Before retiring from SEDL in October, 2010, D'Ette F. Cowan led Texas Comprehensive Center efforts to assist state and intermediate agencies in providing high-needs districts and schools with technical assistance that is systemic in nature. In her 12-year career at SEDL, she also assisted low-performing districts and schools throughout a five-state region to improve student learning, and investigated strategies for transforming schools into professional learning communities. Currently, Cowan serves as a consultant to SEDL on a variety of projects.
As one of the researchers and authors of Working Systemically in Action: A Guide for Facilitators, she has had first-hand experience in helping district and school leaders apply a systemic approach to improve learning outcomes for students. Her study of professional learning communities over her career has included conducting and applying research and presenting findings at conferences and in books and journals. She has authored chapters and articles in Demystifying Professional Learning Communities: School Leadership at Its Best; SEDL Letter; Journal of School Leadership; and Learning Together, Leading Together. Prior to joining SEDL in December 1997, she served as a junior high school teacher and an elementary school principal. Her continuing research interests include leadership for change, systemic improvement, and professional learning communities.