Kara Finnigan is a professor of education policy and leadership at the University of Rochester's (UR) Warner School of Education and an Inclusive Climate Leadership Fellow at UR. She has conducted research and evaluations of K-12 educational policies and programs at the local, state, and federal level for more than 25 years. She has written extensively about low-performing schools and high-stakes accountability, district reform, principal leadership, and school choice. Finnigan has published two edited books and her co-authored book Striving in Common: A Regional Equity Framework for Urban Schools was published last year by Harvard Education Press. Her research blends perspectives in education, sociology, and political science; employs both qualitative and quantitative methods, including social network analysis and GIS mapping; and focuses on urban school districts. Her recent research focuses on diffusion of research evidence through school systems, connections between housing and education policy to reduce segregation, and equity networks that focus on system change. Finnigan serves on the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative’s Policy Committee and was recently invited to testify at a hearing of the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She began her work in K-12 education as a substitute teacher in Anchorage, Alaska.
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