Matthijs Koopmans

  • Professor, Educational Leadership
Picture MK

Dr. Matthijs Koopmans, professor of educational leadership, joined the faculty at Mercy College in 2011. Previously, he worked for several educational research organizations, including the Strategic Education Research Partnership Institute, Academy for Educational Development and Metis Associates. He has taught at several colleges in the greater New York metropolitan region (Hofstra University, York College/City University of New York, Adelphi University and Yeshiva University). As an independent contractor, he has conducted evaluations for MGT of America, Institute for Student Achievement, National Urban Technology Center and Newark Public Schools. He has published his research in numerous peer-reviewed journals and continues to present his work at national and international scholarly conferences. He is a founding editor of the International Journal of Complexity in Education and serves on the editorial board of Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences. He earned his Doctorate in 1988 from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Ed. D. HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Cambridge, MA. Graduate School of Education, 1988. Human Development.

Ed. M. HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Cambridge, MA. Graduate School of Education, 1984. Non-specialized.

Drs. RIJKSUNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT, Utrecht, Netherlands. Institute of Pedagogical and Andragological Sciences, 1983. Clinical Pedagogy.

Kand. RIJKSUNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT, Utrecht, Netherlands. Institute of Pedagogical and Andragological Sciences, 1979.  B. A. in Pedagogy.

Leadership and Change in Complex Adaptive Educational Systems: Challenges and Opportunities. Literature Review.

Few educational leaders would dispute that education is a complex affair, with multiple systemic structures and facets, as well as nonlinear and unpredictable transformations. Yet the application of complexity theory in the educational leadership has been going in fits and starts thus far, without rigorous empirical research, or theory building, nor any coherent efforts to come to a more definitive statement about how complexity applies to the field. This project seeks to address this situation by developing an internally consistent terminological framework for complexity in educational leadership, policy making, and educational reform.

On the distinction between method and substance in critical quantitative analysis. Critical essay.

With the growing concern about continuing poverty, inequity, and aggression toward minorities in society, researchers in education have begun to reflect on how established research practices may have contributed to the intransigence of this situation, including a critique of the logical positivist paradigm and traditional inferential statistics, hence the term critical quantitative analysis, or CQA. The proposed critique summarizes the main argument made by CQA, taking note of the conflation between method and substance in at least some of this literature, while on the other hand acknowledging the need to consider the factors that motivate each research project, including the positionality of the researcher. This essay will argue that a critique of educational research practices in the face of society’s ills can be strengthened by keeping the traditional subject – object relationships in place.  

An appraisal of time series analysis, and its utility to study dynamical processes in education. Manuscript preparation.

Although it is well established that education is an inherently longitudinal process, statistical techniques that deal with time dependent processes are rarely used in educational research. Instead, we tend to focus on the analysis of group means and educational outcomes or narrative renderings of the implementation story. This paper seeks to redress this situation by providing a thorough introduction to time series methods and their capability of capturing dynamical processes, including examples of how it can be used to answer important practical and policy questions in teaching and learning.

I teach graduate students in the program of Educational Administration and Supervision at the School of Education. My regular teaching schedule includes the following courses:

  • EDSA 510: Using Data for Instruction and Educational Policy
  • EDSA 520: Curriculum and Learning: Theories into Practice
  • EDSA 551: Organizational Dynamics and Culture of School Systems
  • EDSA 597: Governance and Policy Issues for School District Leaders
  • EDUC 611: Topics in Education: Thesis Seminar
  • EDUC 500: Educational Foundations from Diverse Perspectives

In the educational leadership  courses, my teaching focuses on the use of data for the improvement of organizations such as schools and school districts, organizational development, and educational reform. I spent many years doing consulting work for schools and districts across the nation and assisted educational and youth development organizations with strategic planning activities. In my courses, I share what I learned in these settings, and discuss the latest thinking about how to support effective instructional leadership in the schools to create better opportunities for learning for all students in the United States and elsewhere. 

The Educational Foundations course was recently added to my teaching roster. This course provides an overview of the conceptual foundations of the educational enterprise, and we discuss why they matter.

Koopmans, M. (2023). Growing points for a synthesis between the sciences of learning, school reform, and inequity: Insights from complex dynamical systems theory. Review of Research in Education, 47, 606-635.

Koopmans, M. (2023). Ten essential titles in complexity theory and nonlinear dynamics: A subjective overviewEssential Readings Series - COMPLEXITY THEORIES IN EDUCATION (

Koopmans, M. (2023). Radical novelty and self-transcending constructions in the education system: Creating equity and sustainable schooling. [Review of the books Systems thinking for sustainable schooling: A mindshift for educators to lead and achieve quality schools. By Karolyn. J. Snyder, and Kristen M. Snyder (Eds.) and Achieving equity and justice in education through the work of systems change. By Jennifer Neitzel].  International Journal of Complexity in Education, 4(2), 93-103.

Koopmans, M. (2023). Roughness as a fractal property in univariate time series data. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences27(2), 149-168.

Koopmans, M., & Stamovlasis, D. (2022). Complex systems and education: From theory to research to practice. Proceedings of the satellite of the conference on complex systems 2021. International Journal of Complexity in Education3(2), 1-5.

Koopmans, M., & Stamovlasis, D. (2021). Breaking new ground in complexity and education. Proceedings of the fifth satellite symposium on complex systems and education: Research and practice. International Journal of Complexity in Education2(2), 1-4.

Koopmans, M. (2021). On the distinction between fractal and seasonal dependencies in time series data. Fractals29(7), Article No. 2150180.

Stamovlasis, D., & Koopmans, M. (2021). Complexity in education: The new era is growing – EditorialInternational Journal of Complexity in Education2(1), 1-2.

