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Leana Cabral

Senior Research Associate

Pronouns: She/Her


  • Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology & Education: Teachers College, Columbia University
  • B.A. in Comparative Women's Studies: Spelman College

About Leana Cabral

Leana Cabral is a Senior Research Associate at RFA. She serves on the Out-of-School Time (OST) Coordination: Infrastructure for Supporting Healthy OST Ecosystems project which explores how city level OST coordination can contribute to community, family, and youth resilience moving forward from the COVID-19 pandemic into the future. She is also leading the Educator Diversity study, examining the root causes of Black teacher attrition in Philadelphia and promising practices in teacher diversification efforts.

Cabral has extensive experience working in out-of-school settings as an educator and administrator as well as in school settings as a researcher. Additionally, Cabral leverages her mixed methods training as a PhD candidate at Teachers College in Sociology and Education in support of her projects at RFA. Her research interests include the racial politics of public education, K-12 educational inequality and educational program evaluation and she is broadly committed to educational and racial justice and equity for all students.

  • A cause I'm passionate about...

    Racial justice

  • Can't stop listening to...

    In the Heights.

Key Projects by Leana Cabral

Out-of-School Time Coordination: Infrastructure for Supporting Healthy OST Ecosystems

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Democratizing Education Data Collective

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Allegheny County Educator Diversity Project

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Out-of-School Time (OST) Coordination: Infrastructure for Supporting Healthy OST Ecosystems

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Allegheny County Education Research (ACER) Project

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The Pennsylvania Clearinghouse for Education Research (PACER): Translating Research and Analysis for Education Policymakers

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Recent Publications by Leana Cabral


The Need for More Teachers of Color

This booklet, The Need for More Teachers of Color, was released as part of a Teach-In hosted by Research for Action on April 23, 2022, in FDR Park in Philadelphia. The booklet provides highlights of…


FAQ: Superintendents in Pennsylvania School Districts

Superintendent leadership plays an important role in charting the trajectory of school district operations and ultimately of student learning. Meanwhile, several school districts undergo a superintendent transition each year, yet relatively little is known about…
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Recent Posts by Leana Cabral


Reflections from our 2022 Black teacher study

The research evidence has never been stronger about the benefits of and need for teacher diversity. Yet school communities across the nation are struggling to maintain already disproportionately low rates of teachers of color, and particularly teachers who identify as Black.  RFA began conducting research on teacher diversity in Pennsylvania in 2018, identifying leaks in … Continued


Examining the Root Causes of Black Teacher Attrition in Philly Schools

Teacher diversity yields benefits for all students. Yet, there is a stark disparity between the proportions of students of color and teachers of color across Pennsylvania schools, including in Philadelphia. While an overall teacher shortage has garnered recent attention, the decline in Black teachers is not new. In fact, a 2018 news story documented that … Continued