New Podcast Chalk and Gavel Explores Ed Law and Policy

University of Florida Educational Leadership and Policy assistant professor, Dr. Christopher Thomas, recently launched a new podcast, Chalk and Gavel, that explores the intersection of education policy and the law. With his co-cost, Dr. Thomas provides timely explorations of specific cases in education law.  From the role of the Supreme Court to decisions that affect how educational leaders approach their day to day work, Chalk and Gavel provides engaging takes on the law and education.

Dr. Thomas, JD, PhD, teaches courses in both the master’s, specialist, and doctoral programs in Educational Leadership and Policy at UF. He notes, “Everything in schools is done for a reason, and those reasons often have legal dimensions. We want to make those connections more visible so that educators feel empowered to navigate the law in ways that advance their educational goals.”

Download and subscribe from wherever you get your podcasts.

PhD Student Parker Van Hart Named APPAM Entrepreneurship Fellow

University of Florida PhD student, Parker Van Hart, is exploring how public education intersects with the non-profit and private sector. With his mentor, Dr. Walter Balser, Parker’s research sheds light on the increasingly complex ecosystem of organizations, businesses, and non-profits playing a role in schools nationwide.

Parker’s cutting edge research was recently recognized by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), the nation’s leading public policy professional organization, which named him a 2023 Entrepreneurship Policy Fellow. This prestigious fellowship places Parker among only six graduate students selected nationwide across all fields of public policy. As an Entrepreneurship Policy Fellow, Parker will attend the 2023 APPAM conference, take part in cohort-based development programs, and have support for his ongoing research.

Parker joined the UF Educational Leadership and Policy PhD program following a number of other roles including lead of the University of Florida’s MS in Entrepreneurship program and the Gator Hatchery, student business incubator, as well lecturer for both the Warrington College of Business and UF’s Innovation Academy on Creativity and Innovation in Business.

Learn more about the UF Educational Leadership and Policy PhD program here.

Post-Doctoral Scholar Profile: Dr. Ann Marie Cotman

National PostDoc Appreciation Week (September 18-22) recognizes the important contributions provided by post-doctoral fellows. In honor of this week, we profile one of our post-doctoral scholars, Dr. Ann Marie Cotman. Dr. Ann Marie Cotman is a post-doctoral scholar with the University of Florida’s Educational Leadership and Policy program area and Education Policy Research Center whose research focuses on school safety, leadership, and school improvement. Dr. Cotman joined the University of Florida after completing her PhD in School Improvement from Texas State University. At Texas State, Dr. Cotman worked for the Texas School Safety Center where she facilitated training of School Resource Officers and coordinated other school safety initiatives.

At the University of Florida, Dr. Cotman works closely with Dr. F. Chris Curran and partners at the Florida Department of Education and non-profit Safe Schools For Alex to lead a federally funded project developing a state-wide school safety data dashboard. She notes that, “As a newcomer to the Florida context, it has been rewarding to work on a school safety project in a state that has enacted so much new school safety policy. Collaborating with stakeholders from across the state the variety of ideas about what school safety means, and what is meaningful to school safety, inspired an investigation into conceptions of school safety that I will be excited to see published”.

In the coming months, Dr. Cotman will be working with the UF team to facilitate professional development for educators, connecting data visualization to data driven decisionmaking to improve safety. She is passionate about expanding educators’ and policymakers’ views on what constitutes school safety data. Dr. Cotman explains: “When we analyze school safety policy, often we find that implicit, unexpressed conceptions are doing some heavy lifting, drawing boundaries around what concerns deserve attention and how those concerns can be addressed. I am certain more openly expressing what we mean when we talk about school safety – really reflecting on our safety values and priorities – will be a powerful force in improving schools for all students.”

Dr. Cotman has a background teaching in both elementary and secondary schools, including in gifted education. She has been selected as a UCEA/AERA Clark Scholar and A Just Education Policy Scholar. Her work at UF involves mentoring undergraduate students, coordinating research-practice partnerships, working closely with data visualization partners, and developing scholarly research for publication. She is currently on the academic job market for fall 2024 positions. More on her work can be found at

Recent Publications from Dr. Cotman include:

Baker, A. M., Cotman., A. M., & Guerra, P. L. (in press). Culturally responsive instructional supervision: Moving theory to practice. In I. M. Mette, D. R. Cormier, & Y. Oliveras-Ortiz (Eds.) Culturally Responsive Instructional Supervision. Teachers College Press.

