Leadership for School Improvement SIG 101
Leadership for School Improvement SIG 101
SIG Purpose
Welcome! The purpose of the Leadership for School Improvement Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association is to examine how leadership of teachers, principals and superintendents influences instructional capacity resulting in improved student outcomes and how policy guides this collaborative effort. In addition, the Leadership for School Improvement SIG encourages discussion and development of the philosophical, theoretical and empirical tenets guiding school and system renewal. We invite you to join us as we seek to advance this purpose. If you have any questions or comments, please contact any of our officers. 

Message from SIG Chair


2018_01_10 Headshot (Close)

Welcome to the Leadership for School Improvement (LSI) SIG webpages!

The mission of the Leadership for School Improvement SIG, for which I am thrilled to serve as the Chairperson this year, is to enhance our understanding of this work, and particularly, to tackle the “how” of school improvement.The “how” and the “what” of what instructional improvement looks like in practice, on a day-to-day basis, are the most challenging aspects of improvement for leaders to grasp.

LSI Mission:

To examine how leadership exercised by teachers, principals, and superintendents influences instructional capacity resulting in improved student outcomes and how policy guides this collaborative effort.

I am continually excited by the work and the learning opportunities in which members of the LSI SIG engage with this purpose in mind.Since I joined the LSI Executive Committee in 2016, I have had the opportunity to work with members of our Executive Committee who have taken on leadership of a wide variety of initiatives, including publication of an LSI book series and the development and implementation of the Researcher Development Program (RDP) with the UCEA Graduate Student Committee.We have also refined out newsletter and our website in the past year.Further, I’m aware of a number of collaborative research endeavors and publication projects being co-led by members of the LSI SIG.The dedication of our Executive Committee and our members to the ongoing work of school improvement is truly impressive!

Our leadership succession on the Executive Committee has transitioned each of our elected Executive Committee members into a new role, with a new member, Julia Mahfouz, an Assistant Professor at the University of Idaho, being elected to the role of Dissertation of the Year Award Chairperson.We have welcomed (back) Jennifer Clayton, an Associate Professor at The George Washington University, as a faculty advisor for the Researcher Development Program, and Parker Morse at Clemson University as a new graduate student assisting the RDP.We are also eternally grateful for the support of additional Executive Committee members who keep the LSI SIG running, including Pam Angelle (book series editor), Doug Wieczorek (newsletter editor), Brandon Clark (newsletter managing editor) and DeMarcus Jenkins (Web Manager).You can view the names of all of our Executive Committee members further down on this page.

We encourage all of our members to bring new ideas to our Executive Committee Members and to stay involved in the LSI SIG.Please share your content in our newsletters, send announcements to LSI members, recommend topics for our business meetings and participate in our events and convenings.We look forward to seeing you at UCEA and AERA, and thank you for your ongoing engagement in the SIG!

Rebecca A. Thessin, LSI SIG Chairperson

Assistant Professor of Educational Administration

The George Washington University


Who We Are

2019 - 2020 LSI SIG Executive Committee

Chairperson, Dr. Rebecca Thessin, The George Washington University

Immediate Past Chairperson, Dr. Kristin Shawn Huggins, Washington State University

Program Chairperson, Dr. David DeMatthews, University of Texas at Austin

Secretary/Treasurer, Dr. Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, Fordham University

Dissertation Award Committee Chairperson, Dr. Julia Mahfouz, University of Idaho 


Book Series Editor, Pamela Angelle, University of Tennessee

Newsletter Editor, Douglas Wieczorek, Iowa State University

Newsletter Managing Editors, Amber Graeber & Brandon Clark, Iowa State University

Research Development Faculty Advisors, Angela Urick, University of Oklahoma and Jennifer Clayton, The George Washington University

Graduate Student Representatives, Parker Morse

Structure & Government


Each year we elect a Dissertation Award Chair which rotates through the executive council positions. The committees are ad hoc and appointed by the chairperson. Please contact the chairperson if you would like to be involved.


Dissertation of Year Recipients


2018: Mary Bussman, Peer Equity Coaching to Increase Cultural Responsiveness in Teaching and Leading, Ph.D., University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, Advisor, Karen Seashore Louis

2017: Kathryn Wiley, Unfulfilled Promises: Equity & School Discipline Practices in an Innovation School, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, Advisor, Michele Moses 

2016: Romy DeCristofaro, A Multi-Case Study Reflection within Collaborative Teacher Inquiry, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, Advisor, Shelby Cosner

2015:Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, Learning to Teach to the Common Core State Standards: Examining the Role of Teachers’ Collaboration, Principals’ Leadership, and Professional Development, Ed.D., Harvard University, Advisor, Susan Moore Johnson

2014: Doug Wieczorek, A Repeated, Cross-sectional Analysis of Principals' Professional Development and Instructional Leadership Behaviors in the First Decade of the Educational Accountability Era, Ph.D., Syracuse University, Advisor, George Theoharis

2013: Emily Palmer, Talking about Race: Overcoming fear in the process of change, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Advisor, Karen Seashore Louis

2012: Angela Urick, To what extent do typologies of school leaders across the U.S. predict teacher attrition? A multilevel latent class analysis of principals and teachers, Ed.D., University of Texas at San Antonio, Advisor, Alex Bowers

2011: Kerri J. Tobin, Identifying Best Practices for Homeless Students, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Advisor, Joseph Murphy

2010: Hans W. Klar, Laying the groundwork for distributed instructional leadership in urban high schools: How principals foster department chair instructional leadership capacity, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Advisor, Paul V. Bredeson

2009: Jennifer K. Clayton, Changing diversity in U.S. schools: The impact on elementary student performance and achievement, Ph.D., Old Dominion University, Advisor, William Owings



Key Initiatives

Newsletter Issues

 FALL 2017

 SPRING 2017

 FALL 2016

Designed by Weber-Shandwick   Powered by eNOAH