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Urban Education Leaders Program

Department of Organization and Leadership

Our Faculty


Jeffrey M. Young, Professor of Practice in Education Leadership

Dr. Jeffrey M. Young 

Professor of Practice in Education Leadership

Co-Director, Urban Education Leaders Program


Dr. Jeffrey M. Young is the Co-Director of the Urban Education Leaders Program and is a Professor of Practice in Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Before joining the faculty at Teachers College, Dr. Young served as Superintendent of Schools in Cambridge, MA from 2009 through 2016, following terms as Superintendent in Newton, Lexington and Lynnfield, MA.  He began his career in education as an English teacher, Department Chair, and Curriculum Coordinator in Brookline, MA. Dr. Young was a member of the Adjunct Faculty at the Boston University School of Education and has delivered talks at various institutions of higher learning as well as at the International Education Conference in Beijing, China. 

Among his distinctions, Dr. Young has been recognized by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents with the President’s Award; Brandeis University with the Levitan Award for Leadership; and the Cambridge NAACP with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for his work “to provide an effective, innovative education to ALL of Cambridge’s children regardless of race or class.”  

Dr. Young received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University, a Masters Degree in Education from Tufts University, and a Doctorate in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a new member of the Teachers College faculty, Dr. Young is struggling with his identity as a fan of the Boston Red Sox.

Dr. Young can be reached via email at jyoung@tc.columbia.edu and/or by telephone at 212-678-8329.


Sonya Douglass Horsford, Associate Professor of Education Leadership and Senior Research Associate at TC’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME)

Dr. Sonya Douglass Horsford

Associate Professor of Education Leadership

Co-Director, Urban Education Leaders Program


Dr. Sonya Douglass Horsford is the Co-Director of the Urban Education Leaders Program and is an Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests include the political and policy contexts of education leadership with a focus on school desegregation and education reform in the post-Civil Rights Era. Her work has been funded by The Spencer Foundation and published in numerous journals and edited volumes to include Educational Administration Quarterly, Teachers College Record, The Urban Review, and the Handbook on Critical Race Theory in Education.

Dr. Horsford is editor of three books and author of Learning in a Burning House: Educational Inequality, Ideology, and (Dis)Integration (Teachers College Press, 2011), which received a 2013 AESA Critics’ Choice Award. Prior to joining Teachers College, Horsford served as an Associate Professor of Education at George Mason University and Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and continues to study school desegregation and community-based reform efforts in the U.S. Mountain West.

Dr. Horsford received a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from Colorado State University, a Masters in Public Administration from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Dr. Horsford can be reached via email at horsford@tc.columbia.edu and/or by telephone at 212-678-3921.

Dr. Alex J. Bowers

Dr. Alex J. Bowers

Associate Professor of Education Leadership


Dr. Alex J. Bowers is an Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Michigan State University. His research focuses on the intersection of effective school and district leadership, data driven decision making, student grades and test scores, student persistence and dropouts. His work also considers the influence of school finance and facilities on student achievement. Dr. Bowers is the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2012 American Educational Research Association's (AERA) Emerging Scholar Award for Division A, Administration, the 2012 University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) Jack A. Culbertson Award for outstanding early faculty research, and a 2008 AERA outstanding reviewer of the year award for the American Educational Research Journal (AERJ). Dr. Bowers is an editorial board member for the journals Educational Administration Quarterly (EAQ) and the Journal of Education Finance (JEF).

Dr. Bowers' research examines how school leaders are able to leverage and use the data that they already collect in schools to help drive decisions on how to allocate limited school and district resources to specific student needs. These types of data include non-cumulative teacher assigned grades as data that are rarely examined for the ability to predict student outcomes. In related work, Dr. Bowers' research explores how current data mining techniques can help school leaders organize and analyze their school's data to help determine which students need what kinds of interventions at specific points in time and curricular subjects in an effort to help schools provide tailor instruction and services to students and families.

Bowers also studies school and district leadership, examining which leadership factors influence student achievement at the school and district levels. This includes research on district effectiveness, school finance and school facilities. Additionally, Bowers studies how school districts can be effective and efficient, as well as studying which factors help predict school capital facility finance bond elections.

