Shelley Harwayne

Shelley Harwayne is one of the most prominent education leaders in the country, with 35 years experience as a teacher, principal, and superintendent in New York City’s District 2. Ms. Harwayne was founder and principal of the renowned progressive Manhattan New School. She has served as a mentor to countless school principals, instructional leaders and teachers over several decades and has advised school district leaders throughout the world in teacher development and instructional leadership. Ms. Harwayne is the author of nine education books including Going Public: Priorities and Practice at the Manhattan New School; Lifetime Guarantees; Learning to Confer; Writing through Childhood; and Lasting Impressions. She is the recipient of numerous honors including the NCTE Outstanding ELA Educator Award. Ms. Harwayne holds a B.A. in Spanish, a master’s in education, and an advanced certificate in reading teaching from Hunter College, as well as doctoral coursework in reading at CUNY and Rutgers University.

Grant Wiggins

Grant Wiggins is the creator of Understanding By Design, a highly respected and widely used framework for improving student achievement. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Wiggins has worked on some of the most influential reform initiatives in the nation, including the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. He is the author and co-author of nine books including Educative Assessment, Essential Questions and Assessing Student Performance, and has advised educators in every state and over a dozen countries. Dr. Wiggins’ articles regularly appeared in scholarly journals such as Educational Leadership and Phi Delta Kappan, and he has contributed and advised on numerous textbooks. His work is grounded in 15 years of secondary school teaching experience. He holds a B. A. from St. John’s College and doctorate from Harvard, and enjoys playing guitar and singing in a rock band.

“One of the things that brings us together in this project is a commitment to pedagogy that’s designed to engage kids in interesting and authentic work. Call it progressive, call it authentic – we all believe in it.”

Grant Wiggins


The Lesson Study Center

 Lesson Study has been practiced in Japan for over 100 years and was introduced to the United States in the 1990’s when the term was coined by Dr. Makoto Yoshida. The new Lesson Study Center at the Progressive Education Institute will open in 2014, co-directed by Dr. Yoshida and Bill Jackson.

Lesson study, or jyugyokenkyu in Japanese, is the process of professional learning that Japanese teachers engage in continuously throughout their careers to examine their instructional methods, curriculum, and student learning. In lesson study, teachers collaboratively design a research lesson that is implemented in actual classrooms with students. These research lessons, along with student work from the lesson, are observed and meticulously analyzed with teacher-colleagues and other educators to determine the effects of the lessons on student learning and understanding. Through this practice, communities of teachers deepen the quality of their teaching.

Dan Feigelson

Dan Feigelson is a nationally recognized educator who has worked extensively in New York City schools for 27 years as a principal, local superintendent, network leader, staff developer, curriculum writer, and teacher.  An early member of the Teachers College Writing Project, he has led institutes, workshops, and lab-sites for school districts around the country on the teaching of reading and writing. Dan served as a fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Learning where he helped develop literacy standards for New York and other cities, presents regularly at national conferences, and is featured in several instructional videos and web materials. Dan is the author of Practical Punctuation: Lessons In Rule Making And Rule Breaking For Elementary Writers, and the forthcoming Reading Projects, Reimagined: Student Driven Conferences To Deepen Critical Thinking.

“The notion that there is nothing scripted about what we’re doing here is so refreshing! We’re putting the priority right back on instruction.”
–Shelley Harwayne 


Barry Hoonan

Barry Hoonan has been an elementary and middle school teacher for over 30 years, and has extensive experience writing curriculum and designing and leading professional development for teachers. He has served extensively as a consultant to schools on the teaching of reading and writing, poetry, arts integration and formative assessment. In 2004, Mr. Hoonan was awarded the 2004 Edwin A. Hoey Award for Outstanding Educator in the English Language Arts by the National Council of Teachers of English, and he was the only teacher in the country to be featured in two Annenberg Professional Workshop videos on teaching literature. Mr. Hoonan is co-author of Inquiries of Multiple Ways of Knowing and a contributing author to Literature Circles & Response.  He holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Washington and a master’s of arts in education from Lesley University.

Bill Jackson

Bill Jackson is an international authority on Japanese and Singapore mathematics and lesson study with over 30 years experience as a teacher. Mr. Jackson has been leading lesson study groups and coaching math teachers for over 14 years, most recently in the Scarsdale public school district. He is a contributing author of Singapore elementary and middle school math textbooks and speaks at conferences throughout the world on mathematics teaching. Mr. Jackson works frequently with publishers and educators from Japan and Singapore. He holds a B.A. in economics from Rutgers University and a master’s in multicultural education from William Paterson University.

