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Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowski, Ed.D.

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

Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowski is the Associate Director for Research at the Learning Systems Institute. She holds a joint appointment in the Learning Systems Institute and as an associate professor of International and Multicultural Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of Education.

Zuilkowski’s research aims to improve basic education in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on 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, Sierra Leone, and Indonesia. Her research has been funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Spencer Foundation. Her work has been published in Comparative Education Review, the International Journal of Educational Development, and Teaching and Teacher Education, among other journals.

Zuilkowski is a member of the Comparative and International Education Society, the American Educational Research Association, and the Society for Research on Child Development. She serves as a member of the advisory board for Comparative Education Review, and as a reviewer for a number of journals, including Educational Researcher, World Development, and Educational Research Review. She has consulted for the World Bank, World Education, UNICEF and other international organizations on education and health projects conducted in sub-Saharan Africa.

Zuilkowski received the Joyce Cain Award from the Comparative and International Education Society in 2016. The British Journal of Educational Psychology awarded Zuilkowski its Early Stage Career Research Prize for her paper on malaria prevention and school dropout in the Gambia in 2015. Zuilkowski holds a Doctor of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she also earned her master’s degree in International Education Policy.

Faculty Profile


Ed.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education

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



  • 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). Total award $993,656.
  • 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. Total award $14,000.
  • 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. Total award $50,000.
  • 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). Total award $500,000.
  • 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. Total award $20,000.


  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Henning, M., Zulu, J. M., & Matafwali, B. (in press). “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.

  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Thulin, E. J., McLean, K., Rogers, T. M., Akinsulure-Smith, A., & Betancourt, T. S. (in press). Parenting and discipline in post-conflict Sierra Leone. Child Abuse and Neglect.

  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Piper, B., Kwayumba, D., & Dubeck, M. (in press). Examining options for reading comprehension assessment in international contexts. Journal of Research in Reading.

  • Zuilkowski, S. S., Piper, B., & Ong’ele, S. (in press). 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. (in press). Impact of literacy interventions on reading skills in low- and middle-income countries: a meta-analysis. Child Development.

  • Lee, J., Yang, Y., & Zuilkowski, S. S. (in press). A multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis of teacher perceptions of social and emotional learning (SEL) in rural Malawi. British Journal of Educational Psychology.

  • 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.