James began his professional experience in education as a college admissions officer and later transitioned to a career in K-12 education as an elementary school teacher and leader. He has extensive experience collaborating with practitioners and conducting equity-focused, policy-oriented educational research, most recently at the University of Southern California. His research has been published in both peer-reviewed academic journals and national media outlets, in addition to being recognized by the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. He holds a PhD in Urban Education Policy (University of Southern California '23), an MEd in Educational Administration and Policy (University of Georgia '17), and a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology (Georgia College & State University '13).