Tammy Kolbe is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont. Her research focuses on the allocation of educational resources (e.g. teacher quality, funding, and learning time) and the cost effectiveness of educational policies and programs. She also is developing new methods for considering costs and funding adequacy in higher education, and has expertise in special education funding and policy. She regularly consults with a variety of government, non-profit, and education agencies, and is an affiliated researcher with the Wisconsin HOPE Lab and VT Education Research Alliance. She is member of the editorial boards for the Journal of Education Finance and the National Education Policy Center.

Areas of Expertise

Assessment and Evaluation; Educational Finance; Educational Policy; Higher Education; Special Education


Selected Publications

  • Kolbe, T. & O’Reilly, F. (In press) Expanded learning time in public schools: A cost effectiveness analysis of Massachusetts’ Expanded Learning Time Initiative. Leadership & Policy in Schools.  [abstract]
  • Goldrick-Rab, S. & Kolbe, T. (In press). A matter of trust: Applying insights from social psychology to make college affordable. Policy Insights from the Behavioral & Brain Sciences.
  • Kolbe, T. & Strunk, K. (2012) Economic Incentives as a Strategy for Responding to Teacher Staffing Problems: An Organizational Typology. Educational Administration Quarterly, 48(5), 779-813.
  • Kolbe, T. & Rice, J. (2012). And They're Off: Tracking Federal Race to the Top Investments from the Starting Gate. Educational Policy, 26(1), 185-209.
  • O'Reilly, F. & Kolbe, T. (2011). Where does the money go? Expenditures for the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time Initiative. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • Rice, J., Roellke, C., Sparks, D., & Kolbe, T. (2009). Piecing together the teacher policy landscape: Multi-level case study findings from three states. Teachers College Record, 11(2), 511-546.


  • Collaborative Data Use by Teacher Decision-making Teams to Support Instructional Interventions for Struggling Students. [$299,000] from The Spencer Foundation: Teacher decision-making teams play an important role in schools’ efforts to help teachers respond to diverse student learning needs. Decision-making teams enjoin general and special education teachers, and often other instructional and support staff, to help classroom teachers develop and implement interventions for struggling students. In doing so, teams rely heavily on a wide range of formative and summative student performance data and a collaborative problem solving model to develop instructional interventions. Decision-making teams have become nearly ubiquitous in schools nationwide and are a key component of most schools’ instructional programs. Despite the fact that these teams are a well-established feature of the educational landscape, little is known about how these teams work to collaboratively use data to develop instructional interventions for classroom teachers. This study will unpack how decision-making teams understand, use, and collaborate around student performance data to develop instructional interventions, and how school conditions influence this process. Specifically: 1. What knowledge and skills do teacher decision-making teams rely upon to interpret, analyze, and apply data to understanding student needs? What constitutes teacher teams’ data literacy? How are data translated into instructional interventions? 2. What does collaborative data use look like in these teams? How do teacher teams meet, interact, communicate, and cooperate around student data? In what ways do teams leverage members’ expertise and experience to develop interventions? 3. How do school-level organizational conditions support or inhibit teams’ abilities to effectively collaborate around student data? Comparative case studies of five Vermont elementary and middle schools’ Educational Support Teams (ESTs) will inform the study’s research questions. ESTs are data-driven teacher decision-making teams that rely on a collaborative problem-solving approach to develop appropriate instructional responses for struggling students. The proposed study will contribute to our understanding of teacher decision-making teams’ data literacy and collaborative data use for instructional improvement. (0000-00-00)
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Tammy Kolbe


    • Ed.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from University of Vermont
    • M.S. in Policy Analysis & Evaluation from The Pennsylvania State University
    • B.A. in Political Science/Public Policy from Kalamazoo College


    Email: Tammy.Kolbe@uvm.edu
    Phone: 802.656.0174
    Office: 499B Waterman Building
    Find me online:



    Courses Taught in the Last 5 Years

    Applied Data Analysis for Decision Making; Economics of Education; Policy to Practice: ; Program Evaluation & Assessment; Reading & Understanding Educational Research; Seminar on Education Policy