Sandra Herbst

Sandra Herbst

• system leadership authority • assessment for learning author • gifted facilitator

Sandra Herbst is a noted system leader, author, speaker, coach, consultant, and educator with extensive experience in leadership, systems thinking, adult learning, and assessment. Sandra has helped jurisdictions, districts, and schools to reflect on current actions, identify long-term aspirations, and plan strategically for next steps, regardless of the focus of educational innovation.

Sandra’s expertise, informed by wide-ranging practice and research, is enhanced by her compassion and humour. She has worked in both elementary and secondary schools as a classroom and specialty teacher, school administrator, and program consultant. Sandra is the former superintendent of the second-largest school district in Manitoba and a past President of the Manitoba Association of School Superintendents and the Manitoba ASCD Affiliate.

As a facilitator of workshops, web conferences, and Institutes across North America and internationally and as an executive coach, Sandra provides educators with a framework to help meet the diverse needs of student and adult learners. She engages in long-term projects that include cycles of co-teaching and co-planning. It is through these interactions that Sandra conveys her vision and passion for public education; she is a charismatic and highly energetic speaker and leader who is deeply committed to seeing the educational system contribute to the democracy of our communities.

Sandra is co-author (with Anne Davies and Brenda Augusta) of our newest resource, Collecting Evidence and Portfolios: Engaging Students in Pedagogical Documentation, published in June, 2017. Sandra and Anne Davies co-authored Grading, Reporting, and Professional Judgment in Elementary Classrooms (2016) as well as A Fresh Look at Grading and Reporting in High Schools (2014). Also in 2014, The Curriculum Journal published a research report, “System Leaders Using Assessment for Learning as Both the Change and the Change Process: Developing Theory From Practice,” an 11 year longitudinal study that focused on system leadership that Sandra wrote with three colleagues. She is a co-editor (with Kathy Busick and Anne Davies) of Quality Assessment in High Schools: Accounts from Teachers (2013). In 2012, Sandra co-authored the Leaders’ SeriesTransforming Schools and Systems Using Assessment: A Practical Guide and Leading the Way to Assessment for Learning: A Practical Guide with Anne Davies and Beth Parrott Reynolds. Currently, she has several other works in progress.

Client Testimonials...

Sandra, from my colleagues and I at German Mills Public School who were at your presentation, Miigwetch and sincere thanks for the passion, creativity, and expertise you shared with us today. You walked alongside us in our learning, and reminded us how our deliberate decisions as teachers are made in a social justice context, where they matter more than we may know.


John Baumann, Grade 2/3 Teacher & Librarian
German Mills Public School, Thornhill, Ontario

Sandra was fantastic at our conference. Her sessions were very popular amongst participants and the feedback thus far has been extremely positive. Her sessions got to the heart of the matter for us with respect to assessment. She challenged thinking and caused many to reflect on their assessment practices. Not only were Sandra’s sessions time well spent but she also took time to connect with her audience. People commented on how she would continue conversations during breaks and even long after her session had ended. A great experience.


Paul Rose, School Development & Assessment
Western School District, Newfoundland

Depuis trois ans, Sandra nous appuie au CSPNE dans notre cheminement de l’évaluation au service de l’apprentissage et en tant qu’apprentissage. C’est grâce à son expertise, ses expériences, ses connaissances approfondies et sa personnalité attachante que nos enseignants et nos élèves bénéficient de pratiques qui sont beaucoup plus dynamiques et engageantes.
Nous sommes vraiment privilégiés de collaborer avec Sandra. Elle est inspirante, brillante et nous présente des stratégies simples qui sont vraiment gagnantes et qui ont un impact sur l’apprentissage de nos élèves.
Sandra a vraiment fait une différence chez nous et laisse des traces positives et efficaces qui nous orientent vers une vision où l’élève joue un rôle beaucoup plus important dans ses apprentissages!


