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Sarah Baray Nelson

Sarah Nelson Baray, Ph.D.

Director, Ph.D. in Education–School Improvement

Sarah Baray Nelson

ASBS 321



Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education & School Improvement


Education and Community Leadership, School Improvement

Research Interests

Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leadership, International Principal Preparation, Educator Beliefs, Educational Equity, School Safety

Teaching Areas

School Leadership, School Law, Qualitative Research Methods, Dissertation Proposal Development, Feminist Theories and Methods

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Sarah Nelson Baray, Ph.D. is Professor of Education and Community Leadership. Dr. Nelson Baray teaches in the Education Ph.D. and the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership programs. She also serves as the Director for the Ph.D. in Education–School Improvement program. A former teacher, curriculum specialist, and school principal, she earned her doctorate in Public School Executive Leadership from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests center on policies and practices related to educational equity. Recent research projects include examining educator beliefs about students of diverse backgrounds, documenting the effects of student protests for educational equity in Chile, and exploring the experiences of novice principals. Dr. Nelson Baray serves on the editorial board of prominent journals including Education Administration Quarterly and the International Journal of Leadership in Education. She has been a keynote presenter at the annual conference of the British Educational Leadership, Management, and Administration Society (BELMAS) and a Distinguished Faculty member for the David L. Clark Research Seminar. She provides professional development in culturally responsive teaching, learning, and leadership. She has obtained over $6.5 million in grant funding for research projects related to school safety and STEM education for English language learners.


Ph.D., Executive Public School Leadership
University of Texas at Austin

Selected Publications (books, book chapters, journal articles)

Aguilar, I.* Nelson Baray, S., & Nino, J.* (in press). Swimming between: An examination of the inherent complexity within social justice work. Teacher Educator.

Aidman, B., & Nelson Baray, S. (in press).  Leveraging community resources: Creating successful partnership to foster school improvement. Educational Forum.

Nelson, S.W., & Guerra. P.L. (2014).  Educator beliefs and cultural knowledge: Implications for school improvement efforts. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50(1), 67-95.

Slater, C.L., & Nelson, S.W. (2013). Understanding the principalship: An international guide to principal preparation (Advances in Educational Administration, Volume 19). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Nelson, S.W., De la Colina, M. G., & Boone, M. D. (2013). Lifeworld or systemsworld:  What guides novice principals? In M. Murphy (Ed.), Social theory and education research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

O’Malley, M. P. & Nelson, S. W. (2013). The public pedagogy of student activists in Chile: What have we learned from the Penguins’ Revolution? Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 29(2), 41-56.

Guerra, P.L., & Nelson, S.W. (2013). Latino parent involvement: Seeing what has always been there. Journal of School Leadership, 23(2), 420-451.

Slater, C.L., McGhee, M.W., Nelson, S.W., & Meno, L. (2012).  Lessons learned: The promise and possibility of educational accountability in the United States.  In C.F. Webber, & J. Lupart (Eds.), Leading student assessment (pp. 41-57). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer