Stephanie Zuilkowski, Ed.D.

Associate Director for Research, Learning Systems Institute. Associate Professor of International and Multicultural Education
Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowsk

Stephanie Zuilkowski, Ed.D.


Ed.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education

Ed.M., International Education Policy, Harvard Graduate School of Education

College of Education Profile

Dr. Zuilkowski Wins Ralph Stair Prize For Innovation In Education
LSI Entering It's Fourth Year Working In Zambia On The Transforming Teacher Education Activity

Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowski holds a joint appointment as an associate professor of International and Multicultural Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the Florida State University College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences and in the Learning Systems Institute, where she is Associate Director for Research.

Zuilkowski’s research aims to improve basic education in sub-Saharan Africa, including school quality, early literacy outcomes, and teacher implementation of policies. Her current work focuses on Nigeria and Zambia; she has also conducted fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone, among others. She is the Project Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Transforming Teacher Education activity in Zambia (2020-2025). Her research has also been funded by the Spencer Foundation. Her work has been published in Comparative Education Review, the International Journal of Educational DevelopmentChild Development, and Teaching and Teacher Education, among other journals.

Dr. Zuilkowski serves on the Advisory Board of Comparative Education Review and the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Educational Development.

Zuilkowski received the Joyce Cain Award from the Comparative and International Education Society in 2016 and the Robert M. Gagne Research Award from the Florida State University College of Education in 2018. She earned an Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she also earned her master’s degree in International Education Policy.


  • Zuilkowski, Stephanie (PI). Transforming Teacher Education in Zambia. Funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Period of Performance: 9/30/2020-9/29/2025
  • Zuilkowski, Stephanie Simmons (PI), & Milligan, Jeffrey (Co-PI). (Jun 2017–Jun 2020). Nigerian Center For Reading Research at Bayero University-Kano. Funded by U.S. Agency for International Development. (AID-620-G-17-00001).
  • Zuilkowski, S. S. (PI). (May 2017–Aug 2017). Adolescent pregnancy and school dropout in urban Zambia: Meeting the educational needs of young mothers. Funded by Florida State University Council on Research & Creativity. 
  • Zuilkowski, S. S. (PI), & Henning, M. (Co-PI). (May 2017–Dec 2018). Educational attainment for young mothers in Zambia: Disconnects between policy and practice. Funded by Spencer Foundation.
  • Boyle, H. N. (PI), Ramos-Mattoussi, F. (Co-PI), & Zuilkowski, S. S. (Co-PI). (Sep 2014–Jan 2017). US - Indonesia Teacher Training Partnership. Funded by RTI International. (4-330-0213381-51869L). 
  • Zuilkowski, S. S. (PI). (May 2014–Aug 2014). Explaining gendered patterns of educational participation in Indonesia. Funded by Florida State University Council on Research & Creativity.


