Professional Biography

Dr. Jason Javier-Watson is a postdoctoral fellow in the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC) in the Human Development and Quantitative Methods Division at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. REC, led by Dr. Howard Stevenson, centers on cultural pride, coping and parenting, culturally specific parenting strategies, and other ways of reducing race-related stress. Dr. Javier-Watson received his doctorate from the Reading/Writing/Literacy Division at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education in 2016. Dr. Javier-Watson’s work at REC involves facilitating trainings and interventions, as well as conducting research on increasing school-based practitioners’ racial literacy.     

Before becoming a university researcher, Dr. Javier-Watson taught in the Philadelphia public schools for seven years. After completing his doctoral coursework in 2014, he served as the founding dean of students and principal fellow at a charter elementary school in Camden, New Jersey. Since 2009, Dr. Javier-Watson has been a Teacher Consultant for the Philadelphia Writing Project and is committed to the belief that practitioners’ knowledge is vital for creating more equitable educational environments for all students. 

Research Interests and Current Projects

Dr. Javier-Watson’s dissertation, entitled "Don't lose you": Interrogating whiteness and deficit at a no excuses charter school, examined the school in which he worked through practitioner research. Using critical organizational theory and collaborative inquiry, as well as a narrative inquiry methodology, this project looked at the experiences of teachers and staff members as they enacted the “no excuses” philosophy over the course of one school year. By coming together as an inquiry group, staff were able to process the racially stressful encounters they experienced over the previous year and theorize new and more humanizing approaches to educational practice.

Currently, Dr. Javier-Watson is partnering with public schools (both traditional and charter) to facilitate racial literacy practitioner research and inquiry groups. Specifically, he leads whole-staff trainings and inquiry groups aimed at increasing racial literacy and reducing racial stress for school leaders, teachers, deans, and other staff members. In doing so, Dr. Javier-Watson hopes to build school environments of racial healing rather than racial avoidance, to teach practitioners the skills to intervene in moments of racial stress, and to identify and resolve the interpersonal and emotional teacher-student conflicts which often lead to higher discipline rates and lower school-based outcomes for Black and Brown students.

Dr. Javier-Watson co-facilitates the REC Can We Talk? teacher professional development program with Drs. Kelsey Jones and Howard Stevenson. Can We Talk? is a classroom-based racial negotiation skills-building intervention for teachers and students designed to reduce negative stress reactions in student-teacher relationships. He also co-facilitates the Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth (PLAAY) program and trains school-based practitioners to administer the intervention. PLAAY involves the culturally relevant teaching of emotional empowerment through athletic movement in basketball, cultural pride reinforcement in group therapy, and bonding in family interventions to help youth cope with face-to-face violence, social rejection, and stress in school and neighborhoods from peers, family, and authority figures.


Ed.D. (Reading/Writing/Literacy) University of Pennsylvania, 2016

M.S.Ed. (Secondary Education) University of Pennsylvania, 2007

B.A. (Sociology & Spanish) University of Kansas, 2005

Areas of Expertise

School leadership

Teacher professional development

Teacher education

Practitioner research

Racial literacy


Javier-Watson, J. (2016). “Don’t Lose You”: Interrogating whiteness and deficit at a no excuses charter school (Doctoral dissertation). University of Pennsylvania.