Margaret Terry Orr

faculty member headshot


Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy

113 W. 60th Street
Room 1119D
New York, New York 10023

Phone: 212-636-6432
Fax: 212-636-7875
Email: [email protected]

Margaret Terry Orr, Ph.D., is division chair and director of the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy program. She joined the faculty of the Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy Division (ELAP) in 2017. Previously, she was on the faculty of Bank Street College of Education, where she directed the Future School Leaders Academy, a two-year, dual certification leadership preparation partnership program, an associate professor of Educational Leadership at Teachers College Columbia University, and a senior research associate at the Academy for Educational Development (now FHI 360).

Since 2017, Orr has coordinated the division’s partnership with the Bronx school districts and nearby school districts as part of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching initiative: Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLEAD). This initiative incorporates equity-focused improvement science principles into leadership preparation and development. Through this work, Orr led the division in redesigning its Ed.D. program around these principles, facilitated assistant principal development through networked improvement communities focused on math instruction, and established Bronx Ed.D. cohorts of school and district leaders. She has conducted many regional and national studies over the last 35 years on leadership preparation approaches and school and district reform initiatives. Orr has also published numerous books and articles on effective approaches to leadership preparation and development and demonstrated the influence of preparation on leadership practices and school improvement work.

Orr helped to develop the national 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders and set national quality standards for leadership preparation programs. She is past Division A-Vice President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Orr has also received the University Council for Educational Administration's (UCEA) Edwin M. Bridges Award for Significant Contributions to the Preparation and Development of School Leaders (2015) and the AERA Learning and Teaching Educational Leadership-Special Interest Group (SIG) Distinguished Researcher Award (2008).

  • Ph.D., Educational Administration and Policy, Columbia University

    M.Ed., Educational Administration and Policy, Columbia University

    B.A., Sociology, Denison University

  • Margaret Terry Orr's teaching includes courses on organizational culture and learning, urban issues and perspectives, improvement science and action research.

    Design-Based Methods in Improvement Science in Education, ASGE 7470

    Overview of Inquiry and Improvement Science, ASGE 7449

    Seminar on Organizational Culture and Change, ASGE 7446

    Urban Education: Problems and Perspectives, UEGE 6241

  • Margaret Terr Orr, Ph.D., is an expert in mixed-methods research to investigate applied problems and evaluate programs, policies and systemic initiatives. Her current research interests are two-fold: 1) to continue rigorous performance assessment research and development in educational leadership, nationally and internationally; and 2) to investigate and develop inquiry-oriented educational leadership to more effectively address intractable problems in schools and other educating institutions.

    She recently completed a four-year initiative to develop a performance assessment system for principal licensure in Massachusetts and is currently advising the State of California on field testing performance assessments for principal licensure. Her earlier research focused on innovative approaches to improve youth opportunities for college and careers, through model programs and district and community reforms, highlighting the centrality of leadership and the limits of narrow policy solutions.

  • Articles

    Coddett, A. & Orr, M. T. (2020). Using an Ecological and Systems Approach to Support Early Learning Readiness (teaching case). Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership.

    Orr, M. T., Hollingworth, L. & B.Q. Beaudin (2019). Performance Assessment for Principal Licensure: Validity and Reliability Results from the First Two Years of Statewide Implementation. Journal of Educational Administration, 58 (1), 38-59.

    Orr, M. T. & Hollingworth, L. (2018). How Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL) Influences Preparation Program Quality and Effectiveness. Journal of School Leadership and Management, 38 (5), 496-517.  

    Orphanos, S. & Orr, M. T. ( 2014). Learning leadership matters: The influence of innovative school leadership preparation on teachers’ experiences and outcomes, Educational Management Administration & Leadership.

    Byrne-Jimenez, M. & Orr, M. T. (2013). Evaluating social justice leadership preparation. Tillman, L. & Scherich, J. J. (eds.), Handbook of Research on Educational Leadership for Equity and Diversity, Routledge.

    Orr, M. T. (2012). When districts drive leadership preparation partnerships: lessons from six urban district initiatives. Journal of Scholarship & Practice, 9 (3), 3-17.

    Orr, M. T. & Orphanos, S. (2011). How graduate-level preparation influences the effectiveness of school leaders: A comparison of the outcomes of innovative and conventional leadership preparation programs on principals, Educational Administration Quarterly.


    Martin, G. E,  Danzig, A. B., Flanery, R., & Orr, M. T. (2021), School Leader Internship: Developing, Monitoring And Evaluating Your Leadership Experience, 5th edition, NY: Routledge.

    Orr, M. T. & Hollingworth, L. (2020). Developing and Using Performance Assessments for Leaders. NY: Routledge.

    Orr, M.T., King, C., & LaPoint, M., Districts Developing Leaders: Lessons on Consumer Actions and Program Approaches from Eight Urban Districts, (EDC, 2010).

    Darling-Hammond, L., Meyerson, D., LaPoint, M., & Orr, M.T., Preparing principals for a changing world: Lessons from effective school leadership programs (with Linda Darling-Hammond and others), (Jossey-Bass, 2009).

    Byrne-Jimenez, & Orr, M.T., Developing effective principals through collaborative inquiry (with Monica Byrne-Jimenez), (Teachers College Press, 2007).