Tom Corcoran is Co-Director of the Center for Policy Research in Education. I once heard him described as "every researcher's favorite practitioner, and every practitioner's favorite researcher," and that pretty much sums it up. He understands the daily rhythms of teachers' lives and gets the ways that schools work.
Fun facts: Corcoran served as the policy advisor for education for Governor Florio of New Jersey (and survived the politics of the Quality Education Act that pre-dated the Abbott v. Burke decision) and director of evaluation and later chief-of-staff of the New Jersey Department of Education.
Here is a link to some of his recent publications. My top pick is an older brief on professional development, "Helping Teachers Teach Well" (1995). His "best practices for professional development" are telling about the ways that our treatment of teachers has changed over the last 12 years:
"A number of experts and organizations have suggested that the most promising professional development programs or policies are those that:
- support teacher initiatives as well as school or district initiatives. These initiatives could promote the professionalization of teaching and may be cost-effective ways to engage more teachers in serious professional development activities.
- are grounded in knowledge about teaching. Good professional development should encompass expectations educators hold for students, child development theory, curriculum content and design...
- demonstrate respect for teachers as professionals and as adult learners. Professional development should draw on the expertise of teachers and take differing degrees of teacher experience into account."