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Relay Graduate School of Education’s Overwhelmingly TFA-Derived “Deans”

March 6, 2018

Relay Graduate School of Education (RGSE) is a corporate reform entity whose “deans” need not possess the qualifications that deans of legitimate graduate schools possess (i.e., Ph.D.s; established professional careers in education, including publication in blind-review journals).

In fact, the most common connection among RGSE’s 15 “deans” (each of whom becomes a “dean” by founding an RGSE campus) is their shallow classroom histories via Teach for America.

Of the 15 “deans,” 12 are connected to TFA. Many of them note their TFA connections in their brief bios:

Still some RGSE “deans” do not mention TFA in their RGSE bios but include it on their Linkedin bios:

That’s 12 RGSE “deans” with TFA experience.

And that leaves three more to consider.

One RGSE “dean” does not indicate a connection with TFA, but according to her Linkedin bio, she was definitely on the corporate reform fast-track of leadership top-heavy compared to classroom experience:

And here’s a snatch of James’ TFA-like, rapid-leader, Linkedin bio info:

Assistant Professor of Practice & Curriculum Designer

Relay Graduate School of Education
Aug 2011 – Jun 2013


District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)
Jul 2007 – Jul 2011

My first two years in DCPS were spent as a social studies teacher and department chair at Columbia Heights Educational Campus. I taught high school social studies. I was named First Year Teacher of the Year for the 2007-2008 school year.

During the summer of 2009, I served as a Teacher Central to Leadership Fellow in DC Public Schools’ Central Office. As a fellow, I worked on the Teaching and Learning Framework that was rolled out as part of the IMPACT evaluation system.

From 2009 to 2011, I was a Team Leader and social studies teacher at Alice Deal Middle School. As a Team Leader, I led a cross-curricular team of teachers serving 100 students

So, even though James might not be a TFAer, her “assistant prof” label following four years in a classroom (and without a Ph.D. or any hint of fledgling contribution to the professional literature or involvement in any recognized professional education associations….)

But we do have this, from James’ RGSE bio:

In the six years that Brooke has been with Relay, she served as a founding assistant professor of practice of Relay, NYC, and led the research, design, and review of over 80 graduate-level courses used in Relay’s Master of Arts in Teaching program nationally.

Moving on.

It seems that only one RGSE “dean” actually has composed a vitae. However, he does not possess a Ph.D., and it seems that his vitae is devoid of publications in blind-reviewed, professional journals:

Verrilli’s beginnings as a teacher predate TFA, and he remained in the classroom longer (10 years total). That noted, Verrilli taught at a charter school for four years prior to having a teaching degree. (Verrilli has a bachelors in history and he returned to school for a masters in teaching.) He then founded a charter school.

One more.

To me, the most curious RGSE “dean” is

because her bio includes no info to indicate that she has any K12 classroom teaching experience– as in creating lessons and delivering those to a classroom of children:

Dean Shemanne Davis

As founding dean of Relay Philadelphia & Camden, Shemanne Davis oversees all aspects of teacher preparation in the region. Davis previously trained graduate students as a member of the Relay Newark faculty. She began her career at Stephenson Middle School in DeKalb County Schools, where she was selected as a Special Education liaison. Davis then earned her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law and worked with the Georgia Legal Services Special Education Program. She was also an Education Pioneers fellow at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education and Dean of Students at Bedford Stuyvesant Collegiate Charter School. Davis earned her B.A. in history and women’s studies and her M.A.T. from Emory University.

There you have it: 15 “deans”; no Ph.D.s (but one almost); no bachelors degrees in education; no refereed publications, and not a one “dean” qualified for a tenure-track position in a legitimate college of education. But who needs legitimacy when you can franchise yourself into a deanship?

What a farce.

fraud ahead


Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

From → TFA

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