Anthony Craig, a Washington educator with expertise developing systems that foster equitable educational outcomes, has been named director of the University of Washington College of Education’s Leadership for Learning (EdD) program.
Craig, who will assume his duties on January 2, has served as a teacher, instructional coach, principal and, most recently, director of diversity, equity and outreach for Edmonds School District.
A graduate of the College’s L4L and elementary teacher preparation programs, Craig has served as a member of the Association of Washington School Principals Diversity & Equity Committee and is the co-founder and lead facilitator of the Everett Community College Educating the Whole Child Conference. He was named Washington State ASCD Outstanding Young Educator of the Year in 2014.
“Dr. Craig impressed us with his vision of developing systems-focused leaders who are prepared to create the conditions required to achieve the equitable outcomes that Washington’s students need and deserve,” said UW College of Education Dean Mia Tuan.
In a Q&A, Craig discussed his work to advance equity in educational systems, his vision for the Leadership for Learning program and two of his favorite education-related books.
What drew you to education?
I’m from a family of educators. All of my grandparents served in public schools and instilled in members of our family the importance of education and of serving our community. I have been inspired by my grandparents, my father who was a teacher for over 30 years, and other relatives to become an educator.
How have you worked to advance equity in education in your roles as a system leader?
My work as an educational leader has been focused on reimagining the formal education system to truly reflect the community being served. The central idea in my leadership has been about honoring the cultures of students and families in our schools. As a member of the Yakama Nation living in the community of the Tulalip Tribes, I have found the cultural strengths of the community to be the most important resource in our system. Starting from the recognition that with diversity comes incredible strength has been the core of my equity focused work.
What attracted you to UW College of Education and serving as director of the Leadership for Learning program?
I’ve attended UW for each of my degrees and value the opportunity to be in the region interacting with local leaders and local communities. Leadership for Learning has a clear focus on understanding how school systems could and must be transformed to truly meet student and community needs. The program challenged me and helped me channel my energy for educational leadership in ways that continue to propel me forward. A chance to come back to Leadership for Learning in this role is incredibly exciting.
What’s your vision for Leadership for Learning and the impact the program and its students and graduates can make?
Leadership for Learning is already an award-winning program with faculty known as leaders in the field. The graduates of L4L are a network that is widely known and respected. Part of my vision includes maintaining the aspects of the program that account for its excellence and collaborating to discover further contributions we can make to our region and beyond. The innovation that exists in our program truly impacts real-world, contemporary problems in schools.
Tell us about an education-related book or movie that has influenced you.
Two books come to mind as influencing and inspiring me to contribute to reimagined culturally-rich schools. One is Gloria Ladson-Billings’ "Crossing Over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms." The other is "Yakama Rising: Indigenous Cultural Revitalization, Activism and Healing" by Michelle M. Jacob. Each of these texts explores ideas about the necessity for systems to transform in ways that reflect communities—and share stories illustrating that such work is generative and without limits. I revisit such texts for inspiration.
What's something that students and colleagues should know about you that’s not in your CV?
I believe the best work happens in collaboration. The work I have done and intend to do almost always involves partners in the field and in the communities we serve. My CV is one way to communicate about my work that may not communicate the power of collaboration and community that I have experienced.
Besides your work, what's something that you're passionate about?
My family, my tribe, our culture…. The older I get, the older my children get, as we prepare to welcome our first grandchild this winter, the more I realize that the teachings that my elders and ancestors preserved and shared must continue with my descendants. I’m passionate about sharing as much as I can about the Yakama culture and the culture of the Tulalip Tribes.
Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications