Instructional Leadership in Action

Sheeba Jacob

Sheeba Jacob is the director of extended learning at the Center for Educational Leadership. In her role, she supports the strategic development of all institutes, conferences and program offerings. She also supports district partnerships, specifically in targeted feedback and teaching effectiveness work with teachers and principals. She has a master's degree in language and literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and over 12 years of education experience as a teacher, teacher leader and curriculum developer.
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Recent Posts

Superintendent Tammy Campbell on equity, recognizing success, and how buy-in is like an accordion

by Sheeba Jacob Mar 15, 2017


A CEL Summer Leadership Institute 2017 keynote presenter profile

Since 2015, Tammy Campbell has served as superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools, a diverse district of 39 schools and 23,000 students in Washington state. As an inspiring, second-year superintendent with 20 years of experience in education, Campbell will deliver the opening keynote presentation at the CEL Summer Leadership Institute 2017, held July 18-20. CEL’s Sheeba Jacob had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Campbell recently.

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Introducing our keynote speakers for the Summer Leadership Institute 2017

by Sheeba Jacob Mar 1, 2017

Wondering how to engage your system in instructional improvement? Our acclaimed keynote presenters and thought leaders will inspire your thinking about where to begin and what to focus on to improve student achievement.

Don't miss a perfect opportunity to bring your team together for three days of learning, collaboration and planning that will set your course for 2017-2018 and beyond. Seats are filling up quickly. Register before March 31 to save $110 per person.

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Want to become an expert school leader? Ask more questions.

by Sheeba Jacob Aug 30, 2016

Why should you be stuck without a bed if I’ve got an extra air mattress? Today, the answer to this question is worth $30 billion.

The meteoric rise of home-sharing site AirBnB is driven by many factors, but it started with the founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky asking a series of questions that helped them uncover new opportunities.

In A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, Warren Berger takes an in-depth look at how asking ‘why’, ‘what if’ and ‘how’ drove the early success of famous tech start-ups like AirBnb or Netflix. His insight: We are all born with a billion-dollar app — our aptitude to ask questions.

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What Great Sports Coaches Can Teach Us About Effective Targeted Feedback 

by Sheeba Jacob Sep 8, 2015

Photo by Ronnie Macdonald / CC BY 2.0

This summer, I enjoyed watching the U.S. women’s soccer team play their way to World Cup victory and Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic win the Wimbledon tennis finals. Watching these great achievements, I couldn’t help thinking: What kinds of coaches did these athletes have and what kind of feedback did the coaches give them that ultimately led them to success?

Looking for insight, I found Sarah Green Carmichael’s article in the Harvard Business Review in which she interviewed five well-known sports coaches to hear their thoughts on what it takes to coach effectively.

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Shifting to Common Core - Challenges and Solutions in West Baton Rouge Parish School District

by Sheeba Jacob Jul 8, 2015

Just before the 2012 school year, Louisiana lawmakers decided that instead of two years, districts would have only one year to transition to Common Core. West Baton Rouge Parish School District, a small but growing district in southeastern Louisiana, moved quickly to implement the new standards.

One major challenge: getting teacher buy-in for the significant change toward a new curriculum and new way of teaching. One principal summed up the initial hesitation from many teachers this way: "Everybody's having to work harder than they ever had to work before, and the pay is the same. That goes against life, so it's difficult to get people to buy in."

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What is Targeted Feedback and When Do I Use It?

by Sheeba Jacob Jun 18, 2015

Over the past decade, there has been a significant transformation in the way principals interact with teachers. Principals are no longer just managers, they are also instructional leaders. More and more, they visit classrooms throughout the school year to gather data about teacher practice and student learning in order to improve student outcomes.

Principals are also learning how to support teachers in their practice and professional growth instead of just evaluating them. This kind of support can take many different forms:

  • Enlisting the help of an instructional coach
  • Structuring reflective conversations
  • Offering time for professional learning communities (PLCs)
  • Planning and providing professional development opportunities
  • Giving targeted feedback
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Growth Mindset, Strong Partnerships, Part of Common Core Implementation Puzzle

by Sheeba Jacob May 6, 2015

Public schools in 29 states took Common Core standardized tests for the first time this spring - another milestone in the long transition to higher academic standards. Kentucky was the first state in the nation to adopt Common Core State Standards in 2010 and within Kentucky, Boone County School District was one of the first districts to implement these new standards.

The results look promising for the northern Kentucky district. In 2014, the state's Department of Education designated the district as a distinguished district in Kentucky based on results from the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP).

The driving factor for this success and the early adoption of standards was Boone's philosophy. "What we've always been focused on is the fact that we're a high-performing, high-achieving school district, and we constantly strive for world-class standards," said Superintendent Randy Poe.

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3 Teacher Support Programs to Ease "Initiative Overdrive"

by Sheeba Jacob Apr 15, 2015

New evaluation systems, new standards, online assessments, personalized staff development, data driven decision-making and many more — in the last few years, districts around the country have had to adopt and integrate an increasing number of initiatives. Bayfield School District in southwestern Colorado (number of students: 1,402) tackled the challenge of "initiative overdrive" with a set of innovative solutions and strong strategic planning.

Making sure teachers were not overwhelmed with all these initiatives has been a top priority for district leaders. To avoid initiative fatigue and help teachers implement Colorado State Standards – the state's version of the Common Core State Standards – they created extensive support systems like SchoolVault, an online formative assessment tool, and pilot programs to provide trainings for Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and Math Design Collaborative (MDC). (For more information on these tools and trainings read our case study.)

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