Director of School Leadership Programs and Program Faculty

“Schools can be sites of democratic practice and healthy community.  Schools can be partners with families in childrearing, places where every child is known.  Schools can resist forces that oppress people and weaken the social fabric.  Or not.  Schools can also crush the spirits of people, ignore the needs of kids and their communities, and perpetuate injustice, generation after generation.  Whether a school works for or against people is very much in the hands of the leaders and teachers who guide the day-to-day life of the place.  I am privileged to join UVEI to work with future teachers and school leaders at a time when our society desperately needs every educator to orient our practice in the direction of justice.  The collaborative, democratic nature of working at UVEI is itself such a pathway.  In my first year as faculty at UVEI, I look forward to all that I will learn and to the problems we will solve together.”


Elijah Hawkes, MSEd, is the Director of School Leadership Programs and a faculty member in the Teacher, School Leadership, and Masters of Education Programs. He is an advisor to the Polarization and Extremism Research Lab (PERIL) at American University, a contributing editor with the University of Chicago Press “Schools: Studies in Education,” and a Schools Committee Member of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 

Elijah Hawkes is a former principal of Randolph Union High School and Middle School in Randolph, Vermont, where he served for ten years and fostered the development of the Project Based Learning Lab, offering courses designed to engage students in real-world challenges. In addition to his work leading Randolph Union, Elijah was a founding principal of the James Baldwin School in New York City, one of the “successful public schools” serving “communities of color” in the city (The Nation, 2016). 

Practice Interests

Elijah’s practice interests include democracy and social justice in public schools. 


  • Hawkes, T. Elijah. (2020) School for the Age of Upheaval: Classrooms That Get Personal, Get Political, and Get to Work. Rowman & Littlefield.

Presentations and Panels

  • Panelist, Polarization & Extremism Innovation Lab, webinar for Washington DC school community, January, 2020.
  • Panelist, Southern Poverty Law Center “Sounds Like Hate” Podcast Panel Discussion, September, 2020.
  • Featured guest, VPR Vermont Edition, “How Schools Identify Students In Crisis,” February, 2018.
  • Presenter: “Educators Symposium: School Reforms that Honor Adolescent Needs and Strivings,” American Psychoanalytic Association (APsAA) Annual Meeting, NYC, February, 2018.
  • Presenter: “Discussion Group: Educators & Analysts Working Together: Cutting the Silence: Self-Harm, Self-Expression, and Schools,” APsAA Annual Meeting, NYC, February, 2018.
  • Featured guest, VPR Vermont Edition “As Problems Grow, Schools Deal with How Social Media, Troubled Homes Affect Teens,” November, 2017.
  • Presenter: “Personal Learning for the Common Good” Workshop, Rowland Foundation Annual Conference, October, 2017, Burlington Vermont. 
  • Organizer: “Personal Learning for the Common Good” Conference, December 2016, Randolph, VT.


  • Hawkes, T. Elijah. “Summer Violence and Educator Silence.” Learning for Justice, 19 July 2018, Retrieved from 
  • Delpit, L. (Ed.). (2019). Teaching When the World is on Fire. New York: The New Press. (Elijah wrote the chapter “School Justice: Teaching Politically Fraught Topics”)
  • Hawkes, T Elijah. “Permission to Walk Out: They Didn’t Ask, I Didn’t Give It.” Learning for Justice, 20 March 2018, Retrieved from
  • Hawkes, T. E. (2018, February 15). Opinion: As ex-student kills 17 in Florida, a Vermont principal asks if educators can help avert school shootings. The Hechinger Report Retrieved from
  • Hawkes, T. E. (2018, May 25). When children shoot children: A Vermont principal’s observations. Burlington Free Press. Retrieved from
  • Hawkes, T. E. (2018, September 25). Teachers in service of what? VTDigger, Retrieved from
  • Hawkes, T Elijah. “Heavy Topics, Strong Classrooms.” Learning for Justice, 11 Oct 2017,
  • Hawkes, T Elijah. “Youth Voice and the Quiet Work of Teachers.” Learning for Justice, 25 April 2018, Retrieved from
  • Hawkes, T. E. (2017). Circles and Parallels: Democratic Governance in a Small School. Schools: Studies in Education, 14(2).
  • Butler-Wall, A., Cosier, K., Harper, R. L. S., Sapp, J. L., Sokolower, J., & Tempel, M. B. (2016). Rethinking sexism, gender, and sexuality. First edition. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: A Rethinking Schools Publication.
  • Hawkes, T. E. (2013). Miracles and Monstrosities: John Dewey and the Fate of Progressive Education. Schools: Studies in Education, 10(1).
  • Hawkes, T. E. (2009). Schools in a Time of Cholera. Schools: Studies in Education, 6(2).
  • Hawkes, T. E. (2009). Exile Has Its Place: A High School Principal Reflects on School Discipline. Rethinking Schools. Retrieved from