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Kean University Dean of Education Chosen for National Fellowship on Teacher Preparation

Union Township (Union)

Kean University’s dean of the College of Education, Barbara R. Ridener, Ph.D., has been named an Impact Academy fellow by Deans for Impact, a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure every child is taught by a well-prepared teacher.

Ridener was selected as one of 24 educational leaders from across the country who will work together for the next year to create transformative change in educator preparation.

“At Kean University, we have always stood for the highest quality of teacher training,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.

“I am extremely proud that Dean Ridener has been chosen to join this group. She is a leader in strengthening the quality of teaching within our public schools.”

Ridener, who joined Kean in 2019, said she was honored and excited to be selected as a fellow.

“This national group is making tremendous strides to create a lasting, positive impact on teacher preparation and by extension, on the learning environment for all children,” she said.

Ridener is a member of Impact Academy’s sixth cohort, its largest and most diverse to date.

“I look forward to collaborating with other teacher education deans from across the country, as we each identify challenging opportunities we are facing and implement transformative practices to address them.

I am eager to extend my work throughout the College of Education and the University so that what we learn benefits our teacher candidates, our graduates and our partner districts,” Ridener said. 

The Deans for Impact fellows will form a collaborative network to delve into challenges in the field and seek solutions.

Impact Academy offers an opportunity for leaders to sharpen their skills through self-reflection, collaborative learning sessions and one-on-one coaching.

"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.

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.

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, from Alaska to New York, and 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.   

“Our work will distinguish Kean as a clear leader in teacher preparation not only in New Jersey but in the nation,” Ridener said.