Curriculum Vitae


University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., May 1992 

  • Alumni Award for Academic Excellence, given to student who graduates first in class
  • Traynor Award, given to two graduates who have produced the best written work
  • Thomas Marshall Miller Prize, given by faculty to an “outstanding and deserving” graduate
  • Dillard Scholarship, three-year merit scholarship covering full tuition and expenses
  • Virginia Rugby; Selected to All-Virginia Team 1992

Yale University, A.B., With Distinction, May 1988 

  • Summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa
  • Yale Rugby; Selected to All-New England Team 1988


University of Virginia, 2018- 

  • President

Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2013-2018 

  • Dean of the Faculty of Education, 2013-2018
  • Charles William Eliot Professor of Education, 2014-2018
  • Professor of Education, 2013-2014

University of Virginia School of Law, 1998-2013 

  • Outstanding Faculty Award, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, 2011
  • All-University Teaching Award, University of Virginia, 2010
  • Founder and Director, Program in Law and Public Service, 2009-2013
  • Academic Associate Dean, September 2004-September 2009
  • McFarland Prize for Outstanding Scholarship, May 2004
  • Black Law Students Association Outstanding Service Award, May 2004
  • William L. Matheson & Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor, 2003-13
  • Professor, 2002-13; Associate Professor, 1998-2002
  • Teaching areas: law and education; constitutional law; land use law; torts; local government law; Supreme Court litigation clinic

University of Auckland Law School, Auckland, New Zealand 

  • Inaugural Cameron Fellow, Spring 2010

Harvard Law School 

  • Visiting Professor, Fall 2006

Yale Law School 

  • Visiting Professor, 2002-03

Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest and Constitutional Law, Newark, New Jersey 

  • Pro Bono Fellow, 1995-97

Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, The Hague, The Netherlands 

  • Legal Assistant to Charles T. Duncan, United States Arbitrator, 1994-95

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, United States Supreme Court 

  • Law Clerk, 1993-94

Chief Judge J. Clifford Wallace, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 

  • Law Clerk, 1992-1993

Office of the Solicitor General of the United States 

  • Summer Intern, 1992



Wait, What? and Life's Other Essential Questions (HarperCollins 2017) (New York Times Bestseller)

Educational Policy And The Law (Cengage 2011) (co-author)

Five Miles Away, A World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and The Story Of Educational Opportunity In Modern America (Oxford University Press 2010) (Honorable mention for the Scribes Book Award, the Herbert Jacob Book Prize, and the Green Bag Exemplary Legal Writing Award)

Journal Articles and Essays 

Poverty as Disability and the Future of Special Education Law, 101 GEORGETOWN L.J. 1455 (2013)

Laying Claim to the Constitution: The Promise of New Textualism, 97 VA. L. REV. 1523 (2011)

Race and Response-to-Intervention in Special Education, 54 HOW. L. REV. 303 (2011) (co-author)

Standards, Testing, and School Finance Litigation, 86 TEX. L. REV. 1223 (2008)
(Recipient of Education Law Association’s Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship)

Charter Schools and Public Education, 4 STAN. J. CIV. R. CIV. L. 393 (2008)

The Supreme Court and Voluntary Integration, 121 HARV. L. REV. 131 (2007)

Does It Take a Theory? Originalism, Active Liberty, and Minimalism, 58 STAN. L. REV. 1623 (2006)

A Constitutional Right to Preschool?, 94 CALIF. L. REV. 49 (2006)

Voluntary Integration: Asking the Right Questions, 67 OHIO ST. L.J. 328 (2006)

Brown, School Choice, and the Suburban Veto, 90 VA. L. REV. 1635 (2004)

Foreword to Symposium on School Finance Litigation: Emerging Trends or New Dead Ends?, 22 YALE L. & POL’Y REV. 463 (2004) (co-author)

The Perverse Incentives of the No Child Left Behind Act, 79 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 932 (2004)

The Limited Influence of Social Science Evidence in Modern Desegregation Cases, 81 N.C. L. REV. 1659 (2003)

Race Discrimination in Education: A Legal Perspective, 105 TEACHERS COLL. REC. 1087 (2003)

The Political Economy of School Choice, 111 YALE L.J. 2043 (2002) (co-author)

A Political History of the Establishment Clause, 100 MICH. L. REV. 279 (2001) (co-author)

The Supreme Court and Public Schools, 86 VA. L. REV. 1335 (2000)

The Influence of Race in School Finance Reform, 98 MICH. L. REV. 432 (1999)

Schools, Race, and Money, 109 YALE L.J. 249 (1999)

Sheff, Segregation, and School Finance Litigation, 74 N.Y.U. L. REV. 529 (1999)

“Paying” for the Change: Using Eminent Domain to Secure Exactions and Sidestep Nollan and Dolan, 81 VA. L. REV. 1801 (1995) (co-author)

Note, Smith and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act: An Iconoclastic Assessment, 78 VA. L. REV. 1407 (1992)

