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Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education
Joseph Flessa

Joseph Flessa

phone: (416) 978-1187

Department: Leadership, Higher and Adult Education

Curriculum Vitae

Academic History

Dr. Flessa received his PhD in Educational Policy Research from the University of California, Berkeley. He currently holds the position of Associate Professor, Policy and Politics, Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education and has been a faculty member since 2005.

Teaching Overview

Flessa has taught a number of graduate courses, addressing topics such as Politics and Education, Administrative Theory and Educational Problems, Leadership Theory to Practice, Applied Research, Organizational Theory, Urban Education, and the Philosophy of Education. He also teaches School and Society within the Initial Teacher Education Program.

Representative Publications

Flessa, J. (2012). Principals as middle managers: School leadership during the implementation of Primary Class Size Reduction in Ontario. Leadership and Policy in Schools Vol.11, No.3, pp. 325-343.

Flessa, J. and Anderson, S. (2012).  Temas de actualidad en la investigación sobre liderazgo escolar:  conectando la experiencia chilena con la literatura internacional. In Muñoz, G. & Weinstein, J. (Eds.) ¿Qué sabemos sobre los directores de escuela en Chile? Santiago:  Fundación Chile & la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Flessa, J. & Gregoire, H. (2011). Policy aspirations and dilemmas of implementation: Leadership for partnerships in Ontario, Canada. In Auerbach, S. (Ed.). School leadership for authentic family and community partnerships: Research perspectives for transforming practice. New York: Routledge. Pp. 117-132.

Flessa, J. (2009). Urban school principals, deficit frameworks, and implications for leadership. Journal of School Leadership, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 334-373.

Flessa, J. (2009).  Educational micropolitics and distributed leadership.  Peabody Journal of Education.  Volume 84, Number 3, pp. 331-349.

Flessa, J., & Ketelle, D. (2007). Persuasive, Pervasive, and Limiting: How Causal Explanations Shape Urban Educational Research and Practice. International Handbook on Urban Education, edited by William Pink, pp. 793-814. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Grubb, W.N., J. Flessa (2006). “A job too big for one”: multiple principals and other nontraditional approaches to school leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, Vol. 42, pp. 518-550. 

Popular or Professional Articles

Flessa, J. (2008). Parental Involvement: What Counts, Who Counts It, and Does it Help? Education Canada. Vol. 48, No.2, pp. 18-21.

Professional Activities

Flessa is committed to the study of urban educational policy and politics for several reasons. Considered broadly, the field of urban education provides a useful context for examining a classic tension facing all educators and policy makers: how much of what happens in schools is determined outside of the schools themselves, in structures of opportunity or discrimination, and how much of what happens in schools is the result of the micro-level, hands-on work of educators? Much of Flessa's current work focuses on the ways that school site principals and other leaders in urban schools and districts describe and seek to address social and educational inequalities. This work is informed by his own prior experiences as an inner city school teacher and as the headmaster of an international school in Mexico.

Other Information

Flessa is Coordinator of the graduate program in Educational Administration and Acting Director (2012-2013) of the Centre for Urban Schooling (CUS).