Instructor, Coach, Leadership Framework Specialist
"Education stops the cycle of poverty and helps students see the connection between hard work and their goals," says Merrilou Harrison.
Merrilou Harrison works with the Washington State Leadership Academy as an instructor, a coach, and as a Leadership Criteria Framework Feedback Specialist. Her expertise helps school systems direct their alignment, support, skills, and district wide focus on student achievement. Merrilou draws from her success with the Professional Learning Communities at Work™ model to share passionate and practical information. Her presentations, workshops, and trainings contain strategies that empower educators at every level to play an active role in the success of all students.
As principal of Gilbert Elementary in Yakima, Washington (a featured school on http://www.allthingsplc.info), Merrilou faced significant challenges. This low-performing school enrolled a high percentage of youth at risk, and Merrilou led her staff in building a PLC to ensure all students received the time and support necessary to succeed.
With 28 years of experience, Merrilou has taught every grade level in classrooms from remedial to gifted and talented. She spent 14 years of her career in administration, serving as high school administrator, central office curriculum and instruction director, and elementary school principal.
Merrilou earned a bachelor's degree and fifth-year degree in curriculum and instruction from Seattle Pacific University and a master's degree in P–12 administration from City University of Seattle. She completed the Harvard Principal Leadership Summer Institute and the Solution Tree Professional Learning Communities at Work™ Leaders Academy. Her greatest passion is delving into research and implementing systemic change at the building and district levels. She has extensively studied the work of Robert J. Marzano and Michael Fullan and has specifically focused on systems change, assessments, data analysis, curriculum, instruction, and PLCs.