William A. Sommers is currently the Learning Alternatives director and leadership coach for Spring Lake Park District 12 in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota, consultant, and author. He is the former director of leadership & organizational development for Manor ISD in Texas, the former executive director for secondary curriculum and professional learning for Minneapolis Public Schools, and a school administrator for over 30 years. He has also been a Senior Fellow for the Urban Leadership Academy at the University of Minnesota. Sommers also has served as an adjunct faculty member at Texas State University, Hamline University, University of St. Thomas, St. Mary's University, Union Institute, and Capella University.Sommers was on the Board of Trustees for five years and past-president for the National Staff Development Council. He has been a presenter in preconferences and conference sessions for 12 consecutive years and continues to work as a senior consultant for NSDC.Since 1990, he has been an associate trainer for the Center for Cognitive Coaching based in Denver, Colorado. He has been a program director for an adolescent chemical dependency treatment center and on the board of a halfway house for 20 years.Sommers has co-authored seven books, Living on a Tightrope: A Survival Handbook for Principals, Becoming a Successful Principal: How to Ride the Wave of Change Without Drowning, Reflective Practice to Improve Schools, a Trainer's Companion, Energizing Staff Development Using Video Clips, Leading Professional Learning Communities, and Principal's Field Manual . He is currently workingnbsp;on Trainer's Companion for Habits of Mind (2009).In addition to writing many articles regarding coaching, assessment, and reflective thinking, he also does training in reflective practice, leadership, organizational development, conflict management, poverty, thinking skills, brain research, and classroom management. From 1970 to the present, he has been in K-12 education as a teacher and principal in urban, suburban, and rural schools. Sommers is a practitioner who integrates theory into the learning opportunities he facilitates.
Shirley M. Hord, PhD, is the scholar laureate of Learning Forward (previously National Staff Development Council), following her retirement as Scholar Emerita at the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory in Austin, Texas. There she directed the Strategies for Increasing Student Success Program. She continues to design and coordinate professional development activities related to educational change and improvement, school leadership, and the creation of professional learning communities. Her early roles as elementary school classroom teacher and university science education faculty at The University of Texas at Austin were followed by her appointment as co-director of Research on the Improvement Process at the Research and Development Center for Teacher Education at The University of Texas at Austin. There she administered and conducted research on school improvement and the role of school leaders in school change. She served as a fellow of the National Center for Effective Schools Research and Development and was U.S. representative to the Foundation for the International School Improvement Project, an international effort that develops research, training, and policy initiatives to support local school improvement practices. In addition to working with educators at all levels across the U.S. and Canada, Hord makes presentations and consults in Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, and Mexico. Her current interests focus on the creation and functioning of educational organizations as learning communities and the role of leaders who serve such organizations. Dr. Hord is the author of numerous articles and books, of which a selection of the most recent are: Implementing Change: Patterns, Principles, and Potholes, 3rd ed (with Gene E. Hall, 2011); Reclaiming Our Teaching Profession: The Power of Educators Learning in Community (with Edward F. Tobia, 2012); A Playbook for Professional Learning: Putting the Standards Into Action (with Stephanie Hirsh, 2012).