SheShinesOn…Elisa MacDonald, TeachPlus


Grew up in New York City

Mother of 4-year-old twins, Liam and Grace

National Director of Teacher Leader Development, T3 Initiative for over 2 years

Author of "The Skillful Team Leader: A Resource for Overcoming Hurdles to Professional Learning for Student Achievement"

Q: What did you do before working with TeachPlus?

A: I have worked in various roles as a teacher, literacy coach, and administrator in the Boston Public Schools and have consulted with Teachers21 in districts throughout Massachusetts.

Q: Tell us a bit more about your background.

A: I have always led professional development throughout my teaching career but my work in building capacity in others really began when I became a literacy coach. That was when I realized how critically important it is for teachers to lead teachers. Having the opportunity to train and develop teacher leaders and leadership teams in numerous districts throughout Massachusetts exposed me to common hurdles leaders face, and helped me develop systems and strategies to support them. I am truly grateful to all of the teacher leaders with whom I have had the privilege of working and their willingness to have me learn with them.

Q: And how do you work with teacher leaders at TeachPlus?

A: I design and oversee systems of training, development, and support for teams of teacher leaders in schools where students have a history of failure so that we can swiftly improve student achievement.

Q: What advice would you give to people who are interested in your organization’s type of work?

A: There are enormous demands placed on schools where swift, rapid improvement for students is a non-negotiable. My advice to those working with leadership teams on keeping a skillful approach:

Ground your work in your values, and stay purpose-driven at all times.

Keep a growth mindset about students, teachers, and yourselves as leaders with an unwavering belief that with effort and perseverance you will succeed.

Develop your emotional intelligence so that you may effectively respond to the needs of others going through change, and respond to hurdles that you encounter with skill.

Make strategic decisions about when and how to respond so that teacher teams thrive and achieve their learning goals for students.

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged funders with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area.  We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving.  Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater.

SheShinesOn is a regular column highlighting the staff of organizations on the SheGives slate

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