Sara Rimm-Kaufman, Ph.D., is the Commonwealth Professor of Education at the University of Virginia. She conducts research on elementary and middle school classrooms with the goal of using evidence to improve the quality of schooling experiences for teachers and students. There is no simple formula for creating excellent schools. Yet, the majority of efforts focus on curriculum, content knowledge and accountability, not the psychological experience and social interactions of students and teachers within them. Over the past 20 years, Rimm-Kaufman has led a dynamic team of researchers, project managers, post-docs, students, and staff at the UVA Social Development Lab toward improved understanding of the systematic ways that classroom social and psychological experiences are productive (or not productive) environments for child and youth development. In doing so, her research respects the challenges that teachers face and recognizes the complexity of school improvement. In her work, she has a steadfast commitment to educational equity.
Dr. Rimm-Kaufman has studied a wide range of programs and approaches, including Connect Science, EL Education, Leading Together, Responsive Classroom, RULER, Valor Collegiate & Compass, and beyond. She and her team have received numerous grants from National Science Foundation, Institute of Education Sciences, and private foundations (e.g., Carnegie, Templeton) and have authored more than 100 chapters, articles, blogs, and websites. One persistent challenge in education is that researchers have extensive knowledge about social and emotional learning but rarely share it with teachers in an accessible format. This concern led her to prepare SEL from the Start, a new book for teachers published by W.W. Norton.