Lifetime Member Leaders

Lifetime Member Leaders


Dr. William Purkey

Dr. William W. Purkey is co-founder of the International Alliance for Invitational Education and Professor Emeritus of Counselor Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

William was born in Shenandoah, Virginia and received his bachelors, masters, and doctorate from the University of Virginia.  He has been a junior high school teacher, a Gandy Dancer, a Park Ranger, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist in the United States Air Force, and a tenured full professor at the University of Florida and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

In addition to receiving the highest award for teaching given by the University of North Carolina system, The Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, William received the 2005 Excellence in Education Award presented by the Royal Conservatory of Music for his work in encouraging learning through the arts.

Among the 11 books he has authored and co-authored, are Self Concept and School Achievement, Inviting School Success (co-authored with John Novak), and Becoming an Invitational Leader (co-authored with Betty Siegel.)

William is married to Imogene Hedrick, his high school sweetheart.  William and Imogene have been married for 63 years.  They have two children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.  They recently purchased a new home in Clemmons, North Carolina.


Betty Siegel

Dr. Betty Siegel is co-founder of the International Alliance for Invitational Education and was president of Kennesaw State University for 25 years. At her retirement in 2006, she was the longest serving woman president of a public university or college in the country.

Among her many honors, Betty was the first recipient of the University of Florida’s Distinguished Teacher Award, the Florida State University’s Louis Bender Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Higher Education, the University of North Carolina’s Peabody Award for Distinguished Service to the Field of Education, and the Chattahoochee Legacy Award for Distinguished Service to the State of Georgia. Most recently, she was honored as the inaugural recipient of the Emily B. Grigsby Award “For a Lifetime of Inspiration and Achievement.” 

Recipient of seven honorary doctorates, she currently holds the Endowed Chair for Leadership, Ethics and Character in the Siegel Institute at Kennesaw State University. Betty co-authored Becoming an Invitational Leader with William Purkey and The Decatholon Life: Tools for Crafting Your Retirement with Bill Dyke. Dr. Siegel is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences on global ethical leadership in service of the common good. She lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, Joel.



Dr. John Novak

Dr. John Novak is truly a vital part of Invitational Education. From the time he worked with William Purkey as a beginning doctoral student at at the University of Florida, John contributed much of the intellectual rigor and philosophical insights that made Invitational Education a defensible theory of practice in the face of hostile critics.From the earliest beginnings of Invitational Education, in the early 1970s, long before the official founding of the Alliance in 1982, John was the spokesperson in advocating the democratic ethos as a central part of Invitational Education. His impact on the thinking of Betty, William, and others was monumental. It was John who first organized the Invitational Education Group within the American Educational Research Association, which still functions over three decades later.

After receiving his doctorate in Foundations of Education, John accepted a faculty position at Brock University in Canada. There he gradually became a world-wide advocate of Invitational Education. He has presented invited lectures in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Moreover, he has introduced Invitational Education in many parts of Canada.

John has written over two dozen professional articles on “Invitational Theory of Practice..” (a term he created) . He has written a dozen books and monographs, including Inviting School Success (co-authored with William Purkey,)   Advancing Invitational Thinking,  Fundamentals of Invitational Education (with William Purkey), Creating Inviting Schools (co-edited with Wendy Rocca and Ann-Marie DiBiasi), Inviting Educational Leadership,and his latest co-authored book Leading for Educational Lives: Inviting and Sustaining Imaginative Acts of Hope.

There is hardly an office in IAIE that John has not filled honorably. He is a Founding Member of the Alliance. He has served repeated terms as a member of the IAIE Board of Trustees, as FORUM Editor, as Coordinator, and has presented talks at every single IAIE Conference since 1982.

He is truly a hero of Invitational Education.