one of my favorite professors while I was at the UW COE happens to be the current dean. even as a student, i swear i had the sense that he was kind of a big deal. he had a charisma and energy about him that told me he would do some bigger things before his time in education’s up. well, guess what. soon after i graduated, he was promoted to dean of the college of education, and he’s been making some big waves at a local and national level because of his involvement in helping tfa expand to seattle.
dr. stritikus is a tfa alumnus, himself, so he occupies a very unique space in the world of education. on one hand, he leads a high-profile, traditional teacher education program. on the other, he is a huge proponent (and product) of an alternative certification program that some (including myself) see as a fast track toward privatizing education.
i am a believer in keeping public education public. but i’m also a believer in dr. stritikus. he’s no snake hell-bent on turning public schools into corporate cash-cows with a captive audience. instead, he’s hell-bent on giving poor, colored kids the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty through education. he’s a sharp guy who knows a thing or two about the practices at the classroom level needed to educate kids who don’t speak english as their first language, and he knows a lot about the policies that need to change at the systems level to make those classroom practices possible (and widespread). it just so happened that all of his expertise has brought him to conclusions that i don’t support.
so i find myself in a familiar place of disagreeing with someone whom i hold with high regard, yet feeling inclined to trust their opinions over my own. i don’t buy the ideas but i’m fully behind the man behind the ideas. even though i don’t get his decision making, i trust that he knows something i don’t know. i hope (and trust) that tom is making the right decisions for the coe, seattle, and the kids here who need a second-to-none education.