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Dr. Shawn Joseph

Dr. Shawn Joseph’s passion for equity and social justice has led him to serve in a number of positions in the world of education. He has been an English teacher, school administrator, central office administrator, and superintendent in Maryland, Delaware, and Tennessee. His most recent work as the superintendent of Metro Nashville Public Schools (Director of Schools), resulted in schools that became more equitable as the district saw accelerated growth for all student groups in both reading and mathematics Pre-K through grade 5. In addition, the number of students at the high school level completing advanced coursework doubled, the number of students earning industry certifications nearly doubled while suspensions dramatically were reduced and new initiatives like STEAM were implemented at both the elementary and secondary level.

Dr. Joseph’s work has garnered him numerous honors and awards and he humbly serves on numerous local and international boards. Some of them include being honored as the Met-Life Middle School Principal of the Year for the State of Maryland in 2009. In 2010, Dr. Joseph was the recipient of the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Dissertation Award in the area of Educational Leadership. He was awarded the Ambassador Andrew Young Leadership Award in 2016. In 2018, both Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. honored him with the Environmental Leadership Award and the Community Impact Award. In 2019, Dr. Joseph was selected as the Person of the Year by the Tribune Newspaper in Nashville and was the recipient of the Greater Nashville Association of Black School Educator’s Trailblazer Award. Dr. Joseph serves on the Board of Learning Forward, an international organization focused on ensuring equity and excellence in teaching and learning through building the capacity of leaders to establish and sustain highly effective professional learning.

Other board of trustee appointments include the American Heart Association of Middle Tennessee, and Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee.

His first book, The Principal’s Guide to the First 100 Days of the School Year: Creating Instructional Momentum, offers insight into the complexity of the principal-ship and suggests strategies for focusing on increasing student achievement. He is currently completing the manuscript for Finding the Joseph Within: Lessons Learned from A Life of Struggle which shares insight into how keeping focused on God’s mission for your life results in him releasing his favor over your life. Dr. Joseph earned a doctoral degree in educational administration and policy studies from The George Washington University and a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University. His bachelor’s degree is from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, America’s oldest Historically Black College. Dr. Joseph joined the faculty of The Graduate School of Education at Fordham University, NY, serving as a Visiting Associate Professor of Educational Administration and Policy Studies in 2019. In 2020, Dr. Joseph accepted a tenure track position at Howard University’s Graduate School of Education in the Educational Leadership Department, and he will Co-Direct the Urban Superintendent Academy in collaobration with the AASA, the Superintendent Association.  Dr. Joseph is married with two children, and he resides in Nashville, TN.