Kay joined the University of Nottingham as Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in November 2014. Prior to that she was Lecturer in Education, and course leader of the secondary English PGDipEd at the University of Birmingham (2007-2014).
Before becoming a higher education teacher and researcher Kay worked for 15 years teaching in five mixed community comprehensive schools in three local authorities. She was a teacher of English, head of English and deputy headteacher during that time.
Kay is a member of a number of research-based networks. She is an elected member of BELMAS National Council. She is co-convenor (with Drs Pontso Moorosi, Saeeda Shah, Victoria Showunmi and Joan Smith) of the BELMAS Gender and Leadership Research Interest Group. Kay is also a member of the international Women Leading Education network that covers five continents. She is a member of the International School Leadership Development Network. This network involves researchers from over 20 countries engaging in a common project and is co-sponsored by BELMAS and UCEA.
Kay is book reviews editor of Educational Review. She also sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Educational Administration and History and is Associate Editor for Frontiers in Education.
In addition to published papers and books Kay has shared her research with a range of bodies including local schools and events organised by the network #WomenEd. Kay is a regional lead for the East Midlands region. Kay was interviewed recently by the Times Educational Supplement and the BBC about her research into the distribution of women secondary school headteachers in England.
Kay leads the MA Educational Leadership and Management programme. She is course leader for the campus based full-time and part-time courses and module convener for the Issues in School Leadership… read more
Kay is currently working on a number of collaborative projects.
One concerns research into women headteachers of Black and Global Majority heritage leading schools in South Africa, the United States and England (with Dr Pontso Moorosi and Dr Elizabeth Reilly). Another concerns women headteachers in Scotland, Jamaica, New Zealand and England (with Dr Dee Toorance, Dr Carmel Roofe and Dr Rachel MacNae).
Kay is PI on a BELMAS funded project Joining up Networks in Education for Women. She is working with Dr Joanne Cliffe and Vivienne Porritt.
She is also analysing data from the #WomenEd research project with Dr Jill Berry.
Her current research focuses on women, gender and feminism in educational leadership. In particular, she is currently working on an intersectional feminist exploration of contemporary educational leadership with a new book due for publication in 2021. In the book, she draws together a number of research projects undertaken during the last five years to theorize about fourth wave feminism. She draws on feminist theories to think about leadership including intersectionality theory, Black British feminism and queer theory. She looks at gender and Islam, digital feminism, men's pro-feminism and femonationalism.
Having completed a critical auto-ethnography to re-narrate her life history and refresh her worldview, she has developed an intersectionality life grid designed to support the reflexivity of scholars and education professionals alike. Her work is underpinned by a commitment to working for social justice and takes an explicitly feminist stance. Even so, she recognises resistance to feminism in some contexts. She works with colleagues in schools and universities to support them in their work.
She is founding co-convener of the BELMAS Gender and Leadership Research Interest Group (committed to an intersectional perspective) and member of scholarly network Women Leading Education across Continents.
She has focused on the lived realities of women and men as educational leaders. This includes updating the distribution of women secondary school headteachers in England at five year intervals; exploring experiences of becoming and being headteachers; exploring the priorities in leadership as headteachers see them. In particular, her work has focused on the intersections of personal i.e. gender, 'race', social class, sexuality and professional identities and the resulting oppressions and privileges they afford.
She is currently developing research that focuses on intersectional discrimination in education and employment in education.
She has supervised doctoral research focusing on the intersections of gender and 'race' in women's leadership in higher education (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the UK), women's graduate student identities (the UK, Saudi Arabia), and research using Critical Race Theory in secondary schools and Black men's professional identities (UK).
Kay leads the MA Educational Leadership and Management programme. She is course leader for the campus based full-time and part-time courses and module convener for the Issues in School Leadership module. Kay is currently supervising a number of EdD and PhD research projects. She also teaches on the new BA Education programme.