Sharon J. Washington has more than three decades of professional experience in non-profit and higher education leadership, K-12 education, not-for-profit boards, and the arts. Throughout her career she has engaged in work that contributes to a greater understanding of individuals and groups and the ways in which work and learning communities can foster greater equity and opportunity.
From 2015 through 2016, Dr. Washington served as the Interim Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Mills College in Oakland, California. During her tenure at Mills, the College implemented a new core curriculum, converted to the Carnegie credit system, negotiated an initial collective bargaining agreement for adjunct faculty, streamlined the curriculum for greater access and flexibility, and developed and launched new academic programs.
From 2008 through 2013, Dr. Washington served as the Executive Director of the National Writing Project, a professional learning network of nearly 200 university-based local sites focused on improving the instruction of writing at all levels. During those years the National Writing Project raised more than $105 million through federal, foundation, corporate and individual donors.
A hallmark of Sharon’s leadership is her recognition that a team is more than a collection of individuals and a commitment to developing teams and leadership capacity across multiple levels within an organization.
Sharon's career has included the following leadership positions: Provost and Professor of Education at Spelman College in Atlanta; Special Assistant to the President for Diversity Initiatives at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina; and Interim Director of Faculty Equity Programs at the University of California Office of the President in Oakland, California.
Throughout her career, Dr. Washington has demonstrated a strong commitment to the importance of high-quality instruction for all students and teacher professional development of teachers across the K-16 spectrum.
As the Founding Director of Project SPIRIT at Springfield College in Massachusetts, she developed an advising system that improved student retention and graduation rates for Black and Latino/a pre-service teachers; created a teacher pre-service mentor program with K-12 teacher leaders; and led a collaborative academic enrichment program partnership consisting of a community college, a large urban school district and the local college designed to encourage high school students of color to pursue post-secondary education.
Sharon’s early work was in the field experiential education where she worked with classroom teachers to design learning experiences to support classroom lessons. Dr. Washington was a tenured member of the faculties at both Kent State University and Springfield College, and a visiting faculty member at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT. In addition, she was a Visiting Scholar in the Office of the President at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in higher education administration.
Dr. Washington earned a PhD in education at The Ohio State University, MA at Central Michigan University, and a BS at The Ohio State University. Her scholarship is in social justice education and recent writings focus on multicultural alliances and coping with the emotional and intellectual challenges of teaching about social justice.
Sharon lives in Oakland, California with her spouse, enjoys home improvement projects, ballroom dancing and travel.
"A hallmark of Sharon's leadership is her recognition that a team is more than a collection of individuals..."