Alexandra Aylward , Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership
Alexandra Aylward headshot


Alexandra Aylward is an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from New York University, where she held a graduate research assistantship with the Technical Assistance Center for Disproportionality at the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools.

Dr. Aylward’s broader research agenda examines the relationship between context and persistent racial inequities in the US educational system. She uses a sociological and intersectional lens, which recognizes how various identities can serve as axes of marginalization and oppression while also making visible the experiences of privilege within and across contexts. Aylward relies upon critical quantitative analytical methods to investigate how social contextual factors, school leadership, and structural inequities relate to persistent racial/ethnic opportunity gaps in education, specifically in special education.

Aylward recently served as a Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin with the Texas Educator Leadership, addressing critical issues of diversity and equity in K12 educational leadership in Texas, and investigating how context interfaces with patterns of promotion and retention to contribute to inequities in educational opportunity. In this role, she also supported school districts to best support the needs of their students and educators using data-informed decision making. 

Previous work by Aylward, published in a range of peer-reviewed journals, including Sociology of Education, American Educational Research Journal, and Journal of Disability Policy Studies, has focused on how school-level contextual factors and changes in these factors over time contributes to racial/ethnic disproportionality in special education and compliance with IDEA policy. Additionally, her writing and expertise has been featured in The Dallas Morning News.


  • Ph.D., New York University in Sociology of Education (May 2018)