Kofi Lomotey, the Bardo Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at Western Carolina University, has been presented a “Hidden Figures” award for 2018 by the University Council for Educational Administration.
To be nominated, an educator must be considered a foundational scholar and trailblazer who has broken barriers, disrupted the status quo and opened doors on educational leadership and policy.
The University Council for Educational Administration is a higher education institutions consortium dedicated to improving the profession of educational administration and leadership. The award was given to Lomotey during the nonprofit organization’s 32nd annual convention, held Nov. 14-18 in Houston, Texas.
“This award was established to identify behind-the-scenes giants in the field whose work we cannot ignore,” said Terah Venzant Chambers, UCEA president-elect, in making the presentation. “You are viewed as one of our council of elders who provide wisdom, guiding strength and love, and serve with joy, enthusiasm and excellence, expecting nothing in return. Your influence in today’s rising scholars is evident and your research embraces key aspects of UCEA’s mission to promote rigorous research, improve professional development of educational leaders and influence educational policy. Simply put, you are the embodiment of what it means to be revolutionary.”
Lomotey was named WCU’s Chancellor John Bardo and Deborah Bardo Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership in 2013 to work with the executive doctoral program, developed to prepare senior-level educational leaders to address complex problems. In accepting the award, he noted that social justice and equity issues provide a major framework for all components of the program.
“Our current faculty ― all who arrived with or following me ― is committed to preparing leaders who are oriented toward scholarship, collaboration, continuous improvement and social justice in order for them to be ready to lead educational organizations in meeting 21st-century needs of students, their communities and society,” Lomotey said. “While we have made significant progress, we understand that we have a way to go. Each of us has a responsibility to recognize inequalities and to work to change them. We can either support inequities in society or participate in dismantling them. At WCU, in 2018, we are convinced that a high quality, rigorous program with a social justice orientation is critical for equitable leadership, research and practice.”
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than Kofi Lomotey,” said Jess Weiler, assistant professor and director of WCU’s Educational Leadership Program. “Although most people know of the depth and breadth of his accomplishments in the field of educational leadership, fewer know about his steadfast commitment to mentoring and supporting rising scholars. He understands firsthand the challenges placed upon faculty and uses his years of institutional, experiential and academic knowledge to help them navigate the difficult terrain so that their work elevates research, student-learning and service to society. He is an invaluable asset to our program, our college and the university at large.”