Ann Ishimaru

Ann Ishimaru of the University of Washington College of Education has received the University Council for Educational Administration’s 2016 Jack A. Culbertson Award in recognition of her significant contributions to the field of educational leadership.

An assistant professor of educational policy, organizations and leadership, Ishimaru explores the intersection of leadership, school-community relationships and educational equity in P-12 systems. In particular, her work focuses on improving educational leadership—both formal and family/community—to create equitable educational environments, with a particular focus on students, families and communities who have been historically marginalized in education.

“Professor Ishimaru has brought field-defining precision to ‘equity-focused leadership’ and to elaborating how leaders can foster genuine community engagement for the equity goals of excellent educational opportunity and outcomes for each student,” said UW College of Education Dean Mia Tuan.

Recipients of the Jack A. Culbertson Award are honored for the innovativeness, originality, generalizability and potential impact of their work.

Ishimaru is principal investigator on three major research projects:

  • The Family Leadership Design Collaborative, a national-level participatory design-based research project aimed at re-centering nondominant families in racial equity efforts through the synthesis and co-design of research, measures, and practice to transform educational systems.
  • The Equitable Parent-School Collaboration Research Project, a multi-year research effort to understand, measure and support district and community-based efforts to authentically engage families and communities in improving student learning and success within a collective impact initiative in South Seattle/South King County.
  • The Organizational Leadership for Equity Project, a comparative case study that examines how school leadership teams, nested within district equity initiatives, engage with data and tools to catalyze organizational learning and equitable leadership practice.

Her article "Beyond Individual Effectiveness: Conceptualizing Organizational Leadership for Equity" was honored as the most read article of 2014 in the journal Leadership & Policy in Schools, and as a core instructor for the UW’s Leadership for Learning (Ed.D.) and Danforth Educational Leadership programs, Ishimaru’s research contributes to preparing educational leaders in Washington state.

Ishimaru is the second UW College of Education faculty member to receive the award (Meredith Honig, 2007).


Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications