Here at Mometrix Test Preparation, we enjoy taking the time to recognize the individuals who dedicate their lives to helping educate our country’s future workforce. We do this because we recognize that without them, today’s students have no chance to receive the education they require in order to carry the torch once it has been passed. We recently published an article called “The 30 Most Influential Deans of Nursing in the United States,” in which we honored an elite group of individuals for their work in both the schools they serve and the field of nursing as a whole. Our goal is to do something very similar with this list of incredible individuals and the institutions they represent, showcasing how they have had an invaluable impact not only on the field of education as a whole, but also on the lives of the future teachers of America whom they have shepherded through their programs.
In order to compile the list you see below, our researchers analyzed a number of different factors including state and national awards and honors, education program rankings, individual degree program rankings, and even the level of pay received by graduated teachers from the schools examined. That data was then compiled and organized into the list you see below. Congratulations to each Dean and College/University whose names appear below – your hard work and dedication to the invaluable work you do has not gone unnoticed.
So without further ado, Mometrix Test Preparation presents the 2015 edition of The 30 Most Influential Deans of Education in the United States:
30. Paul Beare, Ph.D. – Dean of School of Education and Human Development, California State University, Fresno
Dr. Paul Beare was named Dean of the School of Education and Human Development back in August 2003 after serving as the Dean of the College of Education at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia for three years. Under his leadership, Fresno State was awarded the 2013 AACTE (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education) Best Practice Award for Professional Ethics and Moral Dispositions in Teacher Education. This award bears witness to the work of Dr. Beare and the faculty at the School of Education and Human Development regarding their commitment to raising up the next generation of high-ethics educators. Dr. Beare has also been involved in the development of alternative teacher preparation programming, served as President of the Georgia Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and has published dozens of writings.
29. Debbie K. Mercer, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, Kansas State University
Dr. Debbie K. Mercer took the helm as Dean in June 2012 and has made it her mission to create technologically advanced learning environments at KSU, including an initiative to get iPads into the hands of all preservice teachers and instructional faculty. Dr, Mercer has also been instrumental in leading the charge to teach ESL to around 3,000 Ecuadorian teachers through a program called GoTeacher. Dr. Mercer also saw her program receive the AACTE Best Practice Award for Professional Ethics and Moral Dispositions in Teacher Education award in 2012. In addition to these accomplishments and accolades, she has also had multiple articles published regarding the quality of children’s literature and currently serves as the co-editor of the Kansas Journal of Reading.
28. Paula Cordeiro, Ed.D. – Dean of School of Leadership and Education Sciences, University of San Diego
Since becoming Dean in 1998, Paula Cordeiro has seen her program rise to new heights with the awarding of the 2014 AACTE Best Practice Award in Support of Global Diversity. According to the official press release, the award was given for the school’s “inclusive and advanced approach to diversity and for the internationalization of its program and curriculum,” and for prioritizing “the need to strengthen knowledge and understanding of issues of diversity…” In 2006, Cordeiro was appointed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve a three-year term on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, and in 2007 was appointed to the board of The James Irvine Foundation in San Francisco. June 30 of 2015 will be Cordeiro’s last day as she will be embarking on a three-year-long international assignment with the nonprofit organization Edify.
27. Maureen Gillette, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, Northeastern Illinois University
After serving in the classroom as a teacher for thirteen years, Dr. Maureen Gillette decided to begin to teach future teachers, first at The College of St. Rose and then at William Paterson University. She was then appointed Dean of the Northeastern Illinois University College of Education in 2005, and since then has seen her program bring home the AACTE 2012 Best Practice Award in Support of Global Diversity due largely in part to her leadership role regarding university’s Grow Your Own Teachers program, an initiative designed to help individuals in low-income communities become highly qualified educators. Dr. Gillette has also published more than 50 journal articles, scholarly papers and book chapters, and she co-authored a book titled Learning to Teach Everyone’s Children: Equity, Empowerment, and Education that is Multicultural.
26. Linda Patriarca, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, East Carolina University
Dr. Linda Patriarca was elected Dean in 2008 when she left her position as Associate Dean at Caldwell College in New Jersey. She has served in numerous roles over the course of her career, most notably as president of the Teacher Education Division of the Council of Exceptional Children and as an advisory board member for the Learning Disabilities Association of America. Seeing how Dr. Patriarca is a nationally-known expert in special education programs, it’s to no one’s surprise that the College of Education’s Special Education degree program was ranked by the NCTQ as the 10th best of its kind in the United States in 2014. College Factual ranked the university’s online education degree program as the 10th best in the country. Dr. Patriarca has also had more than 20 articles published, presented more than 80 national and regional presentations and taught in foreign countries a handful of times.
