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James Nehring

James H. Nehring, Ed.D. Associate Professor, Leadership in Schooling, Graduate Coordinator for all doctoral programs, Ph.D. & Ed.D.


School level improvement and professional learning.

Research Interest

School level improvement and professional learning.

Educational Background

Ed.D., Teacher Education and School Improvement, University of Massachusetts Amherst

M.A., Teaching, (Social Studies Concentration) Brown University

B.A. with High Distinction, University of Virginia


Served for 24 years as public school teacher, teacher leader, and principal.  Held leadership positions in the startup of three public high schools.


Courses Taught

Transformative Leadership for Schools

Doctoral Seminar

Dynamics of Curricular Change

Leadership and Learning: Cultivating a Professional Learning Community

United States History for Teachers:  The Colonial Era

Organization of Schools and School Systems

Supervision of Student Teachers

Peace and Conflict Studies:  Integrative Seminar


Published Books

The Practice of School Reform:  Lessons from Two Centuries.  SUNY Press, 2009.

Upstart Startup:  Creating and Sustaining a Public Charter School.  Teachers College Press, 2002.

The School Within Us:  The Creation of an Innovative Public School.  SUNY Press, 1998.

The Schools We Have The Schools We Want:  An American Teacher on the Front Line.  Jossey-Bass, 1992

“Why Do We Gotta Do This Stuff, Mr. Nehring:  Notes from a Teacher’s Day in School.  M. Evans, 1989.


Articles  in Peer Reviewed Journals (first or solo author)

 The centrality of context:  Theodore Sizer and the high flying adventure of common principle six.  Journal of Thought.  Fall/Winter 2011.

Are we headed in the wrong direction? Phi Delta Kappan, 93 (2), 80. October, 2011.

Leadership challenges converting a large high school to small schools:  A follow-up study.  NASSP Bulletin, 94(3), 184-212. January, 2011.  With Jill H. Lohmeier

The professional learning community as subversive activity: Countering the culture of conventional schooling. Professional Development in Education,37 (4), 513-535.  September 2011.  With Gray Fitzsimons.

Connecting reflective practice, dialogic protocols, and professional learning. Professional Development in Education, 36(3), 399-420. September, 2010.  With Wilfredo Laboy and Lynn Catarius.

Conversion of a large, urban high school to small schools:  Leadership challenges and opportunities. NASSP Bulletin, 93 (1), 5-26.  March, 2009.  With Jill H. Lohmeier and Michaela Colombo.

Conspiracy theory:  Lessons for leaders from two centuries of school reform.  Phi Delta Kappan, (88,) 6, 424- 432.   February, 2007.

Teachers leading change: The Bethlehem Lab School in Ross, E. W. (ed.), Reflective Practice in Social Studies Education, Bulletin 88. Silver Spring Maryland.  National Council for the Social Studies.  1994.

Selected Essays, Commentaries and Reviews

How good did it get? [Review of the book As good as it gets: What school reform brought to Austin]. Teachers College Record.  April 27, 2010.


MCAS version 2.0.  MASCD Perspective, pp. 2-4.  Spring, 2010.

MCAS: version 2.0 The Lowell Sun, p. 11. Commentary. November, 2008.

Doing no harm. Education Week, July 16, p. 31.  Commentary.  2008.

Progressive vs. traditional:  Reframing an old debate,  Education Week, Feb. 1, pp. 32-33.  Commentary.   2008.

Review of Beadie, N. and Tolley, K. (Eds.) Chartered schools: Two hundred years of independent academies in the United States, 1727-1925. in History of Education Quarterly, 43,(1) 14-17.  2003.

Certifiably strange in Teacher Magazine 13 (1). 49-51. Commentary.  2001.

A nation of boutiques in Education Week. August 2.  Commentary.  2000

Cure for teacher shortage:  Let teachers teach  in Education Week. January 13. Commentary.  1999.