Terri N. Watson

Associate Professor, Educational Leadership

Main Affiliation

School of Education

Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs

Learning, Leadership, and Culture

Graduate Center

Areas of Expertise/Research

  • School Leadership for Social Justice
  • Urban School Leadership
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Black Feminist Theory / Motherwork


North Academic Center





Terri Watson

Terri N. Watson


Terri N. Watson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Leadership and Human Development at The City College of New York. A Harlem native, her research examines effective school leadership and is aimed to improve the educational outcomes and life chances of historically excluded and underserved children and families. Dr. Watson was named a 2020 – 2022 Faculty Lead in conjunction with The Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research at The Graduate Center’s Center for the Humanities, The City University of New York (https://www.centerforthehumanities.org/programming/participants/terri-n…). She is also the guest editor for a special issue of the Journal of Educational Administration and History (Routledge) titled, A Seat at the Table: Examining the Impact, Ingenuity, and Leadership Practices of Black Woman and Girls in PK – 20 Contexts. Each manuscript utilized a critical methodology to center the lived experiences of Black women and girls in schools (https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cjeh20/52/3?nav=tocList).

Currently, Dr. Watson is a 2020 – 2021 Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University at Buffalo's Center for Diversity Innovation. Through her work at the Center she will leverage university resources to address persistent public challenges and to lay the groundwork for the creation of a 'Beloved Community' (https://www.buffalo.edu/diversity-innovation/distinguished-visiting-sch…).


Special Issue of a Journal 

Watson, T. N. (Ed.). (2020). Editorial introduction. A Seat at the Table: Examining the impact, ingenuity, and leadership practices of Black women and girls in PK – 20 Contexts. Journal of Educational Administration and History. 52(3), 241-243.

Davis, L.P., Crenshaw, K.W., Davison, C. H., & Watson, T. N. (Eds.). (2016). Editorial introduction. Why we can’t wait: (Re)Examining the opportunities and challenges for Black women and girls in education. The Journal of Negro Education, 85(3) 194-198.


Refereed Journal Articles 

Watson, T. N. (2020). Harlem’s ‘motherwork’ post-Brown: Implications for urban school leaders. Journal of Educational Administration and History. 52(3), 244-255.

DeMatthews, D., Serafini, A., & Watson, T.N. (2020). Leading inclusive schools: Principal perceptions, practices, and challenges to meaningful change. Educational Administration Quarterly. 1-46.

Watson, T. N. (2018). Zero tolerance school discipline policies and Black girls: The (un)intended consequences. Journal of the Center for Policy Analysis & Research, 167 – 187.

Brooks, J.S., & Watson, T.N. (2018). School leadership and racism: An ecological perspective. Urban Education. 1 – 25.

Watson, T. N. (2017). Effective school leadership and New York City’s immigrant and migrant children: A study. The International Journal of Educational Management. 31(5), 622 – 632.

Beachum, F. D., & Watson, T. N. (2017). The rebirth: Can we live? Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership. 20(2), 1 – 10.

Watson, T. N. (2016). “Talking Back”: The perceptions and experiences of Black girls who attend City High School. The Journal of Negro Education, 85(3), 239-249.

Watson, T. N., & Bogotch, I. (2016). (Re)Imagining school as community: Lessons learned from teachers. The School Community Journal, 26(1), 93–114. 

Watson, T. N.,  & Rivera-McCutchen, R. (2016). #BlackLivesMatter: A call for transformative leadership. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 19(2), 3–11.

Watson, T. N., & Bogotch, I. (2015). Reframing parent involvement: What should urban school leaders do differently? Leadership and Policy in Schools, 14(3), 257-278.

Rivera-McCutchen, R., & Watson, T. N. (2014). Leadership for social justice: It is a matter of trust. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 17(4), 54 – 65.

Obiakor, F., Watson, T. N., & Beachum, F. (2014). The convergence of multicultural education and the 2012 London Olympics: What school leaders should know. Global Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 3(4), 210-216.

