Dirk F. Zuschlag


Dr. Zuschlag brings an array of knowledge, skills, and perspectives from his extensive professional experience in law, teaching, and research to produce quality studies focused on public policies and programs for a range of audiences and decision-makers.

He excels in qualitative research, from its design to data collection and analysis to interpretation and reporting. His research interests have spanned many areas of education policy, including school and teacher quality and accountability, school culture and organization, and the history, philosophy, and politics of education and educational systems. He enjoys multi-disciplinary methods and examining policy interactions and effects.

As a PPA senior research associate, Dr. Zuschlag has played a variety of research roles involving research design, data collection and analysis, and reporting in projects around planning, policies, and practices in such areas as postsecondary education, child care, workforce development, and housing.

Dr. Zuschlag’s experience prior to joining PPA includes serving as an education and labor law attorney, litigator, and counsel in private practice; being a high school teacher, teacher leader, and instructional coach/staff developer; and conducting doctoral research.

Dr. Zuschlag strives to make key contributions to the rigorous research and actionable results that will effectively meet each client’s particular needs and proactively inform their decisions going forward.


Dr. Zuschlag earned his Ph.D. in educational policy from Michigan State University, where his dissertation examined the interactions between and effects of teachers’ interdependent participation in professional communities and teacher evaluations. He also holds a master of arts in education and a juris doctor degree from the University of Michigan; he earned his BA from Duke University.

Also notable

Dr. Zuschlag served two terms as one of five governor-appointed members of the State Teacher Tenure Commission, a rule-making and quasi-judicial administrative agency. Currently Dr. Zuschlag is in his second term on the board of Learning Forward Michigan (LFM), an organization dedicated to high-quality educator professional learning. He also belongs to professional research organizations such as the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Education Law Association (ELA), and the Association for Public Policy and Analysis Management (APPAM).

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