William R. Johnston

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Associate Policy Researcher; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ed.D. in culture, communities, and education, Harvard University; M.S.Ed. in secondary English instruction, University of Pennsylvania; B.A. in English, The Ohio State University

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William R. Johnston is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. His research explores how social contexts and policy relate to disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes for youth. He is a mixed-methods researcher with experience conducting qualitative, quantitative, spatial, and cost-benefit analyses, and he also has extensive experience in working with district- and state-level administrative data systems. At RAND he is leading a five-year, NIJ-funded evaluation of the state-wide scale-up of a school safety intervention, as well as a three-year impact evaluation of the New York City Community Schools Initiative. He is also co-directing an annual nationally representative survey of teachers and principals using the American Educator Panels, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Prior to his training and work as an educational researcher, Johnston was a high school English and U.S. history teacher in Philadelphia and San Francisco. He holds an Ed.D. in education policy from Harvard University.




  • Elementary students raising their hands in class, photo by kali9/Getty Images

    What LAUSD Can Learn from the New York City Community Schools Initiative

    A study of New York City's community schools found improved academic performance, higher attendance, and other positive outcomes for disadvantaged students. This model could benefit similar efforts underway in Los Angeles, where 80 percent of students live in poverty.

    Jan 28, 2020 Los Angeles Times