Koopmans, M. (2021). Using time series to analyze long-range fractal patterns (Sage University Papers on Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences, Vol. 185). Sage.

Koopmans, M. (2020). Problem formation and problem resolution in American schools. International Journal of Complexity in Education1(2), 165-183.

Koopmans, M., & Stamovlasis, D. (2020). Complexity in education: A new era begins – EditorialInternational Journal of Complexity in Education1(1), 1-7.

Koopmans, M. (2020). Using time series analysis to estimate complex regular cycles in daily high school attendance. Fluctuation and Noise Letters19(1). DOI: 10.1142/S0219477520500030.

Koopmans, M. (2019). Fractality and power law distributions: Shifting perspectives in educational research. Northeast Journal of Complex Systems1, Article 2.

Koopmans, M. (2019). Education is a dynamical system: Challenges for research. Journal of Experimental Education.

Koopmans, M., & Sayama, H. (Eds.) (2018). Special issue: Proceedings of the Second Satellite Symposium on Complex Systems and Education, held at the Conference on Complex Systems, Cancun, Mexico, September 20, 2017. Complicity: An International Journal for Complexity and Education18(1), 1-44.

Koopmans, M., & Sayama, H. (2018). Editorial introduction. Complicity: An International Journal for Complexity and Education18(1), 1-3.

Koopmans, M. (2018). Exploring the effects of creating small high schools on daily attendance: A statistical case study, Complicity: An International Journal for Complexity and Education18(1), 19-30.

Koopmans, M. (2018). On the pervasiveness of long range memory processes in daily high school attendance rates. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences22(2), 243-262.

Koopmans, M. (2017). Nonlinear processes in time-ordered observations: Self-organized criticality in daily high school attendance. Complicity: An International Journal for Complexity and Education14(2), 78-87.

Stamovlasis, D., & Koopmans, M. (2017). Editorial introduction. Complicity: An International Journal for Complexity and Education14(2), 1-6.

Stamovlasis, D., & Koopmans, M. (Eds.) (2017). Special issue: Proceedings of the Symposium on Complex Systems in Education: Questions, methods and implications for practice, held at the Conference on Complex Systems, Amsterdam, Netherlands; September 20, 2016. Complicity: An International Journal for Complexity and Education14(2), 1-115.

Koopmans, M. (2017). Perspectives on complexity, its definition and applications in the field. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education14(1), 16-35.

Koopmans, M. (2017). Estimating perturbation and meta-stability in the daily attendance rates of six small high schools. Fluctuation and Noise Letters16(3). doi: 10.1142/S0219477517500213.

Koopmans, M. (2017). Using data to improve practice. Review of Action Research in the Classroom: Helping Teachers Assess and Improve their Work, by Sr. Mary Ann Jacobs and Bruce S. Cooper. Global Education Review4(1), 118-119.

Koopmans, M. (2017). Mixed methods in search of a problem: Perspectives from complexity theory. Journal of Mixed Methods Research11(1), 16-18. doi:10.1177/1558689816676662.

Koopmans, M. (2016). Addressing the policy churn in public education in the United States. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences20(3), 401-422.

Koopmans, M. (2016). Betting on people: An essay review of Dale Russakoff’s The prize: Who is in charge of America’s schools? Education Review // Reseñas Educativas23 (June).

Koopmans, M. (2016). Investigating the long memory process in daily high school attendance data. In M. Koopmans, & D. Stamovlasis (Eds.) Complex dynamical systems in education: Concepts, methods and applications (pp. 299-321). Springer.

Koopmans, M. (2016). Ergodicity and the merits of the single case. In M. Koopmans, & D. Stamovlasis (Eds.) Complex dynamical systems in education: Concepts, methods and applications (pp. 119-139). Springer.

Koopmans, M., & Stamovlasis, D. (2016). Introduction to education as a complex dynamical system. In M. Koopmans, & D. Stamovlasis (Eds.) Complex dynamical systems in education: Concepts, methods and applications (pp. 1-7). Springer.

Koopmans, M., & Stamovlasis, D. (Eds.) (2016). Complex dynamical systems in education: Concepts, methods and applications. Springer.

Koopmans, M. (2015). When time makes a difference: Addressing ergodicity and complexity in education. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education12(2), 5-25.

Koopmans, M. (2015). Large-Scale studies and their impact on theory and professional practice. Challenging Organizations and Society: Reflective Hybrids4(2), 782-795.

Koopmans, M. (2015). Lessons on whole system reform. Review of Leading Educational Change, edited by Helen J. Malone. Global Education Review2(1), 56-57.

Koopmans, M. (2015). A dynamical view of high school attendance: An assessment of short-term and long-term dependencies in five urban schools. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences19, 65-80.

Koopmans, M. (2014). Change, self-organization and the search for causality in educational research and practice. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education11, 20-39.

Koopmans, M. (2014). Nonlinear change and the black box problem in educational research. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences18, 5-22.

Stamovlasis, D. & Koopmans, M. (2014). Editorial introduction: Education is a dynamical system. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences18, 1-4.

Koopmans, M. (2012). Review of New Thinking in Complexity for the Social Sciences and Humanities by Ton Jörg. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences, 16, 498-500.

Koopmans, M. (2012). An appreciation of the Yellow Book past 20. SCTPLS Newsletter206-7.

Koopmans, M. (2009). Epilogue: Psychology at the edge of chaos. In S. J. Guastello, M. Koopmans, & D. Pincus (Eds.) Chaos and Complexity in Psychology: The Theory of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems (Pp. 506-526). Cambridge University Press.

Guastello, S. J., Koopmans, M., & Pincus, D. (Eds.) (2009). Chaos and Complexity in Psychology: The Theory of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems. Cambridge University Press.