  • Lee, J., & Zuilkowski, S. S. (2022). "I can teach what's in the book": Understanding the why and how behind teachers' implementation of an SEL-focused curriculum in rural Malawi. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(3), 974-993.
  • Arango, M. P., & Zuilkowski, S. S. (2023). Differentiated meanings of education in the reintegration of ex-combatants in Colombia. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 44(4), 509-521.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Lee, J., & Puplampu, N. (2023). How do teachers organize primary school literacy environments in Zambia and Mozambique? In R. Malatesha Joshi, Catherine A. McBride, Bestern Kaani, & Gad Elbeheri (Eds.), Handbook of Literacy in Countries in Africa. Springer.
  • Rockers, P., Zuilkowski, S. S., & Fink, G. (2023). Childhood Adversity and Educational Attainment: Evidence from Zambia on the Role of Personality. Frontiers in Psychology, 14, 1-9.
  • Paredes, C., Barnes-Story, A. E., Zuilkowski, S., & Akinrinmade, B. (in press). The potential of non-formal learning programs to close reading gaps for out-of-school children: Findings from northern Nigeria. Global Education Review.
  • Kabir, U., Marty, A., Akinrinmade, B., & Zuilkowski, S. S. (2022). An Analysis of Teaching and Learning Materials in Nigeria: Curricular Relevance, Cultural Responsiveness, and Gender Equity. Literacy, 56(2), 130-149.
  • Adamu, A., Aisha Umar Tsiga, & Zuilkowski, S. S. (2022). Teaching reading in northern Nigeria: the challenges of large class size. Pedagogy, Culture, and Society, 30(2), 225-242.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., & Tsiga, I. A. (2021). Building a university partnership to support early grade reading in Nigeria: The case of the Nigeria Centre for Reading Research and Development. Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education, 13(5), 124-134.
  • Lee, J., Zuilkowski, S., & D'sa, N. (2021). Organising primary literacy environments in Mozambique. Learning Environments Research, 24(2), 207-221.
  • Akinrinmade, B., Ammani, M., & Zuilkowski, S. S. (2021). Parental support for literacy development of early grade children during COVID-19 school closures in Northern Nigeria. Global Education Review, 8(1), 1-13.
  • Onyango, S., Zuilkowski, S. S., Wekulo, P. K., Nkumbula, N., Utzinger, J., & Fink, G. (2021). Relative Importance of Domains of Early Childhood Development for Schooling Progression: Longitudinal Evidence from the Zambian Early Childhood Development Project. International Journal of Educational Development, 85, 102445.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., & Marty, A. H. (2021). Student perceptions of school safety and student learning outcomes in a context of protracted conflict. International Journal of Educational Development, 82, 102372.
  • Lee, J., D'Sa, N., & Zuilkowski, S. (2020). Integrating new knowledge into everyday practices: Teacher pedagogy in early grade literacy in rural Mozambique. Literacy, 54(3), 111-122.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Piper, B., & Ong’ele, S. (2020). Are low-cost-private schools worth the investment? Evidence on literacy and mathematics gains in Nairobi primary schools. Teachers College Record.
  • Kim, Y.-S., Lee, H., & Zuilkowski, S. S. (2020). Impact of literacy interventions on reading skills in low- and middle-income countries: a meta-analysis. Child Development, 91(2), 638-660.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Henning, M., Zulu, J. M., & Matafwali, B. (2019). “Once they fall pregnant, they don’t come back”: Teacher perspectives on Zambia’s school re-entry policy for adolescent mothers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 86.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Thulin, E. J., McLean, K., Rogers, T. M., Akinsulure-Smith, A., & Betancourt, T. S. (2019). Parenting and discipline in post-conflict Sierra Leone. Child Abuse and Neglect, 97.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Piper, B., Kwayumba, D., & Dubeck, M. (2019). Examining options for reading comprehension assessment in international contexts. Journal of Research in Reading, 42(3-4), 583-599.
  • Lee, J., Yang, Y., & Zuilkowski, S. S. (2019). A multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis of teacher perceptions of social and emotional learning (SEL) in rural Malawi. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(4), 600-615.
  • Barnes, A., Boyle, H. N., Zuilkowski, S., & Bello, Z. N. (2019). Reforming teacher education in Nigeria: Laying a foundation for the future. Teaching and Teacher Education, 79, 153-163.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., McCoy, D., Jonason, C., & Dowd, A. J. (2019). Relationships among home literacy behaviors, materials, socioeconomic status, and early literacy outcomes across 14 low- and middle-income countries. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 50(4), 539-555.
