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Headshot photo of SHAWN JOSEPH

Shawn Joseph (He/Him)

Assistant Professor

  • Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
  • School of Education


Dr. Shawn Joseph’s passion for equity and social justice has led him to serve in a number of positions in the world of education.  He has been an English teacher, reading specialist, school administrator, central office administrator, and superintendent in Delaware (Seaford School District) and Tennessee (Metro Nashville Public Schools). He served  on the faculty of Fordham University in the Department of Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy during the 2019-2020 school year and is currently Co-Director of the AASA/Howard Urban Superintendent Academy and Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy Studies at Howard University.

In 2009, Dr. Joseph was honored by his peers as the National Association of Secondary School Administrator’s Met-Life Middle School Principal of the year for the State of Maryland.  In 2010, Dr. Joseph was the recipient of the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Dissertation Award in the area of Educational Leadership.  In 2019 and 2020, Dr. Joseph was selected as the Person of the Year by the Tribune Newspaper in Nashville.  His first book, The Principal’s Guide to the First 100 Days of the School Year: Creating Instructional Momentum, offers insight into the complexity of the principalship and suggests strategies for focusing on increasing student achievement. In 2019, he published the book Finding the Joseph Within, a memoir which tells the account of his professional journey and how faith and perseverance unleashed favor upon his life.  

Dr. Joseph earned a doctoral degree in educational administration and policy studies from The George Washington University and a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University.  His bachelor’s degree is from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, America’s oldest Historically Black College.

Dr. Joseph’s research interests include studying the leadership experiences of Black male superintendents, superintendent preparation programs, and how minoritized leaders lead for equity.

Education & Expertise


Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy Studies

The George Washington University


MS. Ed.
Johns Hopkins University

English Education

Lincoln University


Educational Leadership

I am knowledgable about issues related to K-12 education and politics.  I am especially interested in the experiences of superintendents of color and how governance structures work.



Educational Politics

The purpose of Politics of Education (ELPS 518) is to provide knowledge about the origins, nature, and impact of political forces surrounding and influencing schools. This course will specifically look at those political, economic, and social forces that have influenced urban schools.  It is designed further to expose candidates to the increasingly complex political web of American education.ELPS 518 addresses contemporary issues such as the debate over local control, the expanding role of state government in influencing policy direction, and the development and the future of federal involvement in education. The nature of educational policymaking will be emphasized –its formulation, implementation, and evaluation. The role of competing interest groups and courts will be included, along with discussions of school finance and educational reform. Special attention will be given to how local, state, and federal policies and practices have impacted the achievement of African Americans and the African American schooling experience in America.

Workshop in Leadership Development

The purpose of the Workshop on Leadership Development is to introduce candidates to the scope and complexities of educational leadership, particularly in diverse ‘urban” communities.  Candidates will develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to provide strategic leadership for an educational institution.Emphasis will be placed upon the role of the superintendent and board of education in urban schools.The workshop will adhere to the conceptual framework that supports the development and preparation of educational practitioners who are reflective, critical thinkers and scholarly researchers.By the end of the workshop, the candidate should have:Acquired an appreciation for the complexities of urban educational leadership and honed personal and professional qualities and skills to meet the challenges;Demonstrated ability to make practical applications of leadership theories;Studied and analyzed critical and controversial educational issues;Demonstrated leadership processes, including collaboration to achieve common goals;Developed proficiency in functioning effectively in highly diverse environments; and    

Information Technology in School Management

The world is continuously changing and school leaders must be prepared to manage the change process and meet students’ individualized needs.  This course seeks to provide educators with an understanding of how technology can equip school leaders and students with tools to improve academic achievement.  A secondary focus of this course is to help school leaders think about how to focus school improvement efforts through strategic supervision of schools and school principals.  Lectures, presentations, and guest speakers from around the country will share cutting edge technology and best practices to increase student achievement in schools.  Technology related to operational functions of a school district will also be explored.By the end of this course, students will be able to·      Articulate an instructional leadership framework to organize and supervise schools in a way the prioritizes a focus on the instructional core·      Individualize instruction for students in reading and mathematics·      Utilize various technology tools·      Integrate best practices of technology into their supervisory practices·      Evaluate high-quality technology tools




Black Superintendents and School Governance