Alexandra Pavlakis

Associate Professor

Education Policy and Leadership

Alexandra Pavalakis, Assistant Professor


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison,
MSc, London School of Economics and Political Science,
MSc Pace University


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



Dr. Pavlakis is an Associate 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 Researcher, Urban Education, Teachers College Record, The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), The Urban Review, and other outlets. 

For more information on her research and teaching please see:

Recent Select Peer-Reviewed Publications (* graduate student; post doctoral fellow)

Roberts, J.K., # Pavlakis, A.E., & Richards, M.P. (2021). It’s more complicated than it seems: Virtual qualitative research in the COVID-19 Era.  International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 20, 1-13. 
Pavlakis, A.E. & Pryor, K.*(2021).Planning for the future amid uncertainty in the present: Accompanied youth experiencing homelessness and postsecondary possibilities.  The Urban Review, 53(2), 354-382[published online March 21, 2020].


Potter, P.,* Pavlakis, A.E., & Roberts, J.K.# (2020). Calming the storm: Natural disasters, crisis management, and school leadership. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership.


Pavlakis, A.E. (2020). At the nexus of two terrains: A critical ethnographic case study of an afterschool center for homelessness. The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE).

Pavlakis, A.E., Conry, J.* & del Rosal, K. (2019). Virtual and physical interactions in school-based spaces: Latinx parent engagement in a high-tech urban elementary school. Urban Education.

Pavlakis, A.E. (2019). Snack gaps, doubling up, and revolving doors: Educational Leadership practices in a changing suburb. The International Journal of Leadership in Education (IJLE).

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]. 

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). 805-831.

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