  • Zuilkowski, S., Samanhudi, U., & Indriana, I. (2019). “There is no free education nowadays”: youth explanations for school dropout in Indonesia. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 49(1), 16-29.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Henning, M., Zulu, J., & Matafwali, B. (2019). Zambia’s school re-entry policy for adolescent mothers: Examining impacts beyond re-enrollment. International Journal of Educational Development, 64, 1-7.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Piper, B., Ong’ele, S., & Kimiza, O. (2018). Parents, quality, and school choice: why parents in Nairobi choose low-cost private schools over public schools in Kenya’s free primary education era. Oxford Review of Education, 44(2), 258-274.
  • Barnes, A., Zuilkowski, S., Mekonnen, D., & Ramos-Mattoussi, F. (2018). Improving teacher training in Ethiopia: Shifting the content and approach of pre-service teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 70, 1-11.
  • Piper, B., Zuilkowski, S., Dubeck, M. M., & Jepkemei, E. (2018). Identifying the essential ingredients to literacy and numeracy improvement: Coaching and teacher professional development, improved books, and teacher lesson plans. World Development, 106, 324-336.
  • Piper, B., Zuilkowski, S. S., Kwayumba, D., & Oyanga, A. (2018). Examining the secondary effects of mother-tongue literacy instruction in Kenya: Impacts on student learning in English, Kiswahili, and mathematics. International Journal of Educational Development, 59, 110-127.
  • Jukes, M. C. H., Zuilkowski, S. S., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2018). Do schooling and urban residence develop cognitive skills at the expense of social responsibility? A study of adolescents in the Gambia, West Africa. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 49(1), 82-98.
  • Betancourt T.S., Zuilkowski S.S., Ravichandran A., Einhorn H., Arora N., Bhattacharya Chakravarty A., et al. (2015) Development of the SAFE Checklist Tool for Assessing Site-Level Threats to Child Protection: Use of Delphi Methods and Application to Two Sites in India. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0141222. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141222
  • Lee, J. & Zuilkowski, S. S. (2015). ‘Making do’: Teachers’ coping strategies for dealing with textbook shortages in urban Zambia. Teaching and Teacher Education, 48, 117-128. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2015.02.008.
  • McCoy, D. C., Zuilkowski, S. S., & Fink, G. (2015). Poverty, physical stature, and cognitive skills: Mechanisms underlying children’s school enrollment in Zambia. Developmental Psychology, 51(5), 600-614.
  • Piper, B., & Zuilkowski, S. (2015). Assessing reading fluency in Kenya: Oral or silent assessment? International Review of Education, 61(2), 153-171.
  • Piper, B., & Zuilkowski, S.S. (2015). Teacher coaching in Kenya: Examining instructional support in public and nonformal schools. Teaching and Teacher Education, 47, 173-183.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., & Betancourt, T. S. (2014). School persistence in the wake of war: Wartime experiences, reintegration supports, and dropout in Sierra Leone. Comparative Education Review, 58(3), 457-481.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., & Jukes, M. C. H. (2014). Early childhood malaria prevention and children’s patterns of school leaving in the Gambia. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 483-501.
  • Fink, G., & Zuilkowski, S. S. (2014). Measuring child development across cultures. In UNICEF (Ed.), State of the World’s Children 2015: Reimagine the future. New York: UNICEF.
  • Piper, B., & Zuilkowski, S. S. (2015). Teacher coaching in Kenya: Examining instructional support in public and nonformal schools. Teaching and Teacher Education, 47, 173-183.
  • Piper, B., Zuilkowski, S. S., & Mugenda, A. (2014). Improving reading outcomes in Kenya: First-year effects of the PRIMR Initiative. International Journal of Educational Development, 37, 11-21.
  • Zuilkowski, S. S., & Alon, I. (in press). Promoting education for vulnerable children by supporting families: A holistic intervention in Uganda. Journal of Social Service Research.
  • Zuilkowski, S.S., Fink, G., Moucheraud, C., & Matafwali, B. (2012). Early childhood education, child development and school readiness: Evidence from Zambia. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 2(2), 117-136.
  • Zuilkowski, S.S. & Jukes, M.C.H. (2012). The impact of education on sexual behavior in sub-Saharan Africa: A review of the evidence. AIDS Care, 24(5), 562-576.
  • Theresa S. Betancourt, Stephanie Simmons, Ivelina Borisova, Stephanie E. Brewer, Uzo Iweala, and Marie de la Soudière. “High Hopes, Grim Reality: Reintegration and the Education of Former Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone.” Comparative Education Review 52, no. 4 (2008): 565–587. doi: 10.1086/591298.