After almost 30 years of working together to build the Reading Apprenticeship team and its national and international networks of practitioners and researchers, Co-Directors Ruth Schoenbach and Cynthia Greenleaf are stepping down. Ruth will retire on April 19th; Cyndy will stay on as a Senior Research Scientist at WestEd, pursuing several strands of research and policy-related work.
Aida Walqui, Director of WestEd’s Teacher Professional Development Program, reflected on Ruth and Cyndy’s contributions to teaching, learning, and research:
How does an educational initiative intended to build complex reading abilities in adolescents and young people become a flagship service? Bring two immensely talented educators, add intellectual backbone, visionary leadership, strategic efforts which are deliberately implemented and studied, and you get Ruth Schoenbach, Cyndy Greenleaf, and Reading Apprenticeship. More than a million educators and students in middle schools, high schools, and colleges have benefitted from the work initiated by these two amazing individuals. Now, after two decades and a half, the time has come to pass on the baton to new leadership.
WestEd’s Reading Apprenticeship team is thrilled to welcome our new director, Linda Friedrich, who comes to us after over 16 years at the National Writing Project, most recently as Director of Research and Evaluation.
Linda brings a career-long commitment to engaging teachers and other educators as partners in reform and research for the purpose of creating more equitable learning outcomes for youth. Linda told us, “I am thrilled to join Reading Apprenticeship and WestEd because of our shared and enduring belief that all young people have the capacity to engage in high levels of literacy and learning. I am honored to be entrusted with the project’s next phase of growth. I promise to remain true to Reading Apprenticeship’s core principles and to build on the sturdy foundation created by Ruth, Cyndy, the project team, and generations of educators.”
While at NWP, Linda co-facilitated the development, implementation, and scale up of the College, Career, and Community Writers Program, which has a proven track record of improving students’ source-based argument writing. She also coauthored How Teachers Become Leaders: Learning from Practice and Research (Teachers College Press, August 2010), coauthored with Ann Lieberman. She brings expertise from her work as a Director of Research at the Coalition of Essential Schools and as a facilitator of professional development and middle school reform at the Philadelphia Education Fund. She earned her Ph.D. in Administration and Policy Analysis at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and her A.B. at Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in history.
When asked about her sources of inspiration for this work, Linda said, “I am inspired every day by the wisdom and dedication of teachers who embrace the challenge of inquiring into their practice to better support learners’ agency and independence.”
We look forward to Linda leading us into a new era of lasting district partnerships, strong research, and development that enables ever deeper support for secondary and college educators in the digital age.