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Dr. Barbara A. Sizemore

Dr. Barbara A. Sizemore (1927—2004) overcame racial discrimination as a child and young adult to excel in her own studies. As a teacher, she enthusiastically embraced students who struggled the most, successfully teaching them to read when others could not. The first African American superintendent of a major urban school district, she crusaded against standardized testing, asserting that the exams were racially biased.

As a professor and chair at the University of Pittsburgh, she conducted groundbreaking research on schools and students in low-income neighborhoods. While Dean of DePaul University’s School of Education, she developed and implemented structured, research-based strategies that improved test scores and learning outcomes in some of Chicago’s worst-performing schools.

The Sizemore Endowed Professorship advances her legacy—immersing a new generation of educators in her passion for connecting research to practice and her zeal for teaching in urban settings.

Barbara Ann Sizemore’s career in education spanned 57 years. As teacher, principal, district superintendent, dean, and educational researcher, she aimed to make certain that African American students and those from low-income backgrounds achieved the highest academic levels. She trained hundreds of school leaders to carry on her vision. She developed the Structured Ten Routines as a model to close the achievement gap based on race, ethnicity, and class. Sizemore received numerous awards, including four honorary doctorates and a lifetime achievement award from the Research Focus on Black Education special interest group in American Education Research Association.