Julia Mahfouz

Julia Mahfouz
University of Colorado | UCD · School of Education and Human Development

Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D.

About

38
Publications
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Introduction
My research explores the social, emotional, and cultural dynamics of urban and rural educational settings and their effects on school climate and school improvement utilizing qualitative and mixed methodologies. My work seeks to deepen our understanding of social emotional learning (SEL) through lenses of intervention implementation, school improvement efforts, and preparation of school leaders to create spaces equitable for all where all could flourish utilizing policy as a lever for change and as a powerful context that shapes education at multiple levels of the system.

Publications

Publications (38)
Chapter
Individuals with disabilities often find themselves in situations where decisions are made for them by others on their behalf. To put decision-making power in the hands of individuals with disabilities themselves, school-based special education services should feature instruction and training in self-determination skills. Doing so provides greater...
Article
When inequitable situations arise, principals with strong SEL skills have a clear understanding of social emotional learning implementation to support teachers and are prepared to expose implicit bias with difficult conversations that allow teachers to examine personal beliefs and behaviors. In this article, we outline how to support SEL learning w...
Article
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Objective Little is known about the process by which teachers learn the skills necessary to teach a school-based mindfulness program (SBMP), including how they come to understand and embody mindfulness. The purpose of this qualitative investigation was to explore how teachers experienced implementing an SBMP over time, including their embodiment of...
Chapter
This case study focuses on an online interviewing approach within an international context. We discuss the process of data collection and data analysis highlighting the processes and mechanisms that supported the research study and enabled it to be effective and successful. We also discuss the challenges and what we did to address these issues. We...
Conference Paper
Social in/justice and double marginality in educational leadership: Trajectories of three female school principals from Palestine, Turkey and Lebanon
Article
Full-text available
Objectives The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a manualized mindfulness-based program for adolescents, Learning to Breathe (L2B), on indicators of adolescent social-emotional well-being, mental health, substance use, and executive function. Methods Participants included 251 high school students attending an urban school di...
Article
Emotions influence the cognition, motivation, and behavior of an individual. However, the role of leaders’ emotions in navigating organizational change remains relatively underexplored. This study examines the role of emotions in educational leadership during a period of organizational crisis through a case study analysis of an assistant superinten...
Article
Full-text available
Research on mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) for adolescents suggests improvements in stress, emotion regulation, and ability to perform some cognitive tasks. However, there is little research examining the contextual factors impacting why specific students experience particular changes and the process by which these changes occur. Responding to t...
Article
This article seeks to compare and analyze school-level challenges for school leaders and their responses to Syrian refugee education in Turkey, Lebanon, and Germany, drawing on the post-migration ecology framework developed and sensemaking processes in leadership. We utilized a comparative qualitative design within the realm of qualitative research...
Chapter
As an economic, political, and cultural project, neoliberalism offers a set of reproducible discourses and practices. However, neoliberalism is not politically neutral–it has strong distributive effects on many aspects of society, including education. On the surface, neoliberalism embraces the universal values of individual liberty and free choice....
Chapter
In this chapter, we seek to examine and compare the meanings and praxis of SJ leadership of school principals in three high needs schools in the ME, based on three case studies in Turkey, in the divided city of Jerusalem, and in Lebanon. Taking a comparative stance, we believe, will contribute to how SJ is understood and implemented by school princ...
Article
During the COVID-19 crisis, it has become clear how unprepared our educational systems are to provide social and emotional support through distance learning. Despite the demands for teachers to support the social and emotional development of their students, our universities are behind the curve in providing coursework to develop their knowledge and...
Article
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The aim of the present article is to review literature on mentoring of school principals. The review focuses on the importance of mentoring in fostering effective leadership as a principal by presenting the pervasive definitions and perspectives on mentoring in the field. Second, based upon predefined selection criteria, we present empirical eviden...
Article
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This article discusses the efforts of the Indigenous Knowledge for Effective Education Program (IKEEP), at the University of Idaho, a predominately white institution (PWI) of higher education, and its struggle to create space in higher education for intentional support of Indigenous self-determination, sovereignty, and Tribal nation building throug...
Article
The purpose of this article is to articulate how principals’ social emotional competencies (SECs), and wellbeing form the foundation that influences the overall school climate. Principals with strong SECs can cope with stress effectively and are able to practice responsive and prosocial leadership that result in building healthy relationships, effe...
