David Naff, Ph.D.

Assistant Director of Research and Evaluation, MERC

David Naff, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D. in educational psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • M.A. in counseling, Wake Forest University
  • B.S. in psychology, Appalachian State University

Research interests

  • Research use and dissemination
  • Research practice partnerships
  • Qualitative research methods
  • First-generation college students
  • High-poverty schools


David Naff is the assistant director of research and evaluation for the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium (MERC). He is a recent graduate of the program at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research focuses on the decision-making processes and possible selves of first-generation college students, particularly those attending schools of concentrated urban poverty. Naff is a principal investigator on the MERC Achieving Racial Equity in School Disciplinary Policies and Practices study, as well as the MERC Teacher Retention study. He also leads evaluation efforts for MERC, is the host of the MERC podcast "Abstract," and leads planning efforts for the annual MERC Conference. Prior to coming to MERC, Naff served as a high school counselor for four years in North Carolina.

For more information about Dr. Naff's work, please visit the MERC website.

Curriculum Vitae

(804) 828-0478