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The Teacher Learning Project Team

Sarah Birkeland began her career as a classroom teacher, teaching junior high in Jakarta, Indonesia and elementary and middle school in Denver, Colorado. She reluctantly left the classroom in 1999 to pursue a doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she was a researcher on The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers and co-author of Finders and Keepers: Helping New Teachers Survive and Thrive in our Schools (Jossey-Bass). Since then she has worked as a professional researcher, school coach, and consultant. When she is not working in or writing about schools, she can often be found in the back yard playing with her daughters. You can reach her at or


Sharon Feiman-Nemser is the Mandel Professor of Jewish Education at Brandeis University and the founding director of the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education. A well-known researcher of teacher education and learning to teach, she came to Brandeis in 2001 because it provided an opportunity to combine her professional interests with her commitment to Jewish education. She started the DeLeT program which prepares elementary teachers for Jewish day schools and she is currently working on a comparative study of beginning teachers in Jewish, Catholic and urban public schools. Sharon is excited that the Teacher Learning Project is now collaborating with day schools outside the Boston area. You can reach her at


Nili Pearlmutter has been a teacher educator at the Mandel Center since 2003 and has been a member of the Teacher Learning Project team since the project's inception in 2005. Before coming to the Mandel Center, Nili taught at the Cohen Hillel Academy in Marblehead, MA and at the Cambridgeport School, in Cambridge, MA. Since coming to the Mandel Center, Nili has worked in a variety of capacities with pre-service and new teachers. In addition to her work on the Teacher Learning Project, she currently coordinates the field experience for the MAT-JDS/DeLeT program. Nili finds her work at the Mandel Center to be just as invigorating as teaching first graders to read. You can reach her at


Vivian Troen has been a teacher, leader, advocate of the professionalization of teaching, and innovator in educational reform. She is a partner and co-founder of the Educational Research/Consulting Group, a consultancy that delivers change-agent educational programs to teachers, schools, school systems, and government agencies worldwide. She is the co-author of Who’s Teaching Your Children? Why the teacher crisis is worse than you think and what can be done about it (Yale University Press). Vivian and her husband are addicted to adventure travel and like to hike and camp with their seven grandchildren. You can reach her at


The Teacher Learning Project Team is grateful to our "emeritae" team members for their valuable contributions to this work: Debra Block, Elizabeth Fideler, Ruth Gass, Susan Kardos, Pearl Mattenson, and Sue Stibel.