ABOUT
DR. SAMANTHA VIANO

Education Policy Researcher
Education Leadership Instructor

Dr. Viano is a faculty member in the School of Education in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. She joined the Mason faculty after completing her doctoral studies at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. She holds a Master of Science in Education degree from Northwestern University and earned a BS in Mathematics from Haverford College.

Dr. Viano has extensive experience as an education advocate, researcher, and journalist. Her teaching and research are greatly informed by her experience teaching high school math in Chicago. Her research agenda focuses on evaluating the longitudinal effects of policies and programs that predominately affect at-risk or traditionally marginalized student populations. Specific research strands that fall within this agenda include school climate and safety, school security, exclusionary discipline, teacher mobility, and online credit recovery.

Dr. Viano's work has been supported by the National Institute of Justice Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. She was a 2017 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow.

 

PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS

Article Synopses with Links to Articles

KINDERGARTEN COP: A CASE STUDY OF HOW A COALITION BETWEEN SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT LED TO SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
(WITH F. CHRIS CURRAN & BENJAMIN W. FISHER)

Educational Evaluation & Policy Analysis (In Press)

Adopting school resource officers (SROs) is a popular response to school shootings. Using the advocacy coalition and multiple streams frameworks, we explore how school districts in one county formed a coalition with the Sheriff’s Department, adopting SROs in elementary schools following the Sandy Hook shooting. We describe how this coalition was bound together by shared beliefs on school safety and the goodness of law enforcement. The implementation activities of SROs related to the beliefs of the coalition, focusing on security and relationship building. The beliefs were not uniformly understood by SROs – many interpreted their role to include student discipline and managing behavior of students with disabilities. The findings show the utility of comparing policy adoption processes with implementation activities.

Available Here

PUSH OR PULL: SCHOOL-LEVEL FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE TEACHER MOBILITY IN LOW PERFORMING SCHOOLS
(WITH LAM PHAM, GARY T. HENRY, ADAM KHO, & RON ZIMMER)

 American Educational Research Journal (In Press)

Using adaptive conjoint analysis survey design, we examine three types of school attributes that may influence teachers’ employment decisions: fixed school characteristics, structural features of employment, and malleable school processes. We find that teachers express a strong preference for two malleable school processes, administrative support and discipline enforcement, along with a higher salary, a structural feature. Estimates indicate these attributes are 2 to 3 times more important to teachers than fixed school characteristics like prior achievement. We validate our results using administrative data on teachers’ revealed preferences.

Available Here

HOW DO INTERACTIONS WITH SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS PREDICT STUDENTS’ LIKELIHOOD OF BEING DISCIPLINED AND FEELINGS OF SAFETY? MIXED-METHODS EVIDENCE FROM TWO SCHOOL DISTRICTS
(WITH F. CHRIS CURRAN, AARON KUPCHIK, & BENJAMIN W. FISHER)

Educational Evaluation & Policy Analysis (In Press)

School resource officers (SROs) are common in schools, yet consequences of their presence are poorly understood. This study leveraged mixed-methods data from student surveys and group interviews across twenty-five schools to examine how the frequency of interactions and trust/comfort between students and SROs relates to disciplinary outcomes and feelings of safety.  We found no evidence that, in this context, more frequent interactions or differing trust/comfort with SROs increased disciplinary consequences, perhaps because, as students report, SROs tended to not engage in formal discipline.  We found that, although SROs were seen as increasing safety, interactions with SROs may have heightened students’ sense of danger, potentially mitigating any benefit to students’ overall feelings of safety.  Implications for use of SROs are discussed.

PROTECTING THE FLOCK OR POLICING THE SHEEP? DIFFERENCES IN SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS' PERCEPTIONS OF THREATS BY SCHOOL RACIAL COMPOSITION
(WITH BENJAMIN W. FISHER, ETHAN HIGGINS, AARON KUPCHIK, F. CHRIS CURRAN, SUZANNE OVERSTREET, BRYANT PLUMLEE, & BRANDON COFFEY)

Social Problems (In Press)

This study uses interviews with 73 SROs from two different school districts that encompass schools with a variety of racial compositions. Across both districts, SROs perceived three major categories of threats: student-based, intruder-based, and environment-based threats. However, the focus and perceived severity of the threats varied across districts such that SROs in the district with a larger proportion of White students were primarily concerned about external threats (i.e., intruder-based and environment-based) that might harm the students, whereas SROs in the district with a larger proportion of Black students were primarily concerned with students themselves as threats.

POLICE AMBASSADORS: STUDENT-POLICE INTERACTIONS IN SCHOOL AND LEGAL SOCIALIZATION
(WITH AARON KUPCHIK, F. CHRIS CURRAN, & BENJAMIN W. FISHER)

Law and Society Review (2020)

In this study, we analyze data from interviews with school police officers as well as focus group data from school staff, parents, and students that shed light on how school police interact with youth. In particular, school police officers discussed their desire to build relationships with students that instill trust in police among students. Importantly, officers discussed how they devote particular attention to imparting these lessons on youth of color and others who may see police in a negative light.

Available Here

HOW ADMINISTRATIVE DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS CAN BETTER REFLECT RACIAL AND ETHNIC IDENTITIES
(WITH DOMINIQUE J. BAKER)

Review of Research in Education (2020)

We conducted a synthetic review of studies on how to effectively measure race/ethnicity for administrative data purposes and then utilize these measures in analyses. Recommendations based on this synthesis include combining the measure of Hispanic ethnicity with the broader racial/ethnic measure and allowing individuals to select more than one race/ethnicity.