Angelle Martel-Davies, CSPNE
North Bay, Ontario

I want to commend you for taking a whole week to be here with our staff, for the opportunities to dialogue throughout the week, not just in the couple of designated hours that each PLC group was assigned. Your ongoing followups are so important to moving the concepts from discussions in our PLCs to doing it with the students. Thanks for your time and care and commitment to the education of all students.


Carol Larson, Teacher
Swan Valley School District, Manitoba

Dear Sandra:
As I reflected over the weekend on our learning from the previous 2 days, I was in awe of your spirit, mindset and ability to engage and support our learning here in Edmonton. I was greatly moved and inspired by all that you shared. Thank you.
Today I went into our Division Two behaviour and learning classroom to co-construct criteria with the class on what a peaceful classroom looks like. It wasn’t a perfect delivery, but I was impressed with the student voice, input, and thinking that transpired. I believe the teacher will continue on with it and that he saw the power and support it gave the students. Thank you again. I look forward to working with you in the future.


Tanis Marshall, Principal
Calder School, Edmonton, Alberta

Sandra, a sincere thank you for sharing the day with us. I am in awe of your presentation skills, and everyone really appreciated your ‘warm’ demeanour and the ‘sprinkling of grace’ you consistently engage in.


Sharon Klein, Principal
Queen Margaret’s School Duncan, BC

Sandra, thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences with my colleagues and I. You have a unique way of engaging an audience. As a teacher beginning my career, you have given me many ideas on how to capture student learning that I can now try in the classroom.
Thank you for such an empowering presentation.


Jessica Lelen, Teacher
York Region District School Board, Ontario

Sandra, I was impressed by:
*** your accomplishments
***your sincerity, your genuineness, your humour, and your positive/pro-active attitude
***most importantly, your “in it for the kids” frame of mind. That’s what it’s all about…making them feel important, successful, loved, cared about…it’s great to know people like you are in difference-making positions…super for the young girls that get to cross your path!


Jennifer Nicholson, Teacher
Boularderie Elementary School, Nova Scotia

J’espère que tu vas bien! Je veux te remercier à nouveau pour la journée que tu as animée la semaine dernière à Toronto. Mes collègues et moi avons beaucoup apprécié le rythme, le contenu, la profondeur et les conversations de la journée.


Celine Renauld-Charette, Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario
Ottawa, Ontario

Over the past two years school administrators, teachers, and I have had the opportunity to work with Sandra to further our understanding and enhance our professional practice in assessment and instruction. Wow! The breadth and depth of her expertise in these areas is quite remarkable. She engages us in meaningful conversations based on current research and then seamlessly moves from the philosophical to the specific and practical. She affirms the hard work that we do and both challenges and supports us to move forward. Whether working with a group of 30 or 300, Sandra makes personal connections through her stories, real life experiences and fabulous sense of humour. The feedback from staff is exceptionally positive… we want her back!


Robert Chartrand Superintendent of Schools – South District
The Winnipeg School Division, Manitoba

(Sandra,) I wanted to take the time tonight to thank you for being a great inspiration in my teaching career.
I’m the person with the greatest seat in the house today who asked you to comment my mathematics journal at the end of the day. I must tell you that I got all nervous when I talked to you because you are really ‘up there’ for me.
I began the evaluation revolution three years ago and it wasn’t until my first videoconference with you that it all started making sense for me. I’ve progressed a great deal this year and am now looking forward to integrating more triangulation.
You are a true inspiration. I admire you and feel privileged to have participated in your sessions. Have no doubt, you are making a difference in my life, my teaching skills but foremost, the lives of my students. I’ve only gotten good feedback and more engagement from my students on my new/modified initiatives.
Thank you for being the intelligent, common-sensed, funny, and deeply inspirational woman that you are!!!


Suzanne Hevey, Teacher
École secondaire publique, Northern Sturgeon Falls, Ontario

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Sandra speaking to a group of Educators