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Annamarie Francois Appointed SEIS Associate Dean of Public Engagement

By Joanie Harmon
Annamarie Francois

Former Center X executive director will represent UCLA Ed&IS at local, state, and national levels of engagement.

Annamarie Francois (Ed.D, Educational Leadership Program; B.A., History) has been appointed associate dean of public engagement of the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies, effective Nov. 1, 2022. In this role, she will develop opportunities for collaboration between its centers and projects, as well as become the public-facing representative of Ed&IS for engagement at the local, state, and national levels.

Francois will seek ways for UCLA Ed&IS to broaden its impact across all UCLA schools and University of California campuses. Her long history of leading education innovation initiatives demonstrates her role as an active contributor to national, state, and local networks, developing models for equity-driven, student-centered, antiracist practices within education. Her public scholarship, teaching, and service contribute significantly to educator development, educational leadership and supervision, critical pedagogies and culturally responsive literacies, as well as authentic, transformative community–school–university collaboration. 

Francois is looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate across Ed&IS and beyond, and underscores the importance of listening, and of “getting to know everyone’s work in deeper ways and being a good thought partner about how to make a greater public impact.”

“UCLA Ed&IS faculty and staff are among the most brilliant scholars and practitioners in the country,” Francois says. “They don’t need me to help them do what they are already doing so well.” 

Wasserman Dean Christina (Tina) Christie is excited that Francois’s new role will allow her to highlight her highly cultivated partnerships on local and state levels. 

“I am ecstatic that Dr. Francois has agreed to take on the critical work of associate dean of public engagement for Ed&IS,” Christie says. “So much of what we do as a school is designed intentionally to enhance public good. She will bring her many years of experience leading Center X to this new role, and I know she will expand our reach beyond our hopes.”  

With more than 35 years in education, Francois has gained expertise in teaching, program development, and leadership in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the charter school community, and UCLA’s Department of Education, where she has been a teacher educator and core faculty member. This established connection to the community will clearly influence her work as associate dean. As such, she is determined to build “coalitions with state and local education agencies, community based organizations, and philanthropy to improve the conditions of schooling. The important question is, ‘What might we accomplish together?’”

Francois is currently the University of California representative on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and advisor to the California State University Center to Close the Opportunity Gap, the UCLA Center for Community Schooling, and the California Educator Diversity Collaborative. She is also the past president of the Center for Powerful Public Schools, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that partners with schools and districts to build educators’ capacity for equity and change. 

Francois was as a founding member of Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, the first grass-roots charter school in Los Angeles. She also established IMPACT and STEM+C3, two innovative urban teacher residency programs in Los Angeles, and worked in collaboration with her UCLA and LAUSD colleagues to create the UCLA and Mann–UCLA Community Schools, two university-supported public schools in high-need communities in Los Angeles.

Francois was instrumental in the creation of the California Community Schools State Transformational Assistance Center, which supports community schools statewide, and was also a key partner in the development and implementation of the 21st Century California School Leadership Academy, which provides high quality, equity-centered professional learning for educational leaders of schools and districts that receive Title II funds. 

Most recently, Francois has served as executive director of UCLA Center X for the past eight years, where she has guided equity-based educator preparation, development, and support for urban school communities, launching Center X as a guiding force on educator preparation across the nation. 

“What I’ve learned in Center X is that individual programs and projects have the capacity to do amazing work on their own but when you de-silo them, that’s when the magic happens,” notes Francois. “And there is so much magic in our school that can contribute to closing pervasive opportunity gaps and equity challenges.”

In addition to being a double Bruin, Francois holds a master’s degree in administration, supervision, and higher education from California State University, Northridge.

Jo Ann Isken, interim associate director of the UCLA Teacher Education Program and former assistant superintendent of instructional services at Lennox School District, will serve as interim executive director of Center X, effective Nov. 1.