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Professor Jennifer Goldstein is also director of an innovative three-way partnership for leadership preparation and development between CCEE, Anaheim UHSD, Anaheim ESD and Cal State Fullerton.
Goldstein develops equitable school leaders
September 5, 2022
ACSA Administrators of the Year graphic.
Name: Jennifer Goldstein Award: Professor of Education of the Year Title: Professor, Educational Leadership, College of Education, California State University, Fullerton ACSA highlights: member since 2022; Region 17 Leadership Book Chats; leading student participation in ACSA events.
The educators who lead schools and districts to success didn’t arrive in their position by chance. In addition to hard work and dedication, they had mentors, coaches and teachers helping them learn how to be outstanding in their field.
In her nearly two decades as a professor of Educational Leadership and Education Policy, Jennifer Goldstein has played a critical role in building and developing future leaders. Since 2018, she has also served as the director of Leadership Education for Anaheim Districts, having envisioned and co-created a three-way partnership for leadership preparation and development between CCEE, Anaheim UHSD and Cal State Fullerton. In 2021, the program expanded to include Anaheim ESD. Prior to Goldstein’s involvement, districts could subscribe to a program CSUF had designed, rather than working with a team of experts to design curriculum around the district’s singular priorities.
Her innovative efforts over the years have included promoting teacher peer assistance and review, prioritizing outcomes for Multilingual Learners, seeking justice-oriented partnerships centered on underserved students, and finding pioneering ways to subsidize or fund tuition for masters and doctoral candidates in order to expand diversity among educational leaders. Goldstein has authored and co-authored numerous publications, most recently a forthcoming book titled, “Radical partnership: Developing educational leaders in Anaheim and beyond.”
“Dr. Jennifer Goldstein is an advocate for just, equitable and inclusive education,” said Patrick Ham, a principal in Fountain Valley USD. “She helps her students look beyond equal opportunities to the pursuit of high quality outcomes for all.”
What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Care less. If I take all the ups and downs of my world of work to heart, I will burn out early. I still care deeply, profoundly. But I do my best to compartmentalize, to not take everything home with me.
What are some life hacks that you would recommend for a new professor? Build meaningful relationships with your local school district leaders, and/or maintain the relationships you already possess. These relationships are the best asset you can possibly have.
What would people be surprised to learn about you? I’m an incredibly slow reader. It’s a huge liability in my line of work. I have 100 percent comprehension of what I read, but I only get through a fraction of what others do in the same amount of time. Skimming leaves me bitter — what’s the fun of that? So I choose what I read very carefully.
What made you want to become a professor of education? Nothing really. I intended to become a school district administrator. Coming out of my Ph.D. program at Stanford, I was given advice to become a professor; I could always move from the professorship back to a school district, but the reverse would not be true. Almost 20 years later, I am pretty sure this was sketchy advice.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome to get where you are? I think the challenge I have faced and continue to face is my belief in and commitment to bridging the worlds of school districts and educational research. To do this in any real way requires reframing what we value as “knowledge.” In 1998, the wonderful Lee Shulman told me that this meeting point is where the most interesting work would happen.
What is your proudest accomplishment? I had twin boys “on my own” at 43. I am now partnered, which makes life much easier in many ways, including the economic benefits of two incomes and far more ease managing the logistics of multiple children. But I always try to remain grounded in my former reality of single parenting. So many of our parents and teachers live in this reality, and it is a herculean accomplishment. I am most proud of my courage in this domain, of holding it together on my own for seven years, and making happy, reasonably well-adjusted children nonetheless.
2022 Professor of Education of the Year Jennifer Goldstein.
2022 Professor of Education of the Year Jennifer Goldstein.