Dr. Eleanor  Drago-Severson

Dr. Eleanor Drago-Severson

Professor of Education Leadership and Adult Learning


Dr. Eleanor Drago-Severson is a Professor of Education Leadership and Adult Learning in the Organization and Leadership Department of Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research and teaching passions include school leadership, qualitative research methods, and supporting adult development in K-12 schools, ABE/ESOL programs and higher education contexts. Dr. Drago-Severson is the author of Becoming Adult Learners: Principles And Practices For Effective Development (Teachers College Press, 2004) and Helping Teachers Learn: Principal Leadership For Adult Growth And Development (Corwin Press, 2004). Helping Teachers Learn was awarded the Outstanding Staff Development Book of the Year for 2004 by the National Staff Development Council. Dr. Drago-Severson is also the author of Leading Adult Learning: Supporting Adult Development in our Schools (Corwin Press, 2009), which further explores practices supportive of superintendent, principal and teacher growth.
A developmental psychologist, Dr. Drago-Severson's work is inspired by the idea that schools must be places where adults as well as children can grow. Dr. Drago-Severson served as lead researcher on the Adult Development Team of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) with Robert Kegan at Harvard University and consults with schools and educational leaders on matters of principal and teachers' professional development, and leadership that supports adult development and learning. Dr. Drago-Severson has served as teacher, program designer, program director, consultant, and professional developer in a variety of educational contexts including higher education, Adult Education Community Centers, and K-12 schools domestically and internationally.  
Dr. Drago-Severson conducts research into and teaches courses and workshops on leadership for adult development, adult learning, and qualitative research methods. Dr. Drago-Severson is known widely for her work, publications and teaching in these domains. Dr. Drago-Severson's work has been recognized by and supported with awards from the Spencer Foundation, the Klingenstein Foundation, and Harvard University Graduate School of Education where Dr. Drago-Severson served as Lecturer on Education for eight years, and also Harvard University's Extension School where Dr. Drago-Severson served as a faculty member.  While serving at Harvard University, Dr. Drago-Severson was awarded the prestigious 2005 Morningstar Award for Excellence in Teaching, an annual prize made to the teacher at the Graduate School of Education voted outstanding by students, faculty and administration. At Teachers College, Dr. Drago-Severson has been awarded three distinguished teaching awards from the Dean.


Dr. Drago-Severson received her Bachelor of Arts from Long Island University and her Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Drago-Severson grew up in the Bronx and lives in New York City.

Dr. Drago-Severson can be reached via email at ed2222@columbia.edu, or by telephone at 212-678-4163.

Dr. Mark Anthony Gooden

Dr. Mark Anthony Gooden

Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Professor in Education Leadership

Director, Endeavor Leadership Initiative


Dr. Mark Anthony Gooden is the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Professor in Education Leadership and Director of the Endeavor Leadership Initiative in the Department of Organization and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Within that Department, he is also Program Director of Education Leadership. His research interests include the principalship, anti-racist leadership, urban educational leadership and legal issues in education. His research has appeared in a range of outlets including American Educational Research JournalEducational Administration QuarterlyTeachers College RecordReview of Educational Research, Journal of School LeadershipUrban EducationJournal of Research on Leadership in EducationThe Journal of Negro EducationBrigham Young University Education and Law JournalEducation and Urban Society, The Sage Handbook of African-American Education and The Principal's Legal Handbook and others. Dr. Gooden served two terms as a member of Executive Committee and is Immediate Past President of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), a consortium of 100 higher education institutions committed to advancing the preparation and practice of educational leaders for the benefit of schools and children. Dr. Gooden has served on various committees for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and is a member of the Educational Law Association (ELA).

Before entering higher education, Dr. Gooden served as a secondary mathematics teacher and department chairperson who facilitated professional development workshops for and with teachers and educational leaders in Columbus Public Schools. He has spent 16 years in higher education developing and teaching courses in leadership, equity, law, and research methods. During that time, he has also developed, designed, and facilitated professional development courses in diversity/inclusion, leadership, and law. Dr. Gooden co-developed with Ann O'Doherty a teaching module for UCEA that helps leaders better understand how examining their beliefs, attitudes, and racial awareness can improve their ability to support diverse learners. The module is entitled Building a Community of Trust Through Racial Awareness of Self and is available gratis. Dr. Gooden also serves as Associate Editor of Urban Education and he is on the boards of the Journal of Cases of Educational Leadership and the Journal of Research on Leadership in Education.

