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Sonya D. Hayes

Sonya D. Hayes

Assistant Professor


Sonya Hayes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Tennessee. A native Texan, she received her PhD in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University, her MEd in Educational Administration from Texas State, and her BA in English from Lamar University. Prior to entering the professoriate, Hayes served in public education as a high school English teacher, an Assistant Principal, and a Principal for 23 years. She held a faculty position at LSU in Baton Rouge prior to joining the ELPS department at UT. Her research interests include leadership development and support for both pre and post service school principals, principal preparation, and leadership for learning. Specifically, she is interested in how principals improve teaching and learning for all students and how principals are prepared for instructional leadership. She is an active member in UCEA and AERA and currently serves as the Editor for the LTEL SIG newsletter. Hayes is the 2017 Kottcamp winner for the LTEL Sig’s dissertation of the year award.

Full Profile    


Hayes has publications in several peer-reviewed journals. She serves on the Editorial Review Board for Mentoring and Tutoring Journal, and she is a reviewer for the Journal of Research on Leadership Education, Journal of Higher Education, International Journal of Leadership in Education, and Education Leadership Review. Additionally, she has published book chapters and feature articles in practitioner magazines.


  1. Hayes, S.D., & Burkett, J.R. (2017). Social Media and the first amendment: Educators’ trap game. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 21(2), 52-64.
  1. Hayes, S. D., & Lee, C. G. (2017). The principal as a data-driven instructional leader: Using PLCs to improve teaching and learning. In E. Mense, & M. Crain-Dorough (Eds.), Data Leadership for K-12 Schools in a Time of Accountability (pp. 76-97). Hershey, PA:IGI Global.
  1. Hayes, S.D. (2018). Engaging girls in STEM. AMLE Magazine, 6(2), 26-28.
  2. Hayes, S.D. (2018). The relational and developmental mentoring of novice principals. In B. Irby, J. Boswell, L. Searby, F. Kochan, & R., Garza (Eds.), International handbook of mentoring: Paradigms, practices, programs, and possibilities. Wiley-Blackwell, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
  1. Burkett, J.R. & Hayes, S.D. (2018) Principals’ response to Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric. International Journal of Educational Leadership and Management, 6(2), 98-125.
Sonya D. Hayes

Contact Information

  • 1122 Volunteer Boulevard 313 Bailey Education Complex, Knoxville, TN 37996-3430
  • Phone: 865.974.7696
  • E-mail: