College of Education Dean

March 9, 2021

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

I am pleased to announce that following an extensive national search, Dr. Cynthia B. Dillard has been appointed Dean of Seattle University’s College of Education. Dr. Dillard will be joining us from the University of Georgia, where she currently serves as the Mary Frances Early Professor in Teacher Education.

Dr. Dillard brings to Seattle U and the College of Education a wealth of experience as a proven leader. She has served in a number of key academic posts in higher education, including, among others, Chair of the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia and Associate Dean for Equity and Diversity at The Ohio State University.

A distinguished scholar, Dr. Dillard’s scholarship has included research on intersections of race, culture, gender and spirituality, particularly in the context of teaching and education. She has authored or edited four books, with the most current, The spirit of our work: Black women teachers (re)member, to be published by Beacon Press later this year. In addition, Dr. Dillard has written a multitude of articles, book chapters and other scholarly pieces, while frequently presenting as a keynote speaker or panelist at national conferences. She has received more than a dozen awards and recognitions, including the 2019 Taylor & Francis Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Educational Studies Association (AESA).

Dr. Dillard’s belief in the transformative power of education so clearly evident in her work as an accomplished teacher-scholar is matched by her commitment to serving others and making an impact in communities near and far. As president and founder of Give. Build. Share., Dr. Dillard has led an effort to build schools in rural areas of Ghana, giving students educational opportunities that previously were not available.

In joining our university, Dr. Dillard returns to a part of the world with which she is quite familiar, having earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University and master’s and doctoral degrees from Washington State University. She asked that I share with you the following:

“I am thrilled to be selected as the next Dean of the College of Education at Seattle University. It will be my privilege to work in community with the exceptional students, staff and faculty at SU. Guided by the strong Jesuit commitments of social justice and service that are foundational to this university, I look forward to working diligently to address our most pressing challenges in education—in Seattle, across the nation and the world.” 

Dr. Dillard’s current responsibilities require that she remain in her role with the University of Georgia through January of next year. She will officially begin with us as Dean on Feb. 1, 2022. In the meantime, Dr. Paulette Kidder has graciously agreed to stay on as Interim Dean and we are grateful to her for continuing to serve our university in this important way.

Finally, I want to thank our search committee, whose names are listed below, for so excellently carrying out its work and bringing to us a leader of such an exceptional caliber. I know you join me in giving a warm and enthusiastic welcome to Dr. Cynthia Dillard.


Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.

College of Education Dean Search Committee

Charisse Cowan-Pitre, Co-Chair—Professor, Teacher Education, College of Education  

David Powers, Co-Chair—Dean, College of Arts & Sciences  

Michelle Clements—Vice President, Human Resources  

Mary Graham—Associate Professor, Counseling Program 

Trish Henley—Special Assistant to the Provost, Graduate Education and Associate Dean, College of New & Continuing Studies  

Julie Kang—Director, Professional and Continuing Education  

Kent Koth—Director, Center for Community Engagement  

J.R. Lorca—Assistant Principal, Dearborn Park Elementary School and COE Alumnus  

Shane Pisani—Program Director, Undergraduate Teacher Education 

Colette Taylor—Department Chair, Leadership and Professional Studies and Program Director, Educational and Organizational Learning and Leadership Doctoral Program  

Colin Watrin—Doctoral Student, Educational and Organizational Learning and Leadership and Associate Director, Admission and Student Affairs, SU School of Law 

Erica Yamamura—Associate Professor and Program Director, Student Development Administration Program

* Special thanks to Heather Reis Fike (Executive Coordinator, College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office) and Eunice MacGill (Executive Coordinator, College of Education Dean’s Office).