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New School of Education Dean to Take Office on July 1

Accomplished educator Kelly A. Donnell to lead school after eight years on the RWU faculty
Photo by: David Silverman

BRISTOL, R.I. – Roger Williams University has named accomplished educator Kelly A. Donnell, Ph.D., dean of its School of Education, a role in which she will serve as the School’s academic and administrative leader.

Donnell has served as an associate professor of education at Roger Williams since 2006, teaching a range of undergraduate and graduate courses and developing new curriculum. She’s been a key contributor to several Rhode Island Department of Education program reviews, was an early proponent of the Master of Arts in Teaching partnership with the Gordon School and has been instrumental in the makeover of the School of Education’s field operations office.

Donnell says the opportunity to further strengthen connections between the School’s students and faculty with educators across the region made the role of dean an ideal fit.

“Preparing teachers to meet the needs of all children is something that Roger Williams does really well,” she says, “in part because every course, every year includes a field component. We can only grow those relationships further, and there are also ways to support practicing teachers that we haven’t capitalized on yet. The School of Education has a tremendous amount of expertise and energy to offer, both to future teachers as well as those in classrooms today.”

RWU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Andrew Workman, Ph.D., announced Donnell’s appointment: “Dr. Donnell brings energy and vision to the leadership of the School of Education,” he says. “I look forward to working with her to build stronger partnerships with local school districts and to advance her School’s leadership in the area of urban education.”

Donnell holds a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from Boston College, a master’s degree in teaching, curriculum and learning environments from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in parent/child education and welfare from the University of Washington. She holds teaching certifications in Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington, and prior to her faculty position at Roger Williams, taught at Bridgewater State College, Boston College and Lesley University.

She has an extensive record of scholarship, with her most recent book, “Urban Teaching in America: Theory, Research and Practice in K-12 Classrooms," co-authored with Andrea Stairs. She’s published a wide range of journal articles and is an in-demand presenter at academic conferences.

Donnell recently led a team of RWU faculty through a grant proposal for a collaborative partnership with the Providence Public School District aimed at improving mathematics achievement for K-3 English Language Learners in five local elementary schools. Her work resulted in an award of $145,000 to RWU for the first year, with the potential for subsequent funding for up to two years.

Donnell’s appointment is effective beginning July 1, 2014.