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Allen, Lionel

Lionel E. Allen Jr. Founder, ed Leaders Matter

A native of the southside of Chicago, Lionel E. Allen, Jr. is a clinical assistant professor of educational policy studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he teaches a signature pedagogy course on cycles of inquiry, organizational change, and co-leads the full-year residency course for aspiring school leaders. Lionel has over twenty years of experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and chief academic officer. He is an education reform consultant, principal coach, and a frequently invited speaker. In 2005, former CPS CEO and United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan selected Lionel to become the first turnaround principal in Illinois. Under his leadership, the Sherman School of Excellence went from the second-worst performing school in the state to become a national model and a catalyst for future school reform efforts. He recently detailed this experience in the book Fighting the Good Fight: Narratives of the African American Principalship (2022) in a chapter titled How Should I Feel About That? Renaissance 2010 and School Reform in Chicago.Lionel is the founder of ed Leaders Matter (eLM), LLC, a consultancy that aims to improve schools by developing school leaders. Under the eLM umbrella, Lionel has provided professional development and coaching to hundreds of school leaders and scores of schools and school districts nationwide. He is also the cofounder and design team member of the Aspire Fellowship, a program designed to diversify the principal pipeline by preparing teacher leaders of color to enter into principal preparation and certification programs. Lionel received his baccalaureate degree from Northwestern University and his masters and doctoral degrees from University of Illinois at Chicago. Lionel Allen works with educators! Learn more at