In Memoriam: John I. Goodlad

John_I_Goodlad John I. Goodlad, a giant in 20th-century education and former elected president of AACTE, died November 29 in Seattle. He was 94.

After 8 years of teaching in his native Canada — in the challenging conditions of a one-room schoolhouse and, later, a juvenile detention center — Goodlad completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of British Columbia and then came to the United States for doctoral work at the University of Chicago. By age 29, he was head of teacher education at Emory University (GA). He briefly returned to the University of Chicago before moving in 1960 to the University of California Los Angeles, where he spent 24 years, the last 16 as education dean. In 1984, he left UCLA for the University of Washington, where he stayed for the remainder of his career.

In 1986, he launched the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER) to promote the public democratic purposes of education through school-university partnerships, and he founded the Center for Educational Renewal at the University of Washington and, later, the independent Institute for Educational Inquiry to support the network with research and development work. More than two dozen NNER settings around the country united universities with local schools and districts in pursuit of “simultaneous renewal” in the hundreds of partnering institutions.

“John Goodlad was truly a teacher’s teacher,” said AACTE President/CEO Sharon P. Robinson. “Through his scholarship, mentoring, and professional engagement, he inspired and challenged his professional community to continue learning. He taught us to regard issues of student achievement as issues that belong to all, and to connect with practitioners in public school classrooms as colleagues. At any time, his presence among us was commanding; his life’s work is ever so.”

Goodlad’s award-winning 1984 publication A Place Called School attracted the strongest spotlight among his dozens of books. He also led a major study of teacher preparation that culminated in his 1990 book Teachers for Our Nation’s Schools, which won AACTE’s Outstanding Writing Award. Goodlad received numerous honorary degrees and awards for his writing and research. He served as president not only of AACTE but also of the American Educational Research Association, and he was a charter member of the National Academy of Education.

David G. Imig, AACTE president emeritus and longtime collaborator of Goodlad’s, said his friend and colleague was the most influential voice of his time. “He offered an alternative vision of what schooling could be and inspired a generation of classroom teachers and school principals, teacher educators and other academics to focus on what renewing—not reforming—schools could mean,” Imig said. “He called upon politicians and policy makers, professors and the public to do better for America’s students. He was passionate in his beliefs about the role of schools and schooling in democratic societies and political democracies.”

A recent installment of Arizona State University’s “Inside the Academy” provides a series of video interviews with Goodlad at and reflections on his work from numerous colleagues at

What has John Goodlad meant to you? Please share your tribute in the Comments section below.

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