Dr. Gooden received his B.A. in Mathematics from Albany State University. He also earned his M.Ed. in Mathematics Education, a second M.A., and a PhD in Policy and Leadership, all from The Ohio State University. Dr. Gooden has been trained as a cognitive coach and an executive coach. He is also a registered provider of multiple instruments on leadership development and cultural awareness including The Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®), MBTI® Step II™ Interpretive (Leaders’) Report, and the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation–Behavior® (FIRO-B®) Assessment.  

Dr. Gooden can be reached via email at gooden@tc.columbia.edu and/or by telephone at 212-678-3113.

Dr. Jay P. Heubert

Dr. Jay P. Heubert

Professor of Law and Education  Faculty Chair, School Law Institute

Dr. Jay P. Heubert is a Professor of Law and Education at Teachers College and an Adjunct Professor of Law and Education at Columbia Law School, where he offers courses in education law and policy. He is also faculty chair of the annual School Law Institute, a Teachers College program offered annually since 1999 at Columbia Law School.  From 2004 to 2010, Dr. Heubert was faculty adviser to the Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Public School Principals.  

Dr. Heubert's J.D. cum laude and Ed.D. are from Harvard, where he taught from 1985-98.  He has also served as chief counsel to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (1987-89) and as a civil-rights lawyer with the Education Section of Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (1980-85); there he received a special commendation for outstanding performance from the Attorney General of the U.S. Dr. Heubert also taught high-school English in rural North Carolina (1973-74) and served as an advisory specialist on desegregation and gender equity in the School District of Philadelphia (1974-77).

In 1997-98, Dr. Heubert served as study director to an interdisciplinary committee of scholars conducting a Congressionally-mandated study of high-stakes testing (testing for student tracking, promotion, and graduation) through the National Research Council.  From 2000-2002, he was one of twelve researchers, two in education, selected nationally in the inaugural year of a Carnegie Corporation individual fellowship program; he studied how student tracking, promotion testing, and graduation testing influence student learning and life chances, particularly for students of color, students with disabilities, and English-language learners. In 1990 and 1995, graduating students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education selected him to be their faculty speaker at the school-wide commencement. In June 2001, Dr. Heubert received the Harvard Graduate School of Education's annual Alumni Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education. Based on student course evaluations, he received "Outstanding Teacher" awards from Teachers College each school year from 1998-99 through 2005-2006.  

Dr. Heubert can be reached via email at heubert@tc.columbia.edu and by telephone at 212-678-3775.


Dr. Brian K. Perkins

Dr. Brian K. Perkins


Dr. Brian K. Perkins is the Director of the Summer Principals Academy - New Orleans at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is the former Chair and Professor of Education Law and Policy at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Perkins successfully led both programs to full NCATE accreditation. Dr. Perkins is a distinguished Yale alumnus and was named a Timothy Dwight Fellow in 2004. He was a member of the research faculty at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Perkins was an instructor at the Yale University Department of Chemistry and was awarded the distinguished teaching award for instruction in Inorganic Chemistry Problems. He has served as a consultant to school districts throughout the he U.S., Brazil, Israel, Thailand, the People’s Republic of China, India and the Republic of South Africa. Dr. Perkins has previously served as a visiting professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Dr. Perkins is the host of his own Internet radio show, The Perkins Platform, which is a monthly forum on education leadership topics with thousands of listeners.

Dr. Perkins was the President of the New Haven (CT) Board of Education where he served for 11 years. He also served for four years on the Board of Directors of the National School Boards Association. Dr. Perkins served two terms as national chair for CUBE: Council of Urban Boards of Education and was the chair for the National Black Caucus of School Board Members. Dr. Perkins was also the national chair of the Leadership for Healthy Communities initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Perkins is the author of several published articles and book chapters and serves as the Principal Investigator and author of Where We Learn (2006), Where We Teach (2007), and What We Think (2008) – the largest studies on urban school climate in the history of public education. Dr. Perkins is leading a ground-breaking study and improvement initiative of school climate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Dr. Perkins received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Grambling State University, his Masters in Public Health from the Yale University School of Medicine and his Doctorate of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He has a graduate certificate in executive coaching from the Columbia Business School. Dr. Perkins is a registered provider of continuing education for school board members by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and a nationally certified principal mentor by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. He is also a Gallup-certified Strengths-based Leadership Coach.

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