Caitlin Farrell

Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD, Urban Education Policy, University of Southern California
MST, Childhood education, Pace University
BA, Psychology and Government, Dartmouth College

Caitlin Farrell is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where she researches effective partnerships between school districts and research organizations. She holds a PhD in urban education policy from the University of Southern California where her dissertation focused on comparative analysis of data-use strategies in traditional school districts and charter management organizations.

Dr. Farrell specializes in research on policy implementation, K–12 urban educational reform, and accountability, and her research blends perspectives in education, public policy, and organizational theory. Her prior work on educational governance has been published in Educational Policy, Journal of Education Finance, and Journal of School Choice. She began her career in education as an elementary school teacher after attending Dartmouth College for her BA in government and psychology and Pace University for a masters in childhood education. 

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Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Marsh, J. & Farrell, C. (Accepted, in press for 2014). Understanding coaches and data teams as capacity building agents: A sociocultural approach. Educational Management Administration and Leadership.

Farrell, C., Nayfack, M., Smith, J. & Wohlstetter, P. (Revise and resubmit). One size does not fit all: Understanding the variation in charter management scale-up. Journal of Educational Change

Farrell, C., Wohlstetter, P., & Smith, J. (2012). Charter management organizations: An emerging approach to scaling-up what works. Educational Policy, 26(4), 499-532.

Smith, J., Wohlstetter, P., Farrell, C., & Nayfack, M. (2011). Beyond ideological warfare: The maturation of research on charter schools. Journal of School Choice, 5(4), 444-507.

Wohlstetter, P., Smith, J., Farrell, C., Hentschke, G. C., & Hirman, J. (2011). How funding shapes the growth of charter management organizations: Is the tail wagging the dog? Journal of Education Finance, 37(2), 150-174.

Book, book chapters

Wohlstetter, P., Smith, J., Farrell, C. (2013). Choices and challenges: Charter school performance in perspective. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press.

Farrell, C., Mathis, J., & Hentschke, G. (2009). Do “mainstream” school reforms foster the “world’s best school systems”? In Saleh, I.M. & Khine, M. S. (Eds.). Transformative leadership and educational excellence: Learning organizations in the information age. Boston, MA: Sense Publishers.

Policy briefs

Farrell, C., Nayfack, M., Smith, J., Wohlstetter, P., & Wong, A. (2009). Scaling-up charter management organizations: Eight key lessons for success. Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California, Center on Educational Governance.

Farrell, C., Smith, J., & Wohlstetter, P. (2009). Preparing for the inevitable: Planning for leadership succession at the school, charter management organization, and state agency 3 levels. (National Resource Center on Charter School Finance & Governance Policy brief). Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California, Center on Educational Governance.

Smith, J., Farrell, C., Wohlstetter, P., & O’Neill, P. (2009). Maximizing effectiveness: Focusing the microscope on charter school governing boards. (National Resource Center on Charter School Finance & Governance policy brief). Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California, Center on Educational Governance


American Educational Research Association

Division A - Administration, Organization, and Leadership

Division L - Educational Policy and Politics



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