Educational Heroes For Eagle Rock Faculty & Staff

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We recently asked some of our educators and staff members to come up with a list of people in the field of academia that they believe made a difference in their lives or inspired them to do things differently or better.

Here is a list of a few of those educators:

theodore-sizerTheodore R. Sizer: Founder — and later president emeritus — of the Essential school movement, Sizer took on the task of questioning the way students were being taught in the nation’s secondary schools. By the late 1970s, he was involved with hundreds of high schools across the country.

What emerged from all of that research was the book Horace’s Compromise: The Dilemma of the American High School, his 1984 eloquent call to arms for school reform. Sizer also he founded the Coalition of Essential Schools, which is based on the principles he put forth in his book.

Eagle Rock School is an official Coalition School and our Professional Development Center is not only an Affiliate Center, we are also the national coordinator of CES Centers.

john-goodladJohn Goodlad: Written 15 years ago, Goodlad’s In Praise of Education described public education as a fundamental right in this country, calling it essential in the development of intelligent thinking within a democracy.

Other writings contributed by this educational theory-maker include The Moral Dimensions of TeachingPlaces Where Teachers Are TaughtTeachers for Our Nation’s Schools, and Educational Renewal: Better Teachers, Better Schools.

Goodlad was instrumental in promoting educational reform by designing programs and personally diving into research on positive change for schools.

As a point of reference, Eagle Rock was a founding member of his League of Democratic Schools.

Kurt-HahnKurt Hahn: This German educator, who is credited with playing a major leadership role in the effort to launch Outward Bound, founded an alliance of international schools called the United World Colleges. In addition, his thinking about school culture led to the creation of the 10 Expeditionary Learning Design Principles.

John Dewey: A pragmatic man — and an important contributor to functional psychology in this country — Dewey was also active in the realm of educational reform. Rather than sitting straight up at a desk in a classroom, Dewey espoused the concept of allowing children to learn while doing. By moving freely in and out of the classroom, his belief was that math, science and problem solving could be developed on the playground, during lunch — and in the classroom.


One of Dewey’s his best-remembered quotes is: “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor: These two modern educators are co-founders and co-directors of Big Picture Learning and the Met Center in Providence, R.I. Littky has specialized in an unconventional approach to secondary education for more than 40 years, and is currently setting his sites on Big Picture Learning. In particular, he is expanding its design to include accreditation through College Unbound. In that program, college-aged students earn a bachelor’s degree or advanced certifications through challenging, real-world and entrepreneurial-based studies.


With more than 30 years of experience as a teacher, principal and school administrator, Washor’s expertise includes school design, pedagogy, learning environments and education reform. His commitment at Big Picture Learning is to continue to create a ”do-think-do” organization, that he hopes will continue to influence current and future educators.

Readers: Tell us… who are some of your educational heroes? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Comment (1)

  1. Kari Thierer says:

    Love this list – and I’m a bit disappointed that you only highlighted white men. So, here are a few folks I’d love to add, all of whom have made me think deeply about education and impacted my work:
    – Bryan Stevenson
    – bell hooks
    – Lisa Delpit
    – Curtis Acosta
    – Gloria Ladson-Billings
    – Debbie Meier
    – Linda Darling-Hammond
    – Carol Dweck
    – Geoffrey Canada

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