Instructional Leadership in Action

We're featuring school district success stories at the Summer Leadership Institute 2017

by Sheeba Jacob on May 31, 2017

In addition to the Summer Leadership Institute's keynote presenters, we have lined up a dynamic trio of speakers who will share success stories from their school districts. Chuck Ransom, Stacy Thomas and Sharon Griffin are instructional leaders who inspire us, and we think each will inspire you with stories of how their districts solved challenging problems we can all relate to.

Success Stories

Chuck RansomChuck Ransom
Woodburn School District, Oregon

Day 1 - July 18, 2017
Theme: Targeting the Right Challenge

During the 1980s, an influx of English-language learners from Latin America entered Woodburn School District and significantly changed the demographic landscape. How did the district come together in order to target the right challenge and meet the needs of all students? Superintendent Chuck Ransom will give you insights into what Woodburn did and why the district has exceptionally high graduation rates.   

About Chuck Ransom

Chuck Ransom has been an educator for over 30 years. In that time he has served many roles: teacher (Spanish, and English as a second language), coach (soccer and baseball), principal, curriculum director, and now, superintendent.

Chuck believes deeply in the power of education to transform our community, our nation, and our world to become the place we want our children and grandchildren to inherit. Our schools are uniquely endowed with the ability to provide endless opportunity for future generations. Despite the many paths students chose to follow as they go on to achieve and prosper, Chuck feels two qualities are indispensable for a 21st Century education. First, we must cultivate an understanding for multiple cultures, languages and perspectives; and second, we must instill in one another a civic sense that compels us to give back to our community and world. Chuck comes from a family of educators and grew up the son of a diplomat, having lived in Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal.

Stacy ThomasStacy Thomas
Executive Director of Teaching and Learning
Blaine School District, Washington

Day 2 - July 19, 2017
Theme: Planning PD That Works

Blaine School District began to notice problems of practice related to literacy across grades. The district also realized that teachers, principals and central office folks were seeing the problems in different ways. How did they successfully tackle this issue through professional development? Dr. Stacy Thomas will speak about their journey and share which powerful learning structures have ultimately supported students. 

About Stacy Thomas

Dr. Stacy Thomas is the executive director of teaching and learning for Blaine School District, and prior to that served as a building-level administrator and elementary  teacher. In 2015, she completed a doctorate in education and Washington State Superintendent Certificate through the University of Washington Leadership for Learning program. Stacy is passionate about creating powerful learning opportunities for all students through ongoing improvement of instruction and leadership. She is most interested in getting smarter about how leaders at the central office level develop and support the instructional leadership of principals and teacher leaders.

Sharon GriffinSharon Griffin
Chief of Schools
Shelby County Schools, Tennessee

Day 3 - July 20, 2017
Theme: Inspiring Growth

Shelby County Schools’ Innovative Zone has one goal: to move schools from the lowest 5% to the top 25% in the state of Tennessee. Systemic segregation has created a tremendous achievement gap. What is the iZone doing in order to close this gap? Dr. Sharon Griffin will inspire you with the iZone’s story and how its deep sense of urgency is creating successful outcomes for students everyday. 

About Sharon Griffin

Dr. Sharon W. Griffin was promoted in January 2017 to serve as the first-ever chief of schools for Shelby County Schools, the largest school district in Tennessee. With 24 years of educational experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, director, and regional superintendent, in 2013, she successfully led the Memphis City Schools’ Innovation Zone (iZone) to dramatic improvements in student proficiency scores by surpassing state proficiency scores in all subjects. As a result, the iZone Schools achieved double-digit gains in mathematics, science, and social studies.

In 2014, the second year of implementation of the Shelby County Schools’ Innovation Zone, Dr. Griffin, again, successfully led the iZone by achieving the most gains made in the state. The percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in math increased from 10% in 2011 to 27.7% by 2014. In science, the improvement was even more dramatic, climbing from 11% proficient or advanced in 2011 to 40.5% in 2014. In reading/language arts, the improvement was substantial with a double digit gain from 10.9% in 2011 to 20.9% in 2014.

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Summer Leadership Institute

Topics: Instructional Leadership, Summer Leadership Institute

About the author: 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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