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Paola Sztajn Named Dean of NC State’s College of Education

Paola Sztajn

Paola Sztajn has been named dean of the College of Education at North Carolina State University following a nationwide search. Her appointment becomes effective April 1. Sztajn has served as interim dean following the return of former dean Mary Ann Danowitz to the College of Education faculty on October 5, 2021.

NC State Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Warwick Arden announced the appointment today.

“Paola is an incredible asset to the College of Education and NC State as a whole,” said Arden. “Her leadership experience, deep background in the scholarship and practice of teacher preparation, and unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in education will continue to strengthen the College of Education as it seeks to provide the state and the nation with extraordinary educators, including teachers, counselors, administrators and scholars.”

Sztajn, with more than 30 years of experience in education, joined NC State in 2008 as a professor in the Department of Elementary Education. In 2011, she became the College of Education’s assistant dean for diversity, ​​leading the college’s Committee on Multicultural Initiatives and Diversity. Prior to becoming interim dean in October, she was a professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences, and served as interim associate vice provost for academic personnel and policy in 2021. Sztajn has also held several other administrative and leadership positions in the College of Education, including associate dean for research and innovation and head of the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences, among others. 

Under Sztajn’s tenure as the College of Education’s associate dean for research and innovation, she led the college in further strengthening its research enterprise and developed a strong perspective of innovation among education faculty. In her three years of service in this position, the great work of the faculty was recognized with three consecutive record-breaking years for new sponsored projects, going from $17 million to $30 million in new awards. The college also received the two largest grants in its history.

“A college is only as good as its people,” said Sztajn, “and I could not ask for better colleagues to work with. We have achieved great things in the past few years and will continue to emerge as a national leader among colleges of education.”

Prior to joining NC State, Sztajn served as a program officer in the Division of Research on Learning for the National Science Foundation, and she worked at the University of Georgia’s College of Education, and Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro’s Department of Education.

She is a current editorial board member of the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education and a reviewer for several academic journals, including the American Education Research Journal, Journal of Teacher Education, and Teaching and Teacher Education. In 2021, Sztajn received the NC State Alumni Association’s Outstanding Research Award, and was inducted into the university’s Research Leadership Academy. She received the 2020 Judith Jacobs Lecture Award from the Association of Mathematics Teacher Education, and was named an NC State Provost’s Faculty Fellow in 2019.

Her research focuses on practicing elementary teachers’ mathematics knowledge and professional development. She is interested in collaborative studies that allow multi-faceted, in-depth investigations of the complex question: In which ways do practicing elementary mathematics teachers acquire and continue to develop the knowledge needed to teach all students high-quality mathematics?

In her educational career, Sztajn has received over $27 million in research funding as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on research projects. She has had research papers published in journals such as Educational Researcher, American Educational Research  Journal, Journal of Teacher Education, and Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, and written two books: one published by Teachers College Press in 2019 and a practitioner book published by Corwin Press in 2021.

Sztajn received her Bachelor of Science in physics from Universidade Federal Fluminense in Brazil, her Master of Science in physics from Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil, and her Ph.D. in mathematics education from Indiana University.

This post was originally published in NC State News.