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New Faculty: Ann O'Doherty

Ann O'Doherty has been appointed director of the Danforth Educational Leadership Program and senior lecturer at the UW College of Education. O'Doherty specializes in professional learning, centered on educational administration and the principalship.

ann o'doherty

Ann O'Doherty

O’Doherty began her career as a special education teacher with a B.S. from Illinois State University.  She received her M.E.  from The University of Texas at Austin in Educational Administration and completed an Ed.D. at UT through the Cooperative Superintendency Program. Her dissertation was a case study on how a Texas school district closed the achievement gap.

With over twelve years of experience as an assistant principal or  principal at five schools, O’Doherty brings a wealth of professional background to her role. She has served as a principal at elementary, middle, and high school level. She is passionate about supporting students through developing strong leaders who can deliver on the promise of equity and excellence for all.

“The UW has been involved in some critical research in the last couple of years,” O’Doherty explains, “particularly the research that they conducted through the Wallace foundation about how leaders promote equity and excellence for all students. I was drawn to this compelling work.”

O’Doherty most recently served as co-director of the Principalship Program at the University of Texas at Austin, which has similarities to the UW Danforth principal preparation program.

“I recognized some commonalities between our programs in terms of research-based components, such as the cohort model, problem-based learning and integrated, targeted internship experiences,” O’Doherty explains.

At UT, O’Doherty was also the director of a US Department of Education School Leadership Project Grant that totaled $3.3 million over a five-year span and a University Council of Educational Administration $730,505 three-year FIPSE supported grant.

She will be teaching two courses this fall: Ethnography into Inquiry and Culturally Responsive Leadership.

In the Ethnography into Inquiry course, students analyze the current culture of their internship site and identify an area of need. O’Doherty explains. ”Our Danforth students utilize this knowledge to develop a collaborative improvement project with stakeholders on the campus.  Ideally, this integration of coursework and the internship, will result in increased capacity and improved practices for students and teachers on the campus.”

O’Doherty’s Culturally Responsive Leadership Course helps students to explore their own racial and ethnic identity and develop an understanding about how an intersection of their identities influences their leadership decisions.

“Through this course students will learn to reframe, to try to see situations through the perspectives of people with identities different from their own,” she explains. “This approach assists students in developing greater self-awareness and more inclusive decision-making processes.”

For this course, O’Doherty will be incorporating portions of a module she co-developed with Mark A. Gooden for UCEA through the Leaders Supporting Diverse Learners grant, Building a Community of Trust through Racial Awareness. http://www.ucea.org/lsdl-preparation-modules-new/
O’Doherty’s efforts at UW began before her formal start date.

“In the past few months, I have had the pleasure of working alongside Kathy Kimball, Spencer Welch and other longstanding members of the Danforth team to prepare for a smooth transition. This included an opportunity to participate in this year’s July Retreat and portions of the August Intensive Week. In the next few weeks, I will be arranging gatherings with current students, alumni and other educational leaders. Through these conversations I hope to gain a greater understanding of the traditions and critical components of Danforth that are serving our graduates in the field, as well as listen for input on areas for future focus and refinement.”

In addition to teaching and directing, O’Doherty’s research interests include program evaluation, coaching, leadership development and district-level influence on school success. She regularly contributes to research and scholarship efforts and currently serves as a member of the editorial board for Educational Administration Quarterly.

Learn more about O’Doherty’s most recent co-publication with lead author Margaret Terry Orr and Maggie Barber, Developing Purposeful and Coherent Leadership Preparation Curriculum: A Guide to the Development of High-quality Educational Leadership Preparation Programs.

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