Instructional Leadership in Action

Anneke Markholt

Dr. Anneke Markholt is the associate director of the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL), and affiliate faculty with the University of Washington College of Education. Dr. Markholt designs and directs the Center's partnerships focused on developing teaching effectiveness and instructional leadership. She is particularly interested in the intersection of teaching, learning and the leadership capacity necessary for school systems to engage in instructional improvement, especially for linguistically diverse students. Prior to her work with CEL, Dr. Markholt spent five years as an associate researcher for the Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy at the University of Washington. She began her career as an English as a second language specialist for Tacoma Public Schools where she taught for ten years. Dr. Markholt is the co-author of two books, "Leading for Instructional Improvement: How Successful Leaders Develop Teaching and Learning Expertise," and "Leading for Professional Learning: What Successful Principals Do To Support Teaching Practice."

Recent Posts

How to reset your school leadership teams and teacher professional learning with an Instructional Leadership Academy

by Anneke Markholt May 20, 2019

We know that classrooms that are truly transformative for students require adults to work and learn differently than they typically do. We also know that the old methods of in-service professional development have failed to create lasting changes in adult practice.

Today's highly effective and sustainable school-based professional learning cultures share the following features: School leadership teams of principals, instructional coaches and teacher leaders who possess (1) a collective belief in the success of each and every student, (2) methods for working collaboratively around problems of student learning, and (3) a set of foundational instructional leadership skills and systems.

The Center for Educational Leadership's Instructional Leadership Academy builds the foundational instructional leadership skills and systems that will set school leadership teams on the path toward meaningful transformation of student outcomes. As you plan your school's or district's professional learning trajectory for the 2019-2020 school year, consider whether CEL's yearlong academy is the professional learning "reset" that your school or system needs. 

What you will gain from the Instructional Leadership Academy

  1. A common language and shared vision for high-quality instruction
  2. Nonjudgmental methods for observing and analyzing instruction
  3. Transformative skills in providing targeted feedback and planning professional learning
  4. A collaborative professional learning community focused on student learning
  5. A broader, deeper culture of public practice

Newly updated for 2019-2020

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Introducing the CEL District Leader Fellows

by Anneke Markholt Jan 29, 2019

We are excited to announce the first cohort of CEL District Leader Fellows.

The CEL District Leader Fellowship is a yearlong professional development and work opportunity for district leaders who possess professional expertise that will serve the Center for Educational Leadership’s mission, help the organization expand its current knowledge base, and allow us to better serve our district partners. Our primary goal in creating this fellowship opportunity is to broaden and diversify the network of leaders who can inform CEL’s work based on their professional and personal perspectives. We believe it is critical for us to truly understand the professional journeys of the leaders we support across the country. 

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This state's school leaders use job-embedded professional development for real learning and growth

by Anneke Markholt Nov 8, 2016

When Catherine G. Atria, the principal of P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Florida, observed her teachers at work this year, it was with a new lens.

Watching teachers in action, Atria carefully collected data on everything from how many students asked questions or closely read the text of a book, to the number of closed or open-ended questions a teacher asked. Atria didn’t opine on whether students were engaged or not, or note techniques a teacher could have used, but didn’t.

And when meeting with a teacher afterward, Atria didn’t list a prescription for improvement. Instead, she presented the factual data and asked careful questions about why the teacher took a particular approach. Then she asked the teacher to think about ways to make small improvements to boost existing strengths.

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This School District Tackles the Achievement Gap With Equity

by Anneke Markholt Jan 14, 2014

The Big “Aha”: CEL Brings Equitable Learning Strategies to Small District With Stark Gap

As she scans student faces during classroom discussions, Michelle Rooks constantly asks herself “Who is being left behind? Who needs support to access the conversation?” The middle school instructional coach describes these as “gut questions” – questions planted by University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) experts who, over the past three years, have brought powerful equity-driven instructional and leadership strategies to a Wyoming school district with a stark and striking achievement gap.

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Flipping the Old Approach to Teacher Evaluation

by Anneke Markholt Jan 14, 2013

As a district or school leader, how do you take the opportunity presented by a new teacher evaluation model to truly marry growth with accountability in teacher practice? We believe by taking the old notion of teacher evaluation and flipping it 180 degrees.

Unlike the traditional evaluation process where principals may only evaluate teachers once a year or in some cases every couple of years, with very little feedback on practice between evaluation points, today’s evaluation means all day, every day.

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Anacortes Transforms Teacher Evaluation

by Anneke Markholt Sep 1, 2011

Beyond 'Satisfactory': A Teacher Evaluation Pilot Focused on Professional Growth

Evaluations that tell teachers “You’re OK” or “You’re good enough” say little about actual  classroom practice and provide no targets for professional growth.  But that’s the evaluation system that pervades Washington State education – a system that the Center for Educational Leadership, in partnership with the Anacortes School District, is working hard to overhaul.

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The Power of Partnership

by Anneke Markholt Dec 1, 2007

Although CEL has worked in partnership with school districts around the nation, until this fall the Center had never begun a partnership with a salmon bake, campfire, and singing in the middle of the desert. But that is just how CEL’s partnership with the Portland School District got underway.  
In early October, central office administrators, principals and teachers from 23 Portland schools gathered in Warm Springs, Oregon, with the shared mission of increasing student achievement by improving district instructional and leadership practices.  Not only did this group have fun on the retreat, but more importantly, the time away provided an opportunity for these Pre K-8 school and district educators to establish a clear and specific focus for their school year.   

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CEL Partnership Making Gains for Wyoming Students

by Anneke Markholt Sep 1, 2007

It was during the 2006 Summer Leadership Institute that James Bailey, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction of Uinta County School District #1, became intrigued by the opportunity to partner with CEL.  Now, a year later, the Wyoming school district is celebrating the gains made as a result of its first year of partnership and is ready to begin year two with a continued focus on the mathematics achievement of all students in their diverse community.  

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Working Together to Improve Learning

by Anneke Markholt Jun 1, 2007

Walk into a school district boardroom and you’re likely to find artwork and school projects highlighting student learning.  The boardroom walls of the Marysville School District are similarly plastered with posters and paperwork depicting learning—only this time the names on the papers are those of teachers, principals, and central office staff.   Also displayed is a large sign: “OUR VISION:  Marysville students, families, staff, and community are committed to working together to achieve academic excellence.” That phrase, “committed to working together,” is significant, as this is the same district that a mere three years ago experienced the longest teacher strike in Washington state history—49 days.  Yet today there is no evidence of this past strife in relationships between the teachers’ union and the district management, nor between teachers and administrators.  No one would disagree that the district is in a very different place today.

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