Article
This study was designed to gain a baseline understanding of how future K-12 building leaders in pre-service principal preparation programs address their own wellbeing. In this exploratory study, pre-service school leaders across the United States self-assessed their levels of stress and social–emotional competencies. Students from 30 pre-service pr...
Article
Full-text available
Principals in the United States are responsible for creating educational environments that enable students, including those with disabilities, to achieve both academic and post-school goals. Unfortunately, many principals lack the preparation necessary to effectively lead special education programs. To support principals and ensure that students wi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Syrian War is the most significant recent phenomenon shaping the global migration picture, which has placed the World nations in critical state in carrying out their humanitarian responsibility. In this respect, we aim to compare and analyze policy outlines, challenges and school leadership responses to Syrian refugee education in 3 different count...
Article
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https://www.bankstreet.edu/research-publications-policy/occasional-paper-series/ops-43/ Social, emotional, and affective experiences are impossible to separate from thinking, doing, and being in the world. Increasingly, schools and community-based organizations are recognizing this truth through the adoption of programs that focus on the emotiona...
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With regard to efforts to imagine more equitable spaces of learning for all students, we are compelled to ask: How can SEL programs address the needs of marginalized, minoritized, and/or historically under-resourced students without deeply considering the cultured context of social interaction and school learning? Although evidence shows SEL progra...
Chapter
The Middle East (ME) is a region characterized by diverse languages, dialects, cultures, religions and political unpheaval; where the context is turbulent with the influx of refugees and economic problems and the region’s delicate balance in terms of wars and conflicts (Arar, Brooks & Bogotch, 2019). Given such features of traditional societies (Op...
Article
Full-text available
This policy brief, created by The Pennsylvania State University, is one of a series of briefs that addresses the future needs and challenges for research, practice, and policy on social and emotional learning (SEL). SEL is defined as the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills nec...
Article
Since 2011, an influx of Syrian refugees has put a massive strain on Lebanon’s educational public system, which was already stretched before the humanitarian crisis. In an already stressful profession, this unprecedented crisis is testing the limits of principals’ management and leadership capacities. Our qualitative study explores how principals a...
Article
Purpose Emotions of school leaders influence school culture and structure. Understanding emotions is under-researched and under-theorized in non-western contexts, especially during educational change. The purpose of this paper is to understand the nature of the leadership team’s (LT’s) emotional responses to change, their coping strategies and cond...
Article
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As interest increases in mindfulness in education programs for youth, there is a need to develop reliable measures of the quality of program implementation. This paper describes the development and psychometric properties of a measure that can be used to assess and monitor quality of implementation of mindfulness programs/curricula in typical class...
Article
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Various job demands continue to be very stressing and exhausting for school administrators who have to work under unprecedented pressure. This qualitative study explores the various stressors school administrators experience and the coping strategies they utilize to manage their stress. Findings show that the various stressors experienced by the sc...
Article
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In this article, we examine a qualitative interview and analytical technique for exploring the influences of identities on an individual's experiences. The technique, pragmatic identity analysis (PIA), relies upon a collaborative, reflective, contextually oriented, and relational approach to interviewing. For the purposes of this technique, "identi...
Article
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Purpose Based on a need to utilize strategies and develop social-emotional competency skills of school administrators, the purpose of this paper is to explore the influence of Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE), a mindfulness-based professional development program, on the leadership and well-being of 13 school administrators....
Article
This qualitative study of U.S. international schools overseas explores the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in six U.S. international schools overseas (The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kuwait). The Common Core was introduced in 2009 in the U.S. as a national (not federal) ‘standards-based reform’. Such re...
Chapter
Full-text available
Between 2014 and 2017, an interdisciplinary group of researchers examined whether a high school health class that incorporated mindfulness techniques lowered students’ stress and improved their wellbeing. We received a grant from the Institute of Educational Sciences from the United States Department of Education to (1) train high school health tea...
Article
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In this study, we investigate the experiences of first-year college students with Just BREATHE (JB), an eight-session voluntary mindfulness-based wellness program. We collected qualitative interview data from 26 participants selected as a convenience sample from the larger quantitative study at three points in time: pre-implementation, post-impleme...
