Rebecca Herman

Photo of Rebecca Herman
Senior Policy Researcher
Washington Office


Ph.D. in sociology, Johns Hopkins University; M.A. in sociology, Johns Hopkins University; B.A. in English, Johns Hopkins University


Rebecca (Becki) Herman (she/her) is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. She specializes in conducting and evaluating research on school leadership, comprehensive school reform, positive behavioral interventions, and related school, district, and higher education initiatives. Herman has helped set standards for and conducted critical reviews of research on educational programs, practices, and policies, and she is recognized for producing easily accessible products that resonate with practitioners, policymakers, and the public.

She has delivered congressional testimony, as well as dozens of invited presentations on school leadership, school turnaround, comprehensive school reform, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and evidence-based school improvement. She also has worked with the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense to support the use of effective practices in personnel development.

Herman trained and served as a teacher early in her career. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology, specializing in education, at Johns Hopkins University.

Recent Projects

  • University Principal Preparation Initiative Evaluation
  • Complementaries between Restorative Justice and PBIS
  • School Leadership Evidence Review under ESSA
  • North Carolina Transformation Initiative
  • Understanding What Security Cooperation Officials Need to Know

Selected Publications

Gates, S.M., Woo, A., Xenakis, L., Wang, E.L., Herman, R., Andrew, M., & Todd, I. , Using state-level policy levers to promote principal quality: Lessons from seven state partnering with principal preparation programs and district., RAND (RR-A413-1), 2020

Wang, Elaine Lin, Gates, Susan M., Herman, Rebecca, Mean, Monica, Perera, Rachel, Tsai, Tiffany, Whipkey, Katie, and Andrew, Megan , Launching a redesign of university principal preparation programs: Partners collaborate for change. , RAND (RR-2612), 2018

Herman, R., Gates, S., Arifkhanova, A., Bega, A., Chavez-Herreria, E., Han, E., Harris, M., Leschitz, J., and Wrabel, S., School Leadership Interventions under the Every Student Succeeds Act: Evidence Review, RAND (RR-1550-2-WF), 2016

Wrabel, Stephani L., Herman, Rebecca, and Susan M. Gates , RAND school leadership intervention evaluation toolkit, RAND (TL-239), 2018

Mann, Elizabeth, Herman, Rebecca, and Hansen, Michael "Should they stay or should they go: The mythical appeal of staff replacement as a turnaround strategy," in Meyers, Coby and Darwin, Marlene, Enduring myths that inhibit school turnaround, Information Age Publishing, 2017

Herman, R., Hung, A.A., Burke, J., Carman, K.G., Clancy, N., Kaufman, J.H., and Wilson, K., A Tool for Reviewing K-12 Financial Education Curricula, RAND (TL-181-CFPB), 2015

Dragoset, L., James-Burdumy, S., Hallgren, K., Perez-Johnson, I., Herrmann, M., Tuttle, C., Angus, M.H., Herman, R., Murray, M., Tanenbaum, C., and Graczewski, C., Usage of Policies and Practices Promoted by Race to the Top, NCEE, 2015

Daugherty, Lindsay, Rebecca Herman, and Fatih Unlu , Logic models for selecting, designing, and implementing evidence-based school leadership interventions, RAND (TL-274), 2017


  • Teacher helping a third grade girl at her desk

    Going Forward, Looking Back: Lessons from School Improvement Grants

    The Every Student Succeeds Act takes effect this fall, returning significant power to states and local districts to set goals and prescribe strategies to lift achievement. As schools finalize their plans under the new law, they can learn from the shortcomings of School Improvement Grants.

    May 10, 2017 The Hill

  • Chalk and eraser on chalkboard rail

    How States and Districts Can Leverage the Every Student Succeeds Act to Improve School Leadership

    The Every Student Succeeds Act provides states and districts with new chances to invest in school leadership. A review of interventions can serve as a starting point to enact relevant solutions and build the evidence base for what works.

    Dec 12, 2016 The RAND Blog

  • A woman working in an office

    Improving School Leadership: What Works

    There is evidence that having strong school leaders is instrumental for improving the quality of teaching. But resource constraints and pressure to spend money directly on students have left interventions focused on principals largely overlooked. However, the new Every Student Succeeds Act may be changing the script.

    Apr 28, 2016 The RAND Blog

  • Elementary school students at their lockers

    Reauthorizing ESEA: What We Know and Where We Should Go with School Improvement

    Federal policy should ensure that school improvement is a priority, that schools adopt proven reforms that fit the school context, and that schools and their districts are held accountable when federal resources are used for school improvement.

    Feb 11, 2015 The RAND Blog