Harold Koplewicz

Harold Koplewicz is a national leader and innovator in child and adolescent psychiatry. He is the founding President of the Child Mind Institute and has been editor-in-chief of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology since 1997. Dr. Koplewicz founded the NYU Child Study Center, where he served as Director for 12 years. He also served as the Arnold and Debbie Simon Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU and as a professor of clinical pediatrics at NYU School of Medicine. Under his leadership, the NYU Child Study Center made tremendous contributions to the field through expert clinical care, a robust research portfolio, and advocacy for child mental health. He has written several books, including It’s Nobody’s Fault: New Hope and Help for Difficult Children and their Parents and More Than Moody: Recognizing and Treating Adolescent Depression. Dr. Koplewicz holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland and an M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University.

Mary Lebitz

Mary Lebitz has 25 years experience as an elementary school teacher and academic leader including eight years with Harlem Village Academies. Ms. Lebitz is HVA’s most experienced teacher and a beloved mentor to teachers throughout HVA’s five academies. She served on the founding team of HVA’s middle school as a fifth grade writing teacher, and an instructional coach to the faculty at both schools. During this time, Ms. Lebitz designed HVA’s middle school writing curriculum and assessment framework. Most recently she was on the startup team of HVA’s two new elementary schools as Academic Director, responsible for advising the principals and designing the teacher training program. She holds a B.A. in English from Vassar College and a master’s in education from the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Vasco Lopes

Vasco Lopes is a psychologist with expertise in the evaluation and treatment of children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, disruptive behaviors, and emotional dysregulation. His experience treating children spans parent management training, cognitive behavior therapy and school consultation interventions, including working with Harlem Village Academies teachers to designing interventions for elementary students. Dr. Lopes has co-authored several publications, including a research article in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology and a book chapter about pediatric social phobia. Dr. Lopes earned his PsyD in school psychology from St. John’s University and completed a clinical fellowship at Fordham University’s Pediatric Emotion Regulation Laboratory.

Mary Anne Sacco

Mary Anne Sacco has been a K-5 teacher, teacher developer, assistant principal and principal, with 20 years of experience in literacy instruction and inquiry-based project learning. Ms. Sacco was a member of the Columbia University Teachers College Primary Reading Leadership Group as well as the Baruch College school leadership program. She is the co-author of Significant Studies for Second Grade: Reading and Writing Investigations for Children, and is currently working on another book on elementary school writing instruction. Ms. Sacco holds a B.A. in political science from Gettysburg College and a master’s in early childhood and elementary education from Bank Street College.

Donna Santman

Donna Santman is a veteran public school teacher and literacy specialist who has trained and developed educators for over 21 years. Ms. Santman has 13 years classroom teaching experience in New York City and has served as an instructor at Columbia University Teachers College. She is the author and co-author of several academic books including the widely-used Shades of Meaning: Comprehension and Interpretation in Middle School, a guide for teaching students to independently and critically analyze texts. She has designed standards-based constructivist curriculum, developed teacher training course syllabi, and designed teacher’s guides. Ms. Santman holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a master’s from Columbia University Teachers College.

Sharon Taberski

Sharon Taberski is a veteran elementary school teacher with 31 years classroom teaching experience. Her book, On Solid Ground: Strategies for Teaching Reading K-3, revolutionized the way elementary teachers approach reading instruction, and remains a classic in the field. A nationally recognized expert in early childhood literacy, Ms. Taberski presents keynotes and workshops throughout the country. In her latest book, Comprehension from the Ground Up, she cuts through the pressure-filled atmosphere surrounding reading instruction to lay out practices that are effective, authentic, and systematic. She has produced several teacher training video series including Lessons from the Ground Up; It’s All About Comprehension: Teaching K-3 Readers; and A Close-Up Look at Teaching Reading. Ms. Taberski holds a B.S. from Daemen College and a master’s from Hunter College.

Julie Wright

Julie Wright is a teacher and instructional coach with over 20 years of experience in education. She taught at the elementary level for 14 years in Upper Arlington, OH and led professional development for literacy and social studies teachers throughout the school district for six years. She served as an adjunct faculty member at Ashland University, teaching graduate courses focused on curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Ms. Wright is a contributor to Choice Literacy and Lead Literacy, and is currently working on a book about what really matters in education. She holds National Board Certification as well as a B.S. in education, a master’s in language arts and reading, and extensive school leadership post-graduate work from The Ohio State University.

Makoto Yoshida

Makoto Yoshida is one of the country’s foremost experts in Japanese elementary and middle school mathematics and lesson study, with over 20 years experience as an educator, researcher and facilitator of professional learning for teachers. Dr. Yoshida coined the term “lesson study” and introduced the practice to the United States. His research is cited heavily in Stigler and Hiebert’s The Teaching Gap. He is co-author of Lesson Study: A Japanese Approach to Improving Mathematics Teaching and Learning, co-editor of Building Our Understanding of Lesson Study, and has contributed to the English editions of numerous Japanese mathematics textbooks. Dr. Yoshida was a professor of mathematics and lesson study at William Patterson University. He holds a B.A. in education and psychology from Lewis and Clark College and a master’s and Ph.D. in education from the University of Chicago.