Dr. E. Renée Sanders-Lawson is Assistant Professor in the Leadership Department at the University of Memphis. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Michigan State University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Masters of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include school leadership, diversity in the administration of K-12 schools, first year principals, women of color in higher education administration and, Black women superintendents in K-12 urban school settings.
Prior to relocating to Memphis she was Director of the Office of Supportive Services at Michigan State University. In this position Dr. Sanders-Lawson directed an office staff of 14, was the Principal Investigator (PI) for two federally funded TRiO program grants, a Student Support Services (SSS) Grant and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Grant, directed a summer bridge program and managed a 1.7 million dollar budget. The Office of Supportive Services (OSS) is a multifaceted holistic retention initiative designed to address the needs of College Achievement Admission Program (CAAP) students; first generation and low income students, and students who meet other participant criteria. Through the collaborative efforts of MSU faculty and staff, the Supportive Services personnel implemented an intensive and comprehensive university-wide service. Students had access to program services from the time they entered the university, through graduation and placement into graduate school. The primary goal of OSS was to assist in the increase of retention rates, facilitate academic successes and enhance graduation rates among program participants.
Dr. Sanders-Lawson was also a K-12 educator in North Carolina. She served as a school counselor, high school assistant principal, middle school principal and Human Resources Director for Johnston County Schools and Hickory City Schools in North Carolina. Her 1992 appointment as principal of Selma Middle School made her the first Black woman to serve as principal in her school district since the schools integrated in the late 1960’s.
Dr. Sanders-Lawson is author of "She's black and she's a woman: The journey of a black woman school principal in a small southern rural town,", a chapter in the edited book by Robert Johnson and Gigi Harris (Eds),
entitled, Women of color: Taking their rightful place in
leadership; co-author of “Wholistic Visioning for Leadership
from the Perspectives of Black Women”, a chapter in the 2nd edition of
a book entitled Leadership for Social Justice: Making Revolutions in Education by Catherine Marshall and Maricela Oliva; and co-author with her husband of “Violent crime, race, and black children: Parenting and the social contract”, a chapter in the 2nd edition of a book by Dr. Harriett McAdoo entitled Black Children.
She is presently a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, The American Educational Research Association, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Phi Delta Kappa, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Dr. Sanders-Lawson is married to Dr. Bill Lawson, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Memphis and a 2011-2012 Fulbright Scholar. They have a son, William, a 2008 graduate of Michigan State University.