Carnegie Welcomes New President Timothy Knowles

January 11, 2021

Urban education scholar and social entrepreneur is the 10th president of the foundation

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching welcomes Timothy Knowles, Ed.D., as the Foundation’s 10th president. 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. His professional career has been marked by his commitment to improving education systems to redress long-standing educational, racial, and economic injustice.

“The health of our education system is essential for a robust, equitable economy and informed citizenry,” says Knowles. “I look forward to working in close partnership with Carnegie’s extraordinary trustees, staff, and senior fellows to advance the quality of K–12 and higher education as part of our larger efforts to achieve educational, racial, and economic justice for all.”

Knowles, a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago, has served as a Carnegie Foundation trustee since 2018. He has been engaged deeply with questions of strategy, organizational development, and finance. Knowles comes to the Carnegie presidency as the founder and managing partner of the Academy Group, which prepares young people from the nation’s most resilient communities for success in school, career, and life. Previously, he founded and served as the Pritzker Director of the University of Chicago Urban Labs, served as John Dewey Clinical Professor of Education at the University of Chicago, and established and directed the University’s Urban Education Institute. He was the Deputy Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools, a school leader in Bedford-Stuyvesant, founding director of Teach for America in New York, and a teacher of African history in Botswana.

“Tim is the embodiment of our core values,” says Anthony S. Bryk, Ed.D., who served as Carnegie’s president during 2008–20. “He brings to the role of president a sophistication in continuous improvement, a comprehensive understanding of the educational space from the classroom to the legislature, and a profound sense of empathy for the students our education system leaves behind year after year.”

“I am very much looking forward to building on the remarkable momentum of the last decade,” says Knowles, “and working with my new colleagues in the pursuit of just and joyful educational opportunity for young people across our nation and the world.”

Learn more about Tim Knowles in a brief Q&A.

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, why it works, and 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.