Dr. Amy Wooten

Executive Director of Higher Education Partnerships and Special Projects


Amy Wooten joined NIET in October 2020 and serves as executive director of higher education partnerships and special projects. In this role, she focuses on developing service offerings to enhance the effectiveness of teacher and administrator preparation programs, fostering partnerships with preparation programs and the districts they support, supporting education preparation policy discussions, and providing leadership for special projects to support the organizational mission.

Prior to joining NIET, Amy served as vice president of policy at Deans for Impact where she worked with ed prep leaders and policymakers to develop state-level policy focused on ensuring all students have access to well-prepared teachers. Previously, Amy served as executive director for educator licensure and preparation at the Tennessee Department of Education. In that role, she led the development of a new accountability model for educator preparation providers, facilitated a new model for partnerships between providers and districts, and managed the implementation of a federal grant to provide high-quality training for cooperating teachers. 

Early in her career, Amy worked at the U.S. Department of Education overseeing grant programs supporting alternative preparation programs, and as an elementary teacher for Kannapolis City Schools in North Carolina.  She received a bachelor's degree from Wake Forest University, a master's in politics and education from Teachers College at Columbia University, and an Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Amy  Wooten

Why are you passionate about working at NIET?

When I was growing up, both of my grandmothers, my mother and all three of my aunts worked as teachers. I learned from my youngest days both how challenging and rewarding it is to serve as an educator. When I became a teacher myself, I began to really understand how policy, preparation, support, and feedback influenced my ability to provide students with the instruction they needed. I am excited about working for an organization that focuses on the development, professional growth, and leadership of educators so that all kids get the education they deserve.

Who is your favorite teacher?

I've had lots of fantastic teachers, but Mrs. McCombs, my second and third grade teacher, was probably my favorite. She set high expectations and coupled that with an approach designed to build confidence in her young students. Under her tutelage, I remember grasping the concept of fractions, being asked to creatively demonstrate the concepts of scale and topography in a drawing, and learning to love books in the pillow-filled, claw-footed bath tub available for independent reading time. These memories are special because she made learning authentic and fun.

What do you do in your free time?

I love to travel. I have been fortunate to visit lots of amazing places, but my favorite will always be a trip to the outer banks of North Carolina. I also love to cook, and am trying to perfect a Bolognese recipe that I first learned from my dad.