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Voices from the Field


"Dr. McConaughey provided quality instructional support - grounded in research - with efficiency, respect, and transparency to the schools in my district. When engaging my leaders and teachers in professional learning focused on using the ALTmodel she used a coaching approach, engaging participants in the process of inquiry, collaboration, and guidance. Leaders, teachers, and their teams enhanced their instructional look-fors and practice, examining the depth of rigor and use of technology to support the authentic learning of students. Dr. McConaughey was able to sharpen my leadership instructional lens as well, helping me determine whether learning was meaningful and transferable to real-world contexts. She was an absolute pleasure to work with, and I look forward to continuing the work in the future."

Josephine Van Ess, New York City Superintendent 

"When I hear Chancellor Banks’ vision for NYC schools around reimagining the student experience, our work with Leah is what I think about. She has supported us examine the quality and design of the tasks we engage our students in, which has redefined our thinking and expectations around tasks leading to increased student engagement and a deepening of student learning. 

She recently supported our teachers create learning experiences that connected to a current multi-year construction project taking place at our school. Students engaged with their peers and the community, including local experts in the field of architecture and playground design, to share and present their ideas for our building project through various mediums. Students conducted surveys, conducted research, created proposals including blueprints and scaled drawings and then their ideas were shared with our local politicians and school construction authority for consideration in being implemented into our addition. Leah’s knowledge, insight, and thoughtfulness in this process have been crucial to transforming our students' learning experiences."

Vanessa Rosa, Principal of PS 169 in Queens

“If your wish is to develop a 21st-century school program aligned to college & career preparation, to strengthen your teachers' ability to design authentic real-world tasks aligned to standards, and most importantly to support students in their application of content in novel ways, then your buck stops here. Leah's value-add to our school’s learning culture is immense, and I honestly don't believe there's any real competition in her area of expertise. She has been supporting competency-based curricula for over a decade in some of the most cutting-edge community schools like Soundview Academy. She marries fierce learning to disproportionality, helping school leaders like myself bring top tier practice to the students who will stand to benefit the most.”

Will Frackelton, Principal of Soundview Academy in The Bronx

"As the new principal of a turnaround school in Brooklyn, I knew there would be much work ahead of us. I knew I would have to work closely with staff and parents to educate them for the journey ahead. We needed to overhaul the academics and I knew, most of all, that it would take a solid team to accomplish this feat. With the help of Leah McConaughey we were able to set a goal of what we wanted our ideal school to look like five years from that point. That helped us to move from lackluster academic program to a solid curriculum that would give our students an even playing field as they moved on from our small middle school. Over the years there was a great amount accomplished, and a prominent part of that was the help that Leah provided. She allowed us to further our knowledge and move into not only project-based learning, but mastery-based grading.  I am proud to say that to this day MS 442 is what a former chancellor considered one of her “hidden gems.” We also became a showcase school for the city of New York which encompassed us welcoming visitors and sharing our story of transforming education for hundreds of students. Finally, we became the first Apple Distinguished School in New York City. We had an unbelievable team but we certainly could not have done what we did without the knowledge and professional development provided by Leah McConaughey."

Deanna Sinito, Former Principal of MS 442 in Brooklyn


“Leah McConaughey has been instrumental in changing hearts and minds around authentic learning tasks and the true function of technology in education. She has worked with principals to enhance their instructional expertise and transform the way they think about learning. Principals have said the work with Leah brings clarity to multiple initiatives within education today such as rigorous instruction, social-emotional learning, culturally responsive teaching, and literacy. They feel this work helps them simplify what they mean by learning, which in turn simplifies their expectations for teachers. Principals have also said this work unites educators across grade levels and content areas with a common perspective on learning. It changes the conversation from "what students know" to "what will students do with what they know?"

Fred Walsh, New York City Superintendent

"I recently had a conversation with Leah McConaughey during her Office Hours, and cannot express how profitable my time with her was. I ended up doing a “brain dump” of ideas swirling around in my mind. She then coached me through my ideas to the point where, by the end of our discussion, all of the below occurred:

  •  I felt heard
  •  I felt validated
  •  I found clarity
  •  I have direction
  •  I feel challenged
  •  I have great hope
  •  I feel inspired
  •  I feel collegiality

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to speak with someone as passionate, knowledgeable, and inspiring as Leah. 

Heidi Vissia, Instructional Coach


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