Donald J. Peurach


Associate Professor of Education

University of Michigan

Donald J.Peurach’s research, teaching, and outreach focus on the production, use, and management of knowledge in practice, among social innovators and those they seek to serve. As such, his work sits squarely at the intersection of educational policy, leadership, and innovation.

Peurach examines these issues in the context of large-scale, network-based educational improvement initiatives. He has drawn on this work in developing outreach initiatives for school leaders and as an advisor to executives managing large-scale, network-based improvement initiatives.

Currently, Peurach is engaged in a comparative study of diverse, instructionally-focused educational systems supported by a Lyle Spencer Research Award from the Spencer Foundation. Additionally, he is engaged in other projects focused on devising methods of collaborating with network leaders to improve ways in which their enterprises function as learning systems that improve and adapt over time.

Peurach is the author of Seeing Complexity in Public Education: Problems, Possibilities, and Success for All (2011,Oxford University Press) and a co-author of Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better Schools (2014, University of Chicago Press).

Peurach’s perspectives and research have also been featured in commentaries, press reports, and op-ed pieces, as well as in recent blogs from the Huffington Post, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

In 2016, Peurach received an Outstanding Reviewer of the Year Award from Educational Administration Quarterly. In 2013, Peurach received the School of Education’s Evan G. and Helen G.Pattishall Junior Faculty Research Award. In 2011, he received the Paula Silver Case Award from the University Council of Educational Administration for the most outstanding case published in the 2010 volume of the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership.

Prior to joining the School of Education as a faculty member in 2011, Peurach served as an assistant professor at Michigan State University and at Eastern Michigan University. He also served as a researcher on U-M’s Study of Instructional Improvement. Before pursuing an academic career, Peurach was a high school mathematics teacher and, before that, a systems analyst in manufacturing, health care, and higher education.

Peurach holds a BA in computer science from Wayne State University, an MPP from the Ford School of Public Policy at U-M, and a PhD in Educational Studies from the School of Education at U-M.