Dr. Sabrina Zirkel is the Dean of the School of Education and Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University. Dr. Zirkel is a well-established scholar who studies race, ethnicity, gender, and class across all sectors of education. Zirkel came to Santa Clara from Mills College where she was the Abbie Valley Professor of Educational Leadership. At Mills, she also served as Associate Dean in the School of Education as well as Chair of Educational Leadership and Director of the Ed.D. program. She also served as Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee, and worked with the senior leadership to develop a number of innovative, interdisciplinary programs to engage students while serving the needs of the College and the local community.
Dr. Zirkel possesses a deep commitment to issues of diversity, justice, and inclusion. At Mills, she taught courses focused on issues of race and ethnicity in schools and colleges, and she has served as an advisor to the African American Regional Educational Alliance (AAREA) and to STEM STEPS, programs that seek to improve the educational experiences of African American students in the East Bay.
Dr. Zirkel earned her bachelor’s degree with high honors in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986 and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1991. She was a psychology professor at College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit institution similar to Santa Clara University, from 1991-1994 and served as a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Research Institute for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity.
Dr. Zirkel is married with three children. Her husband, Christopher Simon has spent more than twenty years with the University of California, most of this time providing leadership in Human Resources for the UC system in policy and compliance at Office of the President.