Dr. Amy Bernstein Colton has been named as the first Executive Director of Learning Forward Michigan. Learning Forward Michigan is an organization of professional educators and staff developers which advocates for quality, research-based professional development policies and practices to increase the capacity of those who work to improve student learning.
Dr. Colton has facilitated professional learning for educators as a staff development consultant within Michigan, across the country, and internationally. Over the last several years, Dr. Colton has served on Learning Forward Michigan (previously Michigan Staff Development Council) in many capacities including president, treasurer, and chair of the Programming and Advocacy Committee. At the national level, she participated in the first National Staff Development Council (now Learning Forward) Leadership Academy and was consulted on the development of the NSDC Distinguished Staff Developer Designation. She has worked with the Michigan Department of Education on several statewide initiatives, including the approval of the Update of Professional Development Vision and Standards for Michigan Educators, the State’s Professional Learning Strategic Plan, the Individual Professional Development Plan, and the Office of Special Education’s and Early Intervention Services’ State Performance Plan indicators regarding disproportionality.
When asked to comment on her role, Dr. Colton said, "Historically when school district budgets begin to shrink, professional learning funds are the first on the chopping block and this year is no exception. Now more than ever, when the stakes are high for our students and our schools, Learning Forward Michigan has to speak loudly and persistently about the key role professional learning plays in improving student achievement. But the organization can’t do it alone. I am very excited to be in a position to help build strong alliances with our membership, other professional organizations, the Michigan Department of Education, the intermediate and local school districts, the teacher unions and our legislative body to advocate quality, research-based policies and practices to increase the capacity and "competency" of those who work to improve student learning -- Learning Forward Michigan's mission."
Dr. Colton is best known for her co-creation of the Collaborative Analysis of Student Learning (CASL: pronounced "castle") and related inquiry, a professional development system that creates learning communities and tasks that support professional and student learning for excellence with equity. She holds a doctorate in teacher education from the University of Michigan. Her work and research on teacher education, teachers’ reflective decision making, and school reform appears in publications including Journal of Teacher Education, Educational Leadership, and The Journal of Staff Development.
Colton began her work as Executive Director of Learning Forward Michigan on April 1st, 2009.