McAlister named to national leadership fellowship


NATCHITOCHES –  Dr. Kimberly Walker McAlister of Northwestern State University today was named an Impact Academy fellow, joining a cohort of leaders chosen for their commitment to improving educator preparation.  Dr. McAlister leads the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development at Northwestern State, a position she has held since January 2018.
Many colleges report declining interest among faculty in administrative positions even as the role of dean grows more complex and important. In order for educator preparation to improve, the field needs leaders who can set a bold vision for improvement, motivate faculty and support individual and organizational learning. Deans for Impact aims to fill this need through its year-long Impact Academy fellowship, which empowers a new generation of transformative leaders with skills, knowledge, and strategies to help solve the complicated problems they’re facing.


Dr. McAlister is one of 13 fellows announced as part of the fellowship’s third cohort since its launch in summer 2016. Each cohort of Impact Academy fellows is limited to no more than 20 leaders, each of whom went through a rigorous nomination and application process.
“We believe that transformative leadership is the cornerstone of an educator-preparation program that embraces an improvement mentality and prioritizes candidate learning above all else,” said Benjamin Riley, founder and executive director of Deans for Impact. “We’re thrilled to welcome 13 such leaders into the Impact Academy fellowship, and are excited to nurture and support these leaders as they embark on efforts to improve their own educator-preparation programs and the field more broadly.”
The Impact Academy fellowship combines intensive in-person sessions with ongoing support, mentoring and individual learning. Fellows will kick off the year with a rigorous four-day academy in July 2018, and then extend their learning over the course of the fellowship through individual modules and ongoing leadership coaching from Deans for Impact member deans.
“I am passionate about the profession of teaching, and as a new dean, I am hungry to grow and develop my leadership skills to support the faculty, teacher-candidates, and programs on their own improvement journeys. The Impact Academy fellowship will empower me to work alongside other leaders who share my commitment to elevating the teaching profession,” Dr. McAlister said.
Deans for Impact is committed to reflecting the broad diversity of programs preparing new educators in this country, and today’s announcement reinforces that commitment. This cohort’s fellows collectively lead programs that enroll more than 3,500 teacher-candidates in 11 states. Eight fellows lead programs at public institutions, three fellows come from private institutions, and two fellows lead programs that are non-traditional pathways into teaching. Two fellows come from Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).


Founded in 2015, Deans for Impact is a national nonprofit organization that empowers, supports, and advocates on behalf of leaders at all levels of educator preparation who are committed to transforming the field and elevating the teaching profession. The organization is guided by four key principles:

  • Data informed;
  • Outcomes focused;
  • Empirically tested; and
  • Transparent and accountable.


More information on the organization and its members can be found on the Deans for Impact website.

Dr. Kimberly McAlister