Rachel Endo is Founding Dean of the School of Education at the University of Washington Tacoma, where she holds faculty rank of Professor with tenure. She is also endorsed as a member of the University of Washington Graduate Faculty. She is the first: (a) native-born Person of Color, and (b) Woman of Color, to serve at the decanal level in the history of this campus.
Prior to joining the University of Washington Tacoma, she was Inaugural Chair of the Teacher Education Department, the largest department at Hamline University (Minnesota's oldest university, which was founded in 1854), in the School of Education, where she was also the first AAPI person in the history of the campus who: (a) was hired as an Education faculty member, and (b) served as a tenured faculty administrator in an academic department or unit. Prior to her time at Hamline University, she was Faculty Coordinator of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program, the largest program on campus, at the College of St. Mary, where she also made history as the: (a) first AAPI person and Woman of Color to serve on the faculty, as well as (b) the first Person of Color hired to serve on the faculty in the Education Department. Before becoming a faculty member, she held various administrative and teaching positions in Illinois and Nebraska, spanning both private and public institutions and organizations. She started her career in higher education as Director of Multicultural Students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
A first-generation college student, Endo started her postsecondary pursuits at Metropolitan Community College. She then transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she was part of the Project Achieve TRIO program, and then went on to earn her MPA in Public Management, MA in Education, and Graduate Certificate in Instructional Technology. Her PhD in Language and Literacy Education with a cognate in Comparative Ethnic Studies is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was a University of Illinois Pre-Doctoral Fellow, and received multiple awards for academic excellence and research innovation.
As a learner and worker who directly experienced various opportunity gaps in both K-12 and higher education, Endo is deeply committed to widely promoting equity and racial literacy among educators, leaders, and policymakers. In particular, she is involved in a range of initiatives and projects at the local, statewide, and national levels that aim to eradicate access and equity gaps that disproportionately impact those who are historically underrepresented and underserved in institutions of education, especially in North America.
Endo believes her academic training, lived experiences, professional background, and sociocultural identities provide some significant perspectives regarding what it means, in both practice and theory, to lead, learn, and teach at an urban-serving campus like the University of Washington Tacoma, where x > 50% of all students are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and from first-generation backgrounds, and moreover, where x > 20% are from AAPI backgrounds.