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Faculty & Research

Susan Moore Johnson

Jerome T. Murphy Research Professor in Education

Susan Moore Johnson

Degree:  Ed.D., Harvard University, (1981)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Phone:  617.495.4677
Vitae/CV:   Susan Moore Johnson.pdf
Office:  Gutman 406B


Susan Moore Johnson, a former high school teacher and administrator, studies, teaches, and consults about teacher policy, organizational change, and leadership practice. She served as academic dean of the Ed School 1993-1999. From 2007 to 2015, Johnson was co-chair of the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP), a collaboration between Harvard’s Education and Business Schools. Since 1998, she has directed the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, where she and her colleagues have examined how best to recruit, develop, and retain a strong teaching force.

Johnson is author of many scholarly and professional articles and five books about teachers and their work. Teacher Unions in Schools (1984), focuses on the role of teacher unions in the day-to-day work of schools. Teachers at Work (1990) examines the school as a workplace for teachers. Finders and Keepers: Helping New Teachers Survive and Thrive in Our Schools (2006), written with colleagues at The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, centers on the experiences of new teachers. Subsequent research at the Project investigated teachers’ careers, alternative preparation, the role of unions, hiring, teacher induction, performance-based pay, teacher teams, and teacher evaluation. Johnson also is co-author with John P. Papay of Redesigning Teacher Pay (2009). Johnson’s latest book, Where Teachers Thrive: Organizing Schools for Success (2019), examines how schools that succeed in low-income communities support and enhance their teachers’ work.

Johnson has also written and consulted widely about educational leadership and management. Her 1996 book, Leading to Change: Challenges of the New Superintendency, analyzes the leadership practices of 12 newly appointed superintendents during their first six months in the role. She and her colleagues at the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) wrote Achieving Coherence in District Improvement (2015), which examines the management relationship between the central office and schools in five large urban school districts.

Areas of Expertise

Outstanding Writing Award, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education,(2004)

Spencer Senior Scholar Award,(2000)

Spencer Mentor Network Award,(1999)

National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship,(1987)


Finders and Keepers: Helping New Teachers Survive and Thrive in Our Schools (with the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers), (2004).

Leading to Change: The Challenge of the New Superintendency, (1996).

Teachers at Work: Achieving Success in Our Schools, (1990).

Teacher Unions in Schools, (1984).


Board of Directors, National Academy of Education,(2003-present)

Editorial Board, Harvard Education Publishing,(2003-present)

Research Advisory Board, Teach for America,(2003-present)

Editorial Board, Harvard Education Letter,(1993-present)

Advisory Board, TURN/Broad Teacher Union Project

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