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TC Alumna Jody Spiro Picked to Lead Wallace Foundation's Education Leadership Effort

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Jody Spiro

Jody Spiro

TC alumna Jody Spiro (EdD 1989) will lead the Wallace Foundation’s $75-million Principal Pipeline initiative, designed to help school districts build a corps of effective principals and to determine whether that effort improves student achievement across the district, especially in the highest needs schools. Assessing the impact of a more effective corps of principals “will provide education decision-makers a key missing piece of the school reform puzzle,” the foundation said in a news release.

"I'm delighted that Jody has agreed to direct our work in school leadership going forward," said Will Miller, President of The Wallace Foundation. "She has been doing an excellent job as interim director and ensured that we and our partners have not missed a beat in this important initiative. Her skills, experience and leadership will contribute greatly to the potential of our work to yield important lessons for district leaders, as well as state and federal policymakers, on how we can effectively develop and support principals in ways that strengthen student achievement."

Spiro, who was promoted from interim director of Education to Director of Education Leadership at the foundation, said in a prepared statement:  "It has been an honor to be involved with Wallace's education leadership work these past years and very exciting to lead the next initiative, which grows from and furthers those efforts. Together with our grantees, we are all part of a vibrant learning community, and I look forward to the new lessons we will learn."

Spiro began working as a Senior Program Officer in Education at the foundation in 2002 and  became Interim Director of Education last August, when Wallace launched the Principal Pipeline project in six urban districts: Charlotte-Mecklenburg in North Carolina; Denver; Gwinnett County (near Atlanta) in Georgia; Hillsborough County (near Tampa) in Florida; New York City; and Prince George's County (near Washington, D.C.) in Maryland. Following her promotion to director of the Education division, the foundation changed its name to Education Leadership.

The foundation said Spiro has contributed significantly to its efforts in school leadership “by forging strong partnerships between states and districts; through her work with the New York City Leadership Academy and the National School Administration Manager Innovation Project; and through her leadership of the Leading Change Learning Community, Wallace's most systematic effort to date to help grantees sustain programs and practices that improved school leadership,” the foundation said.

Wallace’s career as a senior educator and manager of education programs has spanned the private, public, nonprofit and international sectors. Previous have included: director of education at the Education Development Center's New York office of global learning; executive director of the Soros Foundations for the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union and the Baltic States; university planning officer and secretary of the board of trustees at Long Island University; senior assistant to the New York City schools chancellor; director of principals' professional development at the New York City Board of Education; and second vice president for professional development at Chase Manhattan Bank.

For many years, Spiro has served as adjunct professor at New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, teaching courses in strategic management, the management of change, and international non-governmental organizations. She is a frequent presenter on the subject of school leadership and change management before groups such as Learning Forward, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Education Trust and the Southern Regional Education Board.

Spiro holds a doctorate in adult and higher education from Teachers College, a master's degree in public administration from New York University, and a bachelor's degree from Barnard College. She is the author of the Leading Change Handbook (2009) and Leading Change Step-by-Step: Tactics, Tools, and Tales (2011, Jossey-Bass).

The Wallace Foundation is an independent, national foundation dedicated to supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices that expand learning and enrichment opportunities for children. Wallace has issued more than 70 research reports and other publications covering school leadership, on topics ranging from how principals are trained to how they are evaluated on the job. It published “The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning,” in January.

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