Noelle Arnold

Headshot of Noelle Arnold

Professor, Department of Educational Studies
Senior Associate Dean, Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Outreach

Program Area: Educational Administration

(614) 247-1553

Personal Website


Noelle W. Arnold, PhD is the Senior Associate Dean in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. In addition to other units, she oversees the EHE Office of Equity, Diversity and Global Engagement. Dr. Arnold has written and presented extensively and has nine (9) books published or in press and over 70 publications. Her most recent book is the 2nd Edition of the Handbook for Urban Educational Leadership and Companion Guide for the Handbook of Urban Educational Leadership (forthcoming, 2021). Dr. Arnold work has received awards or subawards over $7 million. She has also served as a contractor on grants in excess of $5 million. A former administrator at the district and state level, Dr. Arnold also serves as a consultant throughout the US advising districts on crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, and teaching and leading in urban and rural contexts. Dr. Arnold was the first African American female to serve as President for the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). Dr. Arnold was named to the 2022 “Future 50” class, awarded by Columbus CEO for leaders and visionaries who advance the city of Columbus, OH.


  • PhD, Educational Administration, University of Alabama

Research Interests

Research Summary

Arnold's scholarly contributions reflect her background as an educational leader with a strong emphasis on values and beliefs, qualitative research, social justice and leadership advocacy. Her research deconstructs normed epistemologies, descriptors, articulations, enactments and intersectionalities of educational leadership and policy. In addition, she teaches, writes and works with emerging methods in qualitative research, particularly in the area of auto/biographical and narrative research. The following three statements frame my research and scholarly accomplishments:

  1. Traditional educational leadership and policy research has ignored certain epistemological and ontological frames such as race, culture, gender and belief. Leaders’ and policymakers’ values and beliefs influence their vision of organizations as well as their behaviors. Their interpretation of that belief or activity is of primary importance.
  2. Social justice, equity, care and advocacy have been the subject of some research. However there is still little exploration of the origin or motivation for these leadership nor policy orientations.
  3. New forms of research, methods and texts should be promoted to gain a more full-bodied understanding of the field and one that seeks to better understand the individuals engaging in leadership and policymaking.

Current Projects

  • Educational policy and analysis: Health policy and youth and crisis and disaster policy in schools
  • Intersectionalities and leadership. Gender Entrapment and Black principals
  • Social justice, care, equity and advocacy. Educational leaders mediating inequities in schools and communities
  • Alternative methodologies, methods, and frameworks. Critical geography and mapping leadership space
  • Principal-preparation, leadership socialization, practitioner outreach. The role of trauma and violence in leadership socialization; Critical field experiences for educational leaders; Culturally responsive supervision 


  • Associate professor, director of EdD in Educational Administration program, The Ohio State University (Current)
  • Affiliate Faculty Member, Black Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia, (2012-2015)
  • Program Coordinator of PK-12 Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia (2012-2013)
  • Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, University of Missouri-Columbia (2010-2013)
  • Affiliate Faculty Member, Women and Gender Studies, Louisiana State University (2010)
  • Co-Coordinator for the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program, Louisana State University (2008-2009)
  • Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University, Educational Theory, Policy and Practice (2007-2010)


  • Nominee, Jack Culbertson Award, 2012, 2013 University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA)
  • Nominee, Division A Emerging Scholar Award, 2012, 2013 American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • Outstanding Reviewer of the Year, 2009-2010, Journal of School Leadership

Selected Grants

  1. Contractor, (2020-2021), Wallace Foundation; $150,000; Title: Equity Leadership    
  2. Co-Principal Investigator (2020-2024) (w/Ben Campbell, Fisher College of Business), Ohio Department of Education; $1.9 million; Title: The Bright Initiative @ EHE and Fisher
  3. Co-Principal Investigator (2018-2020) (w/Kelly Purtell and Laura Justice), Foundation for Child Development; $180,000;  Title: The Role of Center Directors in Producing High-Quality Preschool Experiences for Young Children

Selected Publications


  1. Arnold, N. W., **Guillaume, R. & Osanloo, A., (under contract). Handbook of Urban Education Leadership 2nd Edition. Lanham, MD: Rowman Littlefield.  
  2. Arnold, N. W., **Guillaume, R. & Osanloo, A., (under contract). Companion Guide for the Handbook of Urban Education Leadership 2nd Edition. Lanham, MD: Rowman Littlefield.  
  3. Khalifa, M., Witherspoon Arnold, N., Osanloo, A., & Grant, C. (Eds.) (2015). Handbook of Urban Educational Leadership. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.  
  4. Witherspoon Arnold, N. (2014). Ordinary theologies: Religio-spirituality and the leadership of Black female principals. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Journal Articles

