Check out episode 5 of the Racially Just Schools Pod w/ the amazing Dr. Heather Bennett on "How School Boards Can Advance Equity & Justice" It's ūüĒ•Plz share+subscribe
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About The Center for Urban Education Leadership

We are researchers, developers, and policy advocates with expertise in educational leadership, organizational development, continuous improvement and equity/social justice. We are driven to use our expertise and passion to IMPACT the lives of PK-12 urban students locally and throughout the world. Independently and in collaboration with other research/development organizations, CUEL has secured over 16M to fuel a broad assortment of research and development projects.

research spotlight

Stuck Improving: Racial Equity and School Leadership 

In his upcoming publication, CUEL Affiliate Decoteau Irby calls attention to racial equity and its ever-shifting dynamic as our racial consciousness continues to evolve and racism asserts itself anew. Irby’s book details both the practical efforts of equity-minded school leaders and a deeper understanding of what the work of racial equity improvement truly entails.



In this publication, CUEL Affiliate Jason Salisbury examines educational opportunities through race in urban high schools and whiteness as property. The publication details the inequities in educational opportunity along racial lines and how researchers can critically investigate equity-minded school improvement.

K-12 Equity Directors: Configuring the Role for Impact

This brief represents a collaborative project between the Center for Urban Education Leadership (University of Illinois at Chicago), the Institute of Urban Policy Research and Analysis (University of Texas at Austin, and Leadership for Learning (University of Washington).  This research engaged a team from these institutions including Decoteau Irby, Terrance Green, Ann M. Ishimaru, Shannon Paige Clark, and Ahreum Han. 

Leadership in Chicago Public Schools (CPS)

In this case study, CUEL Research Director Sam Whalen examines the transformational leadership agenda of Dr. Janice K. Jackson, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, between summer 2015 and winter 2020. The study details how she and her executive team re-cultured CPS central office around practices of strategic continuous improvement to tackle systemic challenges of organizational coherence and educational inequity.

Social Justice Leadership and Leadership for Community Activism; Understanding Practices and Challenges in Large Market Oriented Contexts

Using literature on leadership for social justice, community activism, education markets, and critical urban theory as conceptual tools, Salisbury, Cosner, and Richard are examining an assortment of issues that relate to understanding and strengthening social justice and community activism practices by school leaders and about the kinds of context factors that challenge and shape this work in larger urban school districts.

Working for Impact

Research and Evaluation

We investigate both leadership-focused and multi-disciplinary, leadership-inclusive problems to generate critical and relevant knowledge that matters and will impact practice and policy.

Continuous Improvement, Organizational Development

We are sought by both PK-12 districts/schools and higher education institutions to help them strengthen their approaches and cultures for continuous improvement. In this work, we design and provide both in-person and remote learning designs as well as ongoing support and guidance for continuous improvement and organizational development work. Both in-person and remotely, we also consult with and speak to international, national, state, and regional educational organizations, educational philanthropic organizations, universities and school districts about continuous improvement/organizational development. 

Leadership Development

We are hired by international/national educational organizations, state departments of education, regional educational offices, philanthropic organizations, school districts, and community agencies to design and deliver a broad assortment of in-person or remote leadership development experiences that are tailored to the unique needs of each setting.

Dissemination and Policy Advocacy

We actively communicate to practitioners and the policy/political community through policy briefs, webinars, zoom convenings, videos, and podcasts to ensure that the impact of our research and work is extended and expanded.