Phillip C. Schlechty, education researcher, speaker, and school-improvement advocate, died on Jan. 7. He was 78.
Schlechty was the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Schlechty Center for Leadership in School Reform in Louisville, Ky., an early initiative to create networks of school districts to experiment with and share best practices in leadership and student engagement. Previously, in 1984, he had served as the founding executive director of the Gheens Professional Development Academy in Louisville, one of the first school district-based leadership development programs.
As he noted in a 2012 discussion, his work focused on how district and school policies affected teacher-student interactions and relationships in the classroom.
Schlechty developed the “Working on the Work” teaching framework. It explored ways teachers could develop more meaningful lessons for their students, not by trying to make a subject more “interesting,” but by making learning necessary to meet a student’s personal goals.
Schlechty wrote nine books—including Teaching and Social Behavior in 1976, Shaking Up the Schoolhouse in 2001, and Engaging Students in 2011—and more than 100 articles focused on understanding relationships in education and building the capacity for schools to change and innovate.
He taught at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels, and served as a special assistant to the superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s public schools. He also served in faculty positions and as an associate education dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Schlechty earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social studies, education, history, and political science, as well as a doctorate in the sociology of education, from the Ohio State University. He received honors including: the Horace Mann League’s 2010 Outstanding Public Educator award; the American Federation of Teachers Quest Citation; the American Educational Research Association’s Professional Service Award; and the Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology Hall of Fame Award.
Video Source: YouTube, Schlechty Center
A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.