John Roberts is a Senior Program Director for Deans for Impact. He manages the Impact Academy leadership fellowship for deans. Prior to joining Deans for Impact, he was an assistant professor for education policy studies at a large state university in Pennsylvania. Earlier in his career, John helped design a principal development program for a large urban school district and worked in both traditional public and charter schools. John received his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan and a master’s and Ed.D. in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Deans for Impact’s guiding principles reflect the core of what I believe makes a profession, a profession.

When/why did you start working in education?

June 1st, 1994. I was responsible for designing a training program for 15- and 16-year-olds who were going to work as summer camp counselors for the YMCA of Lansing, Mich. Although I couldn’t articulate all these pieces at the time, I enjoyed thinking about curriculum, lesson design (particularly in an experiential setting), and assessing the progress (and potential) of those young people.

Why were you excited to join Deans for Impact?

The people – You won’t meet a more intelligent, motivated, and kind group of professionals than my colleagues. The mission – Our mission is important, timely, and stretches me professionally and personally. You can’t ask for more than work that feels like that most days.

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

Deans for Impact’s guiding principles reflect the core of what I believe makes a profession, a profession. If teaching is (or should be) a profession, then all of us who work in educator preparation will need to live those principles.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Judith DeWoskin of Ann Arbor, Mich. When I was a student teacher, Judith took the time to sit in the back of my classroom and observe me on most days. She was the only person who regularly took verbatim notes of my teaching, shared them with me, and engaged me in conversation about what I was trying to accomplish. Those five months deeply changed my orientation to feedback and my practice as a teacher.

What’s your favorite food truck and why?

Mother Truckers – downtown Missoula, Mont. As a relatively new resident of Austin, I haven’t been able to choose a favorite food truck – yet. But, I’m quite familiar with the genre and was a regular at Mother Truckers in Missoula, Mont., over the years. I’ve heard they’ve since closed, but if any of you are visiting ‘Zootown anytime soon, let me know if you find them lurking down an alley off Front Street. I’ll have a cheese steak – lots of onions please.

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