The Penn GSE Magazine

Fall 2022

This online edition represents the content of the Fall 2022 issue that went to print on December 16, 2022.

The cover of the Fall 2022 issue of The Penn GSE Magazine. A seated teacher, wearing a face mask and glasses, is surrounded by several masked elementary students and reaches across a table to engage with a student's paper. The headline reads 'Fortifying the Future.'

Photos by  Eric Sucer, University Communications, and Lisa Godfrey  Photography.

Cover Story

A teacher puts blue rubber bands in a student’s hand standing in front of a giant poster of the periodic table of elements.

Fortifying the Future

Amid a growing shortage, Penn GSE prepares and empowers future teachers to thrive—and persist— in the classroom.



The Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania

Board of Advisors

Douglas R. Korn, W’84, Chair
Jeffery S. McKibben, W'93, Vice Chair 

Deborah Ancona, C’76, GED’77
Olumoroti G. Balogun, GRD’20
Brett H. Barth, W’93
Allison J. Blitzer, C’91
Harlan B. Cherniak, W’01
Jolley Bruce Christman, GED’71, GR’87
Beth S. Ertel, W’88, WG’92
Even Feinberg, W'09
Marjie Gittis Katz, GED'90
John Henry
Jeffrey L. Goldberg, W’83, WG’89
Patricia Grant, GED’01, GRD’04

Joel M. Greenblatt, W’79, WG’80

Andrew H. Jacobson, WG’93
Gustave K. Lipman, W’94
Gregory A. Milken, C’95
Andrea J. Pollack, C’83, L’87
David N. Roberts, W’84
Francisco J. Rodriguez, W’93
Molly P. Rouse-Terlevich, C’90, GED’00
Michael J. Sorrell, GRD’16
Navin M. Valrani, W’93, GED’18, GED'22
Steven M. Wagshal, W’94

The Penn GSE Magazine is produced by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, 3440 Market Street, Suite 560, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Reproduction of these articles requires written permission from Penn GSE. ©2022 by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. Please contact Penn GSE at 215-898-9704 for references. Please contact to update your address.

Pam Grossman

Laura Tepper

Jane Lindhahl, GED'18

Rebecca Raber

Editorial Board:

Sara Cantwell, SPP’21
Sylvia Davis, C’20
Jennifer Moore
Juliana Rosati
Kat Stein


Design by Bold Type Creative

Project management by  eCity Interactive

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices. Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Franklin Building, Suite 421, 3451 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6205; or 215-898-6993 (Voice).




Letter from the Dean

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Anybody who knows me knows how deeply I care about teachers, which is why I’m thrilled that this issue’s cover story features Penn GSE’s teacher education programs and the inspiring people who teach in and lead them. The story underscores the myriad rewards of the profession, while painting an honest picture of the challenges confronting teachers.


There’s no question that the next generation of teachers will face stiff headwind. The long-term effects of COVID-19 will hit education especially hard, with far too many students struggling academically and emotionally. In many states, teacher pay is not competitive with other professional salaries. And the teaching shortfall, which has been building for the past decade, is putting an extra burden on those who’ve chosen to remain in the classroom. Teaching and supporting students has always been complex work, and these issues are only going to make finding and preparing high- quality teachers more challenging.

Despite these obstacles, I remain optimistic about the future of teaching. I am heartened by the thoughtful and innovative work being done at Penn GSE every day to prepare and support teachers to help young people achieve their full potential. The wellspring of my optimism, though, is a core belief that I share with many readers of this magazine: Few careers have the potential to be as intellectually challenging and emotionally rewarding—or to have as much impact on society—as teaching. 

For more teachers to reap these rewards, we as a society must rethink how we treat our children’s educators. This reimagining must include thinking deeply about teachers’ salaries, their working conditions, and how we view them as professionals. Just as importantly, we need to do a better job of educating policy makers and the general public on what teachers do, so they can fully appreciate the complexity of teaching.

In many sectors of our society, the pandemic encouraged us to rethink the nature of work. In healthcare, telemedicine gained traction, as we learned that providing virtual visits opened access for many patients. How can we use this current moment and the growing teaching shortages to think more expansively about the work of teachers? How do we portray teaching as the intellectually demanding and professionally rewarding work that it is? How do we reimagine how adults work with students in schools to provide more time for teachers to work together? How do we encourage the promising young people in our lives to look to teaching as a worthwhile career? And how do we ensure that those entering teaching are valued, able to earn competitive salaries, and work in professional and stimulating environments?