25. Gerardo M. González, Ph.D. – Dean of School of Education, Indiana University
Dr. Gerardo González began his tenure as Dean in July 2000 and has since pioneered the P-16 Research and Collaboration, a program which partners the School of Education with schools and districts all over the state of Indiana on numerous initiatives like retention and college access/preparation. Dr. González has been very active in helping IU’s School of Education program gain noteriety, with America.edu recognizing the school as being the 6th best elementary education program in the country, specifically citing IU’s Early Childhood Education degree. Following that, the NCTQ ranked IU’s Undergraduate Special Education degree as the 8th best program of its kind in the United States in 2014. Dr. González was also named one of the 50 most influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Business in 2014. He announced in 2014 that he would be stepping down as Dean effective June 30, 2015.
24. Richard Blackbourn, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, Mississippi State University
Since becoming Dean in 2005, Dr. Richard Blackbourn has lead the College of Education to become home to one of the top online education programs in the country. AC Online named MSU’s online bachelor’s degree program in elementary education the 5th best online teaching degree available in the US. Right alongside that honor, Nonprofit Colleges Online also ranked the university’s online degree program among the top in the country, placing it 7th. Dr. Blackbourn was also instrumental in the development of the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program. The joint project with the University of Mississippi is designed to be similar to an honors college specifically for education majors from the state of Mississippi. Dr. Blackbourn has also written numerous scholarly articles and was the co-editor of a book called, “The Pursuit of Continuous Improvement in Educational Organizations.”
23. Brad Colwell, J.D., Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education and Human Development, Bowling Green State University
Dr. Brad Colwell began his stint as Dean in July 2010 and since then has been instrumental in bringing BGSU’s College of Education into the conversation regarding the best schools of education in the country. Niche.com ranked BGSU as the 9th best school for students looking to obtain a degree in middle school education and College Factual ranked the school as the 4th best in the US for getting an education degree online. Dr. Colwell also currently serves as Chair of the Ohio Deans Compact on Exceptional Children, which aims to promote improved scholastic results among the children and youth of Ohio. He served a one-year term as the president of the national Education Law Association in 2010 and a three-year stint as a board member of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
22. Kevin Kelly, Ph.D. – Dean of School of Education and Health Sciences, University of Dayton
Dr. Kevin Kelly began his service as Dean in May 2010. In 2014, Dr. Kelly’s School of Education and Health Sciences program was ranked the 4th best elementary program in the country by the NCTQ, tied with two other universities. On top of that, StartClass ranked the university’s middle childhood education program as the 5th best of its kind in the United States. Dr. Kelly is involved in a number of professional activities and boards, including the American Counseling Association, the National Career Development Association and more. He has also published a number of journal articles (most regarding career development) and was recognized by the National Career Development Association for the most Outstanding Research Article of 2009 for his publication in The Career Development Quarterly called, “Social cognitive predictors of the career choices of Korean American students.”
21. Robert McPherson, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, University of Houston
Dr. Robert (Bob) McPherson took the helm as Dean back in 2011, but his influence reaches far beyond the boundaries of the University of Houston’s campus. More of a psychology guy by nature, Dr. McPherson has seemingly found a way to blend his background in psychology with an ever-growing education program at the University of Houston. He is a Fellow for American Education Research Association and served as president for both the Texas and Houston Psychological Associations. Since his installment as the Dean, the College of Education has risen to national prominence. In 2014, the NCQT ranked the school’s secondary education degree program as the 5th best in the US. On top of that, their elementary education degree was deemed the country’s 4th best program by the same organization.
20. Bill McDiarmid, Ed.D. – Dean of School of Education, University of North Carolina
Even before he was appointed Dean back in January 2009, Dr. Bill McDiarmid had already distinguished himself as an influential educator of educators. While at his previous school, the University of Washington in Seattle, Dr. McDiarmid led a national project called “Teachers for a New Era” which seeks to improve teacher education among colleges and universities across the country. Also while at UW, Dr. McDiarmid played a pivotal role in the creation of the Teaching/Learning Partnership, an initiative designed to prepare professionals seeking a career change into education in Seattle’s high-need middle schools. During his time at UNC, he has helped the school to become one of the top education programs in the country, as evidenced by StartClass ranking their Child Development and Family Studies program the 4th best in the country and their Middle Grades Education program coming in all the way up at 2nd.
19. Larry Johnson, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services, University of Cincinnati
Dr. Larry Johnson joined the University of Cincinnati as a professor and the head of early childhood and special education back in 1990, and in May 2000 was appointed Dean of the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (CECH). Since his appointment, Dr. Johnson has seen the CECH’s student enrollment more than triple and student diversity grow by more than 170% according to the university’s website. The rate of growth that the College has seen is due in large part to Dr. Johnson’s focus on building community, which makes sense considering he won the Connect Cultures and Communities Award from the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission in 2008. In 2013, College Factual named the University of Cincinnati the 9th best in the country for getting an online education degree, and right along with that USA Today named the early childhood education program the 3rd best in the nation in early 2015.
18. Cheryl Achterberg, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University
Dr. Cheryl Achterberg, known around the country as one of the premier scholars in nutritional development, took the reigns as OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology Dean on July 1, 2008. Dr. Achterberg has been widely published and has delivered countless presentations regarding higher education and research methodology. Since her arrival at OSU, she has played a pivotal role in propelling the program she oversees into the national spotlight. In 2014, the school’s middle childhood education degree program was ranked 8th in the country by StartClass. In 2013, TakePart compiled a list of ‘The Top 15 Schools for Aspiring Teachers,’ of which OSU was ranked 3rd overall. Dr. Achterberg is also the author of numerous publications, books and chapters, covering topics like the characteristics of honor students and nutrition/food ideas among children in lower income families.
17. Manuel J. Justiz, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Manuel J. Justiz has been Dean of the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin since 1990. Prior to this, Dr. Justiz was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan to serve as the director of the National Institute of Education in Washington, D.C. from 1983-1985, after which he was hired on as a Chaired Professor of Educational Leadership and Policies at the University of South Carolina where he served in until 1989. Since becoming Dean, UT Austin has found itself consistently ranked among the best education schools in the country. The NCTQ ranked the Early Childhood Education degree programs at the University of Texas the 10th best in the US in 2014. Then in early 2015, USA Today ranked UT’s College of Education as the #1 best college in the country for studying early childhood education. Dr. Justiz has also been widely published in countless books and journals relating to education.
16. Neil Dugger, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, Dallas Baptist University
Before becoming the director of Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (K-12) in 2011 and then Dean of the College of Education in 2012, DBU’s Dr. Neil Dugger had spent the previous 31 years involved in all levels of Irving ISD, serving as a teacher, principal and superintendent. While he was Principal at Lamar Middle School in 1999-2000, the school was recognized as a US Blue Ribbon School, the first time ever for an Irving ISD school. Since arriving at Dallas Baptist University, Dr. Dugger has guided the College of Education into the national spotlight. In 2013, TakePart named DBU the 7th best university in the United States for aspiring teachers. The very next year, the NCTQ ranked the school’s elementary education program the #1 program in the entire country.
15. Donald E. Heller, Ed.D. – Dean of College of Education, Michigan State University
Dr. Donald E. Heller, who had previously spent ten years working as an IT manager at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, assumed the Deanship at MSU’s College of Education back in January 2012. Dr. Heller focuses his teaching and research specifically on the issues of public policy, the economics of education and helping low-income and minority students have access to better higher education institutions. In 2013, the AACTE awarded the Best Practice Award for the Innovative Use of Technology to MSU’s College of Education, and America.edu ranked the school’s elementary education program as the second best bachelor’s program of its kind in the United States. Dr. Heller has also been published in hundreds of articles, books and other publications and made hundreds of scholarly presentations.
14. Glenn E. Good, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, University of Florida
Dr. Glenn E. Good, who was appointed Dean of UF’s College of Education in September 2011, is known throughout the country for his spotlight on research. He mostly focuses on gender issues in education, counseling interventions and psychosocial well-being. Earlier this year, AC Online named the University of Florida the #1 school in the United States in terms of having the best online teaching degree. And not long before receiving that prestigious recognition, StartClass named UF’s College of Education as having the 6th best early childhood education teaching degree. On top of that. Dr. Good himself was recently named to the blue-ribbon International Advisory Panel for the Emirates College for Advanced Education, a panel affiliated with the Abu Dhabi Education Council. On top of that, Dr. Good is the author or co-author of 5 books and more than 80 journal reports and book chapters.
