James Spillane

James (Jim) P. Spillane is the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change at Northwestern University where he is a Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, Learning Sciences, and Management & Organizations (by courtesy. He is also a faculty associate at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research and a senior Research Fellow with the Center for Policy Research in Education (CPRE). In recognition of his contribution to educational research, Spillane was elected to the US National Academy of Education in 2013.

Spillane’s work explores relations between government policy and local practice at the school district, school, and classroom levels.  His work has been funded by several foundations including the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, the Spencer Foundation, and the Carnegie Cooperation of New York.  Spillane is author of five books including Standards Deviations (Harvard University Press), Distributed Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2006) and Diagnosis and Design for School Improvement (Teachers College Press, 2011) as well as over 60 journal articles and numerous book chapters.  He has consulted with public and private organizations in the US and around the world including OECD, The Spencer Foundation, Chicago Public Schools, US Institute of Education Sciences, the National Commission on Educational Statistics, and The MacArthur Foundation.

Spillane is recognized for his ground-breaking work on distributed leadership, theorizing a new way of conceptualizing educational leadership in schools and school systems.  His theoretical work on distributed leadership has influenced research on school leadership around the work. For two decades, he has conducted empirical research on school leadership using a distributed framework that explores relations between the work of leadership and classroom teaching.  Further, Spillane has designed and taught modules to develop school principals and other school leaders (www.distributedleadership.org) and done workshops for school principals and school leaders around the world including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, United States, Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium.