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Dr. Joseph Youngblood II is the vice provost and dean of the John S. Watson School of Public Service and former director of the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison State University. Dr. Youngblood has spent the past seventeen years working in public education, law and public policy. He joined the Watson Institute after serving as Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Leadership Development and Director of School Based Youth Services for the Trenton Public School District. The Watson Institute is an organization that seeks to respond to the needs of public-sector and nonprofit decision-makers across New Jersey. Dr. Youngblood serves as Policy Adviser to the New Jersey Urban Mayors’ Association (NJUMA) and the Watson Institute provides applied research, analysis and other assistance in response to the public policy needs of its partners that include 24 urban municipalities, state and local nonprofits and grassroots/community-based organizations.
Dr. Youngblood earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Crawford Fellow and received an interdisciplinary doctorate that combined anthropology, human development, public policy and education to study issues of race, culture, identity, and inequity in schools, political systems and society. In 2006, Dr. Youngblood was named as one of three finalists for the position of New Jersey Commissioner of Education by Governor Jon S. Corzine.
In 2011, he was selected as a member of the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows Program, which identifies and prepares promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration. Dr. Youngblood is one of the 50 Fellows nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions selected for the program.
Prior to his work with the Trenton Board of Education, Dr. Youngblood was a Fellow at the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy; Executive Director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Community Partnership’s Philadelphia Start-On-Success Scholars Program—a nationally recognized work transition program now replicated in Baltimore, MD, New Haven, CT, Pittsburgh, PA, & Cleveland, OH; a program director at the University of Pennsylvania Law School; and a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health, Achievement, Neighborhoods, Growth and Ethnic Studies (CHANGES). As a 2001-2003 recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Next Generation Leadership Fellowship, Dr. Youngblood recently finished a two-year study of American and international themes in democracy along with twenty-three social change leaders from across the country. Dr. Youngblood is also a Senior Associate of the Princeton-based Center for Evidence Based Education (CEBE) where he co-facilitated the Federal School Leadership Program/Abbott District School Leadership Network and served as a researcher and participant in the University of Cambridge (UK) Carpe Vitam Leadership for Learning International Project involving school districts from seven international countries. Dr. Youngblood sits on several local, state and national boards, including St. Francis Medical Center (Trenton, N.J.), The Urban Education Fund, the Policy Committee of the New Jersey League of Municipalities and the Housing Committee of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.
Dr. Youngblood’s recent research interests include the prediction of resiliency and the influence of identity processes for competence formation among urban children with special needs classifications. Other research and practice initiatives include the on-going development and implementation of developmentally appropriate, culturally competent and contextually unique work transition programs for urban adolescents and adults. Dr. Youngblood has presented on numerous topics around the world and is the author of several articles and reports—most recently in Teacher Education Quarterly, The Handbook of African American Psychology and The Journal of Applied Developmental Science. Dr. Youngblood and the Watson Institute’s Center for the Positive Development of Urban Children recently led a groundbreaking study entitled: Benefits For All: The Economic Impact of the New Jersey Childcare Industry, Infant/Toddler, Preschool, and Out-of-School Time Programs.
Dr. Youngblood graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida A&M University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, and holds a Master of Arts in Education Administration from the University of Iowa College of Education, a Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law, where he served as Director of the Trial Advocacy Board and a member of the Moot Court Board, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he received the William E. Arnold Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in a Doctoral Program.