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Dr. Marsha Modeste

Dr. Marsha Modeste
Phone: (814) 863-3775
Office Address:
204C Rackley Building
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Assistant Professor of Education


Education Policy Studies


Educational Leadership
Comparative and International Education


Marsha E. Modeste is an Assistant Professor of Education (Educational Leadership) in the Department of Education Policy Studies at The Pennsylvania State University, College of Education. Dr. Modeste earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Dr. Modeste’s research focuses on school leadership across three areas: (1) district governance, specifically urban districts under system-wide reform, (2) the policy and cultural environment that informs school leadership and (3) distributed leadership. Dr. Modeste’s dissertation research focused on urban school principals in New York City. She examined the ways in which school leaders interpreted and implemented in their schools the reform policies that came from the school system’s central office. 

Her work with the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning (CALL) has taken her to Copenhagen, Denmark where she has led the expansion and implementation of CALL, an online, formative assessment of distributed leadership practices, in schools and districts (municipalities) under reform. A former middle school teacher and Central office program director, her work focuses on organizational change in urban school districts using mayoral control and how system-wide school reform impacts urban school leadership.

Courses Taught

EDLDR 578: Schools as Organizations

EDLDR 533: The Politics of Local School Districts

EDLDR 549: District Improvement and Systemic Change

EDLDR 802: How Schools Work

EDLDR 559: School Improvement

Representative Publications

Modeste, M. E., Pavlakis, A. E., & Nguyen, C. (2020). Theory Amid Policy and Practice: A Typology of Theory Use in Educational Leadership Scholarship. Journal of Research on Leadership Education.

Modeste, M. E., Buhl Hornskov, S., Bjerg, H., & Kelley, C. J. (2018). School leadership practice across international policy contexts: Organizational roles and distributed leadership in Denmark and the United States. Educational Management Administration & Leadership 

Modeste, M. E., & Kelley, C. J. (2018). Examining Distributed Leadership Practices by School Grade Configuration. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 1-30.

Blitz, M. H., & Modeste, M. (2015). The differences across distributed leadership practices by school position according to the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning (CALL). Leadership and Policy in Schools, 14(3), 341-379.

Min, S., Modeste, M. E., Salisbury, J., & Goff, P. T. (2016). Heeding the CALL (Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning) An inquiry into instructional collaboration among school professionals. Journal of Educational Administration, 54(2), 135-151.  

Bowers, A.J., Blitz, M., Modeste, M., Salisbury, J., Halverson, R. (2017) How Leaders Agree with Teachers in Schools on Measures of Leadership Practice: A Two-Level Latent Class Analysis of the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning. Teachers College Record, 119(1)  

Modeste, M. (2016). Educational Leadership for a More Sustainable World [Review of Educational Leadership for a More Sustainable World]. Teachers College Record. Retrieved from