Deans for Impact selected Chris Ward, Academic Dean of the Upper Valley Educators Institute, as an Impact Academy fellow. He joins an elite group of 24 educational leaders who will work together for the next year to create transformative change in educator preparation. 

Together, fellows form a collaborative network to workshop challenges in the field and seek solutions. In the midst of unprecedented upheaval in education, Impact Academy offers an opportunity for leaders to sharpen their skills through self-reflection, collaborative learning sessions, and one-on-one coaching.

When asked what he hopes to learn during the year-long fellowship, Ward responded, “I hope to learn how other educational leaders put into practice equity-focused leadership,” said Ward. How do they lead day-to-day with a focus on long-term strategy? How do they use equity-relevant data on candidates’ learning to guide continuous improvement?”

He added, “The model of the Impact Academy Fellowship, not unlike UVEI, with a focus on coaching, collaborative inquiry, and reflection, is aligned with how I believe people learn best.”

While other leadership experiences focus on nuts-and-bolts training for budgeting or accreditation, Impact Academy fellows define a strategy for instructional improvement grounded in equity and learning science. Throughout the year, fellows will participate in monthly virtual sessions with regular learning modules and ongoing leadership coaching from Deans for Impact member deans.

“We believe that transformative leadership is the cornerstone of an educator-preparation program that continually works to prepare more effective teachers,” said Benjamin Riley, founder and executive director of Deans for Impact. “We’re thrilled to welcome 24 such leaders into the Impact Academy fellowship, and are excited to support these leaders as they embark on efforts to improve their programs and the field.”

Chris Ward will join Impact Academy’s sixth cohort, its largest and most diverse to date. Each cohort is selected through an intensive application process. Deans for Impact is committed to reflecting the broad diversity of programs preparing new educators in the United States. Fellows in this cohort hail from 17 states, joining from as far north as Alaska and as far east as Brooklyn. They represent public and private universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions and Predominantly Black Institutions, and experiential programs. Collectively, these institutions serve over 10,000 future teachers annually.   

About Deans for Impact

Founded in 2015, Deans for Impact is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every child is taught by a well-prepared teacher. We do this by connecting with leaders of educator preparation programs; helping them transform their programs; sustaining these transformations over time; and influencing policy that affects their work. In designing learning experiences, we aim to create inclusive and collaborative spaces that address participants’ real problems of practice, and provide concrete examples while recognizing the importance of local context.

More information can be found on their website.