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

Naff's research focuses on the relationship between poverty and educational outcomes and advocates for the multivariate measurement of socioeconomic status. Specifically, he studies the decision-making processes and possible selves of students from low-income families attending schools of concentrated poverty. He also studies the precollege decision-making processes of first-generation college students.


Dr. David Naff leads evaluation efforts for the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium (MERC), is the host of the MERC podcast "Abstract," and serves as a co-principal investigator on the Achieving Racial Equity in School Disciplinary Policies and Practices study. He is a former high school counselor and recent graduate of the Educational Psychology Ph.D. program at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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

(804) 828-0478