance won the 2016 A. Ross Thomas Award for best article in the Journal of Educational Administration. His study of school board conflict, “Is Discord Detrimental? Using Institutional Variation to Identify the Impact of Public Governing Board Conflict on Outcomes,” won the Beryl Radin Award from the Public Management Research Association for best article published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory in 2014. He also conducts research on mobility among educators, which has included numerous studies of turnover among teachers, principals, and superintendents.

Additionally, with a variety of colleagues, Professor Grissom has published a stream of articles on the concept of bureaucratic representation that investigate how the race and gender composition of the K-12 public education workforce matters for the distribution of resources and outcomes among diverse groups. A 2011 article he coauthored in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management on how teacher-principal race congruence affects teacher job outcomes (“A Supervisor Like Me: Race, Representation, and the Satisfaction and Turnover Decisions of Public Sector Employees)” won the Wilder Award for Scholarship in Social Equity and Public Policy, co-sponsored by the National Academy of Public Administration and the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Grissom co-edited the 2016 book Improving Teacher Evaluation Systems: Making the Most of Multiple Measures (Teachers College Press) with Peter Youngs. With Anna Egalite and Constance Lindsay, he authored the 2021 Wallace Foundation report How Principals Affect Students and Schools, which synthesizes two decades of research on school principals. He is past editor of Educational Researcher and current associate editor and policy briefs editor of Education Finance and Policy.
He is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Professor Grissom holds a Masters degree in Education and a PhD in Political Economics from Stanford University.

For more information on Dr. Grissom, please see his CV.

Recent Media Mentions

  • “Black and Male Teachers Score Lower on Classroom Observations than Their Peers, New Report Finds,” Tennessean (link), Chalkbeat (link), Axios (link)
  • “Gifted Education Comes Up Short for Low-Income and Black Students,” Education Week (link), Hechinger Report (link), NPR’s Here and Now (link)
  • “Female Principals Are Paid Less Than Men. That’s a Big Concern,” Education Week (link)
  • “Top-Tier Principals Spark Big Gains in Student Learning. A New Study Shows How Much,” Education Week (link), Chalkbeat (link), UCEA blog (link)
  • “Money Over Merit? New Study Says Gifted Programs Favor Students from Wealthier Families,” Chalkbeat (link), NPR (link), Voices in Education blog (link), New York Daily News op-ed (link)
  • “Districts Struggle to Hire Black Teachers. Is the Solution Hiring More Black Principals?” Education Week (link)
  • “Why Struggling Schools End Up With Less Effective Principals,” Education Week (link), Chalkbeat (link)
  • “Elected School Board Members Are Most Likely to Be White, Wealthy & Republican, New Study Finds,” The 74 Million (link)
  • “Under Good Principals, Low-Performing Teachers Head for the Door,” Education Week (link), Brookings Brown Center Chalkboard Blog (link), Video interview (link)
  • “Teachers Pair Up to Improve Practice,” Education Week (link)
    “High-Stakes Testing May Push Struggling Teachers to Younger Grades, Hurting Students,” Chalkbeat (link)
  • “Want Principals to Rate Teachers Honestly? Take Away the Stakes,” Education Week (link and link and link), with related blog entry at Education Next (link)
  • New Research May Build Discrimination Case for Widely Used Principals Exam,” The 74 Million (link), TN Chalkbeat (link), Education Week (link)
  • “Why Are There So Few Black Children in Gifted Programs?” The Atlantic (link), with related stories in U.S. News and World Report/Hechinger Report (link), NPR (link), Washington Post (link and link), Tennessean (link), TN Chalkbeat (link), Education Week (link), District Administration magazine (link), New York Times Upshot blog (link), and Atlanta Journal Constitution (link), and video discussion (YouTube), and op-ed at The Conversation (link) and The New Republic (link). Link to full study (open access). Episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast featuring this research.
  • “Possible Redemption for No Child Left Behind?” The Atlantic (link) (YouTube)
  • “NCLB Not So Negative for Teachers, Study Says,” Education Week (link)
  • “Study: Struggling Miami-Dade Schools Benefited from Teacher Transfers,” Miami Herald (link) (PACE blog entry)
  • “Study: More Churn at the Top in Large Districts,” Education Week (link)
  • “Evaluating Principals Through Test Scores: Harder Than You’d Think,” Education Week (link)
  • “Teacher Raises Earlier In Career Correlates To Better Student Performance: Study,” Huffington Post (link)
  • “Lower Turnover Rates, Higher Pay for Teachers Who Share Race With Principal, Study Shows,” Science Daily (link)