Meet The Team: Eagle Rock Professional Development Associate Anastacia Galloway

As a professional development associate, Anastacia Galloway does a lot more than just coordinate POLs (presentations of learning), recruit panelists and create schedules. In fact, most of her time is spent working with schools and organizations across the country to reengage youth in their own education.

Anastacia says it’s re-imagining what public education can look like in this country.

Anastacia-Galloway-Eagle-Rock

In just the past year, Anastacia has worked in Vermont on everything from service thesis projects to proficiency-based graduation requirements. She has facilitated protocols with visiting groups on projects or dilemmas they are experiencing in their schools and facilitated workshops for our licensure candidates.

In addition, this fireball has supported Eagle Rock’s curriculum department by helping to implement student-centered coaching. And last year, she was a core member of our Professional Development Critical Friends group as well as director of the student-led Adult Mentor & Peer Mentor program.

Get to know Anastacia Galloway:

Eagle Rock: It sounds like you have a full plate, but are there other duties you perform at Eagle Rock?

Anastacia: Besides my work as the Professional Development Center (PDC) associate, I’m the house parent for Pinon house. In every sense of the word, house parents are parents — I am my students’ biggest fan and strongest supporter, and I will push them to the edges of their comfort zones. And that means when it comes to keeping their areas clean or becoming leaders in the house or throughout the Eagle Rock community. Four nights a week and one morning, I open my home to them where we cook, make coffee, hang out, and otherwise spend time together.

Eagle Rock: What did you do prior to coming to work for Eagle Rock?

Anastacia: Let’s see, prior to coming to Eagle Rock I had just imploded my life plan. In the fall of 2010, I was in law school with ambitions to become an advocate at The Hague International Court of Justice defending sex trafficking victims, persecuting traffickers and being part of war crime tribunals.

Although I excelled, I regularly pulled all nighters, and I found my personal relationships suffered, and the debt I was accruing was unreal. Reflecting on my motivation, I realized that I didn’t need to become an international attorney to be able to use my talents to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Prior to going to law school, I spent 50 hours a week in a windowless office building as a logistics coordinator and purchasing specialist for a building supply company the size of Coca-Cola called Ferguson Enterprises.

After graduating in 2008 from West Virginia University with degrees in business and world language, I moved to Villahermosa in Mexico where I interned for a marketing and advertising company, Signo Communicaciones.

Eagle Rock: What attracted you to Eagle Rock?

Anastacia: Since I had just imploded my life plan, I moved to Estes Park with my partner, Kevin, with no idea what my next step would be. In January 2010 I applied for the registrar position at Eagle Rock, thinking, “Other than direct experience with high schoolers, I have the skills and experience to be the registrar.”

When I did my full-day interview, I fell in love with the Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Assists A Pair of Big Picture Learning Students

Our Professional Development Center, which is known for its unique ability to facilitate school reform initiatives, recently collaborated with Big Picture Learning in South Burlington, Vermont, on a one-of-kind event on service- and project-based learning.

In particular, our focus was on helping two students — South Burlington High School seniors Olivia Decell and Ella Downey — facilitate the Service Thesis Project Conference, which was held in the spring at Burlington College in Vermont. The event was designed to help high school students create relevant and exciting Service Thesis Projects and help educators implement service/project-based learning into their classrooms.

Service Thesis Project Conference

Service Thesis Project Conf. attendees.

At the May 2014 conference, participants shared ideas and had the opportunity to observe some very good examples of successful thesis projects. That’s one of the things we do best; Eagle Rock has been working with Big Picture Learning in a variety of capacities since 2006, so we’ve quickly acquired and honed our knack for such conferences and get-togethers.

In fact, over the past few years, we have helped several schools develop conferences that have become an engine of self-renewal for students and staff.

In this latest endeavor, our Professional Development team facilitated the Continue reading…

Experience With Professional Development Influences Eagle Rock’s Approach

In 1997 I had my first encounter as a teacher with a staff developer. I was preparing for my 11thgrade chemistry class in a New York City public school. I was frazzled by my lack of success connecting with students. I was running out of time when in the midst of the frenzy an unfamiliar woman walked into my classroom. We did not have a single chemical with which to conduct labs. Technology access was unpredictable at best.

This was our interaction:

SD: Hey, I’m R___ , I’m your staff developer sent by your district.

Me: Great. What are you supposed to be doing?

SD: I’m here to help. Whatever you need.

Me: Great (some relief and hope; help is provided)…could you help me with the work groups I’m putting around the virtual chemistry lab on the computers?

SD: Oh no….I don’t do that work with kids. I’ll watch you teach and then give you some feedback.

The momentary relief disappeared to be replaced by anxiety heightened ten fold.

Five years later, in 2002, I became the founding principal of the Bronx Guild, which would become the first and for a time only Big Picture School in New York State. Time and again, we were sent well-intentioned staff developers, each with his/her own agenda and approach. Rather than wanting to understand the unique vision and approach of our Big Picture School, they tried to sell me on the Prentice Hall math program, the latest literacy initiative of the district or whatever they were sent to represent.

I realized very quickly that if our school were to be successful, we had to take professional development into our own hands. And, I vowed that if I were ever in the professional development business, I would do everything I could to understand what the school leaders and staff identified as the help they needed before I offered my services. My job would be to bring support for that school be the best possible school they could be inside of the model to which they aspired. I would not come in with a predetermined agenda, an approach or a program to sell.

Since, returning to Eagle Rock Professional Development Center in 2006, I have had the privilege and joy of putting that vow into practice with schools all over the country. My professional development team works with the Coalition of Essential Schools, New Mexico Center for School Leadership and Colorado Legacy Foundation as well as Big Picture Schools. We have been supporting Big Picture leadership around the country since 2009 by running principals retreats, launching the Mid Atlantic Critical Friends Group, and designing and facilitating the biannual Senior Thesis Conference and Proficiency Based Graduation Requirements workday.

We’re beginning new work in Oakland, Washington State and Detroit. Our process is to begin with listening and observing in order to identify assets and understand what you would like to improve before we recommend one to three year customized work plan for your consideration. Eagle Rock PDC draws on a wide repertoire of signature pedagogies for designing and facilitating large events as well as professional development and coaching sessions at your school. Our aim is to leave you in a place where you carry on the work yourselves with the resources you have.

If working with our Eagle Rock PDC team is of interest to you, let’s begin a conversation. You can reach out to us through the email below.

We will be leading the Senior Thesis Project Conference in Providence on May 9th and 10th. Please attend to focus on how to strengthen STPs as well as get a sense of the work we do.

What benefit do you see in Eagle Rock’s framework for collaborative, asset based school improvement rather than the more typical expert model of school improvement and professional development?

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About the Author: Michael Soguero is the director of professional development at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. There, he is primarily responsible for developing strategy that positively affects public education throughout the United States.