Colorado State University’s School of Education Director Susan Faircloth was recently named one of five Hidden Figures in the field of Educational Leadership at the University Council for Educational Administration conference in Houston, Texas.
The Hidden Figures award is intended “to identify behind-the-scenes giants in the field whose work we cannot ignore,” according to UCEA. The work of these scholars is considered to be foundational, trailblazing and influential, impacting the next generation of scholars and the field of educational leadership and policy. Faircloth was nominated as a tenured faculty member with distinguished achievements in teaching and leadership, as well as a record of mentorship.
In selecting Faircloth for this award, UCEA wrote, “You are viewed as one of our council of elders who provide wisdom, guiding strength and love and serve with joy, enthusiasm, and excellence expecting nothing in return. Your influence on today’s rising scholars is evident, and your research embraces key aspects of UCEA’s mission to promote rigorous research, improve professional development of educational leaders, and influence educational policy. Simply put, you are the embodiment of what it means to be revolutionary!”
“Receiving this award was a humbling experience,” said Faircloth, “one that would not have been possible without the support and guidance of my academic elders, including my mentor and friend, John Tippeconnic, who never fails to remind me that I have work to be done, and the never-ending sacrifices of my family. Without them, I would never have dreamed that the young girl from Indian Town Road could one day be a member of the academy, doing the work that I am most passionate about rather than the work I need to do just to survive and make a living.”
Faircloth’s research and service contributions to national programs focused on preparing and supporting American Indian and Alaska Native teachers, school leaders, and scholars has helped to impact the education of Indigenous educators and students.
Faircloth is a senior associate editor of the American Journal of Education, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of American Indian Education. Currently, she chairs the technical review panel for the National Indian Education Study through the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics.
Faircloth is also a former member of the Technical Working Group for the Study of Title III Native American/Alaska Native Children Program.
“Throughout my career, I have been motivated by a strong sense of service and a commitment to doing work that serves the best interests of children and youth,” said Faircloth. “Service-related work affords me the opportunity to put into practice what I research and teach. Most of all, it feeds my heart and soul, and brings realness, humanity, and compassion to the work I strive to do.”
An enrolled member of the Coharie tribe, Faircloth’s research focuses on the education of American Indian and Alaska Native children – particularly those with special needs – and the educators who lead and teach them. She serves as a member of the Bureau of Indian Education’s Special Education Advisory Board, and has previously served on additional advisory boards, including the North Carolina Court Improvement Program, the Goodling Institute for Family Literacy at Pennsylvania State University, and the external advisory board for the American Indian Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Prior to joining the faculty at CSU, Faircloth also volunteered as a Guardian Ad Litem, representing children and youth who have been removed from their homes due to child abuse, neglect, and related issues. Volunteering as a Guardian Ad Litem allowed her to combine her love of children with her passion for advocacy-related work.
The School of Education is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.