The Districts in Research and Reform Special Interest Group (SIG) honors scholars who reflect the SIG goals of promoting research that features central office administrators and/or school board members as main actors in reform or that considers educational reforms and practices that are district-wide in nature. To do so, the SIG holds biennial award competitions to honor dissertations or publications that make significant conceptual, methodological, and practical contributions to the field.


 Dissertation Award(s) 2021

  • René Espinoza Kissell, From ‘School System’ to a ‘System of Schools’: Race, Power, and Marketization of Urban District Governance in California, PhD, University of California, Berkeley 
  • Taylor Allbright, Tough Conversations and Missed Opportunities: Implementing District Policies for Racial Equity, PhD, University of Southern California

Publication Award(s) 2020

  • Sarah L. Woulfin, University of Connecticut

Dissertation Award(s) 2019

  • Chelsea P. Tracy-Bronson, Inclusive Education in Practice: District-Level Special Education Administrators' Leadership,  PhD, Syracuse University

 Publication Award(s) 2018

  • Julie A. Marsh  and Michelle Hall, University of Southern California 
    • Marsh, J. A., & Hall, M. (2018). Challenges and choices: A multidistrict analysis of statewide mandated democratic engagement. American Educational Research Journal, 55(2), 243-286.

Dissertation Award(s) 2017

  • Kelly McMahon, Striking a Balance with School Accountability: Design and Use of Progress Reports and Quality Reviews in New York City, PhD, University of Michigan

 Publication Award(s) 2016

  • Brett Lane (Institute for Strategic Leadership and Learning), Chris Unger (Northeastern University) and Phomdaen Souvanna (ABT Associates)
    • Lane, B., Unger, C., & Souvanna, P. (2014). Turnaround practices in action. A three year analysis of school and district practices, systems, policies, and use of resources contributing to successful turnaround efforts in Massachusetts’ Level 4 schools. Institute for Strategic Leadership and Learning. Retrieved from http://www. mass. gov/edu/docs/ese/accountability/turnaround/practices-report-2014. pdf

Dissertation Award(s) 2015

  • Michael DeArmond, Good Ideas and Engagement Aren't Enough: School District Central Offices and the Micro-Politics of Implementing Comprehensive Human Resource Reform, PhD, University of Washington

Outstanding Dissertation Awardees from Previous Years:

  • Thomas D. Shelton  (2011)
  • Sarah L. Diem (2011)
  • Elizabeth N. Farley-Ripple (2009)
  • Laurence B. Boggess (2009)

Outstanding Publication Awardees from Previous Years:

  • Katrina E. Bulkley, Jeffrey R. Henig, & Henry M. Levin (2012)
  • Peggy E. Johnson & Janet H. Chrispeels (2012)
  • Charles T. Kerchner, David J. Menefee-Libey, Laura S. Mulfinger, & Stephanie E. Clayton (2010)
  • Jonathan A. Supovitz, J. (2008)
  • Meredith I. Honig, M. (2008)

 Publication Award(s) 2012

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