Ezzani Receives National Award
Assistant Professor Miriam Ezzani has received the 2020 Jack A. Culbertson Award for her research, teaching and service in the field of educational leadership. The award, given by the University Council for Educational Administration, recognizes early career faculty at member institutions who have made a significant contribution to the field.
“I am so proud of Dr. Ezzani and her accomplishments,” said Frank Hernandez, College of Education Dean. “This is an incredible honor and she is very deserving for her extensive contributions to the field of educational leadership and the impact she has made in the lives of her students.”
Ezzani said she appreciated the support and nomination by her mentor Dr. Elizabeth Murakami, Professor and Mike Moses Chair in Educational Leadership at the University of North Texas, and she expressed gratitude for letters of support from Dean Hernandez, Associate Dean Lacina, and former and current doctoral student.
“Some of the recipients of this award are people that I look up to – amazing scholars doing incredible work,” Ezzani said. “To be recognized in this way made my heart heavy. It’s just an honor.”
Ezzani also received letters of recommendation from current and former colleagues and students like TCU doctoral student Stephanie Berry, who wrote in her nomination letter that Ezzani’s “passion for education, the marginalized students of the world and her students makes me so proud to know and learn from her.”
Prior to entering the field of higher education, Ezzani served as a school leader in California and prior to that as a literacy coach and teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the United States. She said her personal, academic and professional experiences have shaped the way she approaches her research and teaching.
“I go into the classroom from a place of humility,” Ezzani said. “When professors approach their teaching in that way, I think more learning happens and there’s a higher level of trust and vulnerability.”
Ezzani’s research focus is culturally responsive leadership and Islamic school leadership as it relates to race and faith. She said that classroom discourse, at the university and school level, often avoid such topics, as many fear discomfort, anxiety, or fear of utterances that may be divisive in nature.
“It’s really important to me to make sure that Black and Brown students being served by district and school leaders are afforded learning environments that are equitable,” she said. “It’s our job as educators to value students and to recognize their intersecting identities.”