With several years of experience in staff development, Patricia (“Tish”) McGonegal has worked in areas of literacy instruction, curriculum planning and assessment. She is particularly interested in helping teachers and administrators balance the needs of a professional community, looking both at the elements of instruction that will engage all students while they address the demands of standards and large-scale assessment. Current work includes looking with colleagues at the expanding definitions of literacy--composition and “reading”—offered to teachers and students by the ever-unfolding tools and challenges of technology.
Patricia taught middle and high school for many years in Vermont, in later years teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Vermont and Trinity College. A 1990 graduate (M.A.) of the Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury, Patricia went on to research literacy and instruction. She was awarded a grant from the Spencer Foundation to explore, with five colleagues, the elements of successful writing instruction, centering on the works of James Moffett.
Her research led to several published works, including journal articles and book chapters focused on writing, school reform and inclusion. Patricia served on the development committee for the Vermont Portfolio, as well as development boards of the New Standards Project and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. In 1996, she founded the Vermont site of the National Writing Project at UVM, moving 10 years later into the role of field director for the NWP nationally. Patricia continues to follow the advice of Donald Graves, who urges teachers to “Live the professional life…learning the twin crafts of teaching and writing.”