Tammy Kolbe

Principal Researcher

Tammy Kolbe is a principal researcher at AIR, specializing in evaluating the resources and costs associated with effectively implementing policies and programs in PK-16 educational organizations. A particular focus of her work has been funding and costs for special education programs for children with disabilities, having led multiple projects that evaluated federal and state special education funding systems. Recently, her work has expanded to examining how K-12 school funding concepts and methods might be applied to developing fair and efficient state funding formula for community colleges. 

Currently, she leads a Gates Foundation-funded study of fiscal equity in California’s community colleges. Throughout her career, Dr. Kolbe has led numerous evaluations of education policy and program costs and cost effectiveness, and she was an expert for AIR’s Cost Analysis Standards Project that developed national standards for conducting education program cost analysis and evaluation. In her work, she draws upon her methodological expertise in the economic evaluation of education programs and cost analysis, applied quantitative analysis, and survey research.  
In addition to her professional research, Dr. Kolbe is active in the public education system and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Vermont State Board of Education. She is also a senior associate editor of the American Journal of Education, a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Education Finance, and a Fellow at the National Education Policy Center. She was a prior chair of the American Education Research Association’s (AERA) finance, economics, and policy group and in 2018 she received the AERA’s award for Outstanding Policy Report for her work on special education costs and funding reform.

Tammy Kolbe

Ed.D., University of Vermont, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies; M.S., The Pennsylvania State University, Policy Analysis and Evaluation; B.A., Kalamazoo College, Political Science, with a concentration in Urban Affairs and Policy