Aaron R. Butler, PhD, is the director for the Region 9 Comprehensive Center and a principal technical assistance consultant at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Dr. Butler has more than 20 years of experience supporting school improvement in public education spanning school, district, state, and national levels.
In his role as the Region 9 Comprehensive Center director, Dr. Butler leads a team of staff members and education experts to provide high-quality, intensive capacity-building services to state and local education agencies in Illinois and Iowa to identify, implement, and sustain evidence-based practices that support improved educator and student outcomes. Projects supported by the center focus on several federal priority areas, including promoting effective instruction in classrooms and schools, carrying out approved consolidated state plans, and supporting teacher and leader effectiveness.
Dr. Butler previously served as the deputy director and individualized technical assistance lead for the State Support Network. The State Support Network is focused on supporting implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in all states by providing a variety of technical assistance opportunities to state education agencies and school districts. These activities include communities of practice, peer-to-peer exchanges, and individualized technical assistance focused on education finance, school improvement, data and reporting, assessment and accountability, and others as identified through needs-sensing efforts with states and districts.
Dr. Butler has served as the director on multiple projects at AIR that include providing training for states and districts on the identification and selection of evidence-based practices and progress monitoring, supporting school improvement and implementation science through district and school leadership development and coaching, designing performance management systems, and developing resources to support stakeholder engagement on education finance and effective implementation. He has served as a national thought leader through multiple blog posts on leadership issues, as a contributing author for Keeping Students Safe and Helping Them Thrive (2019), Creating Safe, Equitable, Engaging Schools (2018), and Enduring Myths That Inhibit School Turnaround (2017), and through presentations at multiple national and regional conferences.
Prior to joining AIR, Dr. Butler led a successful school turnaround effort as a school administrator and director of federal programs, and served as a high school mathematics and science teacher and department chair. Dr. Butler earned his PhD in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Missouri–St. Louis.