Expert Profile

Julie Underwood
Dean
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education

Julie K. Underwood, a nationally recognized authority on school law, became the eighth dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education in August 2005.

Underwood taught at UW-Madison 1986-95 on the faculty of the Department of Educational Administration (now Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis). She has returned to Madison after serving 1995-98 as dean of Miami University ’s School of Education and Allied Professions and 1998-2005 as associate executive director and general counsel for the National School Boards Association in Washington , D.C.

At the NSBA, she led a legal advocacy program on behalf of the nation’s public school boards, including producing friend-of-the-court briefs and legal strategies before the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts. She also was responsible for the 3,000-member Council of School Attorneys.

At UW-Madison, Underwood has served as chair of the Department of Educational Administration (1993-94), associate dean of the School of Education (1994-95), and co-director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Policy at the Robert M. La Follette Institute of Public Affairs (1990-93).

She has co-authored several books, including School Law for Teachers (Prentice Hall, 2005), Legal Aspects of Special Education and Pupil Services (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1994), and The Principal’s Legal Handbook (Education Law Association, 1993).

She has a B.A. in political science and sociology from DePauw University (1976), a JD from Indiana University (1979), and a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of Florida (1984).

In 2008, she received the Outstanding Educator Award from the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators.

Julie Underwood's discussions:

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Clifford Winston Brookings Institution
Gregg Easterbrook The New Republic
Marco Petruzzi Green Dot Public Schools
Walter E. Dellinger III O'Melveny & Meyers
Deborah Wadsworth Public Agenda
Richard Rothstein Economic Policy Institute

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  • Risk and Legal Fear in Schools
    With Lenore Skenazy, Frederick Hess, Megan Rosker, Walter Olson, and Nancy McDermott. Start date: June 5