This web site and blog, born in the late summer of 2012, will offer commentary on current issues in K-12 education in the United States. Dr. Brian Preston, its founder and primary contributor, will leverage 45 years of experience across a spectrum of public and private teaching and administrative experiences to highlight what’s good about US educational practices, where the holes are, and what research says about school policy and practices today. Dr. Preston will use years of contacts in education to encourage additional contributors to the site as it matures.
There are many widely heard sources of information about public education in America today. The commentary heard most frequently is overwhelmingly negative, and it comes from politicians and ‘reformers’ who are rarely professional educators and frequently propose business-oriented agendas as solutions to the problems they identify in public education The Internet needs more sites like k12edtalk to offer a different view of public schools. k12edtalk is the voice of a professional educator, and will offer a research-based look at K-12 issues challenging our nation today.
About the Creator of k12edtalk
Dr. Brian Preston retired from regular service in education at the end of June, 2012. His career began in 1968, when he discovered he loved teaching junior high school while substitute teaching and switched his graduate program to complete a Masters in Teaching. He taught all subjects in grades 7-8 in a wonderfully creative team-teaching building in Royal Oak, Michigan, working with energetic, creative and dedicated colleagues and a wonderful, thoughtful principal, both of which confirmed that his interest in working with children was correct.
He next taught four years at the Frankfurt International School in grades 4, 6 and 7, where his students were from 40 countries and his faculty colleagues from 10. He spent two years with Scholastic Books International as their European Representative, making school calls on 204 United States Department of Defense military schools and 75 English language International schools in Northern Europe. Returning to New York in 1978, he joined the staff of the United Nations International School in Manhattan where his students were from 135 countries and his colleagues from 35. Teaching English and Humanities in grades 6-11, and with a stint as President of the local teachers union, Brian loved the diversity and energy of the school, which achieved exceptional performance both academically and culturally and brought the ideals of the UN to life.
Brian’s administrative internship involved running a gifted education planning grant at the Southern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (SW BOCES) in Westchester County, NY. When the internship was completed, he took a position as the Assistant Principal and Social Studies Department Chair at Woodlands Junior-Senior High School in Greenburgh, NY. Brian’s position, along with 137 other assistant principals in downstate New York, was cut in 1991 during a year of significant state aid cutbacks across New York, a situation remarkably like the economic stresses felt all over the nation at the current time.
For several months, Brian wrote grants for regional districts through SW BOCES and worked for Westchester County Community College as the administrator of a UAW-GM Education Center within a General Motors assembly factory as it was closing down. He left that position to join the Institutional Research program at the Nassau County Board of Cooperative Educational Services. There he did regional research projects for the District Superintendent and wrote grants that brought $25 million to Nassau BOCES in support of programs for the County’s 56 school districts.
He wrote himself out of the Institutional Research program by writing himself into a 128 district five year $15 million regional technology grant that was the largest in New York outside New York City. Managing a staff of 15 professional developers and personally designing and delivering the data work was a direction-changer in his career.
In 2004 he rejoined the staff of Southern Westchester BOCES as the Director of the Center for Professional Development and Curriculum Support, where he guided a professional development staff and matched educational consultants to local district professional development interests. After five years he moved to the Regional Information Center to support the integration of data warehousing services and instructional support programs.
Over his years of ‘regular’ employment, he has taught in graduate education programs at New York University and the New York Institute of Technology, served on the Board of the Northeast Educational Research Association, and was one of the founders in 2000 of the New York Schools Data Analysis Technical Assistance Group, DATAG. DATAG is a special interest group of K-12 educators who are attempting to understand and implement best practices in the use of student assessment data. DATAG supports best practices in the use of student data through three one-day workshops and a three day summer conference showcasing local district practices by classroom teachers and administrators.
Brian created this website and blog to highlight what works in public education, and offer responsible research and links to the work of other professionals across the country to support his points of view.