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New Impact Academy cohort represents 25 states, reaches 15,000 teacher-candidates annually

Deans for Impact

Category: Leadership


Increasing access and affordability of pathways into teaching–especially for future teachers of color. Strengthening community and district partnerships.
Prioritizing evidence-based instructional quality and practice experiences. Building and sustaining a culture of equity and inclusion, and dismantling systems that oppress and marginalize.

These are some of the biggest priorities for the fellows that make up our eighth cohort of Impact Academy.

United in their shared vision of ensuring all PK-12 students access equitable, rigorous, and affirming learning experiences through well-prepared teachers, our newest cohort of 24 fellows lead educator-preparation institutions and programs spanning across 25 states and DC. These institutions include public and private universities, a teachers’ union-led initiative, and residency programs.

Programs led by these fellows collectively prepare nearly 15,000 teacher-candidates, of whom 45% identify as candidates of color. Six programs are designated Minority-Serving Institutions.

“For the eighth year in a row, we welcome a diverse group of outstanding leaders to Impact Academy who are steadfast in their commitment to ensuring all PK-12 students access well-prepared teachers,” says Valerie Sakimura, executive director of DFI. “As communities respond to shortages of skilled educators, there is no more crucial time to ensure that we’re building pathways into teaching that are accessible, practice-based, and focused on equitable instruction. Leaders in educator preparation play an essential role in charting the future of the teaching profession.”

Over the 2023-24 academic year, fellows will engage in leadership development that supports them to identify adaptive challenges unique to their contexts and develop and pursue leadership actions that enact sustainable, equity-centered change. Programmatic aspects of the fellowship include monthly learning sessions, one-on-one coaching from seasoned leaders, peer consultancies to address field-facing challenges in real-time, and more.

Our 2023 Impact Academy fellows are:

  • Andy Saultz, Interim Dean of the College of Education, Pacific University
  • Anne Lamb, Managing Director of Program and Evaluation, St. Louis Teacher Residency
  • Austin Moag, Dean of Teacher Programs, Relay Graduate School of Education
  • Barbara Tucker, Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, Sul Ross State University
  • Beth Greene Costner, Dean of the Richard W. Riley College of Education, Winthrop University
  • Clifton Tanabe, Dean of the College of Education, University of Texas at El Paso
  • Debbie G. Thomas, Dean of the College of Education, Grambling State University
  • Elizabeth Dinkins, Dean of the School of Education, Bellarmine University
  • James P. McIntyre, Jr., Dean of the College of Education & Assistant Provost for Academic Excellence, Belmont University
  • James Meadows, Dean of the Educator Career Pathways Center, Washington Education Association
  • Joellen Maples, Dean of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education, St. John Fisher University
  • Judy A. Abbott, Dean of the James I. Perkins College of Education, Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Kimberly Eckert, Dean of the Oxford Teachers College, Reach University
  • Lana Collet-Klingenberg, Interim Dean & Associate Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • LaTonya Turner, Dean of the Fred S. Klipsch Educators College, Marian University
  • Laura Spenceley, Dean of the School of Education, SUNY Oswego
  • Matt Cheek, Executive Director, Nashville Teacher Residency
  • Michael P. O’Malley, Dean of the College of Education, Texas State University
  • Robert Q. Berry, III, Dean of the College of Education, University of Arizona
  • Roxanne Greitz Miller, Dean of the Attallah College of Educational Studies, Chapman University
  • Ryan Evely Gildersleeve, Dean of the College of Education, Eastern Michigan University
  • Shayna Sullivan, Dean, Alder Graduate School of Education
  • Victoria Theisen-Homer, Director of the Arizona Teacher Residency, Northern Arizona University
  • Yune Tran, Dean of the School of Education and Social Work, Providence College

Including this newest cohort, our Impact Academy fellowship has served 139 educator-preparation leaders since its inception in 2016. Today, many of these leaders are also university provosts and presidents, national nonprofit leaders, state education administrators, and in other roles that shape the future of teaching and learning. They continue to learn from and collaborate with one another through DFI’s Leadership Collaborative, an alumni network for former fellows.

2023 Impact Academy fellows share what they hope to gain from the experience:

“I hope to lean into everyone’s stories to navigate challenges and successes that are unique to each institutional context but shared collective experiences…As the nation is under a teacher shortage crisis, it is important to mobilize efforts in teacher preparation for better recruitment and retention along with mechanisms for diversifying the teacher workforce. This work demands committed and courageous leaders who are part of the collective conversation for change and impact.” -Yune Tran

“I am eager to learn from and contribute to the distributed expertise of leaders dedicated to pursuing education as social transformation.” -Ryan Evely Gildersleeve

“I hope to bring a unique perspective on what teacher prep can look like. Specifically, I want to bring my equity mindset and commitment to increasing access to the profession for historically underrepresented groups. While most people say they want this, the action toward creating affirming environments for candidates of color has a long way to go.” –Matt Cheek

“The chance to connect with colleagues who have different lived experiences and professional challenges will help invigorate my thinking, particularly toward curricular transformation. Coming through the pandemic, we are experiencing a resurgence of innovation to ensure that our academic pathways offer various access points, time commitments, and applied learning experiences to better serve the needs of our students and the school communities in our region, state, and country.” -Laura Spenceley


Read more about what fellows have focused on in Impact Academy throughout the years: