Phillip Caldwell, II

A photo of Phillip Caldwell, II.

Assistant Professor

Leadership and Counseling

304G John W. Porter Building


[email protected]


  • Ph.D., Emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • MA, Educational Administration, Emphasis in Education Leadership, Poly & Analysis, University of Missouri-Saint Louis
  • BS, Mathematics Education, Florida A&M University


Phillip Caldwell, II, Ph.D. Assistant professor within the COE's Department of Leadership and Counseling at EMU and I hail from Detroit, Michigan. In the Fall of 2020, he will begin implementing his research agenda, while completing a 2-year intensive training program focused on data science, research methods, education policy, and leadership. The long-term career goal is to help identify significant key learning opportunities for
educational leaders over time with respect to building and retaining their knowledge, skills and dispositions regarding resource allocation as a key lever for achieving equitable student outcomes. Dr. Caldwell's long-term career goal is to become a national leader in the design, implementation, evaluation, and training of educational leaders through evidenced based educational leader interventions (broadly defined as those people that oversee and make decisions regarding staff, stuff, or space) to reduce educational inequities:

  • Influencing individuals' knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and skills;
  • Increasing institutional evidenced-based interventions; and
  • Creating supportive environments, policies and resources.

Interests and Expertise

Research Interests

  • School funding, funding fairness and equity, systemic racism associated with public school funding, applications of critical race theory, qualitative, quantitative and mixed research methodologies

Current Research
  • Dr. Caldwell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership & Counseling and PI for the Michigan Public School Finance research project, supported by the John W. Porter Distinguished Chair in Urban Education (2020-21) and Michael G. Morris Endowed Chair for Outstanding Faculty Members(2021) within the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University. He earned a B.S. in Mathematics Education from Florida A&M University, graduating in 2000, M.E in Educational Administration with an emphasis in education leadership, policy, and analysis from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2007, and Doctor of Philosophy with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2016.

    At UW-Madison, he worked with some of the most dedicated and accomplished educational scholars in the country during his doctoral studies in the top-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction, including Drs. Carl Grant, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Beth Graue, Mitch Nathan, and William “Bill” Tate (Washington University). These are all colleagues with whom Dr. Caldwell regularly consults in seeking ways to improve educational achievement through programs and policies to promote educational equity. As a part of his ongoing training as an interdisciplinary applied research methodologist seeking to specializing in mixed methods research, he participated in the 16th Annual Qualitative Research Summer Intensive courses: (i) Mixed Methods Research: Foundations for Design, Execution and Dissemination (Instructor: Cheryl Poth), (ii) Framing and Maintaining a Research Agenda (Instructor: Fred Bonner), and (iii) Qualitative Research for Applied Practice (Instructor: Sally Thorne).

    His research primarily focuses on explaining racism's persistence in Michigan’s public school funding policy and practice. His research and methodological design uses an explanatory sequential mixed methods design informed by the following components: transformative paradigms (Mertens, 2005, 2007), critical race theory (Harris, 1993; Khalifa et al., 2013; Ladson-Billings, 2009), school funding fairness (Baker, Farrie, et al., 2018; Baker, Weber, et al., 2018), critical race mixed methods (DeCuir-Gunby, 2020), and explanatory sequential mixed methods (Guetterman et al., 2015).

    He leads a robust team of diverse expertise that focuses on Michigan school finance reform equity and justice. This collaboration team has developed and is currently piloting the Michigan Public School Finance district-level fairness measures (i.e., funding level and local fiscal effort) inspired by Baker, Farrie, et al., (2018)) and district-level fiscal risks (i.e., Fiscal Fitness and Fiscal Profile) inspired by the Illinois State Board of Education.


  • EDLD 612: Economics of Public Education
  • EDLD 517: Leadership for School Improvement

Publications and Presentations

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Caldwell, P., Pearson, A., & Smart R. (2020) Addressing disproportionate discipline: Building equity by understanding the need for change. Principal Leadership. March ed.

Caldwell, II, P & Smart, R. (Fall 2018). Education Management Companies versus Traditional Schools: How do They Compare in Michigan? Journal of the Effective Schools Project.