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Assistant Professor Lam Pham Receives Emerging Scholar Award from AERA School Turnaround and Reform Special Interest Group

NC State College of Education Assistant Professor Lam Pham

NC State College of Education Assistant Professor Lam Pham has received the Emerging Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) School Turnaround and Reform Special Interest Group (SIG). 

The School Turnaround and Reform SIG aims to foster research and evaluation of theories and practices that address school improvement and its influences, strategies, processes and outcomes in schools in need of transformation through turnaround, comprehensive school reform and other innovative strategies. 

“This award means a lot to me because the members of the AERA School Turnaround and Reform SIG are preeminent scholars on this topic, so their recognition makes me feel that I am making meaningful contributions to the field,” Pham said. 

Pham began his own career in education at a turnaround school and witnessed firsthand how turnaround policies affect students, teachers and administrators in low-performing schools that typically serve the most vulnerable students. 

This experience inspired him to earn a Ph.D. and begin work in education policy, where he could contribute to the knowledge base related to the most effective implementation of school reform policies. 

Pham said his work on examining the statewide effects of school reforms in Tennessee was a significant factor in his selection for this year’s Emerging Scholar Award. 

“Tennessee’s policy is quite bold and influenced policies in multiple other states, including similar models in North Carolina. I am proud of that work because the research findings directly informed how the state’s policy makers thought about their reforms, and they explicitly changed their model based on my findings,” he said. 

Pham, who was also recently selected to join the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and American Enterprise Institute’s Emerging Education Policy Scholars program, is currently partnering with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to examine a new school reform model that will focus on improving student outcomes in the district’s 10 lowest-performing schools. 

“I am excited about this work because it gives me a chance to be in the room from the very beginning as district leaders think through their theory of change,” he said. “There’s a lot I want to learn about reform implementation and the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with district leaders will be both a great opportunity to advance scholarship on this topic and a way to practically support the district.”