New School of Education dean appointed

July 26, 2022
Elizabeth Watkins
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
July 26, 2022

Dear campus community,

I am excited to announce the appointment of Dr. Joi Spencer as Dean of the School of Education. Her first day will be January 1, 2023.

Joi joins us from the University of San Diego, where she is a Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES). During her 16 years at USD, Joi has served in a variety of capacities, including Associate Dean and most recently Interim Dean of SOLES. Her work is centered on educational equity in higher and K-12 education and has resulted in the launch of the Ph.D. program in Education for Social Justice, the implementation of school-wide professional development on anti-racism, and SOLES’ first Diversity Post-Doctoral Fellows Program. 

Joi’s research investigates the mathematics learning opportunities of African American and other minoritized youth. Along with USD colleagues Drs. Perla Myers and Odesma Dalrymple, Joi runs the STEAM Academies, which are interactive summer learning labs for middle and high school students from under-serviced communities in San Diego. 

Joi is co-PI on the NSF Grant, "Bridging the World of Work and Informal STEM Education," 

and she recently submitted a $3.1 million NSF Grant on Racial Equity in STEM. Both 

studies seek to understand and build affirming and liberatory STEM learning experiences for Black, Latinx, and other minoritized youth. 

Joi has served on numerous boards and initiatives, including appointments to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Mathematics Assessment Development Board and the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education editorial board (as chair). She is the past president of the California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE). Her most recent publication, “Access, Power, and Participation in Mathematics Classrooms,” captures the role of observation in advancing equity in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Her forthcoming book, Anti-Black Racism at School: Creating Affirming Educational Spaces for African American Students, will be published by Teachers College Press this fall.

Joi holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from UCLA.

I want to express my gratitude to Louie F. Rodríguez for his extraordinary service as the Interim Dean over the past three years. Through his steadfast leadership, Louie successfully navigated through the pandemic. He also recruited 30% of the School’s current faculty to UCR, strengthened community engagement, enhanced interdisciplinary research, and championed the initiative to change the name from the Graduate School of Education to the School of Education.  Louie has graciously agreed to continue in the interim position through August 31, 2022.

Professor Eddie Comeaux will serve as the Interim Dean from September 1 through December 31, 2022. He will continue to serve in his current position of Associate Dean of Graduate Education in SOE as well.

I would also like to thank the members of the search committee for their active engagement in helping to select our new SOE Dean:

Anil Deolalikar, Dean of the School of Public Policy and Professor of Economics (Chair)

Karen Dodson, Supervisor of Teacher Education

Uma Jayakumar, Associate Professor in School of Education

Rita Kohli, Associate Professor of Education (Equity Advisor and Affirmative Action Compliance Liaison)

Austin Johnson, Associate Professor in School of Education

Covadonga Lamar-Prieto, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, CHASS

Kelly Kraus-Lee, Director of Development, Education & Policy for the School of Education

Marsha Ing, Associate Professor in School of Education

Ken Noller, Advisory Board Member, School of Education

Julie Porter, Director of Marketing and Communications, School of Education

Raquel Rall, Assistant Professor in School of Education

Ariana Romero, Graduate Student

Jasmine Salas, Academic Personnel and Human Resources Director, School of Education

Katherine Stavropoulos, Assistant Professor in School of Education

Brenda Valdez-Gutierrez, Undergraduate Student

Frances Valdovinos, Assistant Dean and Director of TEP

Beverly Young, Advisory Board Member, School of Education

Jingsong Zhang, Professor of Chemistry, CNAS

Please join me in thanking both Louie and Eddie for their service and in extending a warm welcome to Joi.