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Workshop: Department Chairs Program (Bay Area)


Session 1

Date: December 5, 2018
Time: 9:00-3:00
Where: Head-Royce School (map)

Session 2

Date: February 12, 2019
Time: 9:00-3:00
Where: Head-Royce School (map)

Session 3

Date: April 17, 2019
Time: 9:00-12:00
Where: Head-Royce School (map)

Fee: $1500 Members; ($2250 Non-members)


Department Chairs Program (Bay Area)

The role of the department chair is often one of the most complex in a school. The chair must negotiate the responsibilities of leadership within the department as a teaching colleague while at the same time work with the administrative team in addressing the larger issues of the entire school. The goal of the Department Chairs Program is to provide the opportunity for exploring the multilayered challenges of this unique position and to support its participants in becoming more effective and satisfied in their work.

With the help of readings, activities, and group work, participants will learn new skills and processes, support each other around challenges they face, and establish a strong “leadership learning community” amongst themselves. The program explores educational leadership and what it means to lead as a teacher while advancing the professional and departmental goals they have identified.

Some of the specific topics and issues we will explore are:

  • Forging a common and compelling vision/direction amongst independent-minded colleagues;
  • Meeting design and facilitation;
  • Building professional community so that teachers can discuss their practice, learn together, and support one another’s growth – including the use of structured protocols to share our teaching practice and student work;
  • Leading and managing change over time.

Central questions we will explore are:

1.How can I support the design and facilitation of key department work?
2.How can I support my department to collaborate and develop as a professional learning community?
3.How can I help the department contribute to the development of the school as a whole?

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Tom Malarkey

Tom Malarkey

Tom Malarkey is a longtime educator who has focused his work on urban schools, teachers, and students. He has taught high school English and first grade, and was the director of the Summerbridge Program in San Francisco, an academic empowerment program for middle school students, and Senior Program Officer for Summerbridge National. Since 1996, he has worked with the Oakland-based National Equity Project ( coaching public school teachers, school leaders, and district leaders around equity-centered change. This has included work in teacher inquiry, cultural competence, designing professional development, and facilitating school and district change.
Shahana Sarkar

Shahana Sarkar

Shahana Sarkar is the Dean of Academics and Community at Head-Royce School in Oakland. She has served the school in many ways in her 17 years at Head-Royce. Entering as a Middle School math teacher in 2002, Shahana has taught both Middle School and Upper School math, has served as the Director of Scheduling, the Math Department Chair, the Applied Institute STEM Director and the Interim Dean of Faculty before stepping into her role as DAC. With deep experience at Head-Royce, she loves problem-solving, a creative collaboration, and systems thinking. As a department chair, she also collaboratively helped to rethink the Math Department’s approach to teaching assignments. The department now prides itself on its modeling of shared courses and cross-divisional assignments for all teachers.
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