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Jess Weiler, Ph.D.

Jessica Weiler

Associate Professor

College of Education and Allied Professions

Human Services

Contact Information

Phone: 828.777.6734
Office: 340 Biltmore Park Building
Pronouns: she and her


Dr. Jess Weiler is an Associate Professor for the Educational Leadership (Ed.D) Program at Western Carolina University. She served as the EdD Program Director from 2016-2022. Under her direction, the program earned membership in the University Council for Education Administration, WCU's Academic Program of the Year for 2021, and 2021 Program of the Year for the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate. In addition, Dr. Weiler and colleagues have been awarded $6,112,909. in grant funds from the NC Principal Fellows Program to improve principal preparation. Dr. Weiler served as a Speech-Language Pathologist, Special Education Teacher, Assistant Principal, Professional Development Provider, and Leadership Coach in PK-12 public schools for over 15 years before moving into academia. She continues to coach school leaders--building their capacity to develop, grow, and sustain collaborative learning cultures that center equity and justice. Dr. Weiler has also served on state committees to advance public school leadership including Governor Cooper's Leandro Principal Planning Workgroup and the North Carolina Principal Standard's Committee. For the past 13 years, Dr. Weiler has lived on a hobby farm in Fairview, NC with her husband Michael of 25 years, two boys (Liam and Finn), and Ruthie the beagle. Outside of WCU, Jess is politically active, enjoys yoga, and travels the world with her family in search of great food.


  • Ph D, University of Wisconsin Madison

Teaching Interests

In addition to serving as a Dissertation/Disquisition Chair, Dr. Weiler has taught a variety of leadership and research courses for the EdD Program, NCSELP Program, and the Educational Supervision Program in Jamaica. Courses include:<br> Leadership for Equity & Social Justice in Education; Complex Organizational Theory; Equitable and Effective Classroom Assessment for Learning; Disquisition Proposal Writing; Internship for Superintendent/District Level Leadership; and several Topics courses related to educational policy and practice. Dr. Weiler strives to prepare educational leaders committed to research-supported, community-engaged, caring, and socially just practices.

Research Interests

Dr. Weiler’s research explores leadership for equitable and socially just schools. Her most recent, co-authored work was published in the distinguished <i>Education Administration Quarterly</i> and is titled, <i>Defining Rigor in Justice-Oriented EdD Programs: Preparing Leaders to Disrupt and Transform Schools</i>. Her research interests include leadership preparation for socially just PK-12 schools, district-wide/systems-level equity-oriented change, and building organizational/district-wide capacity for socially just schools.

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