Warner Center’s Founding Director Judi Fonzi Named Professor Emeritus of Education

Judi Fonzi  photoAn accomplished mathematics teacher, teacher educator and researcher, Judi Fonzi has been appointed professor emeritus of education in recognition of her contributions to the University of Rochester. Fonzi, founding director of the Center for Professional Development and Education Reform who retired in June, has served the Warner School of Education and local educators with distinction for 40 years.  In her new role as professor emeritus, she will continue to support the University, University of Rochester Medical Center, and Warner. 
Fonzi taught mathematics at the kindergarten through graduate school level before becoming a specialist in mathematics education and instructor of pre-service and in-service mathematics teachers. She joined the University in 1990, initially with a focus on mathematics education, and went on to lead several major initiatives, including launching and directing the Center from 2001 to 2013.  
The Center, established in 2001 with a generous gift from the late William F. Scandling, has become a place where schools and organizations turn to when they want to foster and support significant change. As founding director, Fonzi used her extensive experience in promoting mathematics reform as a model for challenging the status quo in other fields and built diverse teams of educators who have worked with organizations to identify and implement research-based, innovative professional practices and engage in systemic change.
Throughout her career, Fonzi has focused her research on systemic reform, professional development, and teacher leadership. Her work in STEM education and professional development has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Education, D.D. Eisenhower Foundation, and New York State Education Department.
According to Warner School Dean and Frederica Warner Professor Raffaella Borasi, Fonzi’s belief in the power of systemic reform to foster sustained changes in organizational beliefs and practices has made the Center what it is today.  “In all the years that I’ve known Judi, I have relied on her leadership and vision to extend the School’s mission to change lives and promote social justice to entire systems through the work of the Center,” said Borasi.  “She shaped the Center and enhanced its services in ways that will benefit organizations for years to come.  I am delighted that she will continue to be part of the Warner School community in her role as professor emeritus.”
Fonzi’s contributions to Warner extend beyond the Center. She played a major role in creating the health professions education program, which she has directed since 2007. An innovative, interdisciplinary master’s program, the health professions program allows professionals such as doctors, nurses, clinic personnel, and others to develop skills in teaching and learning.
Over the course of her career, Fonzi has been the principal or co-principal investigator for grants totaling more than $12 million, including most recently a $3 million Noyce Master Teacher Fellowship grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and served on countless national committees, including Developers and Implementers in Mathematics (DIME), which is tied to the planning and implementation of the national Common Core Standards. In addition, Fonzi has published several scholarly publications, including a monograph for the NSF, book chapters and articles in professional journals such as Journal of American Geriatrics Society, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education Advance Access, Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, and the Journal of Research in Mathematics Education.
Fonzi earned both her BS and MA in mathematics from Brockport State University of New York and sought a PhD in teaching, curriculum and change from Warner after participating as a Rochester City School District high school mathematics teacher in Borasi’s early NSF-funded mathematics education programs. Having spent her entire adult life in Rochester, Fonzi looks forward to continuing to use her experience to support the community.


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Tags: Center for Professional Development and Education Reform, Judith Fonzi