Deborah Singer Howard
Ms. Deborah Singer Howard’s diverse career path has given her a breadth of experiences that are helping her flourish as a Senior Consultant with Academic Search, and into the role “of counsel.” She’s been a higher education attorney, a K-12 administrator, a Director of Sustainability, general counsel, chief of staff, an advisor, and more. Regardless of the title she holds, Ms. Howard can always be counted on to perform her due diligence strenuously and execute her tasks with precision.
Ms. Howard graduated from Michigan Law School magna cum laude and is a Phi Beta Kappa and high honors graduate of the James Madison College of Michigan State University. From the classroom to the board room, Ms. Howard has earned a reputation as someone who not only understands new responsibilities quickly, but masters them and sets a new standard.
When Ms. Howard was serving as chief of staff to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration at Washington University in St. Louis, she was named interim Director of Sustainability. Despite not having much experience in the realm of sustainability, Ms. Howard led trailblazing initiatives at WUSTL that caught international attention. Working with students, she led the campaign that resulted in the campus being the first in the country to ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. Ms. Howard later became the statewide Director of Sustainability for the State University of New York, which required her to work collaboratively and innovatively with the entire 64-campus system. Notably, she departed the position with the invaluable experience gained in a large statewide public higher education system—experience that is an asset in her role as a senior consultant.
Before entering higher education administration, Ms. Howard served in various positions practicing law. She was a state of Maryland’s Assistant Attorney General of the Educational Affairs Division, a corporate and real estate attorney with private law firms in Maryland, and a judicial clerk for a United States district judge in Michigan. More recently, she assisted the University of Maryland, Baltimore County by substantially revising and updating its climate action commitment and plan.
In her role with Academic Search, Ms. Howard finds immense satisfaction in utilizing her extensive network and other channels to assemble highly talented candidate pools for each position. With her legal background and an innate instinct to ask questions and dig deeper, she excels when it comes to sourcing candidates and reference checking. While her personal experience is in general counsel work and she regularly performs searches in that area, Ms. Howard has also found success in searches for presidents, vice presidents, deans, and other administrative and cabinet posts.