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Ariel Sacks has been teaching English Language Arts in New York City public schools in grades seven through nine for fourteen years. She writes about teaching and education issues on her Education Week column, Teaching For the Whole Story, and supports teachers around the world to implement student-centered methods, most notably the whole novels approach. #wholenovels

Throughout her career, she has worked with a wide range of diverse learners both in DOE schools and public charter schools.  She studied progressive pedagogy at Bank Street College of Education, where her mentor and longtime collaborator, Madeleine Ray, first introduced her to the whole novel concept.  

Whole Novels for the Whole Class: A Student Centered Approach is Ariel's first book. Her second book, Who Gets To Write Fiction: Rethinking Creative Writing In 21st Century English Language Arts is in progress. She has shared her thinking about teaching and other education issues for years on her blog, On the Shoulders of Giants, hosted by Center for Teaching Quality (#CTQCollab). She has published articles in Education Week, Education Leadership, Chalkbeat NY, ASCD Smartblog, AFT's Share My Lesson blog, and Bank Street College's Occasional Paper Series.  An advocate for teacher leadership, Ariel was a member of the team that co-authored Teaching 2030: What We Must Do For Our Public Schools--Now and in the Future and is featured in the book Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead Without Leaving. She has been a speaker at education conferences, such as Qu'dwa Global Teachers Forum, The Big Ideas Fest, Bank Street College Language Series, and Pearson's Conference On Teaching. 

Ariel is eager to share and spread whole novels and other constructivist methods in ways that honor the interests, knowledge, and creativity of practicing teachers and build community among us.  She offers interactive workshops and other professional development support for English and humanities teachers. 

Email:  wholenovels@gmail.com

Find her on Twitter: @arielsacks

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Innovative English teacher with proven success in inquiry-based curriculum design, student-centered teaching methods and classroom management; thoughtful collaborator and facilitator of teacher learning; mentor; workshop presenter; author and education writer; advocate for teacher leadership; develops strong relationships with students, parents, colleagues, school leaders; connected educator; fluent in Spanish; creative problem solver; lifelong learner

Education & Certification

  • Bank Street College of Education: New York, NY, Masters of Science in Education, 2006

  • Brown University: Providence, RI, Bachelor of Arts in English, 2001

  • New York State Professional Certification: English Language Arts, Grades 5-9, current

  • Certificate to Teach English as a Foreign Language: Via Lingua, Guadalajara, Mexico, 2002

K-12 Teaching Experience

  • The Renaissance Charter School, Jackson Heights, NY (2014-2019)

  • Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, Brooklyn, NY (2010-2014)

  • NYC Department of Education: J.H.S 45 and School For Democracy & Leadership (2004-2010)

School-Based Leadership Experience

  • Grade Team Leader

  • ELA PLC Coach and English Department Chair

  • New Teacher Mentor

  • Advisory Coordinator and Coach

  • Student Council Coordinator

Professional Development Provider / Coach

  • Workshop design and presentation for district, charter, private schools across the country

  • Webinar leader & virtual coaching in curriculum design and instructional methods

  • Curriculum writing

  • Editor and development support for teacher bloggers at Center For Teaching Quality

  • Contributed to design and leadership of NEA online course in Teacher Leadership for Diversity, Equity, and Cultural Competency with Center For Teaching Quality

Speaker / Presenter

  • Speaker at numerous national conferences and universities on topics including the teaching of English Language Arts, teacher leadership, teacher preparation, supporting teachers in urban high poverty schools, and teacherpreneurship.


  • Whole Novels For the Whole Class: A Student Centered Approach (2014) Jossey Bass

  • Blog content at Teaching For the Whole Story (Education Week): 2016-present

  • Blog content at On the Shoulders of Giants (Center For Teaching Quality): 2008--2016

  • Teaching 2030: What We Must Do For Our Public Schools--Now and In the Future (2010) Teachers College Press (Co-authored with Dr. Barnett Berry and the TeacherSolutions team)

  • Articles in Education Week, Education Leadership, Chalkbeat NY, ASCD Smartblog, Share My Lesson (AFT), and The New York Daily News.