Cotman, A. M., Guerra, P. L., Baker, A. M. (2023). Culturally responsive instructional supervision: Further analysis of a leading textbook. Journal of Education Supervision, 6(1),

Cotman, A. M. (2023). Safety through equity: Rethinking school safety practices. In D. J. Fowler, J. V. Heilig, S. M. Jouganatos, & A. Johnson (Eds.), Equity & Access: An analysis of educational leadership preparation, policy, & practice. Information Age Publishing.

Guerra, P. L., Baker, A. M., & Cotman., A. M. (2022). Cultural responsiveness in instructional supervision texts: A critical content analysis. Journal of Educational Supervision, 5(1).

Enyioha, J. C., & Cotman, A. M. (2021). An Assets-based response to the digital divide: Success for one summer youth employment program serving a minoritized community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Underrepresented & Minority Progress, 5(1), 79-99.

Cotman, A. M. (March 2021). School safety in 2021: A new framework. American Journal of Education Forum. by-ann-marie-cotman/

Drs. Redding and Curran’s Research Tops Most-Read Lists

Research by UF Educational Leadership and Policy faculty were among the “most-read” articles in the latter half of 2022 across four of the AERA journals, among the most prestigious and influential in the field of education.

AERA Open Most-Read in Latter Half of 2022

Are Achievement Gaps Related to Discipline Gaps? Evidence From National Data 
Pearman, A., Curran, F.C., Fisher, B., & Gardella

Early Elementary Science Instruction: Does More Time on Science or Science Topics/Skills Predict Science Achievement in the Early Grades?
Curran, F.C. & Kitchin, J.

Discretion and Disproportionality: Explaining the Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in Gifted Programs
Grissom, J. & Redding, C.


Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Most-Read in Latter Half of 2022

Do Students in Gifted Programs Perform Better? Linking Gifted Program Participation to Achievement and Nonachievement Outcomes
Redding, C. & Grissom, J.

Do Interactions With School Resource Officers Predict Students’ Likelihood of Being Disciplined and Feelings of Safety? Mixed-Methods Evidence From Two School Districts
Curran, F.C., Viano, S., Kupchik, A., & Fisher, B.


American Educational Research Journal Most-Read in Latter Half of 2022

Leaving School Early: An Examination of Novice Teachers’ Within- and End-of-Year Turnover
Redding, C. & Henry, G.


Review of Educational Research Most-Read in Latter Half of 2022

A Teacher Like Me: A Review of the Effect of Student–Teacher Racial/Ethnic Matching on Teacher Perceptions of Students and Student Academic and Behavioral Outcomes
Redding, C.

Faculty and Students Present Research at UCEA

UF Educational Leadership and Policy faculty and graduate students represented at the annual meeting of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). Lelydeyvis Boza (PhD student; pictured) presented “Multilingual Learners and Elementary Science Achievement: Exploring Trends and Heterogeneity Across Subgroups”. Dr. Tiffany Aaron presented “Effectuating Systems Change to Increase Educational Equity: Reorganizing and De-Siloing District Leaders to Support Improvement”, and Dr. F. Chris Curran presented “Understanding Leaders’ Responses to School Shootings: Insights from Natural Language Processing of Social Media Data”.

Dr. Christopher Thomas Wins Education Law Book Award

UF Ed Leadership and Policy faculty Dr. Christopher Thomas was awarded the Stephen S. Goldberg award for distinguished scholarship in education law from the Education Law Association for his book Reclaiming Democratic Education!

R. Craig Wood

Craig Wood Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award from Education Law Association

Educational Leadership and Policy emeritus faculty Dr. Craig Wood was honored with the M.A. McGhehey Award for Distinguished Service to ELA and the Field of Education Law.

R. Craig Wood