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Wilkerson named faculty director of new Teacher Education Center

July 18, 2018

The UW–Madison School of Education has filled two key leadership positions for its new Teacher Education Center, which is set to launch during the upcoming 2018-19 academic year.

Kimber Wilkerson, a professor with the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education, was recently named the faculty director of the center and started her new position on July 1. Samantha Baruah will fill the role of associate director, a post she will start on Aug. 6.

Kimber Wilkerson
“We are very excited that the new Teacher Education Center will be launching soon under the leadership of Professor Kimber Wilkerson and Samantha Baruah,” says School of Education Dean Diana Hess. “I am confident that the center will get off to a great start with such dynamic and highly knowledgeable leaders.”

The new Teacher Education Center will support research, policy work and innovation in teacher education, as well as in the School’s mission-driven PK-12 educator preparation programs.

Wilkerson has spent the past 16 years helping prepare future teachers as a faculty member at UW-Madison. As a professor with the School of Education, she has coordinated special education certification programs and chaired both the Special Education Area and Teacher Education Committees. Wilkerson also has designed and taught courses in special education teacher certification programs at both the undergraduate and master’s degree levels.

In addition, she is currently the principal investigator of a federally funded grant to prepare educators to work with students with significant disabilities.

Wilkerson is the president of the Wisconsin Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (WACTE) and a member of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) Leadership Group on School Staffing Challenges. She also serves as the School of Education’s certification officer and is the primary liaison between the School and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Wilkerson has spent the past two years leading a comprehensive study to assess the School of Education’s current teacher education landscape and next is tasked with leading and implementing the new Teacher Education Center. She will report directly to School of Education Dean Diana Hess.

Samantha Baruah
“I’m thrilled that the School of Education is creating a center that acknowledges the importance of supporting and preparing teachers for the pivotal roles they play in our PK-12 schools,” says Wilkerson, who has served as the acting director of teacher education for the School of Education the past two years. “Equally important, the center will be supporting research that can inform public policy and amplify the positive work of teachers in our schools.”

Baruah has spent the past 10 years working with teachers and promoting accessible and equitable public education at local, state and national levels. Since July of 2015, she has worked as the program manager for Michigan State University’s teacher education program. Prior to that, Baruah spent 2008-14 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where she helped launch and worked as the operations director for the Visual Field Reading Center with the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science. She also twice was elected to the Iowa City Community School District’s Board of Education, serving from 2008-15.

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