Our Team

Sonya Horsford
Sonya Douglass Horsford, Ed.D.

Sonya Douglass Horsford, Ed.D. serves as founding director of the Black Education Research Collective (BERC) and Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests include Black education, education leadership, and the politics of race and urban school leadership in the post-Civil Rights Era.

Dr. Angel Nash
Angel Nash

Angel Miles Nash, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at Chapman University in the Donna Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies.  Dr. Miles Nash’s 15 years of teaching and leading in K-12 schools and higher education institutions in Washington, DC, California, and Virginia galvanize her research endeavors examining the emboldening of Black girls and women in the K-20+ education pipeline, the professional intersectional realities of women of color, and the ways that educational leaders support underserved students in STEM education.  She also explores the academic and professional intersectional realities of women of color.  Angel earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Virginia, where she served as a Graduate Research Assistant for the University Council for Educational Administration and the Jackson Scholars Network. She holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering.  Dr. Miles Nash’s research, teaching, and service commitments collectively and intentionally reify her belief in educational leaders’ influence on the historically underserved populations on whose behalf she champions

Phillip Smith
Phillip A. Smith, MPhil
Assistant Director

Phillip A. Smith, M.Phil is a mid-career, Ph.D. candidate in the Education Leadership Program in the Department of Organization and Leadership, and a W.E.B. Du Bois Scholar in the Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. Phillip is Assistant Director of the Black Education Research Collective (BERC). Phillip is also Associate Director of the Reimagining Education: Teaching and Learning in Racially Diverse Schools Summer Institute at Teachers College. Phillip joins Columbia University from London, England with significant years experience in senior and executive director-level local (PK-12 equivalent), school district, and national administration and leadership, across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, in the UK. Phillip is a Graduate Student Fellow with the African Diaspora International Research Network, World Educational Research Association (WERA). He is also a David L. Clark Scholar, American Education Research Association (AERA) 2017, and an Asa G. Hilliard III and Barbara A. Sizemore Fellow, AERA 2014. His research examines racial identities in school leadership, with a focus on Black male principals and heads of schools across public, private, and international contexts, in particular in the U.S., U.K., and the Caribbean. His research and work has been both presented and published in the U.S., and internationally. Phillip’s commitment to critical educational leadership policy research, and the importance of race/color-conscious models of school leadership and leadership development are evidenced through his teaching, research activities and service positions both at Teachers College, Columbia University, and elsewhere.

Dominique Lester
Dominique Lester
Research Assistant

Dominique Lester is a first-year doctoral student from Atlanta, Georgia in the Education Leadership program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dominique’s academic work explores how theology, history and ethics help shape the ways in which public intellectuals and Black moral leaders govern anchor institutions. Dominique earned a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Paine College, a Master of Divinity from Emory University: Candler School of Theology and a Master of Arts in History and Education from Teachers College: Columbia University. Dominique currently serves as Chief of Staff of a Black church in Mount Vernon, New York.

Research Advisory Council

  • M. Christopher Brown II, Ph.D.
  • Rodney K. Hopson Ph.D.
  • Joyce King, Ph.D.
  • Kofi Lomotey, Ph.D.
  • Linda C. Tillman, Ph.D.
  • Vanessa Siddle Walker, Ph.D.
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