Meet Alexandra Pavlakis

Alexandra Pavlakis, PhD                 

Assistant Professor

Dr. Pavlakis is an Assistant Professor in the Education Policy and Leadership department at Southern Methodist University (SMU). She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a MSc. in Social Policy & Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a MSc. in Teaching from Pace University through New York City Teaching Fellows Program, and a B.A. in History from Brown University. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Pavlakis was a New York City high school social studies teacher and a research and policy analyst. At SMU, she teaches leadership and qualitative methods courses on the doctoral and master’s level.

Her research agenda addresses the social contexts of education. In particular, she examines how student and families’ broader life contexts intersect with educational institutions, actors, policies, and practices to shape their schooling experiences. Her work falls into three distinct but overlapping research strands: 1) educational leadership and community change, 2) family-school-community engagement, and 3) policy and diversity in student homelessness. While her third strand explicitly addresses student homelessness, across all three, she focuses primarily on the contexts of economic disadvantage, poverty, homelessness, and housing instability.

Her recent work can be found in outlets such as Educational ResearcherUrban EducationTeachers College RecordThe International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE)The Urban Review, and other outlets.

For more information on her research and teaching please see:

Link to SMU website:

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