Research Publications

Featured Principal Investigator: Dr. Lisa A. W. Kensler


Dr. Lisa Kensler joined Auburn University in 2008 and is an associate professor and program coordinator of educational leadership in the College of Education’s Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology (EFLT) department. In 2012, CESURI supported her research related to green schools, schools where whole school sustainability is practiced in order to maximize occupant health and well-being, environmental responsibility, and purposeful learning. Prior to entering higher education, Lisa was a middle and high school science teacher who engaged in environmental education and advocacy with her students. As an early career scholar in educational leadership she noticed that while there were extensive resources related to education for sustainability for teachers, there was nothing that spoke directly to school leaders. School leaders are the gatekeepers of innovation in schools. They need to learn about sustainability. She defined her niche early on and set to work. Her research has culminated in the publication of her co-authored book, Leadership for Green Schools: Sustainability for Our Children, Our Communities, and Our Planet (2017), the first one of its kind.

The Green Schools movement is a powerful force for transforming student experience in schools while at the same time reducing environmental impacts associated with facility management. There are approximately 100,000 K-12 school buildings throughout the United States. In many rural communities, educational facilities create their largest ecological footprints. Teaching school leaders about the many benefits of practicing whole school sustainability for children, communities, and our planet is at the core of Lisa’s work.

Approximately three other educational leadership scholars in the United States and a few more internationally focus their work on leadership for green schools. Lisa did not join an established scholarly community when she embarked on researching the leadership and learning necessary for transforming traditional K-12 schools into healthy, high performing schools. She is striving to develop a community of scholars that will document, support, and inspire trailblazing practitioners who are transforming schools for a better world. She is passionate about the importance of this work for our children, our communities, our planet, and our collective future.


Selected Publications:

Kensler, L. A. W., & Uline, C. L. (2017). Leadership for Green Schools. New York: Routledge.

Sterrett, W. L., Kensler, L. A. W., & *McKey, T. (2016). Greener on the other side: Cultivating community and improvement through sustainability practices. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 19, 2, 72-85. DOI: 10.1177/1555458916664764

Kensler, L. A. W., & Uline, C. L. (2015). The transformation of a school district from energy hog to energy star. In S. J. Gross & J. P. Shapiro (Eds.), Democratic Eth­ical Educational Leadership: Reclaiming School Reform (pp. 54–58). New York, NY: Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group.

Kensler, L. A. W., & Uline, C. (2014). Leadership. In D. Sobel, S. J. Gentile, & P. Bocko (Eds.), National Action Plan for Educating for Sustainability (pp. 20-21). Retrieved from

Veronese, D., P., & Kensler, L. A. W. (2013). School leaders, sustainability, and green school practices: An elicitation study using the Theory of Planned Behavior. Journal of Sustainability Education, 4. Retrieved from

Kensler, L. A. W. (2012). Ecology, Democracy, and Green Schools: An Integrated Framework. Journal of School Leadership, 22(4), 789-814.