Jessica Shiller


Jessica Shiller

Contact Info

Hawkins Hall, Room 404B


PhD in Urban Education, New York University, 2007

MA in Teaching Social Studies, Teachers College/ Columbia University, 1995

BA in Philosophy and History, University of Rochester, 1993

Areas of Expertise

Urban education, school reform, critical and cultural relevant pedagogy, community and youth organizing for educational change, civic and social studies education


Jessica T. Shiller is a professor of education in the Department of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development at Towson University in Maryland. Her teaching and research interests include urban education, school reform, culturally relevant school practices, critical race theory and methods, and civic education. At Towson, she is an active member of the BTU (Baltimore-Towson Partnership) council, and is a recent grant recipient that has provided funds for the development of university-community partnerships with Baltimore City’s community schools.

Outside of the university, she works in an advisory capacity for many local organizations including the Teachers Democracy Project, the Baltimore Algebra Project, the Center for Innovation in Urban Education at Loyola Maryland, and the Baltimore Educational Research Consortium.

She is a recent recipient of the Alan G. Penczek award for her work as a faculty member in the area service learning. Her most recent scholarship focuses on urban school reform including school closings and community school initiatives in Baltimore. She is most recently the author of “The Disposability of Baltimore's Black Communities: A Participatory Action Research Project on the Impact of School Closings” which appeared in the March issue of The Urban Review and is the co-author of “Baltimore community schools: A multifaceted approach to developing relationships” which appeared in the November issue of Phi Delta Kappan. She is also the author of a recent book, The New Reality for Suburban Schools (Peter Lang, 2015) which examines the challenges that suburban schools have when faced with diversifying student demographics. Prior to coming to Towson, she worked in New York City as a high school teacher in city schools, a coach to new teachers in Bronx high schools, and a teacher educator at the City University of New York.

Selected Publications

Durham, R., Shiller, J. & Connolly, F. (2019). Student attendance: A persistent challenge and leading indicator for Baltimore’s community school strategy. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk.

Flores-Koulish, S. & Shiller, J. (2019) Discussing Freddie Gray and the Baltimore uprising at ground zero: Teachers’ perspectives on teaching race in controversial times. Edu- cation and Urban Society.

Shiller, J. (2018) The disposability of Baltimore’s Black communities: A participatory action research project on the impact of school closings. The Urban Review, 50 (1) 23-44.

Shiller, J. (2017). University-community civic collaboration: Reaching for equity in partnership beyond the university. The Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education, 9 (3) 5-18.

Shiller, J. (2015). Beyond good and bad: How teachers have used social media to re-frame the teacher quality binary, Critical Education, 6 (7), 1-18.

Shiller, J. (2013). Preparing for democracy: How community-based organizations build civic engagement among urban youth. Urban Education, 48 (1), 69-91.

Current Research

The scale up of community schools and implementation in Baltimore City

Understanding culturally responsive leadership practices: Lessons from New Zealand


T. Rowe Price: $10,000 January-December 2019 Grant funds continued community school partnership programming 2018

Alan G. Penczek Service-Learning Faculty Award from Campus Compact, Mid-Atlantic Region Nominated for Towson University Honors College faculty of the year award May 2017-2018

Baltimore-Towson University Council (BTU): $80,000 September 2018-June 2021

Grant funded research on community schools partnership work.

T Rowe Price: $10,000 January-December 2018

Grant funds community school partnership programming conducted through Honors College course on urban education

Open Society Institute: $54,000: July 2017-June 2018 Grant funded consultancy work to continue the work of the Center for Positive Schools housed at the University Maryland School of Social Work


  • Member of university president's BTU council on university partnerships
  • Member of the research board: Baltimore Educational Research Consortium
  • Advisory board member: Progressive Education Summit: City Neighbors Foundation
  • Advisory board member: Loyola’s College of Education: Center for Innovation in Urban Education