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New Faculty: Ann Ishimaru

Ann Ishimaru has been appointed assistant professor in the area of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Ishimaru will focus her teaching and research on educational leadership and policy for system-wide teaching and learning improvement.

ann ishimaruIshimaru has an Ed.D. and Ed.M. from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She also obtained an M.A. from the Stanford University School of Education.

Meredith Honig, associate professor in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, says, “We’re thrilled that Ann will be joining our faculty. Her research is breathing new life into two fields of great importance to improving public schooling and of great interest to our students. Her studies of school-community relationships show how leadership capacity, community organizing, and a true focus on equity are essential elements of reforms that promise to expand all students’ opportunities to learn. Her work on educational equity pushes well beyond the frequent observation that equity matters to showing empirically what leadership for equity involves in terms of leaders’ day-to-day practice and know-how and how to measure it. On top of all of that, Ann has a great sense of herself and sense of humor.”

Ishimaru’s dissertation, which was awarded a Spencer Dissertation Fellowship, looked at a partnership between district leadership in Oregon and a community organizing group of low-income Latino parents.  She found that district and community collaborations could be more successful when, “focused on capacity-building and engagement of a broad range of stakeholders, including low-income parents and community members, in systemic change.”

These research findings directly tie in to her decision to join the UW College of Education community, which was also motivated by the caliber and influential work of COE faculty as well as the College’s commitment to equity and the strong connection between educational research and practice.

As Ishimaru states, “In light of persistent racial and economic disparities in schools and a rapidly changing student population, I feel that the stakes for our students and schools have never been higher. So I am compelled by the opportunity to focus on the leadership and policy necessary to ensure educational equity throughout the system.  Because my work focuses on leadership and capacity building for equity-based school reform, I am excited about the alignment between this position and my commitments, skills and research.” 

Ishimaru is a former middle and high school teacher, and has extensive experience as a community leader.  Previously, Ishimaru has served as the co-chair of the Oregon Leadership Network’s Leadership for Equity Rubric project for Education Northwest, a researcher for Organizational Learning and Accountability in NYC Schools, and a researcher for the Community Organizing and School Reform Project, among other research positions.  The book she co-wrote with her colleagues in the project – entitled “A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform” - has just been published by Oxford University Press.

She prides herself on her mixed methodology, saying, “In my scholarship, I aspire to combine a rich, nuanced, and detailed ethnographic approach with the power of quantitative methodologies, from multi-level modeling to propensity score matching.”

In her personal life, Ishimaru plays and teaches taiko drumming, plays the violin, and travels. She enjoys cooking, hiking, gardening, and playing with her two children.

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