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Dr. Ruanda Garth-McCullough

Dr. Ruanda

Director, Program Development

Ruanda Garth-McCullough, PhD., is the Director of Program Development at Achieving the Dream (ATD). Dr. Garth-McCullough leads equity-minded teaching and learning service development and the Every Learner Everywhere digital learning initiative at ATD.  Her expertise in culturally responsive teaching guides her faculty-focused professional learning and coaching work in the equity and social justice space. For over 25 years, she has worked with colleges and public schools to support educators to apply the principles and methods of culturally responsive teaching, center student learning, and assess and revise curriculum across disciplines. Ruanda approaches her work from an inclusive, culturally affirming and asset-based perspective that supports educators to create opportunities in their practice in ways that invite and integrate their students’ cultural knowledge and experiences as a cognitive tool in service of their achievement and success. Her workshops and coaching lead teams of educators to investigate equity for each element of their practice from policies, materials, and instruction to assessments.  

Previously, Dr. Garth-McCullough was a faculty member in the School of Education at Loyola University of Chicago for 12 years. At Loyola she taught graduate level courses including Multicultural Education, Teaching and Learning in Urban Communities, Sociological Analysis of Urban Education, Classroom Assessment, Curriculum Development and Implementation, and Qualitative Methodology. Dr. Garth McCullough was also a founding partner at Specialized Urban Community Collaborative for Educational and Economic Development, (SUCCEED) Consulting, Inc. At SUCCEED she led a team for 20 years to conduct short term and longitudinal program evaluations for organizations, schools, and colleges’ curricular initiatives. 

Ruanda Garth-McCullough, Ph.D., earned her doctorate and master’s degree in Administrative Institutional Policy Studies/Urban Education from the University of Chicago. Her research focused on the effects of culturally-bound prior knowledge on African American students’ reading comprehension. She received her BA in Psychology and African American Studies from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. 

Dr. Garth-McCullough published and presented at national and international conferences on culturally responsive teaching, equity and inclusion, curriculum and instruction, and urban education. 



Ph.D. (Administrative Institutional Policy Studies/Urban Education) | University of Chicago

M.A. | University of Chicago

B.A. (Psychology and African American Studies) | Wesleyan University


Past Experience

Senior Program Associate | American Educational Research Associate 

Chief Academic Officer | Young Women’s Leadership Charter School 

Faculty | Teaching and Learning | Loyola University of Chicago 

Lead Partner | S.U.C.C.E.E.D. Consulting. Inc. 


How has education changed your life/your family? 

After being “educated” in Pittsburgh Public Schools and a highly ranked private liberal arts college, I had the opportunity to attend an HBCU for a semester during my junior year. It was at Spelman College where I first experienced the power of culturally responsive teaching in a setting where I wasn’t “othered”. This transformative learning experience had a significant impact on my professional trajectory and 30 years later continues to fuel my quest to dismantle institutional and curriculum barriers for historically marginalized students.  

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