Learning from the Experts

Learning from the Experts Teacher Leaders on Solving America’s Education Challenges

Edited by Celine Coggins, Heather G. Peske, and Kate McGovern
Pub. Date: November 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-626-5
paper, 168 Pages
Pub. Date: November 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-624-1
Price: $32.00

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Learning from the Experts offers an intimate look at the ways education policies collide with everyday classroom practices and illustrates how thoughtful, solutions-oriented and results-driven teachers are reframing debates in education today.


Securing a world-class education for our students demands the contribution of a world-class teaching force. This volume contributes to this goal. Learning from the Experts captures the insights and ingenuity of our best and brightest teachers. The essays presented in these pages bolster my conviction that teachers can be architects of a stronger educational future. — Mitchell D. Chester, commissioner of elementary and secondary education, Massachusetts

Learning from the Experts should be required reading for policy makers, school officials, and would-be reformers who imagine that they can save public education. Our schools will be in good hands if teachers like these inspire more teachers like these to speak out and step up. — Susan Moore Johnson, Jerome T. Murphy Professor of Education, and director, The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, Harvard Graduate School of Education

This book highlights the lessons we can learn from our very own teachers in the realm of best policy and practice. In doing so, it elevates the status of teaching as a profession. Learning from the Experts is a celebration of collaboration for the betterment of teachers and the students they serve. — John E. Deasy, superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District

What is most striking about these stories is their genuine call-to-action narrative: Having been identified as highly effective teachers, these men and women know exactly how much of a difference putting the right teacher in the right classroom can make. All education stakeholders would be wise to learn from these experts. — Singer Crawford, Fordham Institute

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About the Editors

Celine Coggins is the founder and CEO of Teach Plus. Coggins is a former teacher with experience in research and policy making. She launched Teach Plus in 2007 to rebuild the teaching profession to value teacher leadership. Since that time, the organization has grown to have a presence in six cities, working with 12,000 teachers and over 500 teacher leaders. Coggins has been a labor-management consultant in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as in Worcester and Springfield, Massachusetts, and was formerly special assistant to the Massachusetts commissioner of education on teacher quality. She has been a Mind Trust Education Entrepreneur and Aspen Institute Fellow. She is the author of several dozen reports and journal articles and the editor of two other books. She earned her PhD in education policy analysis from Stanford University.

Heather G. Peske is the associate commissioner for educator quality at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, where she manages a portfolio that includes educator evaluation, preparation, and licensure. Previously she worked as the vice president of programs at Teach Plus. Peske has spent her career committed to transforming education in the United States, especially for low-income and minority students. She began as an elementary school teacher and Teach for America corps member in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Peske earned her master’s degree and doctorate in administration, planning and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. There, she was a founding member of the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers with Susan Moore Johnson. Peske has served as the director of teacher quality at The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising standards and closing achievement gaps in education. Peske is a coauthor of the award-winning book Finders and Keepers: Helping New Teachers Survive and Thrive in Our Schools, and has written reports and articles on teacher policy, alternative certification programs, new teachers’ experiences, and conceptions of career. She graduated from Kenyon College with magna cum laude honors.

Kate McGovern leads the communications strategy for Teach Plus, with a focus on ensuring that the voices of solutions-oriented urban teachers are present in the mainstream media’s education dialogue. She has supported teachers to place more than 200 op-eds in major print and online publications and teaches writing and storytelling workshops to teachers nationwide. McGovern has worked in urban classrooms at home and abroad, most recently in London, and before that as a reading specialist and theater educator at the Harlem Children’s Zone, where she cofounded a popular Shakespeare performance program for middle school students. Also a writer, McGovern’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Narrative Magazine, and onstage Off-Broadway, and in 2006 she was named one of Random House’s Best New Voices. McGovern earned her BA from Yale and her master’s degree as a Weidenfeld Scholar at the University of Oxford.

Table of Contents

E-book available through online booksellers

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