Sharon Rallis

headshot of Sharon Rallis

Sharon Rallis

Professor Emerita
Director of the Center for Education Policy
Educational Leadership


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N140 Furcolo


B.A. Wellesley 1968
Ed.M. Harvard 1977
Ed.D. 1982


Dr. Sharon F. Rallis serves as the Dwight W. Allen Distinguished Professor in Educational Policy and Reform in the Department of Educational Policy, Research & Administration in the College of Education, as well as the director of the Center for Education Policy, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She teaches courses in inquiry, program evaluation, qualitative methodology, and organizational theory. With over 40 years working in education, Sharon has taught and counseled in U.S. K-12 public schools, been a school principal, served on a local school board, directed a U.S. federal school reform initiative, and has held faculty positions at Vanderbilt University, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the University of Connecticut.

Sharon has published several books, journal articles, book chapters, edited volumes, and technical reports addressing issues of research and evaluation methodology, ethical practice in research and evaluation, educational policy and leadership, and school reform. Sharon views writing as a dialogic learning experiences and prefers to write with others, so many of her publications are co-authored with colleagues and former students. With Gretchen Rossman, she has written about qualitative research including Research Ethics in the Everyday, Learning in the field: An Introduction to Qualitative Research, 3rd edition, and The Research Journey: Introduction to Inquiry. Sharon has co-authored books about leadership including Principals of Dynamic Schools: Taking Charge of ChangeDynamic Teachers: Leaders of Change, and Leading Dynamic Schools: How to Create and Implement Ethical Policies.  

With an aim to inform and contribute to program improvement, Sharon is interested in applied research; as an evaluator, she connects theory, research, and practice. Sharon has conducted research and evaluations of educational, medical, and social organizations, agencies, and programs.  She has worked with governmental agencies, foundations, service organizations and other non-profits, and school districts. Sharon’s work with colleagues and students on evaluation and qualitative methodology has taken her to China, Canada, Japan, Afghanistan, and Palestine. A past president of the American Evaluation Association, Sharon is currently the Editor of the American Journal of Evaluation.


Education policy and reform; Educational leadership; Qualitative research methods and evaluation.

  • Department of Educational Policy, Research & Administration