These are the faculty members who will teach the required, core courses that provide the foundation for the focus and rigor of the Urban Education Policy program.

Core Faculty from the Education Department

Kenneth Wong

Professor of Education Kenneth K. Wong holds the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair for Education Policy and serves as the Program Director for the Urban Education Policy (UEP) program. Professor Wong, one of the nation’s experts on the politics of public education, also teaches Urban Politics and School Governance, a core course in the UEP program.


Cynthia Garcia Coll

Cynthia Garcia Coll, Robinson and Barstow Professor of Education, Psychology, and Pediatrics, is a developmental psychologist whose most recent work focuses on the roles of race and ethnicity in children’s development. Professor Garcia Coll provides key expertise to the UEP program regarding the importance of policy questions and decisions as played out at the “micro” level of schools and classrooms where students, teachers, and parents interact. Professor Garcia Coll will teach the core UEP course, Human Development and Urban Education.

John Tyler

John Tyler, Professor of Education, Economics, and Public Policy, is a labor economist who focuses on economics of education related topics. Professor Tyler, an experienced researcher with large data sets, teaches Economics of Education, a core course in the UEP program.

John Papay

Assistant Professor of Education John Papay uses an economic perspective to evaluate K-12 educational practices, including teacher evaluation programs, compensation, and professional growth. He’s interested in exploring how those policies, in turn, affect students. Professor Papay will teach course Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation for Education in the spring. 


Core Faculty from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR)

Michael Grady

Michael Grady is the Annenberg Institute’s Deputy Director and Co-director of the Community-Centered Education Reform initiative; he is principal investigator for a major collabora­tion with the National League of Cities, working with municipal leaders to increase public participation in school improvement. Dr. Grady holds an Ed.D. from Harvard Uni­versity. His research and policy interests include urban education reform, educational equity, community and parent engagement, and research and evaluation design. He co-teaches the course on Introduction to Education Research: Design and Methods.

Ellen Foley

Ellen Foley is a Principal Associate in the Annenberg Institute’s District Redesign, serving as research manager for the Institute’s efforts in that area. Dr. Foley’s primary research interest is urban education reform, with a focus on the connection between academic, social, and health supports for students and the central office’s role in leading reform efforts. She holds a doctorate in education policy from the University of Pennsylvania. She co-teaches the course on Introduction to Education Research: Design and Methods.

Warren Simmons

Warren Simmons is Executive Director of the Annenberg Institute and co-directs its work in Community-Centered Education Reform. Dr. Simmons received his Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell University. He serves on the boards and advisory groups of numerous education-reform initiatives, including the Public Education Network, the Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform, and Cambridge College. He co-teaches the course on Structures and Systems in Urban Education.

Michelle Renée

Michelle Renée uses her expertise in education policy, research translation, and community organizing to work across multiple projects and teams. Prior to joining the Institute, she was a post-doctoral fellow at UCLA’s Institute for Democracy Education and Access, where she conducted research, briefed elected officials, and built partnerships between politicians, researchers, and community organizers. She is program chair for the American Education Research Association Grassroots Youth and Community Organizing Special Interest Group. She holds a B.A. from the University of California–Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in education from the University of California–Los Angeles.  She co-teaches the course on Structures and Systems in Urban Education

Other Faculty Contributors to the UEP Program

In addition to the core faculty of the UEP program, other Brown University faculty members contribute to the program either through student advising, providing research and internship opportunities for UEP students, or as instructors of approved UEP elective courses. These additional faculty include but are not limited to the following:

  • Carl Kaestle, Professor of Education, History, and Public Policy
  • Jin Li, Associate Professor of Education
  • Marion Orr, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy
  • John Modell, Emeritus Professor of Education and Sociology
  • Deborah Rivas-DrakeAssistant Professor of Education and Human Development
  • Tracy Steffes Assistant Professor of Education and History