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Matt Clifford is the Director of Leadership Research at WestEd overseeing a portfolio of research, policy, and professional development projects focused on educational leadership workforce development. Clifford leads client-focused research studies that examine how leaders create schools focused on student equity and achievement. The studies use rigorous methods to answer questions about what works in school leadership and they examine how systems are designed to develop principals, from preparation through professional development and evaluation. He also consults with states, districts, and charter management organizations on policy and program design aimed at attracting and retaining talented school administrators.

With the view that research is essential to improving policy and practice, Clifford leads research-to-practice partnerships, networks, and professional development programs for principals and their supervisors. Previously, Clifford has completed multiple large-scale studies for Leading Education Partnerships at Illinois State University, George W. Bush Institute, National Institute for School Leadership, and Teach for America. Currently, he leads Arizona’s statewide Supervisors of Principals Academy, Tennessee’s Rural Principal Network, and the Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative network.

As co-principal investigator, Clifford co-leads Implementation study A focusing on the social network study following the growth of professional networks across the districts and national partners throughout the pipeline development process.