Meghan Comstock Program: Education Policy, Ph.D.

Anticipated Graduation: May 2023

Philadelphia, PA

Professional Biography

Meghan Comstock is a PhD candidate in Education Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and an Institute of Education Sciences Predoctoral fellow. Using mixed methodologies, she studies implementation of equity-oriented education reforms and policies related to teaching, leadership, and cultural responsiveness. Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania, she worked as a research analyst and assessment and curriculum developer at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, Comstock also worked as a researcher for SRI International's Center for Education Policy in Menlo Park, CA, where she led studies of teaching policies and professional learning initiatives. Comstock started her career in education as an elementary math and science teacher in Jonestown, Mississippi. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Virginia.

Research Interests and Current Projects

Comstock's work is driven by a desire to understand how K-12 policies and institutional and organizational conditions in education contribute to or hinder equitable educational opportunities for racially/ethnically minoritized and persistently underserved students. Drawing on mixed methodologies, her work focuses on three primary areas of interest: (1) how district, school, and teacher leaders interpret and enact equity-focused instructional improvement policies, and the organizational conditions that support those efforts; (2) implementation of educational improvement initiatives in teaching and learning, with emphasis on culturally responsive and equitable schooling; and (3) the political dimensions of equity-focused policy. Across these focus areas, Comstock draws on theoretical lenses from organizational sociology, political science, and public policy. Comstock's dissertation project is a mixed-methods analysis of the factors that influence implementation of district-level policies focused on equitable instruction. Using a sociological lens, she examines the ways in which educators' beliefs about equity both shape their decision-making as they enact policy and are shaped by organizational and institutional/societal forces.

Building on her desire to establish interdisciplinary and methodologically diverse partnerships, Comstock collaborates with scholars on studies that span teaching, learning, leadership, and policy domains, using a variety of methodological approaches, including qualitative interviews and observations, survey methods, social network analysis, and descriptive and causal quantitative methods. Currently, Comstock is collaborating with her advisor, Professor Janine Remillard, on a qualitative methods book project. She also collaborates with a team of researchers at the University of Delaware on the Study of Professional Learning Partnerships -- a multi-year, mixed-methods study of 12 partnerships between school districts, professional learning providers, and curriculum developers across the U.S. funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In her IES Predoctoral Fellow role, Comstock served as a researcher with Mathematica on the Impact Study of the Federal Magnet School Assistance Program, where she examined the extent to which federal funds for establishing magnet schools in highly segregated school districts resulted in more integrated schooling experiences for racially/ethnically minoritized students. She also collaborated with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction as a research and policy analyst on the state's efforts to reform their statewide teacher licensure policy. Previously, Comstock worked with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education on the Study of Teacher Leadership, and served as a researcher with the Center for Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning at Penn (

Comstock is active in a variety of professional associations, including the American Educational Research Association, the Sociology of Education Association, the University Council for Educational Administration, and the Association for Education Finance and Policy. Her work has been featured in AERA Open (2022), the Journal of School Leadership (2020), the Journal of Professional Capital and Community (2021), and Leadership and Policy in Schools (2021).

Interest Categories

K-12 Education
Educational Leadership
Race & Equity


B.S. (Biology) University of Virginia, 2010.

Faculty Advisors

Janine Remillard
Professor, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division
Faculty Director of Teacher Education

Areas Of Expertise

Culturally responsive teaching
Instructional policy
K-12 policy implementation
Organizational theory

Profile information is provided directly by the student