It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of our colleague and dear friend Professor Sam Stringfield. Sam is recognised as one of the founding ICSEI community members and proudly noted recently that he had attended all but one ICSEI conference since the establishment of ICSEI in 1988. He was one of the first authors and active contributors to the school effectiveness literature and helped establish the ICSEI MORE Network. Sam and his wonderful wife Kathleen led three ICSEI conferences in 1997 (Memphis), 1999 (San Antonio), and 2015