Douglass, Sonya (sdh2150)

Sonya Douglass, Ed.D.

Professor of Education Leadership
Founding Director, Black Education Research Collective; Co-Director, Urban Education Leaders Program (UELP)

Office Location:

303J Zankel

Scholarly Interests

Professor Sonya Douglass examines the problem of racial inequality in K-12 schools and how race is conceptualized and understood by leaders for equity and social justice in the U.S. She is particularly interested in how education leaders come to know race within equity, diversity, and inclusion discourses and how this knowledge informs and is informed by their leadership ideologies, epistemologies, and practices.

Her interests include: education policy, politics, and leadership; school segregation and desegregation; critical race theory in education; Black and African American education and leadership; and leadership for social justice.

Educational Background

  • EdD, Educational Leadership, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • MPA, Public Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • BA, Communications and Journalism (cum laude), Colorado State University

Selected Publications


Horsford, S. D., Scott, J., & Anderson, G. (2019). The politics of education policy in an era of inequality: Possibilities for democratic schooling. New York: Routledge.

Horsford, S. D., & Tillman, L. C. (Eds.). (2014). Intersectional identities and educational leadership of Black women in the USA. Abingdon: Routledge.

Wilson, C. M., & Horsford, S. D. (Eds.). (2013). Advancing equity and achievement in America’s diverse schools: Inclusive theories, policies, and practices. New York: Routledge.

Horsford, S. D. (2011). Learning in a burning house: Educational inequality, ideology, and (dis)integration. New York: Teachers College Press. [2013 Critics’ Choice Award, American Educational Studies Association; 2nd printing].

Horsford, S. D. (Ed.) (2010). New perspectives in educational leadership: Exploring social, political, and community contexts and meaning. New York: Peter Lang.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Horsford, S. D. (2019). School integration in the New Jim Crow: Opportuity or oxymoron? Educational Policy. PEA Yearbook 2019.

Horsford, S. D. (2017). Making America’s schools great now: Reclaiming democracy and activist leadership under Trump. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 50(1).

Sampson, C., & Horsford, S. D. (2017). Putting the public back into public education: Community advocacy and education leadership under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Journal of School Leadership, 27(5), 725-754.

Horsford, S. D. (2017). A race to the top from the bottom of the well? The paradox of race in U.S. education reform. The Educational Forum, 81(2), 136-147.

Horsford, S. D., & Powell, K. (2016). Second Chances Academy: Alternative school or pathway to prison? Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 19(1), 18-27.

Horsford, S. D. (2016). Social justice for the advantaged: Freedom from racial equality post-Milliken. Teachers College Record, 118(3), 1-18.

Horsford, S. D., & D’Amico, D. (2015). The past as more than prologue: A call for historical research. International Journal of Educational Management, 29(7), 863-873.

Horsford, S. D., & Sampson, C. (2014). Promise Neighborhoods: The politics and promise of community capacity building as urban school reform. Urban Education, 49(8), 955-991.

Horsford, S. D. (2014). When race enters the room: Improving leadership and learning through racial literacy. Theory into Practice, 53(1), 123-130.

Horsford, S. D., Sampson, C., & Forletta, F. M. (2013). School resegregation in the Mississippi of the West: Community counternarratives on the return to neighborhood schools in Las Vegas, Nevada, 1968-1994. Teachers College Record, 115(11), 1-28.

Horsford, S. D. (2012). This bridge called my leadership: An essay on Black women as bridge leaders in education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 21(5), 11-22.

Horsford, S. D., Grosland, T., & Gunn, K. M. (2011). Pedagogy of the personal and professional: Toward a framework for culturally relevant leadership. Journal of School Leadership, 21(4), 582-606.

Horsford, S. D. (2011). Vestiges of desegregation: Superintendent perspectives on inequality and (dis)integration in the post-Civil Rights Era. Urban Education, 46(1), 34-54.

Horsford, S. D. (2010). Mixed feelings about mixed schools: Superintendents on the complex legacy of school desegregation. Educational Administration Quarterly, 46(3), 287-321.

Horsford, S. D. (2010). Black superintendents on educating Black students in separate and unequal contexts. The Urban Review, 42(1), 58-79.

Sonya Douglass Horsford, Ed.D. is Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she serves as Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Urban and Minority Education (IUME) and Co-Director of the Urban Education Leaders Program (UELP) – an Ed.D. program for aspiring and practicing urban school superintendents. Her research focuses on the social and political contexts of school leadership, school segregation, critical race theory, Black education and the superintendency.

Prior to joining Teachers College, Professor Horsford served on the education leadership faculty at George Mason University (Fairfax, Virginia) and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in her hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada. Her latest book, The Politics of Education Policy in an Era of Inequality: Possibilities for Democratic Schooling, with Janelle Scott (University of California, Berkeley) and Gary Anderson (New York University) offers a critical analysis of education policy amid widening social inequality, ideological polarization, and the dismantling of public institutions in the U.S.A.

Chair, Leadership for Social Justice SIG, AERA
Chair, Politics of Education SIG, AERA

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