The consistent focus throughout my career as a HS Science teacher, principal, and professor has been a passion for helping develop environments for improved learning. As a teacher, I strove to attract the struggling science student and develop experiences and classroom systems to give under-represented children a better chance at success. As a principal, I tried to transform culture to create effective building environments. As a professor, I’ve continued that passion to help reform districts and governance systems.
I’ve pursued the passion of helping students with my current National Science Foundation funded grant project entitled STEM Teams: Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career interest, skills, and knowledge through Strategic Teaming. This initiative allows me to partner in districts with 97% African American and impoverished communities to improve the district. This is accomplished by creating teams of teachers, and school and district leaders and working to improve the implementation and sustainability of innovative curriculum and programs in the district. The current program is based in the middle school and purposes to increase the number of students of color and poverty to pursue STEM careers. This work has been presented recently at the 2012 UCEA conference and to be at the 2013 AERA meeting. The process of district wide teaming was published in the following book chapter:
Alsbury, T. L. (2008). Promoting sustainable leadership within the reform system. In B. Hand (Ed.), Science inquiry, argument and language: A case for the science writing heuristic [177-194]. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense.
School Board Governance
Another passion has been my interest in the efficacy of local control of schools through school boards. The increased centralization of schooling is evident in national movement to standardize assessment and content, and now the policy agenda seems to be focused on removing the control of schools from local community boards to a state or national level. I am currently engaged in studies of school governance in Taiwan, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Germany, and India, to name a few. I also speak around the country debating the question, “Are school boards still relevant today?” Most recently I debated this issue the ex-secretary for the office of Civil Rights before 700 school board members, members of Congress, and USDE Secretary of Education. Reactions to the debate can be found at this link: http://schoolboardnews.nsba.org/2013/01/panel-discusses-research-and-relevancy-of-school-boards/
Some of my most recent and significant writings on the school board governance include the following:
Alsbury, T. L. (In Press, 2013). Hitting a moving target: How politics determines the changing roles of superintendents and school boards . In B. S. Cooper, J. G. Cibulka, & L. D. Fusarelli (Eds.) Handbook of education politics and policy (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Mountford, M. E., & Alsbury, T. L. (2012). School boards: Nobody does it better. UCEA Review, 52(3), 11-13.
Alsbury, T. L. (2011). Should the K-12 organizational structure of schools in the U.S. be changed dramatically? In Russo, C. [Ed.] Debating issues in American education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Alsbury, T. L.(Ed.). (2008). The future of school board governance: Relevancy and revelation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Dr. Alsbury has been a Professor in the School of Education at SPU since 2011. He teaches educational leadership courses and mentors many doctoral students. He is a recognized national expert in school board research and received the 2008 UCEA Culbertson award for influential researcher in educational leadership.