Book Chapters 

The Real Lessons of School Desegregation, in FROM SCHOOLHOUSE TO COURTHOUSE: THE JUDICIARY’S ROLE IN AMERICAN EDUCATION (Brookings Press 2009)

A Legal Perspective on Teacher Compensation Reform, in PERFORMANCE INCENTIVES: THEIR GROWING IMPACT ON AMERICAN K-12 EDUCATION (Brookings Press 2009)

Federalism as Libertarian Fantasy, in REDEFINING FEDERALISM (Env’tl Law Institute 2004)

The 10th Amendment and Other Paper Tigers: The Legal Boundaries of Educational Governance, in WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE? THE TANGLED WEB OF SCHOOL GOVERNANCE AND POLICY (Brookings Press 2004)

Newspaper and Magazine Articles 

Why ‘Fisher’ Means More Work for Colleges, CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, July 29, 2013 (co-author)

The Big Picture, PHI DELTA KAPPAN, June 2009

Socioeconomic Integration: It’s Legal, and It Makes Sense, EDUC. WEEK, June 14, 2008 (co-author)

Fixing Education Policy, SLATE, April 1, 2008

Say Something! College Presidents and Public Education, EDUC. WEEK, Jan. 23, 2008

Originalist Sins: The Faux Originalism of Justice Clarence Thomas, SLATE, Aug. 1, 2007 (co-author)

Taking Back the Constitution, THE NEW REPUBLIC, Aug. 6, 2007 (co-author)

State Must Better Prepare Its Students, RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH, Jan. 21, 2004

The Neutrality Principle, 4 EDUC. NEXT 28 (Fall 2003)

Taking School Choice to the Suburbs, WASH. POST, July 3, 2003 (co-author)

Sit-In For School Equality, WASH. POST, May 19, 2003

Selected Presentations and Public Speeches

Book talks at University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, Yale Law School, U.S. Department of Justice, Curry Education School at University of Virginia

Faculty Workshops at University of Virginia, University of Michigan, Harvard, Cornell, Cardozo, Yale, U.C. Davis, Stanford, University of Chicago, Villanova, Case Western

Public Lecture, University of Auckland, April 2010
“Lawyers, Guns, and Money”

Japanese-American Legal Society, Tokyo, September 2008
“Voluntary Integration and Affirmative Action”

Harvard Law Review Symposium, Supreme Court Forum, November 2007
“The Supreme Court and Voluntary Integration”

University of Virginia Law School, April 2007
“Charge to Class of 2007”

Child Advocacy Conference, Harvard Law School, March 2007
“A Constitutional Right to Preschool?”

“The Old Chief,” Virginia Bar Association Annual Meeting, Williamsburg, January 2006

Symposium in Honor of 50th Anniversary of Brown, University of Virginia Law School, February 2004
“Brown, School Choice, and the Suburban Veto”

AALS Conference, Atlanta, GA, January 2004
“Political Progressives and School Choice”

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Conference, Airlie, VA, October 2002
“The Prospects for Voluntary Integration”

Conference on the Resegregation of Southern Schools, University of North Carolina, August 2002
“The Limited Influence of Social Science Evidence in Modern Desegregation Cases”

Address to State and Federal Judges, University of Virginia School of Law, July 2002
“The Future of Vouchers”

Conference on the End of School Desegregation, University of Colorado Law School, October 2000
“School Choice and Racial Integration”

School Choice Debate, University of Virginia School of Law, February 1999
“School Choice, Libertarians, and the Institute for Justice”

Selected Pro Bono Activities and Community Service

Board Member, Constitutional Accountability Center, 2013-Present

Commissioner, Equity and Excellence Commission, United States Department of Education, 2011-12

Board Member, The Tapestry Project, New York, NY, 2011-13

Board Member, Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Washington, D.C., 2010-13

Board Member, Legal Aid Justice Society, Charlottesville, VA, 2008-13

Volunteer, Special Olympics, 2006-13

Board Member, Community Rights Counsel, 1998-2005

Volunteer Coach, Youth Soccer and Baseball, 2005-13

In re Damchoe Gyaltsen (Sept. 2005) (successfully represented Tibetan Monk seeking political asylum)

Member, Albemarle County Re-Districting Committee, 2004-05

Board Member, Council on African-American Affairs, 2001-04

Board Member, Century Foundation Task Force on the Common School, 2001-02

Board Member, Virginia State Bar Board of Governors, Education for Lawyers Section, 2000-02; 2003-06

Vice-Chairman, American Bar Association’s Committee on Public Schools, 1997-99

Litigation Experience

Author and co-author of numerous petitions and briefs filed in the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and state courts in New Jersey, New York, and Virginia

Presented oral argument to United States Supreme Court in Abbott v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 18 (2010)

Member, Bars of Virginia and United States Supreme Court


Married to Katie Homer Ryan, with four children. Interests include running, skiing, surfing, mountain biking, fly fishing, cooking, and photography.