Meet Dr. Cynthia B. Dillard

Educator. Leader. Builder. Queen.

Dr. Cynthia B. Dillard has always been a teacher. While her educational career began as a high school teacher in the Renton School District in her home state of Washington, her desire to know about global Black heritage, culture and spirituality was always at the core of her work. Leaving her teaching job, she turned to Washington State University, where she received a Masters degree and eventually a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Language, Literacy and Culture.

Yes, her degrees were the outcome: But it was her in-depth learning of the historical foundations of Black feminism and the critical and creative pedagogies and liberatory leadership used by Black women teachers that set the stage for a lifetime of work. Thus, Dr. Dillard’s “blackprint” for an entire educational career became how to understand, cultivate, and curate experiences within teacher education and beyond that centered the lives of Black people and very particularly, Black women and girls. Because Black women deserve this.

Dr. Cynthia B. Dillard has always been a teacher. While her educational career began as a high school teacher in the Renton School District in her home state of Washington, her desire to know about global Black heritage, culture and spirituality was always at the core of her work. Leaving her teaching job, she turned to Washington State University, where she received a Masters degree and eventually a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Language, Literacy and Culture.

Yes, her degrees were the outcome: But it was her in-depth learning of the historical foundations of Black feminism and the critical and creative pedagogies and liberatory leadership used by Black women teachers that set the stage for a lifetime of work. Thus, Dr. Dillard’s “blackprint” for an entire educational career became how to understand, cultivate, and curate experiences within teacher education and beyond that centered the lives of Black people and very particularly, Black women and girls. Because Black women deserve this.

Dr. Dillard’s work has appeared in numerous books and journals including The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Theory into Practice, The Journal of Teacher Education and Equity and Excellence in Education. Having held academic and leadership positions at both Washington State University and The Ohio State University, her most recent faculty position was as the Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Georgia (UGA). This endowed professorship is named after the first Black person to receive a degree from the University, Dr. Mary Frances Early. At UGA, Dr. Dillard also served as the Founder and Director of the Ghana Study Abroad in Education Program as well as Chair of the Department of Educational Theory and Practice. Dr. Dillard is currently Dean of the College of Education at Seattle University, returning full circle to her hometown of Seattle, Washington. Given her work within the academy and beyond, Dr. Dillard has received numerous awards for the impacts of her teaching, research, leadership and service including the

  • Taylor and Francis/AESA Lifetime Achievement Award, American Educational Studies Association (AESA).
  • American Educational Research Association Division G Henry T. Trueba Award for Research Leading to the Transformation of the Social Contexts of Education Award.
  • American Educational Research Association’s Critical Examination of Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender in Education SIG Senior Scholar Award.
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA) Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award

As an award-winning author, Dr. Dillard is also a prolific and highly sought after speaker. Her fourth book,The Spirit of Our Work: Black Women Teachers (Re)member was released in November, 2021. Dr. Dillard is also an enstooled Queen Mother (Nkosua Ohemaa) in the village of Mpeasem, Ghana, West Africa, a prestigious and rare leadership role for a Black women raised outside Ghana. In addition to her village leadership responsibilities, Dr. Dillard and her husband have built and currently administer a preschool, primary, and junior high school in Mpeasem, through their nonprofit foundation, GIVE.BUILD.SHARE. This philanthropic work has provided opportunities for important teacher education in and at the root of Black American culture for her students and faculties that she leads. Relatedly, as an entrepreneur, she leads writing and cultural retreats to Ghana, focused on (re)membering the beauty and traditions of Black heritage, identity, culture and traditions through her small business, Full Circle Retreats Ghana.

Download Dr. Dillard CV

Dr. Dillard’s work has appeared in numerous books and journals including The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Theory into Practice, The Journal of Teacher Education and Equity and Excellence in Education. Having held academic and leadership positions at both Washington State University and The Ohio State University, her most recent faculty position was as the Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Georgia (UGA). This endowed professorship is named after the first Black person to receive a degree from the University, Dr. Mary Frances Early. At UGA, Dr. Dillard also served as the Founder and Director of the Ghana Study Abroad in Education Program as well as Chair of the Department of Educational Theory and Practice. Dr. Dillard is currently Dean of the College of Education at Seattle University, returning full circle to her hometown of Seattle, Washington. Given her work within the academy and beyond, Dr. Dillard has received numerous awards for the impacts of her teaching, research, leadership and service including the

  • Taylor and Francis/AESA Lifetime Achievement Award, American Educational Studies Association (AESA).
  • American Educational Research Association Division G Henry T. Trueba Award for Research Leading to the Transformation of the Social Contexts of Education Award.
  • American Educational Research Association’s Critical Examination of Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender in Education SIG Senior Scholar Award.
  • American Educational Research Association (AERA) Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award

As an award-winning author, Dr. Dillard is also a prolific and highly sought after speaker. Her fourth book,The Spirit of Our Work: Black Women Teachers (Re)member was released in November, 2021. Dr. Dillard is also an enstooled Queen Mother (Nkosua Ohemaa) in the village of Mpeasem, Ghana, West Africa, a prestigious and rare leadership role for a Black women raised outside Ghana. In addition to her village leadership responsibilities, Dr. Dillard and her husband have built and currently administer a preschool, primary, and junior high school in Mpeasem, through their nonprofit foundation, GIVE.BUILD.SHARE. This philanthropic work has provided opportunities for important teacher education in and at the root of Black American culture for her students and faculties that she leads. Relatedly, as an entrepreneur, she leads writing and cultural retreats to Ghana, focused on (re)membering the beauty and traditions of Black heritage, identity, culture and traditions through her small business, Full Circle Retreats Ghana.

Download Dr. Dillard CV