The Danforth Educational Leadership Program features top-flight UW faculty along with credentialed instructors who work in the field.
Ann O’Doherty – Director
Ann O'Doherty is the director of the Danforth Educational Leadership Program and a senior lecturer in the UW College of Education. Before assuming this role, she served as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin. There she directed the Collaborative Urban Leadership Project, which prepares effective secondary school leaders for schools in the Dallas, Houston, Harlandale and Austin areas. She also codeveloped the racial awareness curriculum module for the Preparing Leaders to Support Diverse Learners program of the University Council for Educational Administration. Prior to her work in higher education, O'Doherty spent 18 years contributing to public schools at the pre-K–12 level, including 12 years as a school administrator. Her 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. She holds a doctorate in education from the University of Texas at Austin.
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Pete Misner – Associate Director
Pete Misner is the associate director of the Danforth program as well as a teaching associate. He previously spent a decade as an elementary school principal in the Northshore School District. Through his work as a building-level leader, Misner brings a deep knowledge of data use and inquiry processes as well as a focus on building capacity for improved practice and learning. He has served the Danforth program as a Corbally principal in residence as well as a co-instructor for the Shaping Culture and Leading Change module. Misner has also been an instructor for the Danforth summer retreats, and was a member of Danforth 17 cohort in 2004–2005. He earned his doctorate in education from the University of Washington.
Dedy Fauntleroy is principal of Northgate Elementary in the Seattle Public Schools. She previously served in leadership positions at John Stanford International School and Loyal Heights Elementary. Before becoming a building leader, Fauntleroy served as teacher leader in roles that included an English language learner instructional coach, consultant for the Council of Great City Schools, and collaborator with the Center for Teacher Quality. She has also worked as a classroom teacher in grades 2–8. Fauntleroy earned her master’s in education from the University of La Verne and a principal certificate from the Danforth program.
Will Leitch is a founding principal of the firm Patterson Buchanan Fobes & Leitch and teaches school law for the Danforth program. His civil litigation practice emphasizes complex public sector tort defense, school law, employment law, abuse litigation and civil rights. His experience includes over 15 years of work for school districts, counties, cities and towns, law enforcement, fire and emergency medical service entities, and corporate clients. Leitch serves on a variety of regional harassment, intimidation, bullying and cyberbullying committees and workgroups. In addition, he’s a member of the Washington State Attorney General’s Youth Internet Safety Taskforce and of the advisory board for the Internet Keep Safe Coalition in Washington, D.C. Leitch earned his J.D. from the Willamette University School of Law.
Anneke Markholt is the associate director of the UW Center for Educational Leadership and an instructor in the Danforth program. There she designs and directs the center's district partnerships, with a focus on developing teacher effectiveness and instructional leadership. She is particularly interested in the intersection of teaching, learning and the leadership capacity necessary for school systems to engage in instructional improvement, especially for linguistically diverse students. Prior to her work with the Center for Educational Leadership, Markholt spent five years as an associate researcher for the UW Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy. She also taught for 10 years in the Tacoma Public Schools, where she was an ESL specialist. She is the coauthor of Leading for Instructional Improvement: How Successful Leaders Develop Teaching and Learning Expertise (2011). She earned her doctorate in education from the University of Washington.
Margaret Plecki is a professor at the UW College of Education and director of the Director of the Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy. Her research and teaching expertise includes the areas of school finance, education policy, the economics of education, educational leadership, the allocation of resources for school improvement, teaching quality, and mixed methods research design. Plecki was elected president of the Association for Education Finance and Policy and served two terms on the organization’s board of directors. Prior to coming to the UW, she worked as a special education teacher, school administrator and managing partner of an education consulting firm. She earned her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.
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Jennifer Rose has been an educator for more than two decades and a teaching associate in the Danforth program. Much of her career has been spent with the Bellevue School District, where she currently serves as principal of the International School. Previously she worked as principal at Medina Elementary School and assistant principal at Sammamish High School; she also taught English at the high school level. She received her administrative credentials from the Danforth program in 2003 as part of cohort 15 and has stayed engaged in the program since that time, serving as a panel member, guest teacher and instructor. She also works as an adjunct instructor at Seattle University. Rose earned her doctorate from the UW Leadership for Learning program in 2012.
Melanie Strey serves as a teaching associate in the Danforth program. She has served in public education for nearly 20 years as a teacher, principal, and district level director in Kent, Renton, and Federal Way school districts. Her passions for family and community engagement in public education is a driving force in her life-long journey to work alongside community organizations and university researchers. She serves as Executive Director of Equity, Engagement, and Student and Family Success with the Federal Way Public Schools, where she contributed to over 3,000 employees engaging in racial equity training. Strey has partnered for several years with University of Washington researcher Ann Ishimaru to understand the needs of historically underserved communities and how they navigate complex educational systems, while also working within her district role to create improved access for family voice. She leads from the stance of developing relationships, connecting individual and collective strengths, and forming equitable practices that pave the way for improved school experiences for all students, staff and families. Strey holds a doctorate in education from Walden University.
David Wellington has worked in education for more than two decades. He taught high school for nine years before becoming an administrator. Wellington has served as a middle school and high school principal and is currently principal at Maywood Hills Elementary in the Northshore School District. He was part of the Danforth 14 cohort in 2001–2002. He holds a master’s from the University of Puget Sound.
Mia Williams began teaching in Seattle Public Schools in 1993 and entered the Danforth program in 2000. After completing her master's degree at the UW, Williams served as an assistant principal in the district at Salmon Bay K-8 School and Denny International Middle School before assuming leadership of Aki Kurose Middle School. In 2013, Williams received the Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence, which recognizes outstanding secondary school principals in the district, and she was lauded for creating a "school culture of high expectations, inclusiveness, equity and mutual respect among staff, students, families and community members." In 2016 Williams was awarded the Middle Level Principal of the Year by Association of Washington School Principals.
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