To educate and to lead: Rowan welcomes Gaëtane Jean-Marie as dean of the College of Education

To educate and to lead: Rowan welcomes Gaëtane Jean-Marie as dean of the College of Education


For Dr. Gaëtane Jean-Marie, joining Rowan University as dean of the College of Education was absolutely the right fit. She knew so immediately.

“I knew I could make a contribution here,” says Jean-Marie, who joined Rowan last month. The College of Education is the oldest college at Rowan, founded in 1923 as an institution to educate New Jersey teachers.

The College of Education’s mission--which includes integrating teaching, research and service to advance knowledge in the field, preparing and supporting professionals through the development of knowledge, skills and dispositions, and collaborating with partners to promote the learning and the health of diverse learners in all settings—hit home for her. So, too, she says, did its tagline:  Access, Success and Equity…Turning Research into Practice.

“Leading the college provides me with an opportunity to build on the strong foundation that’s already in place and to enhance research, teaching and service.”

A prolific scholar

Those are areas where Jean-Marie shines, says Rowan Provost Dr. Tony Lowman.

“Dr. Jean-Marie is a prolific scholar in the field and has a strong commitment to inclusive education and educational leadership,” says Lowman. “Additionally, she is experienced in leading a college at an established research institution.  One of her strengths is driving the research agenda to another level while integrating it firmly with the educational approach. She’s a great fit for the College of Education and for Rowan University.”

Dean and the Richard O. Jacobson Endowed Chair of Leadership in Education in the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa for the past three years, Jean-Marie’s research focuses on leadership development and preparation in the United States and globally, effective leadership for educational equity in K-12 schools, women and leadership in the P-20 system, and urban school reform.

At UNI, which, like Rowan, was founded as a teachers’ college, Jean-Marie led, with other deans, a university-wide educator preparation program that comprised nearly 160 faculty across four colleges, 2,500 teacher education students majoring and minoring in 44 areas of study, and six graduate programs leading to licensure in education.

Moreover, she was interim director of UNI Center for Educational Transformation, which serves as Iowa’s education research and development center from pre-kindergarten through baccalaureate years. Jean-Marie oversaw the work of the center, which supports and conducts transformative education research and shares innovative, research-based practices to inform policy and drive practice.

'Bundles of potentiality' 

At Rowan, Jean-Marie is looking forward to engaging with educators and school leaders throughout the state to impact teacher preparation and student learning, working with Rowan students from undergraduates through to the doctoral level, and enhancing the work of CASE, the Center for Access, Success & Equity, which is housed in the College of Education. CASE supports faculty, students and community members to develop initiatives to address local and regional issues of access, success and equity for all learners.

“There are bundles of potentiality within the college,” says Jean-Marie, noting that she’s impressed by many of the college’s programs and initiatives, including the Ph.D. program with an urban education focus.

Born in Haiti, Jean-Marie attended public schools in Newark, where, she says, she was fortunate to have exceptional role models and wonderful teachers. One of nine children—“I was always the principal when we played school,” she laughs—Jean-Marie earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and her master’s degree in criminal justice from Rutgers University. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership and cultural studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Prior to joining UNI, Jean-Marie chaired the Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development at the University of Louisville, where she also served as co-director of the Center for Economic Education. She also has held faculty positions at the University of Oklahoma and Florida International University. At FIU, Jean-Marie was a research fellow for the Center for Urban Education & Innovation.

Co- editor of six books, including Women of Color in Higher Education: Turbulent Past, Promising Future, Jean-Marie has over 90 publications. Among her peer-reviewed journals are: Educational Administration Quarterly, Journal of Educational AdministrationJournal of School LeadershipJournal of Research on Leadership and Education, and The Educational Forum. She’s the series editor of Studies in Educational Administration Series (Emerald Publishing) and the former editor of the Journal of School Leadership.

Additionally, Jean-Marie serves on numerous boards, including the Carnegie Project on the Education DoctorateAmerican Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and Deans for Impact. These endeavors bring together deans and educational leaders nationwide who share a commitment—and work together—to improve the preparation of high-quality and diverse teacher candidates and school leaders.

“We’re committed to enhancing quality teacher education,” says Jean-Marie. “We’re working to impact the discourse around the teaching profession. It’s one of the most scrutinized professions. Everyone can think about a teacher who impacted them.

“Part of my approach as a leader is to bring people together for a common purpose,” she continues. “We need to ensure that the work continues beyond us. I’m blessed to lead this effort, but the work is us…all of us engaged in the College of Education.”