Pendola's research focuses on issues of teacher and principal labor markets, educational finance and policy, and racial and socioeconomic equity in schools. Overarching themes in Pendola's writings include issues of recruitment, retention, and mobility for educators, the psychology of organizational commitment, and decision-making in school finance. Pendola serves as founding director of the Quantitative Methods for Educational Research Lab at Auburn University.
Examines the relationship of a principal’s salary to their risk of turnover, the paper finds that salary is less important than the position of one’s salary to comparable peers. Mentions it is not the amount of money a principal makes that predicts turnover, it is how that income compares to other principals in the area.
Explores how patterns of principal movement in rural schools differentiates from suburban and urban areas. Suggests that rural principals are more contained within the rural context than drawn out, suggesting that rural skills act as a bounding frame for principal mobility over and above conditional differences.
Shows how rapid changes in student composition affects the risk of losing a principal. Demonstrates that short-term demographic changes are significantly associated with increased principal turnover risk, particularly for changes in the proportion of Students of Color.
Elaborates on how districts in Alabama altered spending during the Great Recession. Demonstrates that expenditure cuts were more intense for high-needs student populations, with the greatest reductions in instructional support, teacher salaries, and administration. Mentions cuts were more significant in high-needs districts, support for At-Risk students was enacted.
Examines the unique features of the rural school context and how these features are associated with the stability of principals in these schools. Finds that rural principals are less stable in their position than urban and suburban counterparts.