Who We Are
Who We Are
Profile of SIG 101 Members
SIG Officers

Elizabeth Leisy Stosich profile photo_993

Program Chairperson

Elizabeth Stosich, Ed.D., joined the faculty of the Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy Division at the Fordham University Graduate School of Education in 2017. Previously she was a Research and Policy Fellow at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). She began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in Oakland, CA.

Stosich draws on perspectives in education, organizational theory, and sociology to understand how organizational and social contexts influence the relationship between policy and the practice of leaders and teachers in public schools. She aims to identify how state, district, school, and teacher leaders can improve the equity and quality of educational opportunities for all students, with particular attention to historically underserved children. Stosich's research interests include education policy, assessment and accountability, school and district leadership, school improvement, and teachers' professional learning. She uses interview, observational, case-study, and survey methods.

Stosich has published research in the American Educational Research JournalThe Elementary School Journal, and Teaching and Teacher Education, and she has authored reports for the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. She recently published a book with two colleagues that is being used by school and district administrators in New York and around the country, The Internal Coherence Framework: Creating the conditions for continuous improvement in schools.

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Immediate past chairman

David DeMatthews is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, where he serves as the director of the UT-Austin Urban Principal Leadership Academy. David worked as a high school teacher, middle school administrator, and district administrator in Baltimore City Public Schools and the District of Columbia Public Schools. His research focuses on school leadership and school improvement in urban schools and districts; inclusive education and bilingual education; the principal's role in family and community engagement; and principal experiences and burnout.






Julia Mahfouz637714938936451888

 Program Chairperson

Julia Mahfouz is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership program, Department of Leadership and Counseling at the University of Idaho. She holds a Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University. Her research agenda has been shaped by her educational work in the capacity of high school teacher, department chair, principal (K-12), and curriculum director. Her research explores the social, emotional, and cultural dynamics of educational settings and the role of principals in cultivating a positive school climate. 





Meredith Wronowski is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Administration department at the University of Dayton. Her research interests are focused on issues of equity in schooling including the unintended effects of accountability policies on teachers and leaders, opportunity to learn, community-based school improvement, and resegregation of U.S. schools.






Dissertation Award Chairperson 


DeMarcus Jenkins

Dr. DeMarcus A. Jenkins is an Assistant Professor of Education. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from the Division of Urban Schooling. His holds an Ed.M in English Education from Georgia State University, a masters from American University, and his bachelor’s degree from The University of Michigan where he doubled-majored in English and African American Studies. Dr. Jenkins is an activist and urban scholar whose work considers the intersections of race, space and policy. 

His research focuses on the influence of spatial, social and political factors that foster and exacerbate inequalities for Black populations as well as the approaches that school leaders take to disrupt and transform these dynamics. His interdisciplinary approach to tackling complex and challenging problems of racial equity in schools is informed by Black critical theory, critical spatial theory, Black geographies, critical policy studies and justice-oriented leadership frameworks. Consistent throughout his research are practical solutions for school leaders and policymakers. He recently received a research grant from the Spencer Foundation to examine how urban school systems respond to policy changes that divest and disinvest from law enforcement on school campuses. His program of research draws from his previous professional experience working in urban schools and in local and state policy and advocacy.



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Book Series Editors

 Dr. Sonya Hayes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Tennessee. A native Texan, she received her PhD in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University, her MEd in Educational Administration from Texas State, and her BA in English from Lamar University. Prior to entering the professoriate, Dr. Hayes served in public education as a high school English teacher, an Assistant Principal, and a Principal for 23 years. Her research interests include leadership development and support for both pre and post service school principals, principal preparation, and leadership for learning. Specifically, she is interested in how principals are prepared and supported for the complex and demanding role of improving teaching and learning. She has published her research in numerous book chapters and academic journals including: Journal of Research in Leadership Education, Journal of School Leadership, Mentoring & Tutoring, The SoJo Journal, Frontiers in Education, and Research in Educational Administration & Leadership. Dr. Hayes currently serves on several editorial boards and in numerous capacities for both UCEA and AERA.


Newsletter Editor


Matthew Shirrell is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Administration in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University. His research explores the relationships between policy, the social and organizational characteristics of schools and school systems, and learning, improvement, and teacher retention. His research has been funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the Chan/Zuckerberg Initiative, and the American Educational Research Association. In 2020-21, he was awarded a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. His work has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals, including American Journal of Education, American Educational Research Journal, Sociology of Education, and Educational Administration Quarterly.


