Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Names Timothy Knowles President

September 16, 2020

Urban education scholar and social entrepreneur will succeed Anthony Bryk in 2021

The Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Timothy Knowles, Ed.D., as the Foundation’s 10th president. Knowles, a Carnegie Foundation trustee since 2018 and a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago, is founder and managing partner of the Academy Group, which prepares young people from the nation’s most under-resourced communities for success in school, career, and life. He will succeed Anthony S. Bryk, Ed.D., who has served as president since 2008.

“It is a tremendous honor to be invited to lead an organization that for more than a century has shaped K–12 and higher education,” said Knowles. “Our nation is at a critical juncture. We must discover new ways to achieve educational, racial, and economic justice for all Americans. The Carnegie Foundation is uniquely positioned to contribute to that essential work by improving the quality of teaching and learning for young people who depend upon it the most.”

During his 30-year career as an educator and social entrepreneur, Knowles has worked to improve teacher preparation and training, transform urban school systems, and expand opportunity for students in Chicago, Boston, and New York City. Knowles began his career as a teacher of African History in Botswana and later served as a school leader, district leader, and professor of education working at the intersection of research and practice.

“Tim brings a deep commitment to educational equity and a track record of improving outcomes for historically underserved students,” said Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D., chair of the Carnegie Foundation Board of Trustees and vice president of student and teacher assessments at Educational Testing Services. “Under his leadership, Carnegie will build on the pioneering work of Anthony Bryk and address the urgent challenges facing educators today.”

In 2003, Knowles founded and served as director and chairman of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. The Urban Education Institute trains teachers, undertakes research to improve educational policy and practice, designs and distributes educational tools nationwide, informs local state and national policymakers, and educates more than 2,000 children from across the South Side of Chicago in an award-winning, preK–12 school.

Knowles subsequently founded and served as director of the University of Chicago Urban Labs, which works globally to design, test, and scale policies and programs that are effective, humane, and cost-efficient. Knowles also served as the John Dewey Clinical Professor of Education at the University of Chicago.

Prior to his work in Chicago, Knowles was deputy superintendent of Boston Public Schools and co-directed the Boston Annenberg Challenge, a nationally regarded initiative to improve literacy. Knowles also started and directed a full-service K–8 school in New York City and served as the founding director of Teach for America in New York.

“I can’t think of a more exciting choice to lead the Carnegie Foundation into the next era,” said Anthony Bryk. “Tim understands that successful school improvement efforts bridge the disconnect between research and practice, engaging educators as problem solvers. His experience at all levels of K–12 education will be essential to Carnegie’s work to address longstanding inequities in our schools and to realize the potential of improvement science to strengthen teaching and learning for all students.”

Under Bryk, the Carnegie Foundation has focused on positioning improvement science and the formation of structured improvement networks as the fulcrum for advancing classroom practice with the goal of eliminating disparities in educational outcomes associated with race, ethnicity, and poverty. Today, this work influences thousands of school district leaders, principals, teachers, policymakers, and researchers across the country and around the world.

Knowles will become president of the Carnegie Foundation in January 2021.

About Carnegie

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to solving longstanding inequities in educational outcomes. The foundation addresses problems that impact large numbers of students, tests innovations on the ground, understands what works and why in what contexts, and shares what it learns for use by others. In so doing, Carnegie integrates the discipline of improvement science and the use of structured improvement networks to build the education field’s capacity to improve.