Nonprofit studies portfolio graduate Sissi Dinh O’Reilly, Ph.D. recently defended her dissertation, “Leadership in School Improvement Networks: Social Network Analysis of Principal Ego-Networks.” She was advised by RGK Center faculty fellow Dr. Joshua Childs, a professor at the College of Education.
Through her research, Dr. O’Reilly used social network analysis methods to explore how principals continued school improvement with inter-organizational networks after program dissolution and funding dissipation. Included on the dissertation committee was LBJ School professor Dr. Patrick Bixler, who provided support for Dr. O’Reilly’s mixed methods study.
While a student in the nonprofit studies portfolio program, Dr. O’Reilly took courses with Dr. Francie Ostrower, Dr. Becky Lentz, and Howard Prince, among various others across campus.
“The Graduate Portfolio Program in Nonprofit Studies provided an opportunity to coalesce my academic research in educational leadership with my interests in non-profit service and transformational change through engaging coursework, networking opportunities, and rigorous dialogue with scholars across other fields," said Dr. O'Reilly.
Before earning her Ph.D. at UT Austin, Dr. O’Reilly was a principal at Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the country. She currently serves on the board of Austin Opera.