ASCD Statement on Death of Deborah Childs-Bowen


Contact: Alexa Epitropoulos,

ALEXANDRIA, VA — ASCD is saddened to announce the passing of longtime faculty member and author Deborah Childs-Bowen.  
For more than 15 years, Childs-Bowen was an integral part of the ASCD family and supported thousands of educators in dozens of districts with initiatives focused on culturally response teaching, formative assessment, standards-based grading, differentiated instruction, and instructional leading and coaching.  

“Deborah leaves behind a legacy of strong and caring leadership, and her work will continue to ripple well into the future. She will be sorely missed by the many colleagues who consider her a friend,” ASCD Interim CEO and Executive Director Ronn Nozoe said.

Childs-Bowen began her career as an elementary school teacher before serving in multiple educational leadership roles. She was the associate professor and director of the Institute for Teaching and Student Achievement at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., where she designed a mentoring program for local districts as part of an innovative initiative from the New Teacher Center and the Carnegie Foundation. She also designed and led the highly effective Instructional Leadership Academy for Aspiring Leaders in five districts.  

“Deborah made a significant impact as an educator, an instructional leader, and a mentor to countless teacher leaders throughout their careers. ASCD and the education field mourn this loss deeply,” Sherida Britt, ASCD Director of Learning Solutions and Services, said.  

Childs-Bowen was a lifelong educator who led initiatives to recruit and retain teachers in high-need schools. She worked for SERVE, a U.S. Department of Education Regional Educational Research Laboratory network provider, for a decade, striving to advance teaching quality through teacher leadership and promoting high-quality professional development practices and instructional leadership. Her collective work and expertise helped form the basis of the well-respected ASCD title The Principal Influence: A Framework for Developing Leadership Capacity in Principals (ASCD, 2016), for which she was a co-author. 

“Deborah’s passionate dedication to supporting educators was inspiring and infectious,” ASCD Publisher Stefani Roth said. “She was always ready to listen with an open ear or heart, and generous with her thoughtful and wise counsel.”  

Childs-Bowen served as past president of the National Staff Development Council and as chair of the Board of Trustees for Engaging Schools, formerly known as Educators for Social Responsibility. She was also the recipient of the prestigious Learning Forward Distinguished Service Award.  

ASCD extends its deepest sympathies to Childs-Bowen’s friends and family, including husband Edward W. Bowen, daughters Karimah Childs-Bowen and Rashidah Bowen White, son-in-law George Andrew White III, and granddaughter Sela Olivia White.  

A celebration of life for Childs-Bowen will take place in Atlanta on Monday, Dec. 23.