Sustainability in Education

9:00–10:30am @ Science Leadership Academy

Join a panel of world-class educators discuss how the idea of sustainability in education and how it informs their practice.


  • Samuel Abrams: Director, National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and Author of Education and the Commercial Mindset.
  • Derek McCoy: Principal, West Rowan Middle School, Salisbury, NC and 2014 NASSP Digital Principal of the Year
  • Deborah Meier: Teacher, Principal, School Founder, Author, Activist
  • Renee Moore: Professor of English at Mississippi Delta Community College, 2001 Mississippi Teacher of the Year


Samuel Abrams is the Director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Abrams studies school curricula, finance, and administration. He teaches a course on educational privatization and school choice as a member of the faculty of the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis at Teachers College and is the author of Education and the Commercial Mindset (Harvard University Press, 2016). He was previously a high school teacher of economics and history for eighteen years.

Derek McCoy is currently the principal of West Rowan Middle School in Rowan-Salisbury Schools. He brings a wide range of experiences as a secondary school administrator, instructional coach, and Director of Curriculum and Innovation. At his current school, he helps improve the learning and teaching efforts by engaging in innovative practices and approaches to professional development, student/teacher empowerment as well as effective technology integration. Years of training and leadership in the areas of teacher training and technology integration help him with his school’s 1:1 ipad dive. Derek was named as a 2014 Digital Principal of the Year by NASSP and has received recognitions from other groups for his efforts to use social media and technology to help connect learners with best practices and experts, create impactful collaboration networks and ultimately help grow all schools. Using the power of technology and digital tools is an essential means for lead learners to change how we teach and how students learn.

Deborah Meier is currently senior scholar at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education She has spent more than four decades working in public education as a teacher, principal, writer, advocate, and ranks among the most acclaimed leaders of the school reform movement in the U.S.

She started her work as an early childhood teacher in Chicago after graduating from the U of Chicago. Her family moved to NYC in the late 60s where she worked as a Kindergarten teacher in Central Harlem. For the next 20 years, Meier helped revitalize public schools in New York City’s East Harlem District 4. In 1974, she founded Central Park Elementary School (CPE I), a highly successful public school of choice that served predominantly local African American and Hispanic families. During the next dozen years, Meier opened two other Central Park elementary schools in District 4 as well as an acclaimed secondary school, while also supporting and directing the development of similar schools throughout NYC. During the 90s she also served as an Urban Fellow at the Annenberg Institute. In 1995 she moved to Boston to start Mission Hill, a K-8 school in Roxbury/ These schools were part of a network Meier created that helped initiate new small schools, both elementary and secondary, both in NYC and Boston.

Deborah also helped found the Coalition of Essential Schools, in the 1980s, under the leadership of Ted Sizer. At Coalition schools, Meier helped foster democratic community, giving teachers greater autonomy in the running of a school, giving parents a voice in what happens to their children in schools, and promoting intergenerational connections. She has always been a proponent of active, project-based learning, and of graduation through a series of exhibitions of high quality work. She is the author of many books and articles, including The Power of Their Ideas, Lessons to America from a Small School in Harlem, and In Schools we Trust.

She is an outspoken critic of state-mandated curriculum and high stakes standardized testing and has written extensively on their unreliability and class/race biases. She is on the board of the Coalition of Essential Schools, FairTest, Save Our Schools, Center for Collaborative Education and the Association for Union Democracy. She is also on the editorial board of The Nation, The Harvard Education Letter, and Dissent magazines. In 1987 she received a MacArthur “genius” Award for her work in public education.

Renee Moore teaches English at Mississippi Delta Community College. She taught English and journalism at East Side High School in Cleveland (MS) 1990-1998, where she was a District Teacher of the Year; then from 1998-2005 she served as Lead Teacher at Broad Street High School in Shelby, MS. In 2001, she was named Mississippi Teacher of the Year as well as a recipient of the national Milken Educator Award.

Moore attended Michigan State and Wayne State Universities, then worked as a freelance journalist for 12 years, before moving to the Mississippi Delta with her husband to pursue their vision of ministry to young people. While raising 11 children, she returned to college to obtain her teaching credentials at Delta State University (1990) and earned a Master of Arts in Literature from the prestigious Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College in Vermont (1997). Actively involved in teacher-research, Moore is also a National Writing Project Fellow (Delta Writing Project) and has received numerous awards and grants, including $30,000 from the Spencer Foundation (Chicago) for her work on teaching Standard English to African American students. Mrs. Moore is a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescent English Language Arts, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). She served on the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (California). She recently completed a 10-year term on the Mississippi Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification, and Licensure. She was a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning (2010), commissioned by NCATE, and their report: Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical Practice. Moore was also part of the NEA-sponsored Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching (2011) that wrote: Transforming Teaching: Connecting Professional Responsibility with Student Learning. In 2013, Moore received the Ovid Vickers Award for Excellence in Teaching of English from her colleagues in the Two-Year College English Association of Mississippi (TYCAM). She has also been named a William Winters Scholar in the Humanities in Mississippi.

Moore works with the Center for Teaching Quality, based in North Carolina, and has co- authored several of its Teacher Solutions publications including: Performance Pay for Teachers (2008) and Teaching 2030 (2011, Teachers College Press). She was featured in the recent CTQ book, Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don’t Leave (2013, Jossey-Bass). The author of many professional articles and published book chapters, Moore also maintains a popular education blog, TeachMoore, and is a member of #EduColor.