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St. John Fisher College Appoints New Dean of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education

March 22, 2021

After a nationwide search, St. John Fisher College has appointed Dr. Joellen Maples as the dean of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education. Maples will officially begin her role at the College on July 1 after having served as interim dean since January 2020.

Joellen Maples

“Dr. Maples’ demonstrated experience in education and as a leader in the School of Education in her interim role, as well as her steadfast commitment to teaching, diversity, and service to her students, faculty peers, and our education partners in the community made her the ideal choice as our next dean. Joellen has been an integral member of the Fisher community, and I am looking forward to her continuing good work and impact in this permanent role,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of the College.

After earning her B.A. in English in 1995, Maples went on to obtain an M.A. in curriculum and instruction in 1996, an Ed.S. in English education in 1998, and her Ph.D. in English education in 2008 from the University of Tennessee.

Prior to coming to Fisher in 2008, she taught English, language arts, creative writing, and reading at the middle and high school levels for 11 years and served as a clinical instructor of theory and practice in teacher education at the University of Tennessee.

At Fisher, she has served as an assistant professor, interim literacy director, and associate professor in the Department of Inclusive Education before being appointed as interim dean.  In those roles, she provided numerous trainings in local school districts in the areas of culturally responsive teaching, critical literacy, and online teaching and learning. During her time at the College, she has been the recipient of the Dr. Mark Szarejko Faculty Information Literacy Award and the New York State English Council Educator of Excellence Award at the College Level. In addition, she has been a member of the Walden Award Committee for the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE, and has acquired numerous grants which include a six year Mentoring Matters grant to work with middle school students in the Rochester City School District.

During her tenure as interim dean, she led the School in the transition to remote instruction at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and established a successful remote/hybrid option for Fisher’s Weekend College.  In addition, she created four online module series for K-12 teachers learning to transition to online teaching due to the pandemic. She also oversaw the development and approval of three revised hybrid master’s degree programs as well as two new undergraduate certifications.

“Dr. Maples’ dedication to the School of Education and her commitment to educating the next generation of teachers and leaders are evident in every conversation one has with her.  She is a passionate leader striving to create increased opportunities for students and to serve as a model for the faculty in the School.  I look forward to an even stronger partnership as she becomes our next dean,” said Dr. Kevin Railey, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Maples’ work largely focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and she was recently selected by President Rooney to co-chair the United Way 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge on Fisher’s campus. As a member of the College’s Convocation Committee, she also helped to lead the weekly Friday Diversity Series during the 2020-2021 academic year designed in alignment with the College’s Strategic Plan emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Her research interests include exploring effective strategies for facilitating democratic dialogue and critical literacy through the reading of young adult literature and online discussion about literature. She has published in prominent NCTE journals such as Voices from the Middle, The English Journal, and English Leadership Quarterly.