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The Benefits of Teacher Autonomy (and a Therapy Dog) for Professional Learning

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST

edWeb impact on strategic plan alignment

Presented by Sarah Moore, Supervisor of Elementary Education, Princeton Public Schools (NJ); Dr. Kimberly Tew, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, Princeton Public Schools (NJ); Lauren Samara, Instructional Coach, Princeton Public Schools (NJ); MaryEllen Wallauer, K-2 Instructional Coach, Princeton Public Schools (NJ); and Tiger, Therapy Dog, Princeton Public Schools (NJ)
Moderated by Melissa Hodgson, Manager of Professional Learning,

Sponsored by

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Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Just as students should have choice in their learning journey, the same is true for educators. Faculty and staff excel when they are given choice and opportunity to dive into their interests and determine their own paths of learning. Watch this edWebinar to learn how Princeton Public Schools’ educators are benefiting from increased autonomy in professional learning and find out about their secret to making PD days more engaging and fun—Tiger the therapy dog! In this edWebinar, viewers learn:

  • The benefits of professional learning autonomy in building capacity among district staff
  • New ideas for energizing professional learning, including the Flex PD option
  • How edWeb’s professional learning resources can support a variety of school and district professional learning plans and pathways

You also get to meet Tiger, Princeton’s therapy dog, and hear how he’s helping the staff!

This recorded edWebinar is part of the PD in Action series from edWeb dedicated to helping district leaders find ways to re-energize professional learning for their whole staff. All educators are invited to view this fun and engaging presentation.


Sarah MooreAbout the Presenters

Sarah Moore is the Supervisor of Elementary Education for Princeton Public Schools. Previously, she worked as a supervisor of literacy and interventions, a reading specialist, and a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. Sarah is a passionate dyslexia advocate and has trained over 500 educators across the country in the Orton-Gillingham methodology through the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education. She has worked with the New Jersey Consortium on Deaf Blindness and served as a National Helen Keller Fellow. Sarah has written numerous journal articles on structured literacy practices. She holds her M.A. in education from The College of New Jersey. Her areas of expertise are English language arts, the Science of Reading, special education, and teacher professional development planning.


Dr. Kimberly TewDr. Kimberly Tew serves as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for Princeton Public Schools. Before this role, she served as a middle school social studies teacher, Supervisor of Curriculum and Professional Development, and an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum in a neighboring school district. She is passionate about educational equity and teacher leadership, and earned her Doctor of Education at Rutgers University where she studied effective induction programs and professional development models. She has also written articles for Edutopia and EdSurge.

Lauren SamaraLauren Samara is an elementary instructional coach with Princeton Public Schools. She has had the pleasure of serving students and staff in the district for 17 years in a variety of roles, including special education teacher, LDT-C, and intervention specialist. As an instructional coach, Lauren believes in the power of positive relationships and is passionate about partnering with colleagues to create joyful learning experiences that celebrate students’ strengths and unique identities.

MaryEllen WallauerMaryEllen Wallauer is an elementary instructional coach within the Princeton Public School District. She is passionate about early literacy development and children’s literature. In partnering with teachers, MaryEllen supports culturally responsive, student-centered classrooms where all children are nurtured so that they can thrive and where teachers are empowered to meet the needs of their students. MaryEllen has over 20 years of teaching experience in kindergarten through second grade and has received her certification in Instructional Coaching from The University of Wisconsin-Madison.

TigerTiger is a six-month-old Goldendoodle puppy who is currently in the training process of becoming Princeton Public School’s first official therapy dog. He was generously donated to the program from Tristate Bernedoodles located in Berlin, NJ. Tiger enjoys long walks, finding leaves, and being with people.

Melissa HodgsonAbout the Moderator

As Manager of Professional Learning, Melissa Hodgson helps schools and districts use edWeb to provide virtual professional learning for all staff that is flexible and provides choice to meet the individual needs of early childhood through secondary educators. She helps edWeb define best practices for virtual professional learning and expand its approvals for continuing education. Prior to joining edWeb full time, she worked for edWeb as a consultant helping secure state-level approval as a professional learning provider. edWeb CE certificates are accepted in 42 states for teacher re-licensure. Melissa’s experience as an educator helps edWeb understand the needs of schools and educators. She served as a high school social studies teacher and school administrator in New Jersey public schools for nearly two decades. Melissa has earned master’s degrees in education and public administration from New Jersey universities.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Best Practices for Professional Learning community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


Tuesday, January 17, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST
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