The SPA Team

Dr. Brian K. Perkins, Director

Dr. Brian K. Perkins

Dr. Brian K. Perkins is the Director of the Urban Education Leadership Program at Columbia University Teachers College Department of Organization and Leadership. In the past two years, Dr. Perkins has reorganized the UELP under a dynamic new conceptual framework. He also directs the Superintendent’s Work Conference (started in 1941) at Teachers College. He is the former Chair and Professor of Education Law and Policy at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut. As Chair, Dr. Perkins successfully led his department through the licensure of the university’s first doctoral program and 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. He has served as a consultant to school districts throughout the U.S., Brazil, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa. Dr. Perkins is 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. His forthcoming manuscript, Improving School Climate from the Inside Out, is under review and is scheduled for release next year. Dr. Perkins travels extensively in sub-Saharan Africa and leads annual delegations of educators to the region. He is leading an effort to provide clothing and funding to the Tholakele Orphanage in the Republic of South Africa where he currently serves as an advisor. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Boulé. Dr. Perkins received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Grambling State University, a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the Yale University School of Medicine and his Doctor of Education Degree from Columbia University Teachers College. 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.

Shelby Jarvis, Program Coordinator

Shelby Jarvis is the Program Coordinator for the Summer Principals Academy. She earned her B.A. in Adolescence Education: Social Studies and History from the State University of New York College at Cortland. In her previous positions, Shelby worked with middle and high school youth and developed numerous academic and college readiness programs. She also has experience in program management and developing partner relationships. Her interests include improving youth development programs for underserved youth and reading a good book during her spare time. Shelby hopes to bring her organization skills and teamwork attributes to the SPA program team.

Matt Morgan, Assistant Director


Matt was born in Alaska, raised in Alabama, and has called NYC home for the last 12 years.  He has worked in the Higher Ed field for almost 10 years specializing in admissions and recruitment, and has experience assisting in the development of admission practices and policies.  He is a graduate of Jacksonville State University (JSU) with a BA in Communications and a minor in Creative Writing.

Matt also dedicates his personal time to Higher Ed to champion diversity and inclusion. He was a co-founder and inaugural president of JSU's first-ever LGBTQ+ Alumni Chapter. He was also integral in the implementation of a “Safe Zone” program which trains the university’s community on LGBTQ+ awareness and allyship. Additionally, Matt has had several years of acting and improv training and performance experience in LA and NYC. This, along with other personal and professional experiences, has expanded his ability to connect with and relate to a wide variety of people and backgrounds.

Matt brings his expertise and passion for helping people gain access to and expand their educational opportunities to Teachers College, Columbia University, and looks forward to helping students with their journey through SPA!

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