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Lisa Merrill

Lisa Merrill

Research Associate


Lisa Merrill is a Research Associate at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools. Much of her work has focused on contexts that support effective teaching, as well as the use of data to inform district policies and classroom practices. She currently leads the Research Alliance’s evaluation of iMentor’s College Ready Program, which pairs high school students from low-income communities with college-educated mentors. She is also collaborating with other researchers and district leaders to develop better early warning and college readiness indicators for high school students, and to identify supports that help students succeed in higher education.

Dr. Merrill has extensive experience with mixed-methods research, including large-scale random assignment and quasi-experimental designs, longitudinal analyses, growth modeling, survey development, and interview and focus group research. While working at the Consortium for Policy Research on Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania, she conducted influential studies about the teacher labor market, including an examination of the effects of teacher turnover in NYC middle schools, and a study of recent trends and changes to the U.S. teacher workforce, both along with Dr. Richard Ingersoll.

Before pursuing her graduate studies, she taught 8th grade math in a New York City public school for three years. She served as her school’s Data Specialist, which gave her a first-hand appreciation of both the opportunities and barriers associated with using data to improve practice. In her final year of teaching, Dr. Merrill was elected to be the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Chapter Leader. While completing her Ph.D., she conducted research for the School District of Philadelphia and Research for Action. 

Dr. Merrill studied education policy, and earned her Ph.D at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She holds an M.A. in teaching secondary mathematics from Pace University and a B.A. in economics and public policy from Pomona College.