Article
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The Common Core State Standards Initiative (Common Core) was spearheaded by policy entrepreneurs, unveiled nationally in 2010, and initially received strong support from leaders in state and federal government, philanthropic foundations, the business sector, and teacher unions. However, the reform came into the crosshairs of an ideologically wide s...
Article
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This qualitative study focuses on school administrators’ understandings and actions as leaders of the Common Core reform. In interviews with eight school and district leaders from five diverse districts in Pennsylvania, several aspects of Common Core, or PA Core, implementation were consistent across regardless of student population demographics an...
Article
Full-text available
nearly one in three students in the united States today is negatively impacted by bullying. Teachers can play a critical role in stopping bullying-related violence, but many struggle with how to engage students in difficult conversations. Traditional classroom-based pedagogy used to teach communication skills (e.g., modeling & role-play) is ineffic...
Article
As national borders dissipate and technology allows different cultures and nationalities to communicate on a regular basis, more individuals are self-identifying as a global citizen. Using Social Network Analysis and multi-level modelling, this study explores factors associated with global citizen affinity and finds that education plays an importan...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Unravelling Educational Leadership and Administration in the Middle-East and North Africa is an international volume that aims to contribute to the understanding of How educational leadership and administration (ELA) is constructed in this distinctive region, it explores the development of ELA as a discipline. While the Middle East & North Africa is not a unified entity but rather is composed of countries that differ from each other in terms of culture, society, organization, and educational arrangements, we believe that some commonalities and valuable patterns might also emerge. Through each chapter, we seek to understand How educational leadership and administration as a field of study has been developed? How the related knowledge base has contributed to policy and practices? What are the current state of the art, the shortcomings, and the expectations for the future both in terms of the field and its relation to the policy and practice? How educational leadership and administration in each country bridge the gap between particular and universal values? Especially with the challenges in the socio-political context of those countries, how education leadership and administration contribute and navigate education systems, and yet continue to concern themselves with social justice, equity, and political inclusion; How has recent political turmoil in the MENA influenced local ELA? What are the lessons to be learn in terms of policy, leadership and practice? We are inviting research scholars from the Middle-East and North Africa region whom we believe can move the knowledge base on schools and leadership, policy and administration in this challenging school context. I would therefore like to invite you to consider contributing a chapter to this exciting and necessary project. If you would like to contribute, please let us know until March 2021 and we would be glad to receive a 400-500-word abstract until March 31, 2021. contribution. Best regards
Project
We aim to illuminate research evidence on the ways in which school leaders/educational administrators at any level and/or teachers make sense of the challenges as well as their strategies in influencing the distinctively challenging school contexts. This special issue will offer a critical examination of such school circumstances and the actors in different contexts from different points of view, such as the problematic policy issues, social in/justice, refugees and immigrants, racism, violence and war. Our principal argument behind this aim is to approach the issue from critical and diverse perspectives by inviting scholars from developed, developing and underdeveloped societies from different Continents and Regions with their unique challenges to share their research findings to contribute to the journal, Leadership and Policy in Schools. The distinguished scholars from different continents exploring and/or comparing different country settings (US, China, UAE, Canada, Turkey, Lebanon, Germany , Nigeria and Spain) provided their intent through their abstracts utilizing a wide range of conceptual frameworks and research methodologies in order to provide insights into the diverse forms of challenging schools and educational circumstances at global-local nexus. Some of them are cross comparisons across countries (i.e.Turkey, Germany, Lebanon/ China, UAE) , whereas we also have separate papers dealing with totally atypical schools within the same country (i.e. Spain). This ambition, we believe, would fit the scope of the journal and its audience.
Project
We aim to illuminate research evidence on the ways in which school leaders/educational administrators at any level and/or teachers make sense of the challenges as well as their strategies in influencing the distinctively challenging school contexts. This special issue will offer a critical examination of such school circumstances and the actors in different contexts from different points of view, such as the problematic policy issues, social in/justice, refugees and immigrants, racism, violence and war. Our principal argument behind this aim is to approach the issue from critical and diverse perspectives by inviting scholars from developed, developing and underdeveloped societies from different Continents and Regions with their unique challenges to share their research findings.