Kristie LeBeau

Ph.D. Candidate, Development Sociology

Research focus

  • Rural schools and communities
  • Education policy
  • Sociology of Education
  • Quantitative and qualitative methods


Kristie studies the complex relationship between rural schools and the communities they serve. Rural schools are often an important public institution in their communities, and Kristie is interested in the economic and social roles a school plays in the community.

She is currently developing a tool with John Sipple (Cornell University) and Hope Casto (Skidmore College) to assist local leaders in starting conversations around the ways their school and community influence and depend on each other. It is their aim that these conversations will give local leaders a better understanding of their school-community so they can make decisions that will mutually benefit both the students in their schools and the residents in the surrounding community.

Kristie's dissertation work zooms into a specific part of this framework that examines the school as an economic force in the community in its role as an employer that brings a large amount of money into the community. Kristie plans to use mixed methodologies and work with schools in Indiana and New York as well as Ireland and Scotland to explore this further.


  • BA in Sociology: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN; Valedictorian
  • MS in Development Sociology: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY


  • Sipple, J.W., Fiduccia, P.C., & LeBeau, K. (2021). The why and how of enhancing data use in rural education research and practice. In A. Price, Azano, K. Eppley, & C. Biddle (Eds.), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Rural Education in the US. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • LeBeau, K., Casto, H., & Sipple, J.W. (under review). A tool for school and community leaders to assess a school’s role amid changing contexts.


  • A guide to the American Community Survey (ACS) for the rural researcher: Unpacking the conceptual and technical aspects of using ACS for school-community research.

Current projects

  • Roles of Schools in Community Development with John W. Sipple, PhD, Global Development, Cornell University and Hope Casto, PhD, Education Studies, Skidmore College

Connect with Kristie