President and New Class Announced at WW Academy

FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, May 29, 2018
CONTACT: Patrick Riccards (@Eduflack) | [email protected]  |  (703) 298-8283

Woodrow Wilson Academy Names Nationally Recognized Education Innovator As First President of Cutting-Edge Graduate School

Educator Jim Tracy Will Take Reins of WW Academy from Founder Arthur Levine as Institution Prepares to Welcome Its First Class of Aspiring Teachers to the Master’s Degree Program

CAMBRIDGE, MA (May 29, 2018) – As the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning prepares for its July 1 launch as an independent not-for-profit institution following its three-year incubation at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the WW Academy’s Board of Trustees today announced that Dr. James Tracy has been unanimously selected as the first president of the innovative new graduate school of education. Dr. Tracy is currently the Head of School at the Rocky Hill School, co-chair of the MassRobotics Work of the Future Committee, and the Senior Advisor to the Board of the Boston-based edtech accelerator LearnLaunch.

The Stanford University Ph.D., who originally dropped out from high school before earning his GED, is also a leading national voice on education innovation and the use of technology in school improvement, currently co-authoring (along with Inside Higher Education’s Greg Toppo) an upcoming book for MIT Press on the implications of artificial intelligence for education and workforce development. Among many other endeavors, Dr. Tracy has also been on the Board of Boston University’s Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and is currently on the advisory board of Boston University’s Digital Learning and Innovation effort.

“As the Woodrow Wilson Academy works to transform how prospective teachers are prepared and how tomorrow’s learners are taught, it needs a president who brings a rich understanding in educator preparation, how k-12 classrooms currently operate, and what tomorrow brings for the classrooms of today. We were fortunate to find such a leader in Dr. Jim Tracy,” said Carl Ferenbach, the chairman of the WW Academy Board and founder of the High Meadows Foundation.

“I am honored to accept this important post, building on Arthur Levine’s and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s vision for how we transform teacher education to meet the demands and opportunities ahead,” said Tracy, who will assume the role on July 1. “Change, in society as a whole and certainly in higher education, is both inexorable and unavoidable. It is essential that institutions like the Woodrow Wilson Academy are driving such change, ensuring that all teachers and learners are making the most of what the future holds.”

The WW Academy, in collaboration with MIT, is reinventing teacher education for the 21st century. Teacher candidates progress through a problem-based, individualized, adaptive curriculum by mastering core teaching competencies. WW Academy students experience the challenge-based curriculum in a blended environment, including online and face-to-face learning. Candidates are also immersed in clinical settings throughout their formal education in both Boston-area public schools and outside-of-school-time (OST) environments. Throughout their first two years of teaching they receive continued mentoring and professional development.

Tracy assumes the Academy presidency as the institution of higher education prepares to welcome its first class of master’s degree candidates. In late 2017, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approved the Academy’s application to establish a mastery-based graduate school of education. The followed approval from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to offer an initial, post-baccalaureate license for middle and secondary school teachers in biology, chemistry, and math.

“WW Academy students will help change higher education, K-12 instruction, and our nation’s approach to teaching and learning,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and the inspiration behind the Academy. “Each member of this first cohort of WW Academy students brings strong background in the STEM disciplines, a commitment to teaching and learning, and an unwavering belief in demonstrating the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed as a teacher of record from day one.”

Among the first class of master’s candidates entering the WW Academy this fall are ten Design Fellows, who have spent the 2017–18 academic year helping to develop the competency-based program, and test all curriculum, assessments, games, simulations, and other components. They now continue in the school’s inaugural class as degree candidates.

The 2018 Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning class includes the following:

  • Mustafa Abdul-Rahim* Dartmouth College, engineering sciences, 2004, engineering, mechanical design, and environmental engineering, 2004; Dartmouth College, M.E.M., engineering management, 2006
  • Breauna Campbell* Olin College, engineering, 2017
  • Nicholas Cerini
  • Katie Dunn Massachusetts Institute of Technology, economics, 2018
  • Greta Farrell Massachusetts Institute of Technology, economics, 2018
  • Zoe Heasley Bethel College, mathematics, 2018
  • Jason Heitler-Klevans* Oberlin College, physics, 2017
  • Kirstin Holm College of Wooster, chemistry, 2017
  • Ji-Young Kim Wellesley College, chemistry, 1997; University of Illinois at Urbana, M.S., chemistry, 2001
  • Doyung Lee* Olin College, engineering, 2017
  • Xheni Mucelli University of Massachusetts Boston, biology, 2018
  • Genevieve O’Connell* Columbia College, neuroscience and behavior
  • Murphy Page University of North Carolina Asheville, mathematics, 2015; Tufts, M.S., mathematics, 2017
  • Ji Sun Paschal Pennsylvania State University, chemistry, 2018
  • Lucinda Robinson* Carleton College, mathematics, 2014
  • Katarina Rolf* Carleton College, biology, 2015
  • Jane Strauch* Yale University, statistics, 2017
  • Xavier Tirado* Oberlin College, biology and sociology, 2017
  • Alexandra Trunnell* Vassar College, physics and astronomy, 2017
  • Victoria Valencia Worcester Polytechnic Institute, mechanical engineering, 2011

* indicates those who were also WW Academy Design Fellows

The WW Academy’s efforts are built, in part, on the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s ongoing efforts in teacher and education leader preparation. Currently, the Foundation partners with five states—Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio—to offer the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships. Working with 28 universities in those states, the WW Foundation is redesigning teacher education to center on a master’s degree program that integrates a yearlong clinical experience and three years of mentoring. The Foundation is also working in three states—Indiana, New Mexico, and Wisconsin—on the WW MBA Fellowships in Education Leadership, using a similar model to recruit and prepare the next generation of school and district leaders.

Earlier this year, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced a major grant to support the Academy’s efforts in mastery-based education and personalized learning. CZI joins the Amgen Foundation, Bezos Family Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Simons Foundation, and several anonymous major donors that have supported the development of the WW Academy.


About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.

About the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning
The Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning (www.woodrowacademy.org) seeks to transform teacher education by creating a model to prepare teachers and school leaders to succeed in the diverse classrooms of today and to shape and lead the schools of tomorrow.


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