 Researcher Development Program Faculty Advisors


Stephen Kotok is an assistant professor in the Department of Administrative and Instructional Leadership at St. John’s University. His research focuses on the opportunity gap for low-income and minority students and how school context affects these disparities. Specifically, Kotok examines equity-based school improvement strategies related to school climate and detracking as well as policy-level issues such as school choice, resource allocation, and segregation. Prior to joining St. John’s University was a member of the administrative team at Hope Academy Charter School in Asbury Park, NJ, and was a social studies teacher with the School District of Philadelphia.




Nganga, Christine

Dr. Christine Nganga is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership in the Educational Leadership and Administration programs at The George Washington University.  Her research interests include leadership for equity and social justice, pedagogical orientations of teaching for social justice, narrative inquiry and mentoring theory and practice. Her work has been published in several book chapters and journals including Educational Leadership Review, International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, Mentoring and Tutoring Journal, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Journal for the Study of Spirituality and The Urban Review. Dr. Nganga holds her Masters in School Administration and Doctorate in Educational Leadership from The University of North Carolina, Greensboro. At GW she teaches several courses in the Masters, EdS and EdD programs including Leadership for Equity and Social Justice and The Critical Review of Educational Leadership Literature among others. As academic advisor to MA, EdS and EdD students, her greatest passion is mentoring them to become justice-minded scholars and leaders. 




Researcher Development Program Founding Director

Dr. Alison Wilson is an Assistant Professor in the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Department at South Dakota State University, where she serves as the program coordinator for the Educational Administration M.Ed. program. Dr. Wilson earned her Ph.D. in Educational Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision at the University of Oklahoma. Her current research incorporates intersectionality frameworks in critical quantitative analyses to examine how U.S. schools perpetuate systematic inequities, including the school structures, norms, policies, and practices that contribute to student marginalization and opportunity gaps.


 Newsletter Managing Editor



Shaun Shepard runs the International Baccalaureate program at Central High School in Capitol Heights, Maryland. She is in her second year of coursework in pursuit of her EdD in educational leadership and administration at George Washington University. She lives in Alexandria with her husband, Grant, and their rescue pup, Achilles. 



Graduate student representatives

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Shekema Dunlap is an Educational Leadership doctoral student at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro. Her research interests include The Black Teaching Tradition, Black Language, narrative inquiry, autoethnography, Endarkened Feminist Epistemology, and Fugitive Pedagogy. Dunlap's work has been published in The New York TimesThe Huffington Post, Language Magazine, and English Journal. Her work inside the secondary classroom was featured on CNN. In 2017, Dunlap founded IFE Academy of Teaching & Technology, a K-12 virtual school that prepares students for careers in the teaching profession. She holds a B.A. in English and an M.Ed. in Secondary English Education (Georgia State University). Her life's greatest achievement is being a wife to Deante Dunlap and a mother to their blended family of five. 


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Briana Bostic is a doctoral student at The Johns Hopkins School of Education. Her current research explores the relationship between school climate and student discipline outcomes in early care and education settings. She also does research on teachers' perceptions of their work environment and teacher well-being. Briana has assisted the work of the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships and National Network of Partnership Schools, which shares “Promising Partnership Practices” between schools and districts internationally. Recently, she was a Fellow with the Children's Equity Project and interned at the Administration for Children and Families. She is a member of the WeLLab, led by Lieny Jeon, Ph.D., which focuses on research related to teacher and student social emotional well-being.



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Maxwell Yurkofsky is an assistant professor in the Doctor of Education program at Radford University. His research explores how school and system leaders can overcome historical norms of compliance and instead organize for continuous improvement towards more ambitious and equitable visions of learning.

Max’s research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Educational Administration Quarterly, Review of Research in Education, The Harvard Educational Review, Teaching and Teacher Education, Computers & Education, Teachers College Record, Educational Policy, and the Peabody Journal of Education. In his teaching, Max is committed to preparing school and system leaders to strategically draw on ideas from improvement science, organizational theory, evaluation, and design to inquire into and address high-leverage problems of practice related to institutionalized inequities. Max is a former teacher and has experience designing and leading professional development experiences for educators related to continuous improvement. He received his doctorate in education policy, leadership, and instructional practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 









Structure & Governance


Article I.

Name of the SIG

The name of this Special Interest Group (“SIG”) is Leadership for School Improvement, (hereafter, the “SIG”).Read More

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