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Winner of Thesis Award 2015


Maria Kaparou

Maria is Assistant Professor in the School of Education (UNMC) at the University of Nottingham, a world-leading global university. She has teaching commitments in the undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes, while she co-supervises postgraduate research students in the field of educational leadership and management. The ‘Leading Learning’ module, which focuses on the contribution of instructional leadership practices to school improvement and professional development, was successfully led by Maria in the first cohort of an Education programme at a postgraduate level in Sri Lanka.

Prior to her appointment to the UNMC in October 2014, Maria had developed her expertise in comparative educational leadership and management (PhD holder in Instructional Leadership within a comparative education policy context) at the University of Warwick, UK. Her thesis examined the enactment of instructional leadership in high-performing secondary schools, and the relationship between leadership and learning in enhancing student progress and encouraging teachers’ professional learning in England and Greece. The study demonstrated theoretical significance in its focus on the collaborative and reciprocal nature of instructional leadership, while its empirical contribution lies in generating new knowledge on how instructional leadership is contextually bounded. Maria’s doctoral research has also made a unique contribution to knowledge by developing a model of instructional leadership that is particularly apposite for highly-centralised education systems, such as that found within Greece.

Publications arising from her doctoral work are in preparation and/or in press, with a purpose of contributing to the theoretical and empirical literature arena. 

Kaparou, M. and Bush, T. (forthcoming) Instructional Leadership in Centralised Systems: Evidence from Greek High Performing Secondary Schools, School Leadership & Management, Estimated Publication date- 8th June 2015 (Online) - ID: 1041489 DOI:10.1080/13632434.2015.1041489. 

Maria has been educational manager in the private sector in Athens and she has taught education programmes in secondary, further education and higher education, within centralised and partially decentralised educational systems (Greece and England). In addition to her teaching commitments in the MA Educational Leadership and Management programmes of the University of Warwick (UK), Maria was the convener of the Leadership Network research and practice-based Seminar Series, while her International Tutor role required the provision of academic and pastoral support to international MA and PhD students (organising professional and research based seminars, research conferences, school visits for PGT students, and chairing the International Committee).

In 2013, Maria received a University of Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence in Higher Education, for her innovative teaching and learning methods.

Maria is an active early career researcher. She has a good record of successful applications for research grants in England (SEDA grant):

SEDA Research Grant 2014 on ‘Leading international students’ communities of learning within departmental extra- curricular activities: A case study in a Russell Group University in England’, by Maria Kaparou, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (PI) and Ian Abbott, The University of Warwick (CI). 

Maria has been the recipient of BELMAS research funding, with Dr. Justine Mercer (PI) and Phil Whitehead (CI):

British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) Research Grant (2014) - ‘Leadership preparation for FE college principals’, Co-investigator with Justine Mercer (PI) and Phil Whitehead (CI), University of Warwick.

Maria is currently building her international research networks (Asia, Australia and AUE) and she is involved in projects in Asia. She acts as researcher in the research project (2015) conducted for Australia Malaysia Institute, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, entitled ‘Impacting a School Impacting a Nation: Bringing Creativity and Innovation into Primary Education’. 

As part of her academic and professional development at an international context, Maria was engaged in the British Council Researchers Link Project 'Education Leadership and Policy in Azerbaijan and the UK: Building Capacity for School Improvement' (Khazar University Azerbaijan, March 2014). Early career researchers from the UK and internationally had been selected to interact and explore opportunities for building long-lasting research collaborations.

She is reviewer for international, peer-reviewed journals (Educational Management, Administration and Leadership; School Leadership & Management; Management in Education), and member of International Editorial Board for the Malaysian Online Journal of Educational Management (MOJEM).

Maria's research interests include: Educational Leadership and Management; Instructional Leadership/ Leadership for Learning; Education Policy; School Improvements; International and Comparative Education, Diversity and Leadership.

Maria has been a valued contributor to BELMAS events in recent years. At BELMAS Conference 2015, she will disseminate data from her doctoral research:

‘Daring to link teachers’ instructional leadership to school improvement. Is it a luxury or imperative need? Evidence from outstanding secondary schools in England and Greece’. 


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