Catherine H. Augustine

Photo of Catherine Augustine
Director, Pittsburgh Office; Senior Policy Researcher
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. and M.A. in education, University of Michigan; B.A. in political philosophy, Michigan State University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Catherine Augustine is director of RAND's Pittsburgh office, and a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. As director, she strives both to foster an environment in which all RAND staff can thrive and to strengthen RAND’s relationships in the local community. Her research focuses on improving educational outcomes for students in urban school districts. Augustine both evaluates implementation of reforms and assesses their impact. She is co-leading a study of five urban districts' summer learning programs. This works includes an effects study as well as detailed analyses of program implementation, district operations, and community involvement. She is also leading a randomized controlled trial on implementing restorative practices in one urban district. The goals of this intervention include strengthening relationships among students and between students and staff, both to reduce suspension rates and to address harm when it has occurred. In addition to examining impacts, this study also includes a detailed assessment of implementation, with a focus on teacher and student buy-in, staff confidence, use of restorative practices, and school culture. Past studies have examined teaching effectiveness, school leadership and district governance, arts education, the particular challenges facing middle schools, and education in the Middle East. She earned her Ph.D. in education from the University of Michigan.

Recent Projects

  • Evaluating summer learning programs in five school districts throughout the United States
  • Assessing the impact of reforms intended to improve teaching
  • Evaluating efforts to improve school leadership
  • Evaluating the use of restorative practices in an urban district
  • Assessing arts education partnerships

Selected Publications

Catherine H. Augustine et al., Can Restorative Practices Improve School Climate and Curb Suspensions? An Evaluation of the Impact of Restorative Practices in a Mid-Sized Urban School District, RAND Corporation (RR-2840-DOJ), 2018

Catherine H. Augustine and Lindsey E. Thompson, Making Summer Last: Integrating Summer Programming into Core District Priorities and Operations, RAND Corporation (RR-2038-WF), 2017

Yael Z. Silk and Catherine H. Augustine, How to Support More and Stronger Arts Education Partnerships in Allegheny County, RAND Corporation (RR-1923-JBF), 2017

Catherine H. Augustine et al., Learning from Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youth, RAND Corporation (RR-1557-WF), 2016

Jennifer Sloan McCombs et al., Ready for Fall? Near-Term Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Students’ Learning Opportunities and Outcomes, RAND Corporation (RR-815-WF), 2014

Catherine H. Augustine et al., Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success, RAND Corporation (RR-366-WF), 2013

Catherine H. Augustine et al., Improving School Leadership: The Promise of Cohesive Leadership Systems, RAND Corporation (MG-885-WF), 2009

Susan J. Bodilly and Catherine H. Augustine, Revitalizing Arts Education Through Community-Wide Coordination, RAND Corporation (MG-702-WF), 2008

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: City News Service, Los Angeles; KCBS-AM San Francisco; Los Angeles Daily News; News Journal DE; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Santa Monica Star

Commentary: Education Week


  • Teacher helps students resolve conflict, photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

    Restorative Justice Isn't a Panacea, but It Can Promote Better Relationships Among Students

    Restorative practices aren't necessarily a cure-all. But if implemented well, they can contribute to an overall solution. Teaching children to treat one another with respect has the potential to make schools safer and to help kids get along better throughout their lives.

    Oct 21, 2019 The Hechinger Report

  • Students and a counselor sit in a circle, photo by Steve Debenport/Getty Images

    What Two New Studies Reveal About Restorative Justice in Middle School and How It Can Be Done Better

    There are many nuances to the implementation and impact of restorative practices. This suggests that continued experimentation could allow school districts to realize the benefits of instituting these practices and reduce the cost of doing so.

    Apr 17, 2019 The 74 Million

  • Students having discussion

    The Impact of Restorative Practices

    A recent RAND report focuses on estimates of the impact of restorative practices on comprehensive outcome measures for all students. The report defines these measures in seven outcome domains and leads with the impact on suspensions. It estimates the impact on 50 secondary measures and on the seven primary measures for numerous student subgroups defined by race, income, special needs and English language learner status.

    Jan 17, 2019 The RAND Blog

  • A young student sitting outside in a school corridor

    Rethinking Student Discipline and Zero Tolerance

    Restorative practices are an alternative to zero-tolerance school discipline policies. Rather than mandating prescribed punishments for specific misbehaviors, this more tailored approach aims to empower students.

    Oct 14, 2015 Education Week