Harrell, J., & Watson, T. N. (2014). Instructional coaching: A model for professional development in the common core era. Journal of Ethical Educational Leadership, 1(13), 1-27.  

Watson, T. N., & Hartman, H. (2013). Transformational leaders who practice metacognition. The Professional Journal: The New York Academy of Public Education, 8-11.

Watson, T. N., & Brown, K. (2010). A public relations nightmare: ACLU class action lawsuit exposes inaccurate and inequitable high school graduation rates. Journal of Public Relations, 31(4), 342-357.



Watson, T. N., Brooks, J. S., & Beachum, F.D. (Eds.). (2017). Educational leadership and music: Lessons for tomorrow’s school leaders. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Watson, T. N., & Normore, A. (Eds.). (2016). Racially and ethnically diverse women leading education: A world view. United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing.


Book Chapters

Watson, T. N. (In press). ‘Harlem’s motherwork’: A valuable resource for urban school leaders. The Handbook of Urban Educational Leadership and in the Handbook. Lanham, MD.: Rowman & Littlefield.

Nash, A. M. & Watson, T. N. (In press). She wears a crown: Centering Black girlhood in schools. Teaching beautiful brilliant Black girls: A radical transformation for educators. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Corwin Press, Inc.

Watson, T. N. (2018). Black girls, White privilege, and schooling. In J.S. Brooks & G. Theoharis (Eds). (2018). Whiteucation: Privilege, power, and prejudice in school and society. (pp. 116 – 131). New York: Routledge.

Watson, T. N. (2017). Lessons from school leaders from Sister Sledge:“We are family”. In T. N. Watson, J.S. Brooks, & F. D. Beachum (Eds.). (2017). Educational leadership and music: Lessons for tomorrow’s school leaders  (pp. 275 – 282). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Watson, T. N., Hodgins, D. W., & Brooks, J. S. (2016). Paradigm shift or paradigm statis? An analysis of research on U.S. women in leadership from 1980 – 2004.  In T. N. Watson & A. Normore (Eds.). (2016). Racially and ethnically diverse women leading education: A world view (pp.1 – 22). United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing.

Watson & A. Normore (Eds.). (2016). Racially and ethnically diverse women leading education: A world view (pp.1 – 22). United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing.

Watson, T. N. (2013). Using critical spirituality to sustain African American educational leaders: Looking back to the future. In E. Lyle (Ed.), Bridging theory & practice divide: Pedagogical enactment for socially just education (pp. 55-71). Big Tancook Island, NS: Backalong Books.

Watson, T. N., & Sughrue, J. (2013). Who’s zoomin' who? A critical race analysis of Florida’s public high school graduates. In J. S. Brooks & N. W. Arnold (Eds.), Confronting racism in higher education: Problems and possibilities for fighting ignorance, bigotry and isolation (pp. 181-204). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.


Blog Posts

DeMatthews, D. & Watson, T. N. (2020, October 16). No, Critical Race Theory is not ‘Anti-American.’ Retrieve from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/10/07/no-critical-race-theory-i…

Watson, T. N. (2020, September 17). Race matters. Retrieve from https://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2020…

DeMatthews, D. & Watson, T. N. (2020, August 6). What will our schools like look in the fall (or What should they look like)? Retrieve from

Watson, T. N. (2019, September 7). The problem with colorblindness and other misnomers. Retrieve from (http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2019/09/the_colorblindness_of_schools_has_failed_children_of_color.html)

Watson, T. N. (2019, April 4). A love letter to Babette Edwards: Harlem’s “Othermother.”  Retrieve from https://www.gothamcenter.org/blog/a-love-letter-to-babette-edwards-harlems-othermother.

Watson, T. N. (2019, February 24).‘Holla If You See Us’: Black Girls in spaces we call schools. Retrieve from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2019/02/response_holla_if_you_see_us_black_girls_in_spaces_we_call_schools.html

Watson, T. N. (2019, February 21). How should schools and districts respond to discipline disparities affecting Black girls? Retrieve from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2019/02/how_should_schools_respond_to_discipline_disparities_affecting_black_girls.html

Watson, T. N. (2013, August 17). Tending our gardens. Retrieve from  http://cpowellschoolblog.org/tag/education/


Casebook Entry

Watson, T. N. (2015). Managing to lead. In L. Sadeghi & K. Callahan (Ed.), Educational leadership in action: a casebook for aspiring educational leaders. (p. 191) New York: Routledge.


Encyclopedia Entries

Watson, T. N. & McClellan, P. (2020). The impact of Black women leaders on student achievement. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford, Eng.: Oxford University Press.

Watson, T. N. (2016). High school graduation rates. In K. Lomotey (Ed.), Education: PK-12 and higher education volume of the Contemporary issues for people of color: Living, working and learning in the U.S. (pp. 156 – 166). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, ABC-CLIO, LLC.

Watson, T. N. (2016). Busing. In K. Lomotey (Ed.), Education: PK-12 and higher education volume of the Contemporary issues for people of color: Living, working and learning in the U.S. (pp. 404 – 407). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, ABC-CLIO, LLC.


Additional Information


University Council for Educational Administration
Jackson Scholars Network, Barbara L. Jackson Mentor, 2014 – Present
David L. Clark Seminar, Faculty Mentor, 2019 – Present

The Journal for School Leadership, Editorial Board, 2020 – Present

The Journal of Negro Education, Editorial Board, 2015 - Present

Journal of Research on Leadership Education, Editorial Board, 2015 - 2018

Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, Editorial Board, 2014 – 2018

American Educational Research Association, Division A: Program Committee, 2016 

New York City Department of Education, Division of Family and Community Engagement
Education Council Member, Citywide Council on High Schools (Manhattan)

Fall 2013 - Spring 2015


2020                Faculty Lead. Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research. The Graduate Center. The City University of New York.

2017                CUNY Book Completion Award. The City University of New York.

2017                Citation / Certificate of Appreciation (for The G.O.O.D. Project) received from Gale A. Brewer, Borough President of Manhattan.

2016                Mellon Faculty Fellow, The City University of New York.

2015                Article of the Year (Reframing parent involvement: What should urban school leaders do differently?) Leadership and Policy in Schools.

2014                Faculty Mentor Award. Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, The City College of New York.

2013                Fellow. The Colin Powell Center’s Public Scholarship Program.

The City College of New York

2010                Outstanding Dissertation Award, School of Education, Florida Atlantic University.

2008                Asa G. Hilliard III and Barbara A. Sizemore Fellow, American Educational Research Association.

2008                Barbara L. Jackson Scholar, University Council for Educational Administration.


2020 Interview. BBC World Service. What is Critical Race Theory? *Start at 22 minute mark (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w172xk8zq705y0g)

2020    Interview. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Universities must cultivate race-conscious policies to address historical inequities

2019    Mention. Fordham GSE News, Professor shares powerful lesson on “Motherwork” during Barbara L. Jackson Lecture

2019    Interview. In my classroom, I don’t see color, I don’t see race. What’s the problem

2019    Interview. What every White teacher needs to know about teaching Black girls

2018    Interview. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, “A Harlem Daughter Gives Back”

2016    Interview. NYSUT: A Union of Professionals, “5 questions for Terri Watson”

2016    Interview. EdCast with Dr. Linda Hirsch, “Black Girls in School: Wanting to Belong”

2016    Interview. Education Week, “On Black Girls, Discipline, and Schools”


Talking Back: The Perceptions and Experiences of Black Girls Who Attend City High School

Practices of urban school leaders on children and communiteis of color (subsciption required)

High school graduation rates: Critical Race Theory analysis (subsciption required)