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.

You can find the our Spring 2022 Newsletter here

Message from SIG Chair

Elizabeth Leisy Stosich profile photo_993

Message from the LSI SIG Chair Spring 2022

The annual meeting is quickly approaching. We hope to see you at the business meeting where we will have the opportunity to reconnect and celebrate the work of the Leadership for School Improvement SIG members.

Educational leaders in schools, districts, universities and other organizations continue to face tremendous challenges in creating safe and affirming learning environments where students can thrive. The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and growing solidarity in the movement for racial justice have raised important questions about what it looks like to “lead for school improvement.” Members of the Leadership for School Improvement SIG have responded by advancing research and practice that takes into consideration the complexity of this work, including considering the unique challenges of leadership that advances improvements in racial equity, promising approaches to collaborative improvement efforts, and how to foster students’ and educators’ well-being as part of comprehensive improvement. Through these efforts they are advancing and expanding on the mission of the LSI SIG: 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.

As we transition to new leadership in the LSI SIG for the 2022-23 academic year, I am grateful to David DeMatthews for his leadership and commitment the SIG for the past five years. This year has presented unique challenges in leading the SIG, but David has been there to provide thoughtful guidance. I am happy to announce that Dr. Alison Wilson was recently elected to serve as the Dissertation of the Year Chair. We are excited to welcome her as a member of the executive committee. Alison has a long history of service to the SIG and has played a central role in advancing the Researcher Development Program (RDP), an initiative focused on providing graduate students with research-focused mentorship. I also want to thank Stephen Kotok for his service as faculty advisor for RDP for the past two years. I am grateful to all of the LSI SIG members who have volunteered as RDP mentors and mentees and hope you will consider participating if you have not already done so. I know that great things are to come under the leadership of 2022-23 LSI SIG Chairperson Dr. Julia Mahfouz.

We hope you will join us for our business meeting at AERA on Sunday, April 24th from 6-7:30pm. We are excited to come back together as a community. The business meeting will be dedicated primarily to reconnecting and engaging in research-focused conversations that build our connections with LSI SIG members new and old. I hope to see you in San Diego!


Dr. Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, LSI SIG Chairperson

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy

Fordham University

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.

Who We Are

2021 - 2022 LSI SIG Executive Committee 

Chairperson: Elizabeth Stosich, Fordham University

Immediate Past Chairperson: David DeMatthews, University of Texas at Austin

Program Chairperson: Julia Mahfouz, University of Colorado, Denver

Secretary/Treasurer: Meredith Wronowski, University of Dayton

Dissertation Award Chairperson: DeMarcus Jenkins, The Pennsylvania State University

Book Series Editor: Sonya Hayes, University of Tennessee

Newsletter Editor: Matthew Shirrell, The George Washington University; Doug M. Wieczorek, Iowa State University (mentor)

Newsletter Managing Editor: Shaun Shephard, The George Washington University; Brandon Clark, Iowa State University (mentor)

Researcher Development Program Faculty Advisors: Stephen Kotok, St. John’s University; Christine Nganga, The George Washington University; Jennifer Clayton, The George Washington University (mentor)

Researcher Development Program Founding Director: Alison Wilson, South Dakota State University

Graduate Student Representatives: Briana Bostic, Johns Hopkins University; Shekema Dunlap, Arkansas State University

Website Manager: Maxwell Yurkofsky, Radford University

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.

Researcher Development Program (RDP)

The Researcher Development Program (RDP) seeks to expand access to academic networks that dually support graduate students’ personal and professional well-being and scholarly development.

The RDP fulfills its mission by:

  • Striving to create accessible, inclusive, and humanizing professional development spaces
  • Promoting sustained, professionally enriching collaboration between faculty members and graduate students
  • Providing research, writing, presentation, and publication opportunities aligned with participants’ academic and professional goals
  • Promoting opportunities for faculty members to hone their mentorship skills.

We kick off this academic year with 14 mentors and 17 mentees! Currently, the RDP Planning Committee is supporting mentors and mentees as they begin their semester, setting their goals for the year, and planning how they will develop their final projects. Throughout their experience, we intend to support their relationship building, creativity, and project development. Here we provide a list of the mentor-mentee matches for the 2021-2022 cohort.


Mentee University Affiliation Mentor
Qiyang Zhang The Johns Hopkins University  Martin Scanlan, Boston College
Valeria Orue Dominguez University of California, Riverside Barbara L. Pazey, University of North Texas
Mary-Louise (Molly) Leger University of California, Los Angeles  Kristy Cooper Stein, Michigan State University
Jon Delperdang Delta State University  Julia Mahfouz, University of Colorado-Denver
Lihuan Chen The University of Hong Kong  Kimberly Kappler Hewitt, University of North Carolina Greensboro
Ashley Shen The Johns Hopkins University  Khalid Arar, Texas State University
Rubén Antonio Sánchez Hernández  The University of Hong Kong  W. Kyle Ingle, University of Louisville
Ann DeChenne Walden University Kristy Cooper Stein, Michigan State University
Joy Rushing Auburn University Emily Hodge, Montclair State University
Hilario Benzon University of Colorado Denver David G. Martinez, University of South Carolina
Fatema Al Attar United Arab Emirates University UAEU Khalid Arar, Texas State University
John McCandless Auburn University Abdelaziz Zohri, Hassan First University of Settat
Charlene Evans-Smith, EdD The George Washington University Meredith Wronowski, University of Dayton
Noor Doukmak University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Amanda J. Cordova, North Dakota State University
Donna Lyons University of Central Florida Katilin Anderson, Lehigh University
Rhonda Humphries The George Washington University Charles Lowery, Ohio University
Yichuan Zhao The Johns Hopkins University  Emily Hodge, Montclair State University


Dissertation of Year Recipients

2021: Joonkil Ahn, Leadership for Learning and Teacher Self-Efficacy as the Antecedents of Teacher Collaboration, Instructional Quality, Intended Turnover, and Equitable Teaching Practice, Ph.D., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Advisor, Anjalé D. Welton. 

 2020: Maxwell Yurkofsky, When Reason Confronts Uncertainty: Continuous Improvement, Technical Ceremonies, and the Changing Structure of American Schools, Ed.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education, Advisor, Jal Mehta. 

2019: Bryan VanGronigen, An Examination of the Structures, Functions, and Perceived Effectiveness of School Leadership Teams in Underperforming High Schools, Ph.D., University of Virginia, Advisor, Dan Duke

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

Spring 2022

Fall 2021

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