I have the privilege and responsibility of leading our talented faculty and staff in providing outstanding programs and contributing important new knowledge to the fields of education and human development through research and the scholarship of teaching. My tenure as a leader commenced at a very exciting time for the University, as it builds upon the consolidation with the Anschutz medical campus and continues to define itself as an urban-serving, research-intensive institution.
I share the passion of the faculty for working hard to understand the distinctive character and needs of different contexts in diverse urban and rural settings. To prepare excellent teachers, counselors, leaders and scholars for all educational settings we must start with an understanding of context. I grew up in the 50s and 60s in the city of all cities—NYC-- in diverse, immigrant neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, the granddaughter of Eastern European and Russian immigrants. My extended family was large and long-lived! My great aunts, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents were a huge part of my childhood, adolescence and into adulthood—my last grandparent died just 14 years ago at the age of 98. The messages from them were clear and consistent—you must get an education, you must always put family-first and, you must give back to your communities. I listened and earned my bachelors from the University of Rochester in developmental psychology and linguistics, and my masters (and teaching certifications in early childhood and deaf education) and my doctorate (in language and cognition) at Boston University’s School of Education. Teaching in my family was considered a noble profession and highly encouraged. So, not surprisingly, my brother, sister and I all ended up in different kinds of careers in higher education! And, my husband and children, parents, siblings, cousins and remaining aunts and uncles remain a very tight-knit clan.
My teaching journey started in early childhood and elementary schools in Boston and then, Columbus Ohio-- first in schools for the deaf (I am a fluent signer) and then in various inclusive early childhood programs, including full day childcare. I have about ten years of direct program/classroom experience—the last of which were as an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Lab School at The Ohio State University. Over time, I moved through several positions at OSU – achieving rank and tenure as a Full Professor and in total served 23 years as a faculty member, teacher, researcher, and mentor with several administrative experiences along the way. I had a lively life as a researcher with many external grants to study classrooms as social contexts for teaching and learning, and to reform the ways we prepare teachers in partnership with (the Columbus City) Schools.
Six years ago, I was invited to be Director of the School of Teaching and Learning at OSU for a School about the same size as the SEHD. I led the School through a time of major change—adopting the semester calendar, growing research grants, designing many new programs, hiring a large group of outstanding faculty. In all, I spent 28 years as a Buckeye in a rich and rewarding career of teaching, research, service and administration, but knew a few years ago that I wanted to move on—I wanted to stretch, challenge myself, and make a different kind of contribution. I took my time looking for the position I truly wanted because I knew that yanking roots out of the ground that had been growing for 28 years would be hard. When I saw the position advertisement for the Dean of SEHD at the University of Colorado Denver, I knew I had found what I was looking for. I was drawn by the urban setting, the incredible network of school and community partnerships in both teacher and counselor preparation and research collaboratives. I was intrigued by the transformation that is taking place through consolidation and the quality of the faculty, students and upper leadership.
We are realizing the vision we created 8 years ago when I arrived: to be an innovative School of Education and Human Development serving our students, district and community partners. Through a high level of engagement. We strive to create programs and research initiatives that are partnered, responsive and transformational. Our students’ success is our highest priority!
My door is usually open and I welcome students, staff and faculty to walk-in, sit and share their stories, lives, hopes and dreams. Together, we are taking the SEHD to the next level of achievement as a first-class program leader among Schools in the nation and making significant contributions to Denver, and Colorado.