Mark Anthony Gooden is an educator whose research includes educational leadership and critical race theory-aligned anti-racism in schools. After an initial career teaching mathematics, Gooden’s focus shifted to educational leadership, equity and race, and diversity programs. In the past decade, Gooden began teaching at seminars and doing consulting work on equity and racism that led to some parents’ concerns after a recent diversity consulting contract with the Eanes, Texas school district.
Gooden is an educator who began his career teaching in public schools in Columbus, Ohio, after graduating from Albany State College (Georgia).  He went on to receive two master’s degrees and a PhD from the Ohio State University.  He previously taught educational leadership at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Texas at Austin.  Since August 2017, Mark Anthony Gooden is the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College of Columbia University and the director of Columbia’s Endeavor Antiracist and Restorative Leadership Institute.  In 2021, Gooden was elected president of University Council for Education Administration. 
After an initial focus on mathematics, Gooden now teaches on educational leadership and organization.  In addition to teaching, Gooden has authored numerous articles, spoken around the country, and consults on education and matters of race and diversity. 
While working at the University of Texas, Gooden ran the for-profit ARC Center for Diversity and Leadership (ARC) in Austin, Texas.  Gooden and ARC provided facilitator training on race and white privilege, institutional and societal racism, and writing your own racial autobiography. 
In the 2020-2021 school year, the Eanes, Texas Independent School District contracted with Gooden for a $170,500 one-year consulting contract to fight systemic racism and promote critical race theory-aligned diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).  The contract included a retainer, needs assessment, teacher/leadership trainings, focus groups, findings, and consulting services.  Senior Advisor for curriculum with Eanes stated the price for the contract may “seem high,” but she determined it to be fair for “what we are getting.”  Part of the justification to hire Gooden also noted that he had previously conducted anti-racism and social justice work for the Austin Independent School District. 
After the year, Gooden issued a report to the Eanes schools focusing on findings, challenges, and suggestions.  The Eanes Board of Education held a meeting in June 2021 to discuss hiring Gooden for another year of services.  Parents voiced concerns at the school board meeting calling DEI a “political agenda” and fearing DEI training would lead to critical race theory being taught in schools.  The school district voted to rehire Gooden for another year of consulting services without mentioning the cost of a new contract.  Subsequently, a new contract for $121,100 was agreed to for the 2021-2022 school year.  In 2021, Gooden began doing his consulting business under the name Valeo, LLC, registered in New York. 
Grants and Contracts
In 2020, Gooden received a $137,000 grant from the Wallace Foundation as an investigator for Developing Equity-Centered Leadership: A Literature Review.  From 2010-2013, Gooden was principal investigator for Preparing Leaders to Support the Education of Diverse Learners receiving $730,505 from the U.S. Department of Education Fund Improvement of Post-Secondary Education.  From 2008-2013, Gooden was principal investigator for a $3.3 million program at the University of Texas Collaborative Urban Leadership Project to develop educational leaders in the Texas urban districts of Houston, Dallas, and Harlandale.