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Honoring Women Leadership in Educator Preparation

National Women's History Month

As another Women’s History Month comes to an end, AACTE wants to acknowledge the achievements of women-identified leaders in educator preparation. The Association kicked off its celebration by asking you, AACTE members, to identify a leader who affected your work as an educator through their mentorship, research, and colleagueship. AACTE is honored to share those responses here and want to congratulate all women members for their contributions to their classrooms and the field each day.

Joan Rhodes, chair, Department of Teaching and Learning and associate professor, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education
“Dr. Rhodes models skillful leadership and compassion. A transformational leader, she is responsive to the financial and structural needs of the larger institution, while prioritizing the human experience of faculty, staff, and students. She treats department members with dignity, soliciting feedback and input regularly. This collaborative approach led to adapting department practices. Voices previously unheard are now heard and respected. She quietly elevates and lifts all her colleagues and students, creating pathways to leadership roles for all members of the community. She makes me, a junior faculty member, feel seen, heard, and valued while I continue to develop my leadership skills.”

Marie McCarthy, professor of music education, University of Michigan
“I had the pleasure of learning from Dr. McCarthy as an undergraduate music education student and again when I returned to pursue my Ph.D. at the University of Maryland. I feel so incredibly fortunate to remain in close contact with my mentor over a decade after completing my studies. She exemplifies quiet strength through her leadership. She has served in many leadership roles over her impressive career, modeling strong female leadership for many like me. She skillfully navigates the often complex context that is higher education, evoking only positive responses from all colleagues who have the fortune of working with her.” 

Sara Skretta, certification officer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
“Sara is one of those individuals who has had a variety of experiences both personally and professionally. She brings these experiences, talents, and history with her. She is an authentic individual with passion for the work in educational leadership and the future of our educator pipeline. I rely on Sara for her talents but mostly because she never tells me no. Sara is a tireless volunteer for my association and more importantly, I have been able to call her friend as well.”

Shelley Wepner, dean, School of Education Manhattanville College
“Since her arrival at the college more than a decade ago, Dean Wepner has transformed the school of education through her leadership. She has been instrumental in raising the bar for faculty to increase their scholarship and out reach to the community. Under her guidance several initiatives were implemented. Dean Wepner spearheaded the creation of a doctoral program now in its eleventh year of success. She designed the award-winning Changing Suburbs Institute to help local school districts address challenges and opportunities of shifting demographics in suburban schools. Keeping support for schools first and foremost, Dean Wepner increased the School of Education’s K-12 partnerships from one to seventeen. Personally, she has mentored me through the promotion and tenure process, supported my scholarship, and provided opportunities for career advancement. Moreover, she is a caring leader that puts her faculty at the center of her decisions.”


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