Brendan Bartanen

Assistant Professor of Education & Public Policy


  • Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2019
  • M.Ed., Arizona State University, 2015
  • B.A., Pomona College, 2013

Brendan Bartanen is an assistant professor in the department of Education Leadership, Foundations, and Policy at the University of Virginia. He is also a research affiliate of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance (TERA), a research-practice partnership between Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Department of Education. His research aims to increase our understanding of the labor market for principals and teachers. In particular, his work examines the intersections among educator turnover, measures of effectiveness, high-stakes evaluation systems, and educator diversity. He was awarded the 2019 New Scholar Award from the Association for Education Finance and Policy and the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association (Division L).

Bartanen's work has been published in leading journals across education, public policy, and economics, including the American Educational Research JournalEducational Researcher, the Journal of Human Resources, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. His recently published work includes demonstrating the importance of principals for shaping the racial composition of a school's teaching staff, examining the validity and reliability of rubric-based observational evaluations of preservice teachers, and descriptively documenting rates of assistant principal mobility and their relationship with principal turnover. His current projects include race and gender biases in high-stakes teacher observations, the validity and reliability of principal value-added models, and the returns to principal experience.

Bartanen earned his Ph.D. in education leadership and policy studies from the department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University. He also holds a master's degree in secondary education from Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree in economics from Pomona College. Prior to earning his doctorate, he was an 8th grade science teacher at C.O. Greenfield School in Phoenix, Arizona. He was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington.