Empowering Educators and Leaders Through Dynamic Peer Learning

By LeeAnne Lavender, PeerSphere Storyteller

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the value of peer learning has never been more evident. Nancy Lhoest-Squicciarini, a veteran educator with over 36 years of experience, has not only recognized this but has also actively championed it throughout her career, and her commitment to peer learning has created the foundation of two PeerSphere peer learning communities this year.

Nancy’s educational journey is a testament to her dedication to the field. She has served in roles such as classroom teacher (Nancy was a middle school teacher for 24 years), Assistant Principal, Head of teaching and learning, Head of community relations, and more. Her extensive experience has honed her understanding of the complexities of education and the importance of collaborative learning.

Nancy worked at the International School of Luxembourg for 31 years and, in 2021, stepped into a new role as Lead Facilitator and Trainer for the Educational Collaborative for International Schools (ECIS). She also facilitates trainings and serves on accreditation teams for the Council of International Schools (CIS), and now PeerSphere. Her engaging and excellent facilitation skills reflect her commitment to promoting excellence in professional group process facilitation.

Hosting two PeerSphere peer learning communities, one for Assistant Principals and the other for Curriculum Coordinators, Nancy has created spaces where educational leaders can thrive. Her initial online meetings in September for both groups were dynamic, and Nancy was especially excited about using reflection protocols.

“With the Assistant Principals, we focussed on the innovative use of survey data,” says Nancy. “We used a 5-3-1 protocol which allowed the Assistant Principals to review their own survey data and identify priorities. This approach empowered the participants by giving them agency over the direction of the conversation. It’s so important to elevate everyone’s voices and acknowledge the importance of educators’ feedback.”

Nancy engaged her community members with a pre-session survey and converted data from that survey into an accessible document with clear discussion areas; in the synchronous Zoom session, this set the stage for meaningful conversations. She also encouraged participants to share their challenges and goals, further enhancing the collaborative environment.

Nancy believes in collaboration as a means to elevate the collective wisdom in the room, a principle well-aligned with the quotation by Michael Schmoker: “Collaboration allows teachers to capture each other’s fund of collective intelligence.”

Based on input from her community members, Nancy is excited to plan upcoming sessions. For the Assistant Principals, she will facilitate a panel discussion because that was a top learning strategy identified by the group.

“Connecting with people and sharing in honest, open ways – I really value this about active peer learning communities,” says Nancy.

Nancy’s wisdom and passion showcase the value of an experienced peer learning community host, and PeerSphere is thrilled to have Nancy on board for 2023/24.

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