Ruth Curran Neild

Director of PERC



A.B. in History and Sociology: Bryn Mawr University
Ph.D. in Sociology: University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Ruth Curran Neild became Director of the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC) in January 2017. PERC is a research-practice partnership among the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia charter school sector, Research for Action, Drexel University, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to joining RFA, Ruth served in several senior leadership roles at the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). First as Associate Commissioner and then as Commissioner of IES’s National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, she oversaw the Department’s national evaluations, the Regional Educational Laboratory program, the What Works Clearinghouse, and ERIC. From 2015-16, she served as the Delegated Director of IES. In these roles, she championed rigorous and relevant research, research-practice partnerships, and clear communication of research findings through a variety of media.

Ruth has deep experience in connecting research and practice in Philadelphia. She was the lead author of Unfulfilled Promises (2006), a seminal report on high school graduation and dropout in Philadelphia. The report was commissioned by Project U-Turn, a collaborative effort by city agencies and nonprofits to re-engage out-of-school youth. She also authored two reports on Philadelphia’s teacher workforce published by RFA: Once and For All (2003) and Quest for Quality (2005). Ruth’s other publications have appeared in peer-reviewed journals, books, and practitioner publications.

Ruth has been a Research Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools and a member of the standing faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and an A.B. in history and sociology from Bryn Mawr College.