Chantal Francois

Assistant Professor


Contact Info

Hawkins Hall 417E


Ed.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education

Areas of Expertise

Literacy and school leadership, focusing on literacy for youth in urban situations


Chantal Francois is an Assistant Professor who teaches in the Department of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development at Towson University’s College of Education. Before coming to Towson, Chantal worked in New York City public schools as an English teacher and school leader. The school where she most recently worked was awarded an American Prize from the Library of Congress. Through qualitative inquiry, Chantal’s research portrays counternarratives to the backdrop of adolescent literacy in schools, focusing especially on the experiences of Black and Latinx youth. She also works as a research and teaching consultant for schools across the country. Her work is featured in Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, and Education and Urban Society. Her book, Catching Up on Conventions: Grammar Lessons for Middle School Writers, co-authored with Elisa Zonana, provides teachers with instructional strategies to support students’ development of grammar and conventions.  

Chantal is the recipient of the Jeanne S. Chall Doctoral Student Research Award at Harvard and the National Academy of Education Adolescent Literacy Predoctoral Fellowship.


(2021) Weiner, J., Francois, C., Stone-Johnson, C., & Childs, J. Keep safe, keep learning: Principals’ role in creating psychological safety and organizational learning during the covid-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Education5

(2021) Francois, C. Expectations, relevance, and relationships: Striving toward ideals for adolescent literacy instruction in an urban secondary schoolReading & Writing Quarterly, 1–20.

(2015). Francois, C. An urban school shapes young adolescents’ motivation to read. Voices From the Middle, 23(1).

(2013). Francois, C. Reading is about relating: Urban youth give voice to the possibilities for school literacy. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57(2).

(2013). Francois, C. Reading in the crawl space: A study of an urban school’s literacy-focused community of practice. Teachers College Record, 115(5).

(2012). Francois, C. Getting at the core of literacy improvement: A case study of an urban secondary school. Education and Urban Society.

(2011). Francois, C. A review of Handbook of Adolescent Literacy Research. Harvard Educational Review, 81(2), 371 - 380.

(2010). Francois, C. Branching out and coming back together. Harvard Educational Review.

(2010). Brion-Meisels, G., Cooper, K., Deckman, S., Dobbs, C., Francois, C., Nikundiwe, T., & Shalaby, C. Humanizing education: Critical alternatives to reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

(2009). Francois, C., & Zonana, E. Catching up on conventions: Grammar lessons for middle school writers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Professional Affliations

American Educational Research Association
International Reading Association
National Council of Teachers of English
Literacy Research Association