Jessica Heppen

President and CEO

Jessica Heppen, a nationally recognized expert in education research, policy, and practice, is the president and CEO of AIR. Dr. Heppen has been with AIR since 2004 and, in that time, has held several key roles. 

She most recently served as AIR president in 2023, as part of a planned leadership transition. Prior to that, she was senior vice president and director of AIR’s Human Services Division, overseeing a portfolio of over 500 active research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects across education, workforce, and youth, family, and community development. She also has served as a vice president and led key practice areas and projects for AIR.

As a social scientist, Dr. Heppen has designed and led research and evaluation studies and technical assistance centers focused on critical issues including online and blended/hybrid learning, technology and data use in schools, career and college readiness and high school improvement, and teacher professional development. Her research has an emphasis on reducing disparities and improving outcomes for vulnerable populations. 

She has led AIR’s efforts to infuse innovative methods to support robust research and development and has co-designed and rigorously tested two evidence-based program models: an early warning system to identify students in need of additional support, and an adaptive text messaging system to reduce chronic absence. 

Dr. Heppen received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Miami (Ohio) University and her master’s and Ph.D. in social psychology from Rutgers University. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Educational Research Association, the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, and the American Psychological Association. She has served as a moderator and reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and several prestigious academic journals.

Jessica Heppen

Ph.D., Social Psychology, Rutgers University