Utah Tech University dean of education named national leadership fellow

Dr. Brenda Sabey, dean of the College of Education at Utah Tech University, was recently named an Impact Academy fellow through the national nonprofit organization Deans for Impact. Sabey joins a cohort of leaders chosen for their commitment to improving educator preparation rooted in equity.

Educator-preparation programs today face complex challenges as they prepare teachers and K-12 leaders to identify and address educational inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that all children have access to rigorous, content-rich instruction. Deans for Impact aims to fill this need through its year-long Impact Academy fellowship, which empowers dean-level leaders with skills, knowledge and strategies to pursue instructional excellence in the face of new challenges.

Sabey is one of 20 leaders announced as part of the fellowship’s seventh cohort. Since 2015, Deans for Impact has built the capacity of more than 100 leaders of educator-preparation programs through the Impact Academy, positioning them to make pedagogy a priority within their programs and advocate for more equitable systems of teaching and learning.

“I love participating in the preparation of future teachers, and their dedication to their future students and profession inspire me to continue learning every day,” Sabey said. “As an Impact Academy fellow, I will be better prepared to advocate for more equitable systems of teaching and learning.”

Sabey, who has served as dean since 2009 and has been in the teaching profession since 1986, serves on the Utah Council of Education Deans, is on a Utah State Board of Education committee focused on teacher education and was a member of the state team involved in the Network for the Transformation of Educator Preparation initiative. Sabey’s inclusion in the fellowship exemplifies Utah Tech’s commitment to implementing inclusive teaching and learning practices that aim to eliminate equity gaps. As an open-access institution, UT promotes inclusivity through personalized services, diverse teaching methods and access to open educational resources.

The 2022-23 Impact Academy fellowship combines monthly virtual sessions and two in-person gatherings with regular learning modules and ongoing leadership coaching from veteran leaders. Fellows strengthen their ability to engage faculty, staff, and K-12 school partners in a shared vision for change, grounded in a deep scientific understanding about how students learn.

“We’re excited to welcome this new cohort of 20 fellows committed to grounding their educator-preparation programs in equity and improving the field of education more broadly,” said Valerie Sakimura, vice president of program at Deans for Impact. “As we continue to support outstanding educator-preparation leaders to drive transformative change, Deans for Impact aims to realize our long-term vision of building a national collective of leaders who are creating and sustaining conditions for teachers to create rigorous, equitable, and inclusive classrooms where all students thrive.”

Deans for Impact is committed to reflecting the broad diversity of programs preparing new educators in this country, and this year’s fellowship cohort reflects that commitment. Thirty percent of fellows are leaders of color, and they represent institutions in more than 15 states from New Jersey to California and from Iowa to Louisiana. These include public and private universities, 35 percent Minority-Serving Institutions, and non-traditional programs. Collectively, these institutions serve more than 10,000 future teachers annually, with 46 percent of current candidates identifying as people of color.