Stephanie Hirsh

Stephanie Hirsh retired in June 2019 after 31 years with Learning Forward, an international association of more than 13,000 educators committed to increasing student achievement through effective professional learning. Hirsh led the organization as its executive director for the last 13 years where she presented, published, and consulted on Learning Forward’s behalf across North America. Her books include Becoming a Learning Team, co-authored with Tracy Crow (Learning Forward, 2018), Becoming a Learning System, co-authored with Kay Psencik and Frederick Brown (Learning Forward, 2018); A Playbook for Professional Learning: Putting the Standards Into Action, co-authored with Shirley Hord (Learning Forward, 2012); and The Learning Educator: A New Era for Professional Learning, co-authored with Joellen Killion (NSDC, 2007). Hirsh wrote a column for The Learning Professional, Learning Forward’s bimonthly magazine, Educational Leadership, Phi Delta Kappan, The Record, The School Administrator, American School Board Journal, The High School Magazine, and Education Week. Hirsh has served on a number of advisory boards including Learning First Alliance, 2-Rev, Digital Promise, the University of Texas College of Education, and The Teaching Channel. She served three terms as a school board trustee in the Richardson (TX) Independent School District. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Staff Development Council, Master Trustee from the Texas School Board Association, and was named a Distinguished Alumna by the University of North Texas.

Learning cycles provide structures for uncertain times

By Stephanie Hirsh | April 10, 2020

My daughter is an assistant elementary principal in a large elementary school. Due to COVID-19, like so many of you, she now spends her days in front of the computer in a variety of one-on-one and team meetings. She has a number of concerns about how this disruption will impact her students, her teachers, the…

Honoring the legacy of Shirley Hord

By Stephanie Hirsh | October 22, 2019

At the moment of our departure From this world, Neither silver nor gold nor precious Stones accompany us – Only learning and good deeds. Mishnah, Avot 6:9 On Tuesday, our dear friend and colleague Shirley Hord passed away following complications from a stroke six weeks earlier. Up until the very end, Shirley lived life on…

Leverage high-quality instructional materials

By Stephanie Hirsh | June 4, 2019

Studying and implementing high-quality instructional materials anchors the work of effective learning teams. Learning Forward has elevated the importance of this work for the same reason we amplified the role of equity in our vision — a recognition of the need to prioritize and be explicit about the strategies that have the most potential to…

Let’s appreciate teachers with extensive support

By Stephanie Hirsh | May 9, 2019

During Teacher Appreciation Week, like so many others I reflect on all the great teachers who influenced who I am today. I remember with appreciation Dr. Gerald Ponder, my major professor during my Ph.D. program and lifelong mentor and colleague. I also recall Mr. Gerald Roslowski, my eighth-grade core teacher, who three years later allowed…

First Step in House Budget Process Includes Increase for Title II-A

By Stephanie Hirsh | April 30, 2019

Commit to High-Quality Materials and Embedded Educator Support

By Stephanie Hirsh | April 18, 2019

A 2015 study by Schmidt and Burroughs found that low-income students are less likely than high-income students to have high-quality content and materials in the classroom. The authors said, “As it stands now, students’ chances to learn challenging content depend on whether they are lucky enough to attend a school that provides it. In effect,…

How learning shaped my leadership

By Stephanie Hirsh | April 1, 2019

Knowing this will be my last opportunity to write this column as Learning Forward’s executive director, I want to share a few insights on habits I’ve found valuable as a leader. Not surprisingly, they are built on a foundation of continuous learning. ESTABLISH YOUR EXPERTISE As educators, we are often expected to know a lot…

Every Educator Deserves Substantive Support

By Stephanie Hirsh | March 25, 2019

This is not the first time that President Trump has completely eliminated Title IIA funds in his budget proposal. Yet I’m more upset this time and here’s why. Not only did he reduce to nothing the number of dollars dedicated to substantive professional learning and leadership support, he created a shiny distraction. His PD voucher…

There are many ways to build a career path

By Stephanie Hirsh | February 1, 2019

Every career step is an opportunity. Plan early to build your skills and plan for the future.

Focus adult learning on high-quality instructional materials

By Stephanie Hirsh | December 1, 2018

At Learning Forward, we are embracing an emphasis on the implementation of high-quality instructional materials. As always, our work centers on building the capacity of all educators to ensure all students experience excellent teaching and learning. Because research has helped to clarify precisely where teachers need to increase their capacity for maximum impact, we are…