Available Here

MASS SCHOOL SHOOTINGS AND THE SHORT-RUN IMPACTS ON USE OF SCHOOL SECURITY MEASURES AND PRACTICES: NATIONAL EVIDENCE FROM THE COLUMBINE TRAGEDY
(WITH F. CHRIS CURRAN & BENJAMIN W. FISHER)

Journal of School Violence (2020)

We used regression analysis to examine
the use of seven security measures and practices before and after Columbine. Elementary schools were 16 percentage points more likely to lock exits after Columbine and, over time, were more likely to use visitor sign in procedures.

Available Here

WHY AND WHEN DO SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS ENGAGE IN SCHOOL DISCIPLINE? THE ROLE OF CONTEXT IN SHAPING DISCIPLINARY INVOLVEMENT
(WITH F. CHRIS CURRAN, BENJAMIN W. FISHER, & AARON KUPCHIK)

American Journal of Education (2019)

Using data from over 50 schools in a county in the southeast, we found although 79% of SROs initially report not being involved in discipline, the majority involve themselves in nuanced ways that are shaped by relationships with school staff, official policies, and the characteristics of students served. 

Available Here

TEACHER VICTIMIZATION, TURNOVER, AND CONTEXTUAL FACTORS PROMOTING RESILIENCE
(WITH F. CHRIS CURRAN & BENJAMIN W. FISHER)

Journal of School Violence (2018)

We examine the extent to which being threatened or attacked by students predicts higher rates of teacher turnover and whether this relationship differs due to factors that may promote teacher resilience.

Available Here

CO-CREATING SCHOOL INNOVATIONS: SHOULD SELF-DETERMINATION BE A COMPONENT OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT?
(WITH CHRISTOPHER REDDING)

Teachers College Record (2018)

We describe the beliefs held by teachers and teacher leaders during the development and implementation of a locally developed innovation.

Available Here

AT-RISK HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS RECOVERING COURSE CREDITS ONLINE: WHAT WE KNOW AND NEED TO KNOW

American Journal of Distance Education (2018)

The existing literature on credit recovery is reviewed in 3 specific areas: the proliferation of credit recovery courses, the student experience in credit recovery courses, and outcomes and impacts of credit recovery. 

Available Here

STUDENTS’ FEELINGS OF SAFETY, EXPOSURE TO VIOLENCE AND VICTIMIZATION, AND AUTHORITATIVE SCHOOL CLIMATE
(WITH BENJAMIN W. FISHER, F. CHRIS CURRAN, F. ALVIN PEARMAN, & JOSEPH H. GARDELLA)

American Journal of Criminal Justice (2018)

With data from two nationally representative datasets, this study uses path analysis to examine the relationship between authoritative school climate and feelings of safety, as well as the extent to which this relation is explained by exposure to violence and victimization.

Available Here

TEACHER-PRINCIPAL RACE AND TEACHER SATISFACTION OVER TIME, REGION
(WITH SETH B. HUNTER)

Journal of Educational Administration (2017)

This paper presents the changing nature of the relationship between principal-teacher race congruence and teacher job satisfaction over time, and reveals that the teacher-principal race congruence has greater salience in the Southern region of the country.

Available Here

STATE POLICY AND THE EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES OF ENGLISH LEARNER AND IMMIGRANT STUDENTS: THREE ADMINISTRATIVE DATA STORIES
(WITH STELLA FLORES, TOBY PARK, & VANESSA COCA)

American Behavioral Scientist (2017)

We highlight how state and district longitudinal administrative data sets could be leveraged to provide valuable insight into the experience of English language learner and immigrant students.

Available Here

UNDERSTANDING EMPLOYEE TURNOVER IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR: INSIGHTS FROM RESEARCH ON TEACHER MOBILITY
(WITH JASON A. GRISSOM & JENNIFER SELIN)

Public Administration Review (2016)

We present a conceptual framework for understanding employee turnover that is grounded in economic theories of labor supply and demand, which have formed the foundation of many studies of teacher turnover.

Available Here

 

OVERVIEW OF COURSES

George Mason University
PhD in Education
Fall 2020

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL FORCES IN EDUCATION LEADERSHIP

Examines the social and political forces that shape education in the United States and the effect of these forces on school leadership. Examines the social and political functions of schooling in the past and present.

George Mason University
MEd in Education Leadership
Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Spring 2021

USING RESEARCH TO LEAD SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT

Develops skills, insights, and understanding of how leaders use research to improve schools, with emphasis on the use of assessment and research data to identify school improvement needs and to design school improvement projects.

George Mason University
MEd in Education Leadership
Fall 2018, Fall 2020

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN EDUCATION LEADERSHIP

Examines current and emerging issues and trends impacting education. Includes demographic shifts; globalization; technology; data-based decision making; inclusion of diverse learners in American schools; and recent research on student achievement when influenced by race, gender, and poverty.

Vanderbilt University
Masters in Public Policy
Spring 2018

EDUCATION POLICY AND PROGRAM EVALUATION

Build skills necessary to conduct professional evaluations, particularly of education programs.

 

CURRICULUM VITAE

Updated CV is available here: Samantha Viano CV

Updated on December 30, 2020.

 
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