Sandra Hogue has worked in education for more than two decades in the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY—including more than a decade as a literacy coach, mentor, and curriculum writer, including a position as a Goal Clarity Coach at John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary School providing both in-classroom support and professional learning opportunities for the more than 30 teachers.
She credits her move into these expanded roles for teachers to her involvement with the Louisville Writing Project (LWP), beginning with the Invitational Summer Leadership Institute in 1999.
At that time, Hogue was a first-grade teacher, the first in her family to attend college, and, as she says, “I wanted to know everything that could help me be better at my work.”
After her first summer of work with K-university colleagues at the LWP, Hogue says “I felt ready to go back to my classroom and conquer the world! I was on fire to translate all I had learned about teaching young writers through the invitational institute back to my practice as a first-grade teacher.”
As Jefferson County Public Schools began to open up career ladders and new leadership opportunities for teachers, Sondra saw that she could bring her new expertise to those roles. She has worked as a teacher leader through a variety of positions in the Jefferson County Public Schools, all focusing on instruction, as well as leading professional learning programs and presentations.
“It all traces back to my work with LWP,” Hogue added. “Much of my current work focuses on supporting both teachers and other coaches in learning how to work with peers and how to offer support that promotes the implementation of strong instructional practices. The Writing Project provided me with an action research frame, a way to work on problems of practice, and to use current professional literature to guide instruction.”
Currently Hogue is studying “teachers teaching teachers” as a dynamic model in professional learning through her doctoral studies. She is exploring how new urban teachers can be inducted into the work of teaching by capitalizing on the wisdom of experienced teachers and coaches in the process. Hogue is eager to see how new teachers can be helped through peer learning as practiced in the Writing Project: “It helped me to see my potential and that my potential can continue to grow. I have yet to find that level of growth and development in any other professional capacity.”