Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired)
Author or editor of: To Teach: The Journey in Comics (2010); Teaching the Taboo: Courage and Imagination in the Classroom (2011); Teaching Toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom (2004); Teaching Toward Democracy: Educators as Agents of Change (2010); A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court (1997); On the Side of the Child: Summerhill Revisited (2003); Teaching the Personal and the Political: Essays on Hope and Justice (2004); The Good Preschool Teacher: Six Teachers Reflect on Their Lives (1989); To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher (1993)
As Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, William Ayres worked in the university's elementary teacher education program, with a specialty of school improvement. He was a member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society. A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College at Columbia University, Ayres taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative nonfiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament.
A known school reform activist, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is a past vice-president of the curriculum studies division of the American Educational Research Association.
Ayers’ articles have appeared in many journals including the Harvard Educational Review, the Journal of Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, Rethinking Schools, The Nation, Educational Leadership, the New York Times and the Cambridge Journal of Education.
His book To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher was named Book of the Year in 1993 by Kappa Delta Pi and won the Witten Award for Distinguished Work in Biography and Autobiography in 1995.
Ayres lives in Hyde Park, Chicago, with his wife Bernardine Dohrn.