Department of Education Policy & Leadership
Ph.D., University of North Texas3101 University Blvd Ste.345Box 750114 Dallas, TX 75275214-768-8348Send an email
Watt Lesley Black, Jr. is a Clinical Professor in Education Policy and Law. He teaches classes in the Accelerated School Leadership Program, the Urban School Leadership Program, and the K-12 and Higher Education Ed.D. programs. He accepted a full- time appointment to the SMU faculty in 2012 after a more than 20-year career as a teacher and administrator in public schools.
Dr. Black specializes in legal and policy issues in K-12 and Higher Education. He has researched and written about the First Amendment expression rights of both students and teachers, Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection analysis, affirmative action and diversity in the public schools. He has also published work in the area of principal development and school reform.
Dr. Black has presented for the Education Law Association, the American Association of School Personnel Administrators, University Council for Educational Administration, and the Texas Middle School Association. He is a certified provider of school board member training in the State of Texas. He has served on SMU’s university-wide Education Programs Council, the Simmons Academic Affairs Committee, the Simmons Committee on Assessment and Accreditation and the Simmons Diversity Committee.
Dr. Black earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas in 2002. He teaches courses in the Accelerated School Leadership program, the Urban School Leadership Program and in the Ed.D. programs for both K-12 and Higher Education. He is the married father of two children and an avid runner and guitar enthusiast.
Selected Published Intellectual Contributions
Black, Watt Lesley, Jr., When Teachers Go Viral: Balancing Institutional Efficacy with the First Amendment Rights of Public Educators in the Age of Facebook (1st ed., vol. 82). Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Law Review, (2017).
Black, Watt Lesley, Jr., "Omnipresent Student Speech and the Schoolhouse Gate: Applying Tinker in the Digital Age (vol. 59). St. Louis, Missouri: St. Louis University Law Journal, (2015).
Black, Watt Lesley, Jr., Kemerer, Frank, “Legally Defensible Approaches to Racial Diversity in Charter School Enrollments.” West's Education Law Reporter, 172, 575-609, (February 2003).
Black, Watt Lesley, Jr., Public School Diversity and Affirmative Action: The Constitutional Implications. ISBN-13: 978-3639084405 Saarbrucken: VDM Publishing, 2008.
Black, Watt Lesley, Jr., Schimmel, David, (2017). Student Expression. Principal's Legal Handbook, 6th Edition (6th ed.). Dayton, Ohio: Education Law Association.
Black, Watt Lesley, Jr., (2015). A Nightmare Scenario. In Sadeghi, Leila and Kathe Callahan (Ed.), Educational Leadership in Action: A Casebook for Aspiring Administrators. New York, NY.: Routlage/Taylor and Francis.
Alvoid, K., Black, Jr., Watt Lesley, Jr., (2014). The Changing Role of the Principal: How High Achieving Districts are Recalibrating School Leadership. Washington DC: Center for American Progress. www.americanprogress.org
“Cyber-Speech, Public Schools, and the First Amendment: A Status Update,” Education Law Association Annual Conference, San Diego, California. (November, 2017).
“When Teachers Go Viral: A Framework for Evaluating Controversial Employee Speech,” American Association of School Personnel Administrators Conference, Phoenix, Arizona. (October 2017).
"When Teachers Go Viral." Education Law Association Regional Seminar, (2017). ELA, Bracket & Ellis, P.C. Texas Wesleyan University, Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, TX. (April, 2017).
"When Teachers Go Viral: Balancing Institutional Efficacy Against the First Amendment Rights of Public School Teachers in the age of Facebook." Education Law Association: Equality and Freedom in Education. Orlando, Florida. (November, 2016).
"Omnipresent Student Speech and the Schoolhouse Gate: Interpreting Tinker in the Digital Age." Education Law Association 2013 Conference, Denver, Colorado. (November,, 2014).
"The Changing Role of the Principal: How High Achieving Districts are Recalibrating School Leadership." University Council for Educational Administration Conference, Washington, DC. (November, 2013).