Urban Principal Leadership Academy

Graduate students enjoying a lecture.

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Program Director
David E. DeMatthews

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Assistant Program Director
Debra Cantú

The Urban Principal Leadership Academy (UPLA) is a 15-month master’s program designed to prepare graduates to be leaders of socially just, equitable, and high-achieving public schools.

UPLA is built on the strengths and historic legacy of preparing public school leaders within our top-ranked Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. The Academy represents the next iteration of our Principalship Program, which has been re-designed and streamlined to meet the needs of urban school districts across Texas.

UPLA’s purpose is to develop 1,000 new reform-minded, culturally responsive, data-savvy, and instructional school leaders for urban public schools in Texas by 2040. These new leaders will relentlessly pursue equity and excellence for all children, an especially urgent priority in light of Texas’s changing demographic landscape.

UPLA is hosting mandatory application information sessions on December 6th and December 8th. You will be provided with in-depth information about the program, the application process and the opportunity to speak with current students, faculty and alumni. RSVP Here.


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Rebecca Callahan

Associate Professor, EPP Master's Program Head

Research interests include immigrant bilinguals’ transition from adolescence to young adulthood, as well as their associated educational processes.

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Norma Cantú, J.D.

Ken McIntyre Professor for Excellence in School Leadership

With a background as assistant secretary of education for Civil Rights in the Clinton Administration, she teaches topics in civil rights and the intersection of law and policy in education.

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David E. DeMatthews

Associate Professor

Focuses on urban school and district leadership, inclusive practices for students with disabilities, and school improvement with an emphasis on addressing inequities in classrooms, schools, and communities.

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Terrance Green

Assistant Professor

Examines principals and school-community engagement/community development, and issues of educational equity and opportunity.

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Debra Cantú

Assistant Professor of Practice

Coordinates learning objectives, knowledge development, and practical experiences through internships that contribute to a cohesive, high quality education in administration.

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Rubén D. Olivárez

L. D. Haskew Centennial Professor in Public School Administration

Advocates for social justice and equal educational opportunities for all students, and stresses the importance of teachers in education and principals as a key to school effectiveness.

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Pedro Reyes

Ashbel Smith Professor of Education Policy

Focuses on school conditions that foster high academic success for children of poverty, stratification of learning opportunities for children of color, and on state policy that facilitates student success across the education pipeline.

Clinical and Adjunct Faculty

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Nelson Coulter

Assistant Professor of Practice

Uses his experience as a principal in rural and in large comprehensive high schools to inform students on the skills necessary to be a successful school leader.

Sheila Guzman

Assistant Professor of Practice

Interests include curriculum and instruction, educational administration, bilingual/bicultural education, principalship preparation, and public school executive leadership.

Glenn Nolly

Assistant Professor of Practice

Focuses on social justice leadership as well as specific strategies to create optimal learning environments for students and teachers.

Photo of Jeanne Spencer

Jeanne Spencer

Assistant Professor of Practice