Dean's Profile



Dr. Leslie T. Fenwick
has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, public policy, philanthropy, and urban PK-12 schools. Currently, she is dean and professor of educational policy and leadership at the Howard University School of Education.

Under her leadership as dean, the School of Education submitted a record $18.1 million in grant proposals to federal agencies during one academic year, attained national recognition of its degree programs, hosted a campus visit by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, held a Capitol Hill policy forum on African American male student achievement (attended by nearly 200 educators and legislators), established a Visiting Scholar in Urban Education post, and received an $800,000 award from the U.S. Department of the Interior for capital improvements to the historic Miner Building, home to the Howard University School of Education. In addition to her duties as dean of the Howard University School of Education, she is co-principal investigator of the Ready to Teach Program, a $2.1 million award from the U.S. Department of Education designed to recruit and prepare African American males (and other underrepresented groups) as PK-12 teachers.

Considered a scholar-administrator, Dr. Fenwick held successive appointments as a visiting scholar in education and visiting fellow at Harvard University. Additionally, she was a program officer at the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) where she successfully managed the implementation of an $11 million minority teacher pipeline project in 7 southeastern states supported by the Wallace Funds. Dr. Fenwick also served as associate dean of the School of Education and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership during her thirteen year tenure at Clark Atlanta University.

Fenwick has devoted her career to improving educational opportunity and outcomes for African American and other underserved students (in the education pipeline from the elementary through graduate school levels). Noted for her work in education policy circles, she is editor of numerous books and author of research articles and policy monographs about the strategic value of using urban school reform as a lever for community rebuilding and neighborhood revitalization, educational policy (particularly as it relates to race equity), and the principalship.

Fenwick is a contributing author to The Last Word: Controversy and Commentary in American Education. The book features the best commentary essays in the 25-year history of Education Week and boasts selections from former President Bill Clinton, noted historian John Hope Franklin, and esteemed educators Linda Darling-Hammond and Howard Gardner among others. In January 2009, Dr. Fenwick appeared on C-SPAN as a panelist to discuss solutions to the nation’s education challenges. Most recently, she delivered framing remarks at the first hearing of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Commission which aired in its entirety on C-SPAN.

Fenwick earned a BS in education from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and a PhD in educational policy and leadership from The Ohio State University. She is a member of the National Advisory Council for the George Lucas Education Foundation.