Terri N. Watson
Associate Professor, Educational Leadership
Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs
Learning, Leadership, and Culture
Black Studies Program
Areas of Expertise/Research
- School Leadership for Social Justice
- Urban School Leadership
- Critical Race Theory
- Black Feminist Theory / Motherwork
North Academic Center
Terri N. Watson
Terri N. Watson is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at The City College of New York and a member of the Urban Education faculty at The City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Her research examines effective school leadership and is aimed to improve the educational outcomes and life chances of historically excluded and underserved students and families. She employs Critical Race Theory, Black Feminist Theory and Motherwork as methodological frameworks. Her scholarship is featured in several edited books and journals, including Educational Administration Quarterly, the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, The Journal of Negro Education, the Journal of School Leadership, and Leadership and Policy in Schools.
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).
During the 2020 – 2021 academic year, Dr. Watson was named a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University at Buffalo's Center for Diversity Innovation. Through her work at the Center, she aimed to transform the schoolhouse into a 'Beloved Community’
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., & Miles Nash, A. (2021). Challenging whiteness at Claremont High School. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555458921993206
Watson, T. N., & Baxley, G. S. (2021). Centering “Grace”: Challenging anti-Blacknesss in schooling through motherwork. Journal of School Leadership. 1-16.
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), 94 – 104.
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.
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.
Watson, T. N. (2021). ‘Harlem’s motherwork’: A valuable resource for urban school leaders. In R.N. Guillaume, N. Witherspoon Arnold, & A.F. Osanloo (Eds.). The Handbook of Urban Educational Leadership. (pp. 175 – 191). Lanham, MD.: Rowman & Littlefield.
Watson, T. N. & Miles Nash, A. (2021). She wears a crown: Centering Black girlhood in schools. In O. Delano-Oriaran, M.W. Penick, S.J. Arki, A. Michael, O. Swindell, & E. Moore Jr. Teaching beautiful brilliant Black girls: A radical transformation for educators. (pp. 254-257). 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 and London: 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, T. N. (2013). Sustaining school leaders: A critical race theory approach.
In E. Lyle (Ed.), Bridging the 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.
DeMatthews, D. & Watson, T. N. (2020, October 16). No, Critical Race Theory is not ‘Anti-American.’ Retrieve from
Watson, T. N. (2020, September 17). Race matters. Retrieve from https://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2020/09/how_should_educators_respond_to_trump_administrations_attack_on_anti_racist_training.html
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 https://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2020/08/now_is_the_time_to_address_educations_most_pressing_equity_issues.html
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/
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.
Watson, T. N. (2020, October 17). The schools we need: Lessons learned from Harlem. Keynote Address. Centre for Leadership & Diversity. Inaugural International Symposium. Transformative Leadership & Decolonial Praxis. University of Toronto, Canada.
Watson, T. N. (2019, October 23). The schools we need: Lessons learned from Harlem’s mothers and othermothers. The Barbara L. Jackson, Ed.D. Lecture, Lincoln Center Campus, Fordham University.
Watson, T. N. (2018, February 23). I know why the caged Black adolescent girl sings. The 2018 Winter Roundtable, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York.
Watson, T. N. (2017, November 16). From Harlem to the academy: The intersection of race, class, and gender in teaching, scholarship, and service. Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows, The City College of New York.
Watson, T. N. (2017, September 20). Leading urban schools in the new Jim Crow: Education, leadership, & policy. The Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference, Washington, D. C.
Watson, T. N. (2016, April 16). Shutting down the school to prison pipeline. The National Action Network 2016 Annual Meeting, New York, New York.
Watson, T. N. (2015, April 25). Schools designed with us in mind. The 2015 Diversity in Research and Practice Conference, Teachers College, Columbia University.
Noguera, P., Lewis-McCoy, R. L., & Watson, T.N. (2015, March 31). New schools, old problems. A public conversation on educational justice and change. Moderator of the 2nd Annual Sternberg Family Lecture in Public Scholarship at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, The City College of New York.
Watson, T. N. (2014, December 4). No child left behind: A Harlem tale. Presidential Conversations: Activism, Scholarship, and Engagement. The City College of New York.
Media Interviews & Mentions
2021 Interview. One to One. In this season premiere of "One to One", host Sheryl McCarthy looks at a hot topic now - Critical Race Theory - with Terri N. Watson. (https://tv.cuny.edu/show/onetoone/PR2010561)
2021 Mention. The Cincinnati Herald. No, critical race theory isn’t ‘anti-American.’
2021 Mention. The Topeka Capital-Journal. The debate over critical race theory has cropped up in Kansas. Here’s what you need to know.
2021 Interview. Tuesday news brief. Cultural affirmation not punishment may reduce harm to Black girls in schools, researchers assert. (http://ed.buffalo.edu/news- events/ticker/archive.host.html/content/shared/ed/news/ticker/2021/06/01.detail.html?fbcl id=IwAR2O7240PKBGH_splVVxeWnBDVHnedQEpI1V0eUDNLNUCYzxvQNmLRK jtUo)
2021 Mention. DeseretNews. Why conservatives oppose critical race theory.
(https://www-deseret com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.deseret.com/platform/amp/2021/5/27/22444504/why- conservatives-oppose-critical-race-theory-glenn-beck-tucker-carlson-heritage-foundation- gop)
2020 Interview. BBC World Service. What is Critical Race Theory? *Start at 22 minute mark
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.” (http://www.cuny.tv/show/edcast/PR2005482)
2016 Interview. Education Week, “On Black Girls, Discipline, and Schools” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY4O96EN4to)
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)