Professional Learning

Ask Ellen: Helpful Advice for Educators

Your questions, answered.

March 12, 2007

As each issue of the magazine makes its way to the printer, we try to perform a regular inventory: Are we satisfying every reader? Are we reaching new ones? We ask ourselves the same questions when we refresh our pages on the Web. What, we ask, do the denizens of education culture need that we can provide?

Credit: Olivier Laude

A step we'd like to take right away is to provide a place -- in the magazine and on our Web site -- for new or struggling or temporarily bewildered educators and their supervisors to find help. Rather than provide lists, links, or recommended reading, we want to furnish a compassionate expert, a veteran and an innovator who will answer your questions in her own voice, drawing on rich personal and professional resources.

Ellen Moir, whose column will be aptly titled "Ask Ellen," is the executive director of the New Teacher Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz. This national resource for educator-induction research, policy, and practice employs a staff of eighty-five to consult with teachers, administrators, and policy makers in forty states to launch high-quality programs. The center evolved from Moir's earlier work as the founder of the Santa Cruz New Teacher Project, a mentor-based support program she continues to direct.

A veteran bilingual teacher, Moir is deeply invested in teacher support. She has focused not only on the challenges faced by beginners but also on the needs -- and the tremendous potential as mentors -- of those with long careers in education. In addition, she coauthored Keys to the Classroom: A Teacher's Guide to the First Month of School and Blended Coaching: Skills and Strategies to Support Principal Development.

Moir has found time to draw on her own knowledge and experience, as well as that of her staff, to consider your queries about challenges and issues that confound or even overwhelm you as you go about the business of education. There is much to cope with in and out of the classroom, and we hope Moir, in addressing individual quandaries, will provide solace and tools for a larger audience.

Write her at, taking care to provide contact information. Though she will not be able to respond to all queries, she will do her best to select as many as she can handle in a thoughtful way, and we'll publish some of them in subsequent issues.

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