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College of Education > Faculty and Staff Directory > Dr. Matthew Gardner Kelly

Dr. Matthew Gardner Kelly

Dr. Matthew Gardner Kelly
Phone: 814-863-3773
Office Address:
204F Rackley Building
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Assistant Professor of Education


Education Policy Studies


Educational Leadership


Matthew Gardner Kelly is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership. His research examines the social and political contexts of educational finance policies, past and present. He is principally interested in the history of resource disparities in education, the political dimensions of contemporary funding policies, and the interplay between geography, school finance, and inequality. Before earning his doctorate, Kelly was a teacher and instructional leader in the Harlem and Brownsville neighborhoods of New York City.

Areas of Expertise

Educational Studies

History of Ed

Leadership Preparation

Educational Leadership
Principal Prep
Superintendent Prep


Equity and Diversity

Methodological Research

Historical research
Policy Analysis

Organizational Management

Management & Leadership

Social Issues

Education Policy

Courses Taught

EDLDR 480, Introduction to Educational Leadership

EDLDR 540, Technology Applications in Educational Leadership 

EDLDR 573, Public School Finance

EDLDR 873, Money and Schools: Perspectives, Finance Policies, and Leadership

EDLDR 841, Data Informed Leadership

Education History

Ph.D. (Educational Policy and History of Education), Stanford University; M.A. (History), Stanford University; B.A. (History), Bard College

Representative Publications

Kelly, M.G. (2020).‘Theoretically all children are equal. Practically this can never be so’: The history of the district property tax in California and the choice of inequality. Teachers College Record, 122 (2).

Kelly, M.G. (2019). A map is more than just a graph: Geospatial educational research and the importance of historical context. AERA Open, 5(1), 1-14. 

Kelly, M.G. (2018). The deep and tangled roots of real estate markets, the state, and public education. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 50(3), 191-203. 

Kelly, M.G. (2016). Schoolmaster’s empire: Race, conquest, and the centralization of common schooling in California. History of Education Quarterly, 56(3), 445-472. 

  • Awarded the History of Education Society Prize for best refereed article published in previous two years

Kelly, M.G. (2014). The mythology of schooling: The historiography of American and European education in comparative perspective. Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, 50(6), 756-773.