DFI announces search for next executive director

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Deans for Impact announced today that the organization’s founder and executive director, Benjamin Riley, will step down this year. Riley’s decision brings to a close nearly a decade of his service to Deans for Impact, and will create new leadership opportunities for the organization as it deepens its commitment to transform and improve teacher preparation.

“Deans for Impact’s mission has never felt more important, nor more essential, to our education system,” Riley said. “Humans are social creatures, and learning a social endeavor. The pandemic wrought havoc on schools but the need for good teaching endures. And we owe it to future teachers to prepare them well for the demands of their chosen profession. I’m proud of the contributions Deans for Impact has made to that cause, and grateful to have worked alongside such extraordinary colleagues for so long.”

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we want to thank Ben for his bold and creative leadership and impact over the past 10 years,” said David Chard, Deans for Impact’s board chair. “Since its founding, Deans for Impact has supported groups of leaders of teacher preparation programs to ensure that every beginning teacher is well prepared. We are very grateful for Ben’s strategic leadership that has resulted in a very capable and diverse team at Deans for Impact and has given the organization a trusted reputation focused on results.”

“Deans for Impact’s programs and products have been invaluable to my thinking and to supporting our growth and development as a leader in teacher preparation,” said Mayme Hostetter, president of Relay Graduate School of Education. “Under Ben’s leadership, Deans for Impact has provided a platform for change in our field and a network of change-focused leaders who share an interest in ensuring that their programs impact positively on our nation’s classrooms.”

Driven by the belief that teacher preparation is a critical component to improving teaching and learning across the U.S. and globally, the Board has affirmed its commitment to Deans for Impact’s focus on improving teacher preparation. Deans for Impact will maintain its efforts to transform teacher preparation through its core activities:

  • Impact Academy – A year-long fellowship for current leaders of educator-preparation programs that combines intensive in-person learning experiences with ongoing coaching and mentorship from veteran leaders, and creates a supportive network of fellows focused on improving how their programs prepare future teachers.
  • Learning by Scientific Design – Currently, Deans for Impact leads a national network of educator-preparation programs working to ensure novice teachers understand basic principles of learning science and how to employ these principles when they teach. Going forward, DFI intends to offer these resources to any educator-preparation program that seeks to incorporate this science into the experiences they provide to teacher-candidates.
  • Policy and Advocacy – Deans for Impact will continue to lift up the voices of leaders of educator-preparation programs in the policy space, and advocate for policies that will improve the instructional preparedness of future teachers.

The Board of Directors will oversee the process to select Riley’s successor and has hired search consultant Mike Jolley to assist with the transition to new leadership. Deans for Impact seeks a courageous and tough-minded leader capable of identifying risks and opportunities to the organization as well as strategies to mitigate risks. Of particular importance to the organization and its work is having a substantive impact on the historic barriers to inclusive educator-preparation.

If interested, please contact Mike Jolley at A full position description for the Executive Director role, as well as more information about Deans for Impact and its programs, can be found at

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