Professional Biography

From 1998 to 2006, James H. (Torch) Lytle was superintendent for the Trenton (New Jersey) Public Schools, where he led an aggressive effort to implement New Jersey’s urban education reform initiative. Prior to his appointment in Trenton, he served in a variety of capacities in the School District of Philadelphia as an elementary, middle, and high school principal; executive director for planning, research, and evaluation; regional superintendent; and assistant superintendent. He has been a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and a high school English teacher.

Dr. Lytle has been active in a number of national professional organizations, including the Council of Great City Schools, the Cross Cities Campaign, the Wallace Foundation Leaders Count project, and the American Educational Research Association. He has written and presented frequently on matters relating to the improvement of urban schooling. His research interests relate to increasing the efficacy of urban public schools and leading school reform efforts.

Before his appointment as Practice Professor, Dr. Lytle was an adjunct faculty member at GSE, teaching courses in Urban Education, Organizational Theory, and Resource Allocation. In his current role, he works in several areas, including school and district leadership, the emergent marketization of public education, urban school reform, and the intersections of school leadership and entrepreneurship.

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B.A. (History and English) Cornell University, 1962.
M.A. (English) State University of New York at Buffalo, 1964.
Ed.D. (Educational Administration) Stanford University, 1970.

Areas of Expertise

School reform in the context of federal and state policy 
Organizational theory and practice
School and district leadership
Urban education
Education micro-finance

Selected Publications

Lytle, J.: The context of superintendent entry: A veteran educator’s discourse on using the transition period to your advantage. The School Administrator May 2009.

Lytle, J.: An editorial prompted by "Leadership and Management of Academic Anesthesiology Departments in the United States" Journal of Clinical Anesthesiology 21(2), March 2009.

Lytle, J. H. & Sanaghan. P.: Creating a Transition Map for a New Superintendency: 7 Powerful Strategies. American Association of School Administrators E-Journal January 2008.

Lytle, J. H.: Cross Cutting Themes and Emergent Issues in The Wallace Foundation's Leadership for Learning Initiatives. Council of Chief State School Officers and The Wallace Foundation, May 2007.

Lytle, J. H.: Urban School Reform: To What End? International Handbook of Urban Education. W. T. Pink & G. W. Noblit (eds.). Springer, 2007.