Miller 303B

Research Interests

Educational Policy
Equity Studies
Immigration and Schooling
Leadership of Schools & School Systems
Policy & Educational Reform

Ann M. Ishimaru


Dr. Ishimaru's scholarship in P-12 educational organizations and leadership centers on developing the collective leadership of youth, families, communities, and educators in pursuit of dignity, justice and wellbeing in educational systems. Her body of work unfolds from two key premises. First, leadership plays a crucial role in transforming the longstanding racial injustices reproduced by US public schooling policies, practices and everyday interactions. Second, we arrive at better understandings and solutions to systemic inequities when those most affected by these problems influence key processes and decisions. Because historically-rooted dynamics of power undermine efforts to lead systems towards educational justice, she aims to cultivate the equitable practice and collaboration of both systems-based leaders and racially minoritized youth and families from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. As a community-based researcher, Faculty Research Director of the Leadership for Learning EdD program and Director of the Just Educational Leadership Institute, she seeks to contribute knowledge about the leadership practices, organizational conditions, inquiry, systems change and humanizing processes for realizing cross-racial solidarities and liberatory, community-determined educational futures. In 2020, she published Just Schools: Building Equitable Collaborations with Families & Communities with Teachers College Press.

EdD, Harvard Graduate School of Education
EdM, Education Policy Management, Harvard Graduate School of Education
MA, Curriculum and Teacher Education, Stanford University School of Education


Courses Taught
EDLPS 511 School-Community Relations
EDLPS 565 Race, Equity & Leading Educational Change
EDLPS 570 Critical Perspectives in Educational Leadership
EDLPS 547 & 548 (L4L only) Inquiry-based Leadership

Dr. Ishimaru is a Principal Investigator on two major research projects:

  • The Lead for Equity Project (with Dr. Decoteau Irby and Dr. Terrance Green) is a collaborative research effort to understand and support district and school leaders in making public school systems racially equitable.
  • Partnering for Racial Equity (PRE) is a Research-Community-Practice Partnership (RCPP) between the UW COE and Seattle Public Schools focused on co-designing family-school transformative agency and identity-affirming critical literacies of 2-4th grade Black youth to catalyze systemic racial equity. 

Prior Research Projects:

  • The Family Leadership Design Collaborative (with Dr. Megan Bang) is a national-level participatory design-based research project aimed at re-centering nondominant families in racial equity efforts through the synthesis and co-design of research, measures, and practice to transform education.
  • The UW Equitable Parent-School Collaboration Research Project (EPSC, with Dr. Joe Lott) was a multi-year research effort to understand, measure, and support district and community-based efforts to authentically engage families and communities in improving student learning and success within a collective impact initiative in South Seattle/South King County.
  • The Organizational Leadership for Equity Project (with Dr. Mollie Galloway) examined how school leadership teams and district equity initiatives engage with data and tools to catalyze organizational learning and equitable instructional and leadership practices.
Fellowships, honors and awards

2022  UCEA William J. Davis Award for Most Outstanding Article of the Year,  Educational Administration Quarterly

2021 AERA Outstanding Reviewer, Educational Researcher                                             

2017  Exemplary Contributions to Practice-Engaged Research Award, American Educational Research Association (AERA)                                                    

2016  Jack A. Culbertson Award, University Council of Educational Administration         

2015  Early career award for significant contributions to educational administration

2015  Finalist, University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award


Ishimaru, A.M., Irby, D. & Green, T. (2022). The paradox of organizational double jeopardy: PreK-12 equity directors in racialized and gendered educational systems. The Urban Review.

Ishimaru, A.M, Barajas-López, F., Sun, M., Scarlett, K. & Anderson, A. (2022). Transforming the role of RPPs in remaking educational systems. Educational Researcher.

Ishimaru. A.M. & Bang, M. (2022). Designing with families for just futures in the Family Leadership Design Collaborative. Journal of Family Diversity in Education, 4(2), 130-140.

Irby, D., Green, T. & Ishimaru, A.M. (2022). PK-12 district leadership for equity: An exploration of director role configurations and vulnerabilities. American Journal of Education, 128(3), 417-453.

Ishimaru, A.M. & Galloway, M.K. (2020). Hearts and minds first: Institutional logics in pursuit of educational equity. Educational Administration Quarterly, 57(3), 470-502.

Galloway, M. & Ishimaru, A.M. (2019). Leading equity teams: The role of formal leaders in building organizational capacity for equity. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 25(2), 107-125.

Ishimaru, A.M., Lott, J., O’Reilly-Diaz, K. & Torres, K. (2019). Families in the driver’s seat: Catalyzing parental transformative agency in equitable collaboration. Teachers College Record, 121(11), 1-39.

Ishimaru, A.M., Montaño Nolan, C., Rajendran, A., & Bang, M. (2018). Community design circles: Co-designing justice and wellbeing in family-community-research partnerships. Journal of Family Diversity in Education, 3(2), 38-63.

Ishimaru, A.M. (2018). Re-imagining turnaround: Family & community leadership in school improvement for educational justice. Journal of Educational Administration, 56(5), 546-561,

Ishimaru, A.M. & Takahashi, S. (2017). Disrupting racialized institutional scripts: Towards parent-teacher transformative agency for educational justice. Peabody Journal of Education, 92(3), 343-362.

Ishimaru, A.M. (2017).  From family engagement to equitable collaboration. Educational Policy, 33(2), 350-385.

Galloway, M., & Ishimaru, A.M. (2017). Equitable leadership on the ground: Converging on high-leverage practices. Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 25(2). 

Ishimaru, A.M., Torres, K., Salvador, J., Lott, J., Williams, D., & Tran, C. (2016). Reinforcing deficit, journeying towards equity: Cultural brokering in family engagement initiatives. American Educational Research Journal, 53(4), 850-882.

New features

As global citizens, they live into their education's promise and community ties, not only to thrive themselves but to lead for collective thriving, offering what the world needs uniquely now more than ever.
As the newly appointed Kerry and Linda Killinger Endowed Chair in Diversity Studies, Professor Ann Ishimaru looks forward to continuing her work convening collaborative spaces of research and inquiry to advance educational justice.