Crisscrossing the University and Public School Contexts as Professional Development School Boundary Spanners

  • Joyce E. Many Georgia State University
  • Teresa R. Fisher Georgia State University
  • Susan L. Ogletree Georgia State University
  • Dee M. Taylor Georgia State University


P-12 and university educators who prepare pre-service teachers need tools to facilitate mutual understanding and bridge differences. The concept of a boundary spanner is such a tool. In schools, boundary spanners bridge discourses, provide cultural guidance, and act as change agents (Buxton, Carlone, & Carlone, 2005). This inquiry explored the perceptions and experiences of boundary spanners involved in professional development school teacher preparation initiatives from the university and the school perspectives. Three themes evident in their work were (a) their strengths at understanding the other, (b) their attempts to juxtapose support, dialogue, and recognition of power relationships, and (c) their ability to draw on prior knowledge.

Author Biographies

Joyce E. Many, Georgia State University
Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Programs
Teresa R. Fisher, Georgia State University
• Teresa R. Fisher previously worked as an elementary teacher in a professional development schools before joining the university as a boundary spanner in the role of a doctoral teaching fellow. She is now a clinical assistant professor in the department of Early Childhood Education at Georgia State University.
Susan L. Ogletree, Georgia State University
• Susan Ogletree is director of the Educational Research Bureau for the Georgia State University College of Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies with a focus on research measurement, and statistics.
Dee M. Taylor, Georgia State University
• Dee Taylor, Ed.D., is the former Executive Director for Professional Learning and Curriculum Coordinator of English/Language Arts for two large metro-Atlanta school districts. She currently is a consultant for Georgia State University’s Net-Q professional development school network grant.