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James Kemple

Senior Fellow; Research Professor of Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning


Dr. James Kemple is a Senior Fellow at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools and Research Professor at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. Dr. Kemple served as founding Executive Director of the Research Alliance from 2008-2023. He is particularly well known for his work examining high school reform efforts, assessing performance trends in NYC’s educational landscape, and designing rigorous impact evaluations.

Dr. Kemple provides guidance and support for Research Alliance project and strategic initiatives. He also serves as the Principal Investigator on a range of Research Alliance studies including those examining the efficacy of on-track indicators for different grade levels; performance trends in NYC high schools; and the effects of school closure. He collaborates with the NYC Department of Education, private foundations, and other stakeholders to identify research priorities and develop new lines of inquiry.  Dr. Kemple presents frequently about the results of the Research Alliance’s work, as well as the role of research in education policy and practice.

Prior to joining the Research Alliance, Dr. Kemple spent more than 18 years at MDRC. He served as the Director of MDRC’s K-12 Education Policy Area and specialized in the design and management of rigorous evaluations, including randomized controlled trials of educational and other social policy reforms. He was the Co-Director of the National Reading First Impact Study and the Principal Investigator for MDRC’s Career Academies Evaluation, the Evaluation of the Talent Development Middle and High School Models, the Enhanced Reading Opportunities Study, and the Study of the Content Literacy Continuum.

Dr. Kemple began his career as a high school math teacher. He also managed the Higher Achievement program, which serves disadvantaged youth in Washington D.C.

Dr. Kemple holds an Ed.D. and Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, with a concentration in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy for Community and Urban Education, as well as a B.A. in Mathematics from the College of the Holy Cross.