James Kemple, Ed.M.’86, Ed.D.’89, is the 2017 recipient of the Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education. Kemple is a research professor and the executive director of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. He will be presented with the award at the HGSE Convocation ceremony on May 24.
“Dr. James Kemple has dedicated his career to producing practical education policy research that has real impact on the lives of students,” said Dean James Ryan. “Kemple’s work examining high school reform efforts and assessing performance trends in New York City led to the design of rigorous impact evaluations, the results of which help city leaders better serve students and families by more meaningfully assessing school and student performance, effectively allocating resources, and identifying both positive trends and areas for improvement in schools.”
Kemple was first drawn to HGSE because of its record of faculty and alumni who work to improve the lives of students at risk of educational, economic, and social disadvantage. “Quite frankly, I am humbled,” he said. “In many ways, the receipt of this award reflects that inspiration which has been amplified by the work of the women and men who shared the HGSE experience with me and by that of many others who have graduated since.”
A high school math teacher who transitioned into research and policy, Kemple has spent three decades in education research — eight years at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools — and has studied literacy programs, career education, talent development, and school closures, among other areas.
Lindsay Page, Ed.M.'04, Ed.D.'11, assistant professor of research methodology at the Pittsburgh School of Education, nominated Kemple for the award having worked on one of his studies when she was a doctoral student. “Jim's support of my work was instrumental,” Page said. “Jim also gave of his time by formally serving as a member of my dissertation committee. He was tough, fair, and encouraging of my work throughout. Over these years, I have appreciated how Jim has supported work of more junior researchers in the field and has pushed for educational policy research to be as relevant for and meaningful to the day-to-day world of children in schools.”
“Reflecting on my career, I hope mostly that I have inspired others along the same lines as those that brought me to HGSE,” Kemple said. “The opportunity to directly apply what I was learning in class helped me keep one foot in the world of educational practice.... While I have spent most of the past 30 years conducting or managing research, I remain most excited and motivated by the teaching and learning opportunities that I hope help others see meaningful connections between research, practice, and policy.”
The Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education began in 1985 in order to recognize significant service to education by alumni. Candidates must be graduates of HGSE and have made a noteworthy contribution to education during their professional careers in order to be nominated.