Michelle Purdy

7 months ago


Michelle A. Purdy is an Assistant Professor of Education in Arts and Sciences. Purdy’s research and teaching interests include the history of United States education; the history of African American education; the history of school desegregation; the history of elite K-12 private schools; social foundations of education; and race, culture, and equity in education. She is currently teaching “The American School” and “History of Education in the United States.” She is presently working on a book-length project that examines the interplay of politics and race in historically white elite private schools in the mid-twentieth century. Utilizing the desegregation history of a southern elite private school, this project focuses on the experiences of the first African American alumni and why elite private school leaders chose to desegregate their schools in the mid-twentieth century when they were not legally obligated to do so. Her research has been funded by a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2009-2010) and Emory University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Educational Studies.



  • Research & Policy Fellow, Stanford University

    on expanding the boundaries of learning beyond school

  • Dean of Teachers College, ASU

    on understanding how young people learn

  • Sr. Supervising Attorney at Southern Poverty Law Center

    on education as the great equalizer