Educational Studies

Faculty PhotoLora L. Wolff, Ph.D

Associate Professor

Horrabin Hall 115D

Curriculum Vitae »

I am a graduate of Wartburg College (B.A., English education, 1979), Western Illinois University (M.A., English with an emphasis in writing, 1992) and the University of Iowa (Ph.D., 1997, English Education). I earned my principal certification from WIU and my superintendent endorsement from the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls).

I joined the Educational Leadership Department at Western Illinois in the fall of 2012. However, I have served as an adjunct on a regular basis since 2001. Prior to joining the department full-time, I was the superintendent for the Keokuk (Iowa) Community Schools for four years. Additionally, while in Keokuk (28 years total) I served as assistant superintendent, Director of Technology and Communications, department chairperson, and teacher (English, speech, and journalism). I taught four years at Lakota High School (1980-1984). I have also taught college writing (WIU) and Introduction to Teaching English, Speech and Journalism (Iowa).

Significant achievements while in Keokuk:

  • Secured over 80 competitive grants for the Keokuk district totaling over $12 million.
  • Implemented the development and use of district-wide electronic, standards-based report cards using the district student information system.
  • Researched, adopted, and implemented the Understanding by Design curriculum framework (Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins) district-wide including providing off-site professional development and leading on-site professional development.
  • Worked to help pass the One-Cent Sales Tax and the bond issue for a new middle school and an early childhood wing.
  • Led district in numerous planning activities including strategic planning, facilities planning, district and building goal development, Board of Education goal development, and school improvement planning.
  • Secured funding, designed, implemented and supervised a summer credit recovery program for HS students.
  • Planned, organized and/or facilitated professional development on-site activities for Keokuk teachers and administrators.  Sample topics: PowerGrade, grading practices, curriculum, unit development, creating rubrics.
  • Designed and prepared annual Report to Community (2001 - 2012) including data collection and analysis.
  • Led district through closure of two elementary schools (Torrence—2010, Wells-Carey—2012).
  • Led the district through budget reductions (2011-2012--$1,200,000; 2010-2011--$1,242,311; 2009-2010--$795,921; 2010-2011--$1.3 million; 2011-2012--$1.7 million).
  • Instituted and planned administrative book studies (e.g. Good to Great-Collins, Results Now-Schmoker, The Learning Leader-Reeves, Fierce Conversations-Scott, What Works in Schools-Marzano).
  • Participated in GPAEA Superintendent Rounds (Instructional Rounds in Education, Richard Elmore) during 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.

 Current research interests include grading practices, the implementation of professional learning communities, and portfolios as assessment tools.