Kitzmiller, Erika M. (emk2208)

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Faculty Banner
Kitzmiller, Erika
Arts & Humanities

420 Zankel

Office Hours:

Educational Background

University of Pennsylvania
Joint Ph.D. History and Education, Culture and Society, 2012
Certificates: Urban Studies and Teaching and Learning

University of Pennsylvania
M.G.A. Fels Institute of Government, 2008

Wellesley College
B.A. History and Italian, 2000, magna cum laude
Post-baccalaureate degree in education

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Kitzmiller, Erika M. “From Bourgeois Migrant to Radical Educator: The Extraordinary Life of Nellie Rathbone Bright” (in press, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography)

Kitzmiller, Erika M. “More than a Bake Sale: Private Funding for Public Schools,” Teachers College Record (February 9, 2015).

Kitzmiller, Erika M.  “Philadelphia to Corporate Ed Reformers: No Contract, No Peace,” Dissent, (November 1, 2014).

Kitzmiller, Erika M. “‘You Can’t Control Me!’: Cultivating Authority in a Struggling Urban High School.” Teachers College Record, 115, no. 12, (2013).

Kitzmiller, Erika M. “Imperial Fantasies: Children’s Literature in the White City.” Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History, 43, no. 1, (Fall 2013): 33-53. 

Kitzmiller, Erika M. “Witnessing the Power of El Sistema in Urban Communities: Sister Cities Girlchoir” (Fall 2013, Bank Street Occasional Papers)

Book Chapters/Encyclopedia Articles

Kitzmiller, Erika M. “Demonstrating the Value of Integrated Data Systems: Data-Use Practice in Four AISP Network Sites.” In Actionable Intelligence: Using Integrated Data Systems to Achieve a More Effective, Efficient, and Ethical Government, edited by John Fantuzzo and Dennis P. Culhane. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015.

Kitzmiller, Erika M. and TC Burnett, “The AISP Network: Three Organizational Models for Building, Using, and Sustaining Integrated Data Systems.” In Actionable Intelligence: Using Integrated Data Systems to Achieve a More Effective, Efficient, and Ethical Government, edited by John Fantuzzo and Dennis P. Culhane. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015.

Kitzmiller, Erika M. “Education and Equality of Opportunity,” Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, February 2014,

Other Publications

Kitzmiller, Erika M. and Deborah Grill, “Mourning the Loss of Germantown High School,” The Crier, Summer 2014.

Kitzmiller, Erika M. “Making Jewels out of Rough Diamonds”: Memories of the Wissahickon Boys Club, The Crier, Fall 2011.

Book Reviews

Andrew Highsmith, Demolition Means Progress, History of Education Quarterly (Summer 2015)

Ronald E. Buchart, Schooling the Freedpeople, Teacher’s College Record (published online, September 30, 2011)

Kim Cary Warren, The Quest for Citizenship: African-American and Native American Education in Kansas, 1880-1935, Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth (Summer, 2012)

Personal Statement

My scholarship examines the historical processes and current reform efforts that have contributed to and challenged inequalities today. I received a joint Ph.D. in History and Education, Culture, and Society and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College. Previously, I was the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. I am currently a Research Associate at the Hutchins Center.

My current book, The Roots of Educational Inequality: Germantown High School, 1907 – 2014, is the first manuscript to examine the political, economic, and social factors that have transformed urban high schools and contributed to social inequality since their founding. This project leverages a wide array of quantitative and qualitative methodologies from education, history, and sociology. I have used a variety of quantitative methods to understand how class and race influenced students’ educational opportunities and labor market outcomes. I have relied on GIS technology to map student residences and show the spatial concentration of inequality over time. Using my training as an ethnographer, I have filmed over fifty oral history interviews with school alumni, local residents, and community activists to showcase their own experiences and trace the factors that led to student unrest and educational inequality.

A sustained look at the history of this one high school over the course of the 20th century revises the way we think about the current challenges in our nation’s urban schools and offers a fresh understanding of the policies and solutions that would help provide all American youth with the educational opportunities that they deserve. This work has been supported with fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, and the National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation. The book is slated for review with the University of Pennsylvania Press this winter.

In addition to this work, I was the qualitative researcher with Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP), a MacArthur-funded initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. AISP aims to improve the quality of education, health and human service agencies’ policies and practices through the use of integrated data systems. In this role, I have published ten case studies of AISP’s ten Network sites and have two book chapters in an upcoming edited volume that highlights the evolution of these systems and the ways that these sites have used these data to advance policies and programs in their jurisdictions.

I have published several articles in academic and popular journals that examine educational reform in urban schools. My recent piece in Dissent, “Philadelphia to Corporate Ed Reformers: No Contract, No Peace,” analyzes the current state of education reform and student dissent when the Philadelphia school board terminated the teachers union contract. I have also published an article, “You Can’t Control Me,” based on a yearlong ethnographic study about the erosion of teacher authority at a struggling urban high school. To expand this work, I am currently writing several pieces based on a two-year ethnographic study I conducted at a public school that was taken over by a privately managed charter organization.

I have combined my research agenda with a strong commitment to teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I have taught courses on race and inequality including coursework in the Urban Studies program, the History Department, and the School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. As a first generation college student, I work with students to help them take risks in their learning and encourage them to think about solutions to create a more just society. I have received several awards for my teaching including a student-nominated, university-wide Excellence in Teaching award from the University of Pennsylvania.


Related Articles