April 27, 2012
Closing Plenary: Children in Search of Someplace to Be Somebody
Sylvia Rousseau, Professor, University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, California
Dr. Sylvia Rousseau has been a professor of clinical education and urban scholar for the USC Rossier School of Education since 2006, where she teaches in the Ed.D. program, focusing on instructional leadership, diversity, and organization in the K-1 concentration. She also teaches courses in the TEMS concentration. Her research interests include reforming systems and structures to organize urban schools for learning; the relationship between culture and cognition in promoting learning for all students; deepening understandings of literacy acquisition in urban schools; secondary literacy; and exploring and developing university and K-12 partnerships. She is often called upon to speak at educational conferences on creating change in urban schools.
She currently serves as Interim Executive Director of the Greater Crenshaw Educational Partnership-a partnership between the Los Angeles Urban League, Tom and Ethel Bradley Foundation and USC Rossier School of Education to provide oversight of Crenshaw High School while maintaining her role as Professor of Clinical Education in the Rossier School of Education. This joint role allows Dr. Rousseau to act on her belief that universities, communities and urban schools working together can impact public education.
Dr. Rousseau has also held the title of Superintendent of Local District 7 in LAUSD from 2001 to 2005. During her tenure as Superintendent, Dr. Rousseau has led four years of consistent improvement in students' academic performance; partnerships with universities and Teach for America to create a major increase in credentialed teachers; improved teacher retention rate; conversion of high schools to small learning communities; and creating instructional tools to promote literacy and effective standards-based instruction in grades K-12.
Prior to that appointment, Dr. Rousseau held the posts of Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Instruction and School Services, Co-Director of University-School Partnerships at UCLA, and Adjunct Professor for the Principals Institute & Teacher Education Program at UCLA. She was also appointed to the Mayor's Advisory Committee on school reform.
From 1993 to 2000 she was the principal of Santa Monica High School, which under her leadership achieved one of the largest API gains in California. She reduced the school's drop out rate and increased graduation and college entrance among African American and Latino students. She was lauded by teachers, students and parents for building a strong sense of community on the campus, promoting intercultural understanding and nonviolent conflict resolution, and raising academic expectations and achievement.
Dr. Rousseau has also held positions at Loyola Marymount University and was the director of Project AHEAD, which trained and supervised family consultants working with parents. She taught at a number of schools in the LAUSD as well as in Maryland, Ohio and Indiana. She is a past recipient of the USC Rossier School of Education's R.O.S.E. Award.