Alexandra Pavlakis

Assistant Professor

Alexandra Pavalakis, Assistant Professor

Education Policy and Leadership


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison


3101 University Blvd Ste. 345
Box 750114
Dallas, TX 75275



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, an MSc. in Social Policy & Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science, an 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 masters 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, 2) family-school-community relations, and, 3) social and education policy. Across all three strands, she primarily focuses on the contexts of poverty, homelessness, and high mobility.

Her recent work can be found in outlets such as Educational Researcher, Urban Education, Teachers College Record, The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), The Urban Review, and Journal of Research on Leadership Education. 

For more information and a full list of publications please see:

Selected Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications

Pavlakis, A.E. (2018).  Poverty and student homelessness in a growing suburb: Sensemaking among school and community leaders. Teachers College Record. 120(11), 1-58.

Pavlakis, A.E. (2018).  Reaching all families: Family, school, and community partnerships amid homelessness and high mobility in an urban district.  Urban Education, 53(8), pp. 1043-1073. [published online: 2015]. doi: 10.1177/0042085915613547 

Pavlakis, A.E. (2018).  Spaces, places, and policies: Contextualizing student homelessness.  Educational Researcher, 47(2), pp. 134-141. [published online: November 17, 2017] 

Pavlakis, A.E. & Duffield, B.  (2017).  The politics of policy in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act: Setting the agenda for students experiencing homelessness. The Urban Review, 49(5). 

Pavlakis, A.E. (2017). Gaining access and building rapport in case studies: Working with families, schools, and communities in the context of homelessness. SAGE Research Methods Cases. 10.4135/9781526423597

Pavlakis, A.E., Goff, P., Miller, P.M. (2017). Contextualizing the impact of homelessness on academic growth.  Teachers College Record, 119(10), pp. 1-23. 

Pavlakis, A.E. & Kelley, C. (2016).  Accreditation in the professions: Implications for educational leadership preparation programs.  Journal of Research on Leadership Education. doi:10.1177/1942775116641663