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John Sipple

John Sipple

Associate Professor

261 Warren Hall
(607) 255-3005

John W. Sipple joined Development Sociology in the summer of 2011 after 13 years in Cornell's Department of Education. He has focused his research interests on the responses of public school districts and communities to changes in state and federal policy. Central to his work are issues of community and organizational change and how they relate to fiscal, demographic, and learning opportunities for students across racial, socioeconomic, and geographic lines. He teaches courses on the organizational, social, and political contexts of community vitality and the U.S. educational system.

Research Focus

Prof. Sipple studies the linkages between the $600 Billion/year K-12 educational system and the vitality of local communities. This includes problems and policies related to equity in state assessment, earlycare and PreK, demographic change, and the intersection of school-based health clinics and broader community well-being. He leads an effort to put data in the hands of local decision makers via useful and easy-to-use data tools (

Dr. Sipple's research analyzes the implementation of education and social policies on local communities and their public schools. Ranging from changing high school graduation requirements and state standards, the integration of school leaders in their communities, and early childcare and education in rural communities.

Recently, Dr. Sipple has begun to more formally analyze the use of publicly available data. Through new technology, he has established a demonstration site of how state data can be accessed in usable and productive ways by general citizens of New York State. Through the creation of a RESTful web service, web and mobile-based applications are being developed to draw on the data in real time using the creativity and diffuse expertise of application developers across the university and world. The goal is to demonstrate for NYS how useful data can be to citizens and local leaders when hosted and displayed in useful and novel ways.

Finally, Dr. Sipple is engaged in a new research project investigating the use of shared service agreements (formal and informal. This work, in collaboration with Prof. Mildred Warner, City and Regional Planning, is in collaboration with the County, Mayor, Towns, Planners, and School Superintendent Associations and will be a source of knowledge on the obstacles and value of shared municipal and interagency services.

Outreach and Extension Focus

I continue to update and develop a suite of data tools. These tools are publicly available and free of charge and aim to democratize data, data visualization, and mapping. Using state of the art technologies, we continue to be responsive to needs and requests from across NYS from officials, educational and community leaders.

I was invited by NY State's Commissioner of Education in August of 2015 to serve as one of three Monitors for a troubled community and school district in Rockland county: East Ramapo Central School District. After a year of work studying and influencing local practice and state policy, we secured $3 million for the local school district. I was reappointed as one of two Monitors in August of 2016 and again in June of 2017 for another year of study and service.

I have a program of outreach that builds off my research program and focusses on the intersection of community development and the $600 Billion/year Educational System ($60 Billion here in New York State). This work includes the sharing of strategies municipalities and schools use to share services. It also focusses on the public policy issues of closing/merging schools and their impact on educational opportunity and community vitality.

Dr. Sipple`s primary focus of outreach is in his capacity as Director of the New York State Center for Rural Schools which was established in September 2008. In this position, he works in support of the Rural Schools Association (RSA) of New York State, the state legislature, Governor's office, and the State Education Department. He has a lengthy and productive relationship with the RSA and serves as the research arm of the organization. The work of the Center emphasizes building connections between key constituents, capacity of local school districts as well as the state of NY, and research in support of all its activities.

Awards and Honors

  • Professor of Merit Award (2017) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University
  • 2017 Juror (2016) Brock International Prize in Education
  • Friend of THE COUNCIL Award (2015) New York State Council of School Superintendents
  • Howard A. Dawson Award, Top Research Paper, 2009 (2009) National Rural Education Association (NREA)
  • SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2006) Cornell University

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

Book Chapters

  • Avery, L. A., & Sipple, J. W. (2016). Common Core, STEM, and Rural Schools: Views from Students and States. p. 123-145 Reimagining Rural: Urbanormative Portrayals of Rural Life Fulkerson, G. M & Thomas, A. R. (ed.), Lexington, Lnhm, MD.
  • Sipple, J. W., & Brent, B. (2015). Challenges and Strategies Associated with Rural School Settings. p. 607-622 Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy Helen F. Ladd & Margaret E. Goertz (ed.), Routledge, New York.
  • Sipple, J. W., Montgomery, K. L., & Atkins-Burnett, S. (2015). Major Issues in American Schools. p. 30-53 Social Work Services in Schools Allen-Meares, Paula (ed.), Pearson, Saddle River, NJ, USA.
  • Sipple, J. W., & Yao, Y. (2015). The Great Recession and its Impact on the Capacity of Rural Schools in , The Politics of Educational Opportunity in Rural Contexts: . p. 39-58 The Politics of Educational Opportunity in Rural Contexts Williams, M. & Grooms (ed.), Information-Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC.


  • Brown, C., Sipple, J. W., & McCabe, L. M. (2011). 2011 Yearbook of the Politics of Education Association. p. 287 Carolyn Brown, John W. Sipple, Lisa McCabe (ed.), Sage, Thousand Oakes.

Policy Reports

  • Sipple, J. W., & Dillani-Miller, A. (2014). Shared School Services: A Common Response to Fiscal Stress. p. 6 New York State Center for Rural Schools, Ithaca, NY.

Presentations and Activities

  • Data-Enhanced Decisionmaking: Serving BOCES, Districts, and Schools. Winter Meeting of the NYS SCDN. March 2018. New York State Staff and Curriculum Development Network (SCDN). Albany, NY.
  • Behind the Scenes Working with Administrative Data: Lessons Learned from a Study of Early Care and Education in New York State. Annual meeting of Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium. February 2018. Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium. Washington, D.C. United States.
  • What’s Driving Child Care Deserts? Factors Related to Child Care Gaps in New York State. Annual meeting of Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium. February 2018. Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium. Washington, D.C. United States.
  • Historical Perspectives on Contemporary School Reform. Guest Lecture for Cornell Prison Education Program. November 2017. Cornell Prison Education Program. Auburn State Penitentiary, Auburn, NY.
  • The Future of Rural Schools: Rust, Renewal or Revolt? NYS Council of School Superintendents’ Fall Leadership Summit.. October 2017. NYS Council of School Superintendents. Saratoga, NY.
  • The Growing Divide in Educational Access & Outcomes. 2017 Community Development Institute. September 2017. Cornell's Community and Regional Development Institute. Ithaca, NY.
  • Linking Community Development and Education: Illustrative Examples. 2017 Mississippi Delta Regional Forum. July 2017. Mississippi Delta Regional Forum. Clarksdale, MS.
  • Exploring the Gradient: The Economic Benefits of ‘Nearby’ Schools on Rural Communities. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Transatlantic Rural Research Network:. Annual Meeting of the Transatlantic Rural Research Network. June 2017. Transatlantic Rural Research Network. Aberystwyth, Wales.
  • Beyond Rural Stereotypes. 2017 Noyce Conference at Ithaca College. June 2017. Ithaca College. Ithaca, NY.
  • The Long, Winding, Unpaved Path from Rural Schools to Higher Education. IVY-Plus Biannual Meeting of Admissions Officers. June 2017. IVY-Plus. Ithaca, NY.