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February 26, 2004

Education scholarship in memory of Sirotnik

The UW College of Education has established a scholarship supporting equity, leadership and social justice in education as a memorial to Ken Sirotnik, a professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies who died in January.

Sirotnik came to the UW in 1985 with a vision for education that was inclusive, caring, and just, college colleagues say. He understood restoring social justice to be the main job of all educators.

As chair of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program, Sirotnik strove to ensure school administrators learned how to be school leaders, not just personnel and budget managers. To former student Bridget Walker, Ken was a teacher who always balanced building the confidence of students with showing them how much was possible. “His tremendous spirit and intellect will live on in many,” Walker said.

Sirotnik led the effort to create an evening degree program in higher education within the College of Education curriculum, and helped to add two major programs to prepare school leaders. He also co-founded the Center for Educational Renewal and served as an advisor to the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction on assessment policy.

Debby Kerdeman taught a class with Sirotnik on the foundations of educational inquiry for 13 years. In that time more than 450 students from all of the College’s various doctoral programs and learning areas took their class.

“The insight and talent he brought to his work is unparalleled,” Kerdeman remembered. “Ken loved teaching the Inquiry course and was deeply dedicated to the preparation of educational researchers.”

Contributions to the scholarhip fund can be sent to Ken Sirotnik Scholarship, Box 353600, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3600.