There’s no easy answer here. But it’s clear that reimagining teaching requires all of us—educators, parents, policy makers, and leaders from all sectors—to be bold in our thinking. At Penn GSE, we’ve been doing our part to bring more high-quality teachers into the profession by growing our teacher education programs, offering more scholarships, and investing in research on teacher learning. You’ll read about some of these efforts, and the work of our dedicated students and alumni, in this issue. I hope their stories will inspire you to find your own way to support the teachers in your community. Because educators—and the students they serve—deserve better.

With deep appreciation for all educators,

Pam Grossman signature

Pam Grossman
Dean, Penn Graduate School of Education
George and Diane Weiss Professor of Education

Editor’s note: This issue of The Penn GSE Magazine went to print on December 16, 2022.


Bookshelf Spotlight

InnovateHERs: Why Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurial Women Rise to the Top

by Barbara Kurshan and Kathy Hurley

Published April 2022 by InnovateHERs Press

Through personal interviews with twenty-nine top-performing women in purpose-driven organizations, Kurshan—a senior fellow and innovation advisor at Penn GSE—and her co-author offer an insider view into the diverse pathways to success.

Blue cover of the book InnovateHERs: Why Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurial Women Rise to the Top that features an illustration of a woman holding a lightbulb.


Find other recent books by Penn GSE faculty in the Faculty Bookshelf. 


A seated teacher, wearing a face mask and glasses, is surrounded by several masked elementary students and reaches across a table to engage with a student's paper.

Amid a growing shortage, Penn GSE prepares and empowers future teachers to thrive—and persist—in the classroom.

The McGraw siblings , Robert, Suzanne, and Harold III , stand together smiling.

At an event honoring the 2022 winners of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education in New York City in November, Penn GSE announced the largest gift in the School’s history—a $16.25 million commitment from the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation, which will create a new center for educational leadership and continue its annual prize.

An illustration of a woman looking at herself in a handheld mirror against a bright yellow background.

Penn GSE alumni bring diverse perspectives to their classrooms and make DEI a priority for their students.

The words "Faces of Philanthropy" above headshots of David M. Brush and John Henry and a photo of Catherine Jerie holding a microphone and speaking in front of a Penn GSE banner

Penn GSE is bringing hope and opportunity to a new era. In keeping with Dean Pam Grossman’s vision of access and inclusion, practical knowledge, powerful partnerships, and innovation for impact, Penn GSE is unleashing the power of possibility through education—building a diverse pipeline of the educators and leaders the world needs. The School is grateful to the generous donors who are investing in this work. Here are three stories of support for Penn GSE’s mission.

A headshot of Sharon Wolf smiling in profile in her classroom.

Penn GSE’s Sharon Wolf explores the complexities of child labor and parental involvement in educational outcomes in West Africa.

Dean Pam Grossman and President Liz Magill stand outside the Penn GSE building expansion project on a tour as the dean gestures at the construction.

Updates on a presidential visit, the new Penn GSE building expansion, and more.

Students sit around four round tables as Ameena Ghaffar - Kucher leads the class with a screen behind her with a projection on it that reads “Pause and Reflect.”

Penn GSE’s International Educational Development Program preps students to tackle systemic issues around the world.

Aizhan Kul - Mukhammed, Ufuoma C. Abiola, Matt Hartley, Melissa Calvert, Robert Asante stand in a line smiling in front of GSE balloons.

At the annual celebration, Penn GSE’s honored six alumni and hosted a panel on increasing access to higher education.


Members of the Office of Student Success stand with a professor in full academic regalia in front of GSE balloons.

Alumni Notes

Penn GSE alumni notes reveal the many ways our graduates are having an impact as educators and leaders.

Read Alumni Notes


Tips from the Educator's Playbook

Children sit at long tables in an elementary school classroom, but one of them is missing.

Keeping Students Present

Penn GSE Professor of Education Policy Michael A. Gottfried was part of a team that recently compiled an evidence brief providing strategies for addressing absenteeism. Gottfried shares four approaches for parents and caregivers, teachers, and schools.

Read More about 'Keeping Students Present'

Extraordinary Impact

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