  1. Witherspoon Arnold, N. &Brook, J.S. (accepted). School Leadership and Immigration: Funds of Knowledge and Information Grounds. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
  2. Arnold, N.W. (Forthcoming, 2020).  Place-based leadership. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Ed. Rosemary Papa. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.ORE_EDU-00627.R1
  3. Young, M. & Arnold, N.W. (Forthcoming, 2020). Inclusive Leadership. In R. Papa (Ed.), [Oxford] Encyclopedia of Educational Administration. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.
  4. Arnold, N. W., Osanloo, A. F., **Guillaume, R. O., Boske, C., & Miller-Tomlinson, W. (2018). The role of trauma in leadership socialization. Journal of School Leadership, 28(6), 718-741. (Drs. Elizabeth Murakami and Natalie Tran along with their assistant Kate Fowler managed the peer-review process). 
  5. **Crawford, E.R. & Witherspoon Arnold, N. (2017) “We don't talk about undocumented status…We talk about helping children”: How School Leaders Shape School Climate for Undocumented Immigrants. International Journal of Educational Leadership and Management, 5(2), 116-147. (   
  6. Witherspoon Arnold, N., **Crawford, E., & Khalifa, M. (2015). Psychological heuristics and faculty of Color: Racial battle fatigue and tenure/promotion. Journal of Higher Education, 87(6), 890-919.   
  7. Crawford, E., Witherspoon Arnold, N., & *Brown. A. (2014). From Pre-service leaders to advocacy leaders: Exploring intersections in standards for advocacy in educational leadership and school counseling. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 17(4), 481-502.  
  8. Witherspoon Arnold, N. & **Crawford, E. R. (2014). Metaphors of leadership and spatialized practice. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 17(3) 257-285.   
  9. Witherspoon, N. & Arnold, B.M. (2010). Pastoral Care: Notions of Caring and the Black Female Principal. The Journal of Negro Education, 79, 220-232. DOI: 10.2307/20798345
  10. Witherspoon, N. & Taylor, D. (2010). Spiritual W.E.A.P.O.N.S: Black female principals and religio-spirituality. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 42(2), 133-158.
  11. Witherspoon, N., & Mitchell, R. (2009). Critical Race Theory as ordinary theology in the practice of African American principals. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 22(6), 655-670.

Book Chapters

  1. Arnold, N.W. (accepted). Dignity based leadership. In D. Irby, C. Payne, C. Anderson (Eds.) Somebodiness: Theory and Methods of Dignity – Based Education (pp. x-x). Harvard Press. (Scopus Book Publishers Book: Top 5, IF. 4.334) 
  2. Arnold, N. W. (in press). Afterword: Paying Professional Taxes: Academic Labor Cost for Faculty of Color and Indigenous Faculty. In N. D. Hartlep & D. Ball (Eds.), Racial battle fatigue in faculty: Perspectives and lessons from higher education (pp. X–X). New York: Routledge. (Scopus Book Publishers Books: Top 5, IF 2.152; BIPP Impact Factor: 0.82) 
  3. Witherspoon Arnold, N., Bass, L., & *Morris, Kelsey. (in press). Women’s Watch: Race, Protest and Campus Assault. In T.M.O. Douglas, K. Shockley & I. Toldson (Eds.) Campus Uprisings: Understanding Injustice and the Resistance Movement on College Campuses (pp. x-x). New York, N.Y. Teachers College Press. (Scopus Book Publishers: Top 20, IF. 2.518) 
  4. Arnold, N.W. (2018) Supervisory identity: Cultural Shift, critical pedagogy, and the crisis of supervision. In S. Zepeda & J. Ponticell. The Wiley Handbook of Educational Supervision (pp. 575-600). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. (Scopus Book Publishers: Top 20, IF: 2.428) Link to chapter  
  5. Witherspoon Arnold, N. (2015). Cultural competencies and supervision. In S. Zepeda & J. Glanz, Re-examining Supervision: Theory and Practice (201-220). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. (Scopus Book Publishers: Top 40, IF. 1.527) Link to chapter 
  6. Witherspoon Arnold, N. (2015). Psychological heuristics: Mental/emotional designs of Racial Battle Fatigue and faculty of color. In K. Fasching-Varner, K. Albert, R. Mitchell, C. M. Allen, & W. A. Smith (Eds.) Racial Battle Fatigue: Difference and Division in Higher Education (pp. 77-89) . Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. (Scopus Book Publishers: Top 40, IF. 1.527) Link to chapter 
  7. Witherspoon Arnold, N. (2014). Forward. In C. Mullen & D. Robertson (Eds.), Shifting to fit: The politics of Black and White identity in school leadership (xiii-xvii).  Charlotte, NC: Information Age. (BIPP Top Humanities and Social Science Publishers, IF: 1.47) Link to chapter 
  8. Witherspoon Arnold, N. (2014).I’m either nice or a bitch:Gender entrapment and Black female principals. In W. Sherman Newcomb (Ed.) Women continuing to disrupt the (status?) quo (pp.127-144). Charlotte, NC: Information Age. (BIPP Top Humanities and Social Science Publisher, IF: 1.47) Link to chapter
  9. Witherspoon Arnold, N. (2014). Thoughts on narrative and researching religion and spirituality. In N. Witherspoon Arnold, M. Brooks, & B. Arnold (Eds.) Critical Perspectives of Black Education: Spirituality, Religion, and Social Justice (pp. 251-268).Charlotte, NC:Information Age. (BIPP Top Humanities and Social Science Publisher, IF: 1.47) Link to chapter