Jack Gillette joined Lesley University as dean of the Graduate School of Education in July 2011. Jack came to Lesley from Yale University where he served for 10 years as director of the Teacher Preparation and Educational Studies Program. While at Yale, Jack established a new Master of Arts in Urban Education Studies program in partnership with the New Haven Public Schools. He also redesigned the undergraduate education majors to meet NCATE standards at the university. He began his career as a high school social studies teacher in New Haven, Connecticut.

The entire structure of higher education works against accountability for program quality so outside levers are essential for meaningful change.

Why did you decide to join Deans for Impact?

The entire structure of higher education works against accountability for program-outcome quality so outside levers are absolutely essential for meaningful change. Second, the mix of providers is also a vital element. Alumni data is essential for any meaningful change. I do not believe in transformative change but the gutsy, incremental (but meaningful) mechanics that drive us toward where we want to be. This group can accomplish that.

What is one pivotal moment in your career in educator preparation that left a positive impact on you or others?

There are two. First, the slow realization of how unprepared I was despite what was then seen as a terrific program with longer clinical time and inductions support. Two, the chance to build from scratch a prep program at Yale for secondary candidates with New Haven Public Schools. Candidates had to stay for two years so we had direct evidence of the effectiveness of our work. It was grueling, but a needed discipline.

What most excites you about the opportunity to transform the field of educator preparation in the years ahead?

Transformation is a term for funders. The reality is that this is a very complex organizational field, ill-designed to do any human development of teachers. No neo-liberal market intervention, no well-designed policy alone is going to be effective. What needs to line up is policy space, tied with huge increases in backroom management competency and innovation. Then the needle can move upward and more highly effective teachers can make more of a difference.

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