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Behind the blog

Curious who’s behind the Deans for Impact blog? To start, there’s the staff team at Deans for Impact:

Ben Riley, our executive director, has been with Deans for Impact since it was just an idea, an effort to identify answers to a set of questions about what it would take to transform teacher preparation. He got his start in the professional education community at the California Department of Justice, working on education-policy lawsuits, before transitioning into education policy and advocacy.

Pete Fishman, our vice president of strategy, started his career in education as a substitute history teacher while still in college. That job inspired him to figure out how he could get better at helping others to learn, a journey he’s been on ever since. The most recent stop on that journey (prior to heading to Deans for Impact) was at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, where he completed his doctorate in education leadership.

Steve Wojcikiewicz is our vice president of policy. His experience in educator preparation runs deep: he spent six years as a teacher educator at Western Oregon University, where he was an associate professor, and more recently, he was with the American Federation of Teachers as an assistant director in the educational issues department, focusing on teacher preparation policy.

Valerie Sakimura, our vice president of program, began her career in education while she was still in high school as a ballet instructor to younger children. In college, experiences with tutoring and mentoring students as well as interviewing teachers and principals for her senior thesis, helped her appreciate the magnitude of talent and abundance of heart that reside in schools alongside profound structural barriers.

Rashi Jawade, our Director of Special Projects, trained as a lawyer but has been working in K-12 education since her last year of law school, when an internship at the Baltimore City Public Schools ultimately led to a full-time job after graduation. The work helped cement her belief in education as a grassroots driver for social change with teachers as its critical lever.

And then there’s me, Charis Anderson, the organization’s director of communications. I got my start in education as a reporter, covering the school system of a small city in Massachusetts. As a former reporter, I hold the principle of transparency near and dear, and our member deans’ desire to engage in honest, self-reflective discussion and debate about what it will take to transform educator preparation is a big part of why I was so excited to join Deans for Impact. It’s also what will make this blog such an interesting read!

You can expect to see posts from all of us on the blog – but we won’t be the only ones writing. You will also see content written by our member deans, to whom we’ll be introducing you in more detail in the coming weeks.


Charis Anderson

Senior Director of Communications


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