Neal Finkelstein

Co-Director, Innovation Studies

Neal Finklestein
Neal Finkelstein serves as Co-Director of WestEd's Innovation Studies program, which helps educators and policymakers find promising ideas, understand how they work, put them into action, and evaluate the results. Among Finkelstein's responsibilities are developing research and evaluation designs that study the impact of program implementation in K–12 public schools. Finkelstein ensures that evaluation designs feature high standards of evidence, and oversees the implementation of randomized field trials in education settings. His areas of expertise include K–12 school finance, academic preparation programs for high school youth, school-to-work, and early childhood education. Prior to joining WestEd, Finkelstein worked on large-scale program evaluations and policy analyses encompassing K–12 and higher education, and the bridge between them. Finkelstein served as Director of Educational Outreach Research and Evaluation for the University of California Office of the President. There he implemented research and evaluation designs that studied the effectiveness of K–12 student and school academic programs initiated by the University of California on 10 campuses throughout the state. These programs emphasized the connections between K–12 education and postsecondary education opportunities for students. He also served as Senior Program Officer for the National Research Council and, as such, supported the Committee on Education Finance in the investigation of equity, adequacy, and productivity considerations in the financing of American K–12 public education. In addition, Finkelstein was Assistant Director of Policy Analysis for California Education and Research Associate at the National Center for Research in Vocational Education. Finkelstein received a BA in economics and psychology from Swarthmore College and a MPP, MA, and PhD in education policy and management from the University of California, Berkeley.