Professional Development Center for Educators

Sharon Walpole, Ph.D.

Title: Director
Phone: (302) 831-2560


Sharon Walpole is Director of the Professional Development Center for Educators and Professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware. She earned her Ph.D. in Reading Education from the University of Virginia in 2000.  She has extensive school-based experience, including both high school teaching and elementary school administration.  She studies the design and effects of school-wide reforms, particularly those that use coaching.  She worked in Reading Excellence Act, Reading First, and Striving Readers projects, all federal school reform programs targeting reading achievement in schools with a history of low performance.  She designed state-level professional development for teachers, coaches, and principals in those projects and provided technical assistance for states and districts throughout the southeast.

Currently, she is supporting design of assessment and implementation of tiered reading instruction in state-level and district-level Response to Intervention initiatives and in PK-12 State Literacy Plans.  In those projects, she is helping schools to differentiate for all students rather than only those who struggle. Dr. Walpole is co-author of The literacy coach’s handbook: A guide to research-based reform, Differentiated reading instruction: Strategies for the primary grades, and Cracking the Common Core: Choosing and using texts in grades 6-12 as well as six other books and many research articles and book chapters.

Dr. Walpole is the author of the free Open Educational Resource Bookworms. This curriculum employs only high-quality trade books which can be purchased cheaply.  Lesson plans and extensive support materials are available for free on line.

Dr. Walpole has served as a scientific reviewer for the Institute for Education Science and is a member of the editorial boards of Reading Teacher, Elementary School Journal, and Reading Research Quarterly.  She has received federal support for her research from the Institute for Education Sciences and from the US Department of Education.  Dr. Walpole is 2007 winner of the National Reading Conference’s Early Career Scholar Award and 2016 winner of both the University of Delaware’s University Faculty Senate Excellence in Teaching Award and the College of Education and Human Development’s Excellence in Teaching Award.