Catherine Brighton

Professor; Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Student Affairs


  • Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2001
  • M.Ed., University of Virginia, 1992
  • B.A., The Catholic University of America, 1990

Catherine Brighton is the Associate Dean for Academic Programs & Student Affairs and Professor of Curriculum & Instruction in the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia. As Associate Dean, Brighton oversees the academic programs for the Curry School, the Office of Admissions and Student Services, counsels enrolled and prospective students, as well as serves as an advisor to the Dean. As Associate Dean she is committed to ensuring that all students in every program at the Curry School experience an aligned, rigorous, and high-quality program of study that reflects diverse perspectives and innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

She teaches courses in creativity and problem solving, as well as courses focusing on curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

She also serves as the co-director of the University of Virginia Institutes on Academic Diversity, a collaboration between Curry faculty and exceptional educators from around the country who provide professional learning opportunities to pk-post secondary educators and administrators. Since its inception in 1996, approximately 6,000 participants have come to the university from local and global contexts to better understand academic diversity. The increased interest in the area of Academic Diversity positively spotlights the work being done at Curry and further supports the growing national and international reputation that Curry holds for promoting programs to prepare educators to address the increasing academic diversity in contemporary classrooms.

Catherine’s research interests include teacher change and school reform initiatives, differentiating curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and qualitative methodologies. She is currently Co-Principal Investigator on a US Department of Education-funded grant on talent development through the lens of primary-grade literacy and an investigator on a funded grant investigating data use at the school and classroom levels in the area of literacy.

She earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology - Gifted Education at the University of Virginia in 2001. Prior, she was a curriculum coordinator/assistant principal, teacher of the gifted, and classroom teacher in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, (Charlotte, NC). She was recognized by the National Association for Gifted Children in 2005 as the Early Leader for the Association

Research Interests


Catherine’s research interests include factors that support and inhibit teacher change and school reform initiatives, differentiating curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and qualitative methodologies.