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Ellen Winiarczyk


Ellen Winiarczyk is the creator, along with advisors, of University College’s Nonprofit Leadership Master’s program. As the program’s Academic Director, she is responsible for program management, course scheduling, enrollment, faculty, and program innovation and development.


Ellen earned her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Denver, her Master of Environmental Studies (MES) in Water Policy/Tribal Natural Resources from the Evergreen State College, and her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Physical Education from the University of New Hampshire.

Professional Experience

Ellen was a consultant for 18 years to local and national nonprofit organizations, corporations, and different levels of government in the areas of leadership development, DEI, change management, strategic planning, and teambuilding and supervisory skill building. She worked in Washington state government for 10 years as an education director, risk communications staff, and grants and program manager. From 2012-2017 Ellen coached K-12 superintendents and principals for the National SAM Innovation Project. She currently is an executive coach for the Center for Creative Leadership (Greensboro, NC & Colorado Springs, CO).

Motivation for Teaching

Ellen loves to include experiential activities in her teaching. Her experience outdoors and as an Outward Bound instructor inform her approaches to making content highly practical for students she teaches. She is passionate about developing leaders so that they can bring others to be the best they can be in the organizations in which they work and volunteer.

Motivation for Teaching

Ellen brings stories, metaphors, case studies, games and simulations to planning the classes she teaches engage students and make course content come alive. She fosters a class culture of belonging by inclusively helping all students get to know one another and support each other in their learning together. Students call her fun, engaging, and authentic.