Dara Zeehandelaar, Ph.D.

National Research Director

Dara Zeehandelaar is the national research director at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, where she oversees Fordham’s research pipeline, designs and executes new studies, manages ongoing projects, and conducts quantitative and qualitative research. Her areas of study include education governance and school boards; finance and teacher pensions; policy design and implementation (especially related to the Common Core mathematics standards); and teacher unions. She earned her Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy at the University of Southern California, and previously worked as a high school mathematics teacher and summer-school coordinator in Washington D.C. public schools. A Los Angeles native and Washington D.C. resident, she also holds a M.S. in astrophysics from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's in astronomy from Cornell.