Laura Greenstein came to Sacred Heart University with an already-successful career. She had spent nearly a decade as a teacher and administrator in the Montville (Connecticut) Public School system before coming to study in SHU’s 6th Year program and, as Robert Frost would say, that has made all the difference.
“I got into education because it just seemed like something I wanted to do,” Greenstein says. “But when I finished the 6th Year at Sacred Heart, I became more passionate about it. I started working in school leadership and then went back to get my Ed.D. [at Johnson and Wales University]. That was an enormous starting point into areas that I really never expected my career path to take.”
That diverging road led Greenstein to become a renowned educational consultant and author specializing in the realm of assessments. In addition to teaching and serving as chair of the Art and Vocational departments at Montville High School, she serves as adjunct professor at the University of New Haven and continues to serve in the same roll at UConn. She also writes about teaching, including articles in Principal Leadership and Phi Delta Kappan magazines, and as author of the books What Teachers Really Need to Know About Formative Assessment (ASCD, 2010) and Assessing 21st Century Skills (Corwin/Sage, 2012).
Greenstein is also the founder of the Assessment Network, an online educators’ portal for information on classroom assessments and standardized testing, research tools, publication links and more. It’s all part of her commitment to share the resources she has collected and created over the years. “I feel like I’m sharing knowledge,” she says. “And it’s important not to just say it, but to actually model it and provide opportunities — whether it is for my students, the graduate students, or people in workshops — to really think about and to use that information right then and there to apply to the real world.”
Greenstein has brought her expertise to workshops and conferences, as well. Just in the past few years she has presented at the Corwin-Memphis Common Core Institute, ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ) Annual Conference, and the Global Education Conference, among others. “I feel that really gives me an opportunity to work with teachers, to help them build their skills and become better,” she says. “I originally thought I would just be in the classroom forever, but some of what I’m doing has helped me to give back to other professional educators in ways that helps them build their skills also.”
That, she says, is reminiscent of the idea of a pebble making ripples in a pond.
“When a student comes back to me some years later and says, ‘I really found what you said helpful,’ or, ‘I really found that viewpoint provocative,’ or, ‘I really found the information you gave me very relevant’ — that’s when we see those ripples in the pond that we send out. Sometimes we don’t know where they’re going, then all of a sudden somebody sends it back to you and you realize that you can make a difference. That’s one of my greatest joys in education.”
As for her 6th Year alma mater, Greenstein says she is happy to see how Sacred Heart has continued to mature and expand. “I've watched the university grow and touch the lives of many learners in significant ways,” she says. “Sacred Heart has always put students first. I hope it continues to do this, especially in the area of education, as it develops our future teachers and learning leaders. Those who choose teaching will find it is the hardest job they will ever love.”
Written by: Chris Nicholson, 2013