Tynisha D. Willingham, Ph.D

Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees

Tynisha D. Willingham, Ph.D. is the Interim Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Mary Baldwin University. She also served as Dean for the College of Education at Mary Baldwin University. Prior to her arrival at Mary Baldwin she served in various roles at St. Norbert College, in De Pere Wisconsin. She was the assistant vice president for academic affairs, associate academic dean, and chair of curriculum and program development for teacher education.

Tynisha has been involved in the field of education for more than 15 years. She served as a classroom teacher and various administrative roles within K-12 teacher development. These experiences have informed and shaped Tynisha’s leadership focus, which is deeply grounded in relationship building and servant leadership.

She is an interdisciplinary scholar with a focus on literacy and draws from the fields of critical race theory and reader response theory. Her research focuses on working with the community to create change specifically in classrooms to benefit the literacy development of BIPOC students. Willingham’s research agenda is informed by her experiences as a teacher in urban and rural contexts. Her research is specific to literacy development within the context of teacher development, inclusive classroom culture, culturally relevant curriculum, service-learning, and literacy assessment and intervention.Employing qualitative methods, she explores the intersection of literacy practices in the classroom and teacher development. Dr. Willingham’s research agenda is informed by her experiences as a teacher in urban and rural context, serving Black and Brown students. She is the co -author of three books: The literacy leadership guide for elementary principals: Reclaiming teacher autonomy and joy, Service-learning initiatives in teacher education programs, and Expanding elementary teacher education through service-learning: A handbook on extending literacy field experience for 21st century urban teacher preparation.

Tynisha has a deep passion for teacher development. She works closely with many school districts and has served on boards of education. She is the co-founder of VIDA charter school in Pennsylvania.She is active in many organizations including 2015 Women of Color Leadership Project, 2017 HERS participant, 2019 Center For Exceptional Leadership Emerging Leadership Cohort, Blackgirl Gold Unapologetic and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Today her passion shows up in how she leads organizations to use data to drive outcomes that ensure student success.

Tynisha graduated with a B.S. in Spanish and African American Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. She is a 2002 Teach for America Rio Grande Valley Alum where she also received her Masters in Education from University of Texas- Pan American a Hispanic serving institution. In 2009 she received her Ph.D in Language and LIteracy Education from The Pennsylvania State University.