Alumna Named Associate Dean of Teacher Education

Alumna Named Associate Dean of Teacher Education

Kavita MatskoKavita Kapadia Matsko Kavita Kapadia Matsko (MS97) knew she wanted to be a teacher from a young age. But it wasn’t until she came to Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) that she realized her passion included preparing the teachers themselves.

As SESP’s new associate dean for teacher education, Matsko will bring her extensive experience as a classroom teacher, mentor, university educator, and researcher to help take teacher education to the next level.  

Matsko most recently served as associate professor and the director of strategic innovation and research at National Louis University. She succeeds Miriam Sherin, professor of learning sciences, who was named associate provost for undergraduate education.

“I began to cultivate my interest in teacher education as a student in the halls of Annenberg,” Matsko said. “At the time, I didn’t even know it was a field of study, but a professor helped me see that many of the issues and questions I was raising had to do with how teachers are prepared.”

For most of her career, Matsko has explored how to develop and support teachers who work in urban schools. Her research is guided by questions like, "How can experiences in the field be designed to promote teacher candidate learning?" and "What features of teacher preparation lead to teacher effectiveness?"

“Schools of education wrestle with creating a coherent set of learning experiences to ensure that conversations in university courses translate meaningfully into pre-K to 12 classrooms and vice versa,” Matsko said. “It’s a hard loop to establish and to learn from because of structural and conceptual differences that often exist between the two institutions, but it can be accomplished.”

Matsko was the principal investigator for several research projects, including a large grant awarded by Spencer Foundation to study student teaching in Chicago Public Schools. She is an affiliate researcher with the Consortium on School Research and a consulting scholar for Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 

Prior to joining National Louis, she was the founding director of the University of Chicago’s Urban Teacher Education Program, where she focused on how to best prepare teachers to work in Chicago Public Schools. She also served as clinical faculty for the University of Chicago’s Committee on Education.

In 1998 Matsko co-founded New Teachers Network, a new teachers’ assistance program sponsored by the University of Chicago Center for Urban School Improvement that is now part of the Chicago New Teacher Center.

After getting her master’s degree in education from SESP, Matsko earned a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago. Since her undergraduate days at the University of Illinois, she has been drawn to a vision of equity and justice and how to bring those ideas to life in teacher education.

“Helping prospective teachers examine their own identities, and their own assumptions about teaching, learning, schooling and the communities where they will serve is the kind of self-study that is often overlooked in the teacher education process,” Matsko said.

“This approach, in my view, shifts the conversation from teaching subject matter, which is critical, to also include a focus on teaching, learning, and connecting with students.” 





By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 3/13/19