About Me

Mom.
Educator.
Educational Leader.
Advocate for… public education, arts ed, ed tech, KIDS… ALL KIDS…
Change Agent.
Artist & Designer.

Not necessarily in that order or all in a given day. But overall, all of that…

I teach. (Yes, even if I am no longer in a classroom — I am still a teacher.) I envision new opportunities and new outcomes for kids. I try hard to engage and inspire others to think differently about how to approach the work of learning. I seek to empower learners and give them more voice & choice. I have little patience for “this is just how we’ve always done things.”  I believe strongly in doing what is best for learners and not what is easiest for the adults, but also believe in creating learning spaces that value/honor/support the learning of everyone in that space — including the adults.

People over processes and procedures.
Relationships over power structures.
Effective teaching over excessive documentation.
Collaborating with parents and learners over responding to them.
(In other words, an Agile approach to our work and to school improvement)

I learn more about teaching from my parenting and my parenting is influenced by my years of learning more about my work as an educator.  Sometimes I find it hard to separate the two, and I am always in “improvement mode” because I don’t always get it right.  All of it is hard work and all of it is always challenging.

The kids in my classroom were always MY kids.  The children in our district… in my city… are MY kids.  None of them are “those” kids.  My work is influenced by a concern for what I want for MY kids — My own children as well as the children that I serve as an educator in this city.

I do try hard to be the change that I wish to see in the world.  Kind, compassionate, thoughtful, considerate, patient, loving, innovative, creative, brave, empathetic, transformative, uplifting, present, always striving to be a better version of myself…  I don’t always succeed at this, but I am always a work in progress.

Wait… You thought this page would be some sort of bio or a summary of my resume?  Okay, yes, I could have just put all of that on this page, but that only tells a portion of the story of who I am, what motivates me, and what I care about.  If you really want to see that other information — which you can find in other places like my LinkedIn profile — you can just keep scrolling down for a summary of that info.  You can also check out my full CV if you REALLY want to see some detail… But all of that is just what I’ve done.  And while I have done a lot, it isn’t who I am.  Who I am is the person I have attempted to describe above… And the person you will meet in these blog posts on this website and on Twitter & Facebook if you choose to follow me there as well.

As for that resume summary info that I just mentioned… Here it is for those of you who might be interested in that information:

Change Agent & Designer of Learning Models

  • Provided leadership on the design of the blended, personalized, and arts-infused instructional model for the A+ Unlimited Potential (A+UP) middle school located in the Houston Museum District.  A+UP students achieve an average of more than 2.7 years of growth in reading & 2.3 years of growth in math within a single year.
  • Provided leadership on the comprehensive school reform initiatives at Chavez High School including authoring and managing state & federal grants of over $2.5 million dollars to support the development of Smaller Learning Communities and instructional design.  These initiatives resulted in improved attendance, reduced discipline referrals & dropout rates, and laid the groundwork for the current Linked Learning initiative within the district.

Educational Technology, Arts Ed, & Instructional Leader

  • Over 15 years of education administration experience including experience in instructional leadership, comprehensive school improvement, developing & delivering staff development, coaching, & facilitating Professional Learning Teams (PLCs) focused on improving student learning. Management & supervision of teams ranging from 6 to over 100 staff members.
  • 15 years of face-to-face classroom, blended, and online teaching experience at the high school, college, and community education levels.
  • Author of the book Wikis for School Leaders which has been used by educators around the world to integrate the use of wikis across their campuses and districts.

Areas of Expertise

  • Instructional Leadership – Connected Learning, Blended Learning, Personalization, and Technology Integration across the curriculum
  • Coaching — Instruction, Professional Development, and Adult Learning
  • Course Development — Online, Blended, and Face-to-Face for K-12, college, and professional development
  • Curriculum & Instruction Development/Design
  • Project-Based / Problem-Based Instruction and Learning (PBL)
  • K-16 Comprehensive & Discipline-Based Art Education, and Arts Integration across the curriculum

Educational Background

  • M.Ed. – Educational Leadership: Administration & Supervision, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, May 2007 
  • Post-Baccalaureate certification courses in Art Education (30 graduate level credit hours), University of Houston, Houston, Texas, 2000-2003
  • M.A. – Studio Art (Painting & Printmaking), Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, May 1997
  • B.A. – Studio Art (Design, Painting, & Drawing), McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana, December 1994

Certifications

  • Principal, Texas    2007 – present
  • Classroom Teacher (K-12 All Level Art), Texas    2003 – present

Professional Experience

  • Educational Programs Audit Manager, April 2015 – Present, Office of Internal Audit, Houston ISD
  • Technology Coach / School Designer / Advisory Board, August 2011 – April 2015, Houston A+ Challenge & A+UP Middle School
  • Adjunct Faculty (Online) – Art, Film, Education, Humanities & Culture, 2009 – 2015, Multiple Schools
  • Author / Speaker / Consultant, 2010 – 2014
  • Curriculum Specialist – Literacy / Literacy Coach, 2007 – 2010, Department of Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment, and Waltrip HS, Houston ISD
  • Dean of Instruction / School Improvement Facilitator / Magnet Coordinator, 2006 – 2007, Scarborough High School, Houston ISD
  • School Improvement Facilitator / Career Academy Coordinator / Teacher, 2000 -2006, Chavez High School, Houston ISD
  • Adjunct Faculty, 1998-1999, Department of Visual Arts, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Research Assistant, 1997-1998, Department of Visual & Performing Arts — Visual Arts Division, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Teaching Assistant, 1995-1997, Department of Visual & Performing Arts — Visual Arts Division, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Education Coordinator, 1995-1996, Greater Lafayette Museum of Art, Lafayette, Indiana

Publications

Sandifer, S. (2013). “No books, no classroom: Organic learning in Houston, Texas.” Mobile education – Lessons from 35 education experts on improving learning with mobile technology. Ed. Rogelberg, D. Great Neck, NY: Studio B Productions, Inc.  Available as an ebook online at: http://www.slideshare.net/DavidRogelberg/mobile-education-27782655?ref=http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/27782655?rel=0

Davis, V., & Sandifer, S. (2011). “Wikis.” What school administrators need to know about digital technologies and social media. Eds. McLeod, S., & Lehmann, C. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass Wiley

Sandifer, S. (2011). Wikis for School Leaders: Using technology to improve communication and collaboration. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education

Sandifer, S. (2011, October 19). Our decisions are symbolic. Education Week, p. 13.

Sandifer, S. (2011). How parent-friendly are your schools?. The School Administrator – AASA,68(5), 34.

LeaderTalk, Education Week Blog, Contributing Author (2008 to 2012)