Introducing our 2018 Impact Academy fellows

Deans for Impact has an ambitious vision. Within a generation, we believe the U.S. can have the best educator-preparation system in the world, one where every program consistently prepares teacher-candidates to be good on day one, and become great over time.

Achieving this vision requires leadership.

That’s why three years ago, we launched Impact Academy, a year-long fellowship to support and empower educator-preparation leaders by building their leadership skills and connecting them to a network of deans focused on collective action and support for one another.

Over the fellowship’s first two years, we’ve had the privilege to work with 26 inspiring leaders — and today, we are thrilled to announce the 13 fellows in the 2018 Impact Academy cohort:

  • Rachel Abbott, Georgia Southwestern State University
  • Jordan Barkley, Tarleton State University (Texas)
  • Robert DeHaas, Dallas Teacher Residency (Texas)
  • Katharine Delavan, Lake Erie College (Ohio)
  • Laurie Elish-Piper, Northern Illinois University
  • Alaina Harper, Relay Graduate School of Education/Philadelphia-Camden (Pennsylvania)
  • Kimberly Walker McAlister, Northwestern State University (Louisiana)
  • Virginia Padilla-Vigil, New Mexico Highlands University
  • Alma D. Rodríguez, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • R. Anthony Rolle, University of Rhode Island
  • Deanna Sands, Seattle University (Washington)
  • Andrew F. Wall, University of Redlands (California)
  • Tamara K. Wallace, Radford University (Virginia)

Our 2018 fellows bring with them impressive experiences: for example, eight fellows have spent time as K-12 teachers; one leads her state’s council overseeing teacher preparation; and another sits on her state’s Board of Education. Our fellows’ specialization areas are wide-ranging, from K-12 school finance to literacy, from bilingual and ESL teacher preparation to the Underground Railroad.

This cohort’s fellows lead programs that collectively enroll more than 3,500 teacher-candidates in 11 states. Eight fellows lead programs at public institutions, three fellows come from private institutions, and two fellows lead programs that are non-traditional pathways into teaching. Two fellows’ programs are at Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI).

In our application, we asked fellows to share why they were applying to Impact Academy and what they hoped to learn during the fellowship year. Here’s a small sample of what we heard:

“I believe that as a dean, I can get more good work done by collaborating with others and using our collective knowledge, experience, and commitment to improve teacher education.”

“Our education system here in America is at an inflection point – many even going as far as branding the challenges facing our system as the ‘civil rights’ injustice of our generation. Whether one agrees or disagrees with this statement, challenges certainly do exist. Confronting these obstacles is complex. It is my belief however, that change begins with effective leadership from individuals in positions of influence.”

“Too often as educators, we work in isolation from our peers with rare opportunities to interact and strategize. I welcome the opportunity to engage with other deans and to work collectively to improve teacher preparation nationally.”

“New teachers are not the only professionals who need mentorship and professional development. I think it is equally important for new education leaders to receive sustained, high-quality professional development as the success of their programs, and the education profession, is contingent on their knowledge and skills.”

We are excited to support the 2018 fellows on their year-long journey of inquiry and improvement. Stay tuned in the coming months for more stories from this journey and the lessons we — and our fellows — are learning along the way.

Interested in learning more about Impact Academy? Click here.

Charis Anderson

Senior Director of Communications

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