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Delta Research and Educational Foundation Selects Project Director for Teacher Efficacy Program

Washington, DC - The Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF) has selected Dr. Johni Cruse-Craig, a middle school teacher from Georgia, to lead the newly created educational initiative that focuses on teacher effectiveness. Dr. Cruse-Craig is a science teacher with extensive experience in leadership development, particularly in teacher efficacy.
Delta Research and Educational Foundation Selects  Project Director for Teacher Efficacy Program

Dr. Johni Cruse-Craig, Project Director, The Delta Efficacy Campaign

Throughout her 17-year career as an educator, Dr. Cruse-Craig has held various key roles: classroom teacher, Race to the Top Teacher Effectiveness Facilitator, curriculum and instruction specialist, assessment and data analysis leader, and process improvement and performance engagement leader.  She has also performed duties related to professional learning and development, relationship and organizational development at the local and district levels. 

 The Delta Teacher Efficacy Campaign is being sponsored by DREF in collaboration with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and will be implemented over the next few years.  Dr. Alison J. Harmon, president of the DREF Board of Directors, explained: “The collaboration between DREF and the Sorority emanates from our joint commitment to ensure that all students are educated in a manner that prepares them to enter and excel in college, and, ultimately, create a thriving life and career for themselves.”  She added: “We realize that the constant variable in the equation of student academic achievement is the teacher.”

 The Delta Teacher Efficacy program is underwritten by a matching grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Dr. Harmon stated, “Our position on this issue is aligned with the Gates Foundation’s emphasis on ensuring students graduate from high school ready to succeed in a college program that will prepare them to support themselves, engage in their communities and achieve their dreams.”

 The Delta Teacher Efficacy Campaign offers a multi-prong approach to strengthen teacher effectiveness:  training teachers, informing local communities, and publishing a scholarly research publication on teacher efficacy.

 Patricia W. Lattimore, CEO of DREF, states that the new project director has strong leadership skills in operations and change management.  “Dr. Cruse-Craig brings a wealth of vital experience, theoretical and tactical to the Delta Teacher Efficacy Campaign.  Our program aims to increase student achievement through effective teaching, and she has the expertise to direct our program to successfully achieve its goal of realizing effective teaching and student academic success,” said Lattimore.

 Dr. Cruse-Craig has worked as a science and mathematics teacher in middle schools throughout the states of Georgia and North Carolina, and most recently served as Science Department Chair and Grade Level Science Lead Teacher for the DeKalb County School District in the Atlanta Metropolitan area.  During her tenure there she increased the number of students meeting the expectations in the science department and successfully established instructional direction by prioritizing standards from analyzing student achievement data. 

 She was also responsible for facilitating teacher involvement in examining students work to improve instruction for a diverse student population. She supervised student teachers who have since started their careers as educators. As she embraced the 21st century skills and strategies, she served as a change agent in leading the paradigm shift by training and coaching teachers with effective technology integration.

 According to Dr. Cruse-Craig, engaging and empowering parents, strengthening the home-school connection, positive and effective school and district leadership, a rigorous curriculum and prescribed professional development are essential components to teacher efficacy and increased student achievement. She created and implemented Parent Engagement workshops that empowered parents with knowledge of the 21st century learning environment. Parents were engaged at these workshops with opportunities to complete hands-on activities that increased their level of comfort with 21st century skills and strategies. This knowledge was adopted and shared at a regional level at Parent Universities. Dr. Cruse-Craig believes that knowledge is power; however, the sharing and application of knowledge is more powerful.  

Her dedication to enhancing the knowledge and collaboration for teacher efficacy resulting in increased student achievement as the project director is best summarized by the following statement. “My passion runs deep and is like a consuming fire that radiates and transfers into my every thought... I am humbly grateful to serve in such a capacity, as this is a calling and not a job,” stated Dr. Cruse-Craig.

The Delta Teacher Efficacy project director earned a doctorate degree in educational leadership and instruction from the Argosy University in Atlanta, GA in 2011 and the education specialist degree in 2006 from the same institution.  She earned a master’s degree in middle grades mathematics and science from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA in 2004 and a certification for educational leadership from the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, GA in 2005.  Dr. Cruse-Craig completed her undergraduate studies at Shaw University (Raleigh, NC), receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education in 1997.  She joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in the fall of 1996 while a collegiate at Shaw University (Alpha Rho Chapter). 

 Contact: Deborah Peaks Coleman, Director of Programs


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