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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 15, 2007 | Vol. 37 No. 7
Obituary: Long-term Educator Shelley Ingram, 59, Former Associate Dean


Rochelle "Shelley" Ingram, who held several positions as a faculty member in the School of Education, died of a neurological disease Oct. 1 at her home in Owings Mills. She was 59.

Following a long career with the Maryland State Department of Education, Ingram came to Johns Hopkins in 1996 as chair of the Department of Teacher Preparation in what was then the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. In 1999, when Ralph Fessler assumed the dean's post, Ingram succeeded him as associate dean and director of the Graduate Division of Education. She played a key role in establishing partnerships with area school systems and was the first chair of SPSBE's Committee on Civility and Diversity. She stepped down from the associate dean position because of health issues in 2003 but remained on the faculty and coordinated urban school partnership programs until additional health issues led to her retirement in 2004.

"Shelley Ingram was an inspirational leader who brought out the best in people," said Fessler, now dean of the School of Education. "Her enthusiasm and commitment to quality education for all children had a great impact on our faculty and students. Many of our current programs in teacher education and leadership development emerged from Shelley's commitment to quality and creativity."

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Ingram earned her doctorate in school administration from the University of Maryland, College Park and was later on the faculty as director of the Office of Lab Experiences. From the mid-1980s through 1994, she held a number of posts with the Maryland State Department of Education, most recently as an assistant state schools superintendent, from 1994 to 1996.

Ingram began her doctorate after returning from India, where she had worked for an organization trying to educate the poor in Third World countries.

"That was a transformative experience for her," Ingram's daughter Jordanna Shahraki told The Sun. "After that, she knew she wanted to change the world."

According to Fessler, "Shelley lived a life of commitment to diversity and social justice. This was reflected in her personal life and in her professional activities. She had a national and international network of friends and colleagues who looked to her for leadership in this area." Among those colleagues was Linda Adamson, an instructor in the Department of Teacher Preparation. When she joined the faculty in 1998, "[Shelley] also urged me to apply for the new doctoral program in Teacher Development and Leadership, telling me what a good growth experience it would be for me and how many new doors it could open. She knew we shared a strong commitment to improving quality education for underserved populations."

Ingram, who served as Adamson's doctoral adviser, took an interest in her volunteer work with a rural Mayan community in Guatemala, where few people can afford to educate their children beyond third or fourth grade because of related costs, and selected two girls to support through scholarship funds. "One of Shelley's girls graduated from ninth grade in 2006; the other is continuing into high school," Adamson said. "Shelley's commitment to them captures so much of who Shelley was, and how she lived her life."

In June, with the support of the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation, a conference room in the Education Building was dedicated in honor of Ingram's many contributions. "This will now stand as a permanent memorial to an exceptional leader who has made a lasting impact on the field of education," Fessler said. "We will miss her."

In addition to her daughter, Ingram is survived by her husband of 12 years, William B. Ingram; her son, William J. Clemson; and her mother, sister, brother, stepson, two stepdaughters and five grandchildren.


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