Jim Spillane Gives International Talks on Education Leadership

Jim Spillane Gives International Talks on Education Leadership

Jim Spillane

Professor James Spillane gave talks recently in France, Canada and the United States — all concerning school leadership. At a recent conference on leadership in Lyon, France, he gave a keynote address on “School Administration in a Changing U.S. Policy Environment: Formal Structures and Leadership Practice.”

The Issue of Leadership conference in Lyon presented a debate on school leadership based on contributions from international research. Spillane’s talk offered the U.S. perspective in conjunction with presentations by researchers from University of Manchester, University of Leeds, University of Crete and Aarhus University.

Conference organizers refer to the event as “an important step in the advancement of a major debate for the achievement of all students and the improvement of the French educational system's performance.”

The dialogue at the conference involved academic experts, policy makers and professionals discussing leadership as a field of research. "Anglo-Saxon research has considerably progressed in the area of school improvement, the share of responsibilities between head-teachers, teachers, other educational staff and families,” notes the conference program.

Spillane also gave talks on school leadership in Paris, Vancouver and Washington, D.C. In Paris, he presented “Policy, School Administration and Teaching: The Infrastructure and Practice Challenge” at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. The conference was on "Educating for Innovative Societies."

In Washington, D.C., he made a presentation at the Institute for Education Sciences, the research arm of the Department of Education that seeks to provide rigorous evidence for improving education. His topic was “Policy, School Administration and the Technical Core: The Local Infrastructure and Practice Challenge.”

In Vancouver at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, he gave a keynote speech on “Improving Schools: Addressing the Practice Challenge.”

Spillane is the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change at Northwestern University. His work explores the policy implementation process at the state, school district, school and classroom levels. He has worked to develop a cognitive perspective on the implementation process, exploring how local policy-makers, both administrators and teachers, come to understand state and national reforms. Spillane is also interested in organizational leadership and change; his work conceptualizes organizational leadership as a distributed practice involving formal and informal leaders, followers and a variety of organizational tools and artifacts.

His most recent projects include a social network analysis of mathematics advice structures in elementary schools, an evaluation of how kernel organizational routines can develop leadership practice and improve student achievement in schools, and an examination of the preparation, recruitment, and retention of school principals. 

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 9/13/12