Leadership Transition in the School of Education

June 21, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

Dr. Valerie Kinloch joined the University of Pittsburgh six years ago as the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the School of Education, at which time she set forth a strategy to re-envision what the school could be.

It is with gratitude for all of the work she has done in leading the School of Education that I write with the outstanding news that Valerie has been named the next president of Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte, North Carolina, effective August 1, 2023. The University is also one of Valerie’s alma maters and so it is particularly wonderful that she would return to lead it.

In her time with us, after taking the helm as dean in July 2017, Valerie embarked on developing a new strategic plan and structure for the School of Education, including a new vision for its programming. Her plan included a critical, comprehensive review of programs to identify those that were of significant relevance and those that required refinement or rethinking.

As well, she fortified the school’s commitment to equity and justice, diversity and inclusion, community engagement, university culture, and alumni involvement, which functionally reflected her scholarship focus on literacies, languages, cultures, and community engagements of youth and adults in and out of the classroom. Additionally, Valerie has been exceedingly active in digital learning and the classroom media space.

Her impact on higher education has been recognized through appointments to President of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Fellow of the American Council on Education, Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, Co-Chair of Remake Learning in Pittsburgh, and a Trustee at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She also received the NCTE Advancement of People of Color Leadership Award and, earlier this year, was named among the nation’s most impactful education scholars by the RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings.

Among her many publications, most recently she co-edited the book Race, Justice, and Activism in Literacy Instruction and co-authored the book Where is the Justice? Engaged Pedagogies in Schools and Communities.

Valerie came to Pitt from The Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology and its Department of Teaching and Learning, where she was a professor, associate chair of the department, and associate dean of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement. She has also taught at Columbia University’s Teachers College and the University of Houston-Downtown.

In the weeks ahead, we will work to identify an interim dean for the School of Education.

Valerie’s deep passion for education, learning, equity, and engagement has made a deep impact on the School of Education and the University as a whole. Please join me in expressing congratulations and best wishes as she assumes the presidency at JCSU.



Ann E. Cudd
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor

Professor of Philosophy
University of Pittsburgh