13. Mark Ginsberg, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University
Before becoming Dean at GMU in August 2010, Dr. Mark Ginsberg served in various roles at Johns Hopkins University, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the University of Rochester and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Since his appointment, Dr. Ginsberg has played a pivotal role in turning the College of Education and Human Development into one of the best in the country. In fact, PayScale.com recently announced that education majors from GMU make the 8th best money in the country at the mid-career mark, coming in at $63,700. On top of that, just last year one of Dr. Ginsberg staff members was awarded the David G. Imig Award for Distinguished Achievement in Teacher Education by the AACTE. He is also a Fellow for the American Psychological Foundation and a member of the American Educational Research Association.
12. Perry Schoon, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, Illinois State University
Dr. Perry Schoon was appointed Dean of the ISU’s College of Education in May 2012 after having served in the same role at Western Carolina University for three years. Prior to landing at Western Carolina, Dr. Schoon also served in various positions at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Texas at Arlington. Since his arrival, the College of Education has seen itself rise to become one of the best in the entire United States. In 2014, the NCTQ ranked their special education program as the 4th best of its kind in the country, and Niche.com named ISU’s middle school education program as the 10th best in the US. On top of that, College Factual’s 2013 Top 10 list containing the best colleges of education in the country had Illinois State University listed as #5 overall. Dr. Schoon has also been published in both the International Journal of Learning and the Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia.
11. Spencer G. Niles – Dean of School of Education, College of William & Mary
Spencer G. Niles was appointed Dean for the College of William & Mary’s School of Education in July 2013, prior to which he was the Department Head for Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Pennsylvania State University. He is responsible for about 130 articles and journal publications, and has given more than 125 presentations around the United States regarding career development. Under his watch, one of Niles’ faculty members was awarded the 2013 AACTE Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education. The following year, U.S. News & World Report ranked the College of William & Mary as having the #2 undergraduate teaching degree program in the country, behind only Princeton University.
10. Raffaella Borasi, Ph.D. – Dean of School of Education, University of Rochester
Dr. Rafaella Borasi took the reins as Dean of the School of Education at the University of Rochester back in 2001, and since then the school has more than doubled in size and research funding. Since her installment, Dr. Borasi has launched her school into the the conversation as one of the best colleges of education in the land. StartClass ranked three different undergraduate degree programs in their top 10 in the country, ranking the secondary education degree program at #8 overall, the early childhood education program at #2, and the intermediate education program at #1. Dr. Borasi is the author of four books covering the topics of learning, mathematics, reading, science and utilizing modern technological advances in education. She has also published more than 40 articles in national and international journals.
9. Mari Koerner, Ph.D. – Dean of Teachers College, Arizona State University
Dr. Mari Koerner, who became Dean in 2006, has launched ASU’s Teachers College into the top tier of education programs in the United States. One of Dr. Koerner’s faculty professors was awarded the Margaret B. Lindsey Award for Distinguished Research in Teacher Education by the AACTE in 2013. In 2014, the NCTQ ranked ASU’s undergraduate special education degree program as the #1 program of its kind in the US. Last but not least, USA Today ranked ASU as being the 5th best college in the country for studying early childhood education, citing that the Teachers College, “has some of the most interesting early childhood education programs in the country.” Not only has Dr. Koerner overseen all of this success and recognition, but she has also helped set up partnerships with schools throughout Arizona to both improve student achievement through better teacher development and training.
8. Maureen Kenny, Ph.D. – Dean of School of Education, Boston College
Dr. Maureen Kenny, who served as the interim dean of the School of Education at Boston College from March 2011 to July 2013, assumed her position as full-time dean in August 2013. She is a member of the American Educational Research Association and the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, among many others. Since she began her tenure as Dean at BC, the School of Education has made a number of recognized ‘Top 10’ lists, which include the following: College Factual ranked BC 5th in its list of highest paid education graduates for mid-career salary numbers; Campus Explorer ranked it the 9th best college for education majors; the school came in at 7th overall among StartClass’ best early childhood education degree programs; StartClass also named BC’s secondary education degree as the 9th best in the US. She has also authored or co-authored 7 books and more than 25 book chapters.
7. Philip Schmidt, Ph.D. – Dean of Teachers College at Western Governors University
Even though the program he heads up is exclusively an online school, Dr. Philip Schmidt has still been able to have quite an impact at WGU and on the world of education as a whole. He was recently named a council member of the STEM High Education Council has also been involved with the NCATE, CCNE, CAHIIM and more. Nonprofit Colleges Online and TheBestColleges.org both ranked WGU as the 5th best school in the country for getting an online degree in education in the years 2014 and 2015, respectively. Prior to that, College Factual placed WGU’s online education degree as the 8th best in the country, and in 2014 the NCTQ ranked their secondary education degree program as tied with Lipscomb University for the #1 program in the States.
6. Jean K. Quam, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota
As Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Jean K. Quam, has led the program since 2008. Since taking over, Dr. Quam has helped launch the College of Education into the upper echelon of education programs in the country as both Campus Explorer and College Factual ranked UM as the 8th best college of education in the country. The accolades don’t end there though, as College Factual named the online education degree program #1 in the US, and America.edu named it the overall best school to attend if pursing an elementary education degree. Dr. Quam is also a member of the National Association of Social Work, the American Education Research Association, the Council on Social Work Education, and more.
5. Donna Wiseman, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, University of Maryland
Dr. Donna Wiseman, who joined the University of Maryland in 2001 and was appointed Dean of the College of Education in 2008, is involved with multiple organizations and agencies at both the state and national level, including the Learning and Education Academic Research Network, the Association of American Universities, the International Consortium on Teacher Education, and many more. Since her tenure as Dean began, Dr. Wiseman has been instrumental in helping UM consistently see its College of Education ranked as one of the best in the country. Aside from winning the AACTE’s 2012 Best Practice Award in Support of Diversity and 2013 Best Practice Award in Support of Global Diversity, America.edu named their elementary education program the 8th best in the land and StartClass similarly ranked their middle school education program #6.
4. Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Ph.D. – Dean of School of Education, University of Michigan
Dr. Deborah Loewenberg Ball, who began her stint as the Dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan in 2005, was personally awarded the 2014 AACTE Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education, a very prestigious and honorable award. To go with that, Dr. Ball has been instrumental in helping her school become one of the best in the land. Both the elementary education and secondary education degree programs at UM have been ranked 6th and 7th by America.edu and StartClass, respectively. Not only that, Dr. Ball’s College of Education has also been ranked as producing the 6th highest paid mid-career teachers. Dr. Ball has also authored or co-authored more than 150 publications and serves on multiple boards and councils, including the American Educational Research Association and the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness.
3. Craig H. Kennedy, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, University of Georgia
Like many of the top programs in the country, Dr. Craig H. Kennedy’s College of Education at the University of Georgia has been racking up the accolades and recognition as of late. Under his guidance, UGA has watched as StartClass ranked both its early childhood education and middle school education degrees in the top 10 in the country (10th and 3rd, respectively). Dr. Kennedy’s program has also been recognized by America.edu as having the 9th best elementary education program in the country, while AC Online recognized UGA as being home to the 3rd best online education degree and Campus Explorer ranked it as the 5th best school for education majors. Dr. Kennedy has also been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, has published hundreds of articles, book chapters and books, and has given over 300 national and international presentations.
2. Mary Kalantzis, Ph.D. – Dean of College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Mary Kalntzis has served as Dean of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Education since 2006, leading one of the most prestigious and well-known Colleges of Education in the United States. Having come here from Melbourne, Australia where she served as a Dean at RMIT University, she also held the role of President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education. Since her arrival, Dr. Kalantzis’ College of Education has been recognized as having the 8th best early childhood education degree program by StartClass and the 3rd best by America.edu. In 2012, one of Dr. Kalantzis’ faculty members was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the AACTE. Not only that, but both College Factual and PayScale.com ranked the university in the top 10 regarding starting and mid-career salaries for graduated education majors (7th and 3rd, respectively).
1. Camilla Persson Benbow, Ed.D. – Dean of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University
Coming in as the #1 most influential education Dean in the United States for 2015 is Dr. Camilla Persson Benbow, the Dean of Education and Human Development at VU, where she has served as Dean since July 1998. In her time at Vanderbilt, she has been pivotal in establishing her school as the cream of the crop among the country’s best education degree programs, earning honors for being named one of the top 10 education programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report, TakePart, and Campus Explorer (4th, 8th and 4th, respectively). On top of that, Vanderbilt’s early childhood education degree program was ranked as the #2 and #1 program of its kind by USA Today and StartClass, respectively. StartClass also ranked the secondary education program in the top 3 nationwide. To top it off, Dr. Benbow has also served as vice-chair of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, commissioner of the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative and even co-founded the Learning and Education Academic Research Network.