Dr. Callie Womble Edwards

Associate Director of Program Evaluation and Education Research, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation

As an education researcher, Dr. Callie Womble Edwards has studied and advocated for historically underrepresented and underserved populations for nearly a decade. She is the Associate Director of Program Evaluation and Education Research at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, after holding positions in state government, academic affairs and student wellness. She is the founder of The Life Of A Scholar, specializing in dissertation coaching and evaluation consulting. Dr. Callie holds a PhD from North Carolina State University and a MPH from UNC-Chapel Hill.

What best prepared you for the role you have now?

Being a first-generation college student; it taught me how to adapt, learn new concepts quickly, network, and build lasting partnerships.

What does great teaching mean to you?

To me, great teaching means (1) inspiring students to see their full potential and (2) cultivating their unique gifts.

What was your favorite interaction with a student?

Coaching a high school student throughout their scholarship process and learning they earned the Gates Millennium Scholarship, a full-ride I previously earned my senior year.

What is the greatest challenge our educators face?

Educators are constantly criticized and often expected to produce “magic” with limited resources or support.

What do you consider your organization's greatest achievement?

The Friday Institute is currently undergoing an external equity audit, which demonstrates our commitment to equity-mindedness internally as well as externally.

What quality do you most admire in a school leader?


What is your favorite children's storybook character?

Addy Walker from the American Girl Collection

What is your current state of mind?

Energized by limitless possibilities!

What is your most treasured possession?

My family

Favorite motto or quote?

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Best piece of advice ever given to you, or advice you try to pass along to students?

Students of the global majority, also known as historically marginalized students, you don’t have to prove yourself. You belong here!

Advice you would give to a young person interested in a profession in education?

Commit to being a lifelong learner.

What were you really into when you were a kid?

School, reading, and puzzles.

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