James P. Spillane is the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. He is also professor of Human Development and Social Policy, professor of Learning Sciences, professor of Management and Organizations, and faculty associate at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research.
Spillane has published extensively on issues of education policy, policy implementation, school reform, and school leadership. His work explores the policy implementation process at the state, district, school, and classroom levels, focusing on intergovernmental and policy-practice relations. He also studies organizational leadership and change, conceptualizing organizational leadership as a distributed practice. Recent projects include studies of relations between organizational infrastructure and instructional advice-seeking in schools and the socialization of new school principals. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Institute of Education Sciences, Spencer Foundation, Sherwood Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York.
He has authored several books including Standards Deviation: How Local Schools Misunderstand Policy (Harvard University Press, 2004), Distributed Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2006), Distributed Leadership in Practice (Teachers College Press, 2011) Diagnosis and Design for School Improvement (Teachers College Press, 2011), and numerous journal articles and book chapters. In 2013 he was awarded the Ver Steeg Research Fellowship at Northwestern University.