Meet Kessa Roberts

Kessa Roberts, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Roberts is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Education Policy and Leadership department in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University (SMU). She holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.S. in Psychology and a Certification in School Psychology from Millersville University, and a B.A. in Psychology from The Templeton Honors College at Eastern University. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Roberts was a school psychologist in several high-needs school districts in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Roberts’ research on education policy implementation often employs qualitative methods and focuses on the social context of education policy and practice. Her research agenda contains three strands: school-family-community partnerships, student homelessness, and education leadership, particularly in the face of natural disasters and other crises. Across all three strands of her research agenda, Dr. Roberts’ work prioritizes ameliorating educational inequity and often focuses on high-needs rural and urban contexts.

Dr. Roberts, along with Dr. Alexandra Pavlakis and Dr. Meredith Richards, Assistant Professor and Associate Professor, respectively, in the Education Policy and Leadership department, recently received a Spencer Foundation grant to examine how COVID-19, amidst ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey, is impacting student homelessness in Houston, Texas. This mixed methods research employs a novel geospatial qualitative approach to examine the ways in which school- and district-level personnel and community service providers support students and families experiencing homelessness.

For more information on her research, teaching, and service please see:


Link to SMU website:

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