Jennifer Sinsebox earned her doctorate in Executive Leadership at St. John Fisher. Photo provided by Wheatland-Chili Central School District

In July 2020, Jennifer Sinsebox successfully defended her dissertation, thus completing a two-year program at St. John Fisher College and earning her doctorate in Executive Leadership. The coursework focused on leadership skills and theories, mission, vision, and strategic planning, and required her to write a dissertation for publication. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Sinsebox completed the program just as school districts across New York began developing reopening strategies. “The timing is serendipitous,” Sinsebox said. “Now I can devote my energy and time to the decisions needed to support the teachers’ new learning.”

Sinsebox’s dissertation is titled ‘Supervision and evaluation practices that impact teacher learning’. It is a case study of how teachers learn and change based on APPR (annual professional performance review) evaluations – from the teacher’s perspectives.

“I interviewed teachers and reviewed their APPR and asked targeted questions to learn, within supervision and evaluation practices, what helps them improve their teaching practices. The theory has really broadened my vision of how adults learn and the considerations as you are teaching adults. We differentiate instruction for students, so for teachers we really need to meet them where they are and identify what it is that they need to learn.”

Sinsebox brings these skills back to the District at a crucial time. The traditional framework of teaching and managing are engrained in the educational system. As Districts work to adapt to entirely new health and safety guidelines, as well as the implementation of technology used to deliver comparable and sufficient education, Sinsebox will implement her dissertation findings to address the unique needs of the teaching staff and the organization as a whole.

“We’re asking an entire educational system – from leaders to teachers to bus drivers to custodians to nurses to parents to how lunch is served – to reimagine everything that they have ever done, as well as everything that anyone has ever done.” “I appreciate the support of the District. I now bring a new skill set and a different way of thinking into the District leadership. We are having courageous conversations. We are having to make difficult decisions. We’re going to work together so we can give a rich experience to our young learners.”

©2020 MHFL Sentinel

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