​Cassandra Herring is dean-in-residence at Deans for Impact, where she is leading the formation of a national collaborative among educator preparation programs at minority serving institutions. Formerly, Cassandra was the dean of the School of Education and Human Development at Hampton University and chair of the HBCU deans of education council. Cassandra has had distinguished 20-year career providing leadership in educational policy at all levels. Cassandra was appointed board chair for a Head Start program in Middle Georgia that serves an economically depressed six county area. She also served as chief policy advisor for two college presidents and as associate state superintendent for policy. Cassandra earned Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Science degrees in Organizational Communication from the University of Texas at Austin. She earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Policy from Georgia State University.​

I came to understand that making change is more than wielding one’s power or tweaking the rules.

Why were you excited to join Deans for Impact?

Building creative and effective scaffolds for candidates and for programs is my passion and is what inspired me to join the Deans for Impact team as Dean-In-Residence. My specific project relates to identifying needs, providing technical assistance and building the capacity of minority-serving institutions to produce increased numbers of high quality teachers of color who will nurture and inspire our nation’s schoolchildren. MSIs continue to prepare a disproportionate number of teachers of color, and our nation needs them to do more and better in this regard.

Why do Deans for Impact’s guiding principles ring true for you?

Data can be a powerful tool that organizations and individuals can leverage to improve their performance and secure increased outcomes. The use of data for improvement is empowering. When data are used to understand where you are, then you can design better, more efficient roadmaps for where you want to go. But, data are a tool, and individuals must be trained to use them for good.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

My favorite “teacher” was actually a team of three teachers that I had in middle school. I still don’t think of them individually, because they were so complementary (and in our open-concept school, we saw and heard all of them all day long). Mrs. Hale taught math and was always impeccably dressed and very organized. She always emphasized that good students, like successful adults, should be self-disciplined. Mrs. Mackey was a bit more easygoing and eclectic. She taught social studies and travelled the world. As she shared her adventures with us, she helped us appreciate and value difference and the kaleidoscope of cultures. Mrs. Huddleston taught Language Arts and was the “Mother Hen.” She was always reassuring and warm. She challenged us to do our best and then to stretch to do a little bit.

What’s your favorite food truck and why?

My favorite food trucks are those that appear on The Great Food Truck Race on HGTV because I can enjoy their themes and recipes without actually having to eat at them. I have not caught the food-truck craze. In fact, I have food-truck-phobia (don’t judge me). Does everything have to go mobile? For now, I will stick with good old-fashioned restaurants.

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