Tynisha D. Willingham, Ph.D.

[ty-NEESH-uh  /  DEE  /  WILL-ing-ham]

Tynisha D. Willingham is a Blackgirl — originally from South Jersey. She has lived in south Texas, Baltimore, and Wisconsin. Currently she resided in Staunton, Virginia. She is known for her work specifically in teacher education and intentional field placements that prepare teachers for the complexities teaching literacy. 

She is an interdisciplinary scholar with a focus on literacy and draws from the fields of critical race theory and reader response theory. Her research focuses on working with the community to create change specifically in classrooms to benefit the literacy development of students Employing methods, she explores the intersection of literacy practices in the classroom and teacher development. Dr. Willingham’s research agenda is informed by her experiences as a teacher in urban and rural context, serving Black and Brown students. She is the co -author of three books: The literacy leadership guide for elementary principals: Reclaiming teacher autonomy and joy, Service-learning initiatives in teacher education programs, and Expanding elementary teacher education through service-learning: A handbook on extending literacy field experience for 21st century urban teacher preparation.

Tynisha dedicates herself to the work of BGU primarily because as Blackgirls and Blackwomyn "we have a story to share." We bring forth life and our stories are critical to our healing as Black people. BGU "inspires Blackgirls to use the power of the pen and the power of their voice to incite change.” She is mother, sisterfriend, and Black scholar whose lived experiences drive her toward projects that critically support blackgirls and our respective communities. 

Dr. Willingham earned her B.S. — from Penn State University in Spanish and African-American Studies. She earned her Ph.D in language and literacy education from Penn State University. Dr. Willingham is currently the Dean of the College of Education at Mary Baldwin University. She is active in many organizations including 2015 Women of Color Leadership Project, 2017 HERS participant, 2019 Center For Exceptional Leadership Emerging Leadership Cohort, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

She cites the gospel music, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and Nina Simone as critical influences. For life balance she enjoys to engage in canning, cooking, and growing the Village.