Rebecca Thessin

Rebecca Thessin
Assistant Professor, Educational Administration
(202) 994-1342

Dr. Thessin was most recently the Chief School Improvement Officer for the Montgomery County, Maryland, Public Schools, prior to which she served as the Associate Superintendent for Professional Development and School Support for this same district. In these roles, she coached principals and designed professional learning to facilitate school improvement and close achievement gaps.

Previously, she served as an Assistant Professor of Educational Administration at the George Washington University. In this role, she prepared aspiring educational leaders and served as a founding member of the DC-EdCORE consortium.

She has also served as the Director of School Improvement and Professional Development in Stamford, Connecticut, where she led the district's implementation of an improvement process for professional learning communities and formed a professional development council to author a system wide professional learning plan.

Dr. Thessin has worked as the Aide to the Deputy Superintendent in the Boston Public Schools, as an administrative intern at a Boston high school, and as a high school teacher in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and West Virginia.

Dr. Thessin holds a doctorate in the urban superintendency from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

At the George Washington University, she conducts research in the areas of instructional leadership, professional learning, school and district improvement, urban school reform and leadership preparation.


Thessin, R. A., & Clayton, J. (2013). Perspectives of school leaders on the administrative internship. Journal of Educational Administration, 51 (6), 790-811.

Thessin, R. A., & Starr, J. P. (2013). The district’s role in leading improvement: Professional learning communities as the starting point. In K. Hewitt, C. Childers-McKee, E. Hodge, & R. Schuhler (Eds.), Postcards from the schoolhouse: Practitioner scholars examine contemporary issues in instructional leadership. Ypsilanti, Michigan: NCPEA Publications.

Thessin, R. A. (2012, March). Next Steps in DC education evaluation and research (Working paper no. 2.1). Washington, D. C.: The George Washington University.

Thessin, R. A. (2011). Teaching notes and appendices. In L. Boozer, L. Kelley, R. Peterkin, & D. Jewell-Sherman (Eds.), Every child, every classroom, every day: Notable superintendents and researchers tackle the critical issues facing our schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Thessin, R. A., Ed. (2011, Sept.). Transition team report. Rockville, MD: The Montgomery County Public Schools.

Thessin, R. A., & Starr, J. P. (2011, March). Supporting the growth of effective professional learning communities districtwide. Kappan Magazine.

Thessin, R. A. (2007). Building assessment literacy: Newton North High School gets smart about data. In K. P. Boudett, & J. L. Steele (Eds.), Data wise in action: Stories of schools using data to improve teaching and learning (pp. 29-50). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

In the News

Dr. Jennifer Clayton and Dr. Rebecca Thessin recently published a paper in Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning entitled Voices of Educational Administration Internship Mentors.

Dr. Rebecca Thessin and GSEHD alumnus Dr. Chris Jones (Ed.D., educational administration and policy studies) have published a paper in the spring edition of the Journal of School Leadership. The article is entitled Sustaining Continuous Improvement through Professional Learning Communities in a Secondary School.

Dr. Ellen Scully-Russ organized and facilitated a session for the GW Health Workforce Institute's Speakers Series on Exploring Program Design Principles for Healthcare Career Pipeline Programs for Underserved Youth. The panel featured three recent GSEHD studies on issues related to youth life trajectories and career transition processes and programs. The panelists included Dr. Rebecca Thessin, who presented results from a recent evaluation study of a high school healthcare career academy; GSEHD alumnus Dr. Armando Justo [Human and Organizational Learning/Executive Leadership program (HOL/ELP)], who presented his study of the everyday life experiences of at-risk youth in Mexico City; and GSEHD alumna Dr. Karen Nestor, (HOL/ELP) who presented the results of two studies investigating the life circumstances and trajectories of first generation college students from underserved urban communities.