Jessica Shiller

Associate Professor

Jessica Shiller

Contact Information

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 has been an assistant professor of education in the Department of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development at Towson University in Maryland since 2011 when she was named an Emerging Educational Leader by Phi Delta Kappan. She is graduate program director for the department and works to ensure a quality program for future educational leaders. She also serves as a consultant to the Center for Positive School Climate at the University of Maryland school of Social Work which works to lower the disproportionality of school suspensions in Maryland. Prior to coming to Towson, she was a New York City high school teacher, a coach to new teachers in Bronx high schools, and a professor and graduate program director of the social studies education program at Lehman College/City University of New York.

Selected Publications

(2015). “The new reality for suburban schools: Facing race and poverty and suburban middle schools.” Under contract at Peter Lang.

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

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

(2012 May). “Venture philanthropy’s market strategies fail urban kids.” Phi Delta Kappan, 12-16.

(2010) “It’s Only Part of the Story: The Fallacy of Improved Outcome Data in New York City’s Effort to Make its High Schools.” Education and Urban Society 42: 247-26.

Current Research

  • School’s out: A critical look at the impact of school closings in Baltimore 
  • Film as watchdog: How art can be used as a public accountability tool in urban school reform.


Open Society Institute: $54,000: January 15-January 2016, Grant funding consultancy work to start the Center for Positive School Climate housed at the University Maryland School of Social Work

Towson University Service Learning Grant $2000: Spring 2015, Grant to integrate service opportunities into my honors seminar in urban education

Towson University Service Learning Grant $500: Spring and Fall 2013, Grant to integrate service opportunities into my existing course on diversity

Research Associates Foundation $3000, Grant to do research on the impact of school closures on communities in Baltimore City

France Merrick Award $3000, Summer 2012 and Summer 2013, Funded a research project on social media and teacher quality and to do data analysis on research on Baltimore County middle schools


  • Committee of University System Faculty
  • Faculty research and development committee
  • Towson Honors College faculty
  • AERA SIG Program chair
  • Editorial board member of Journal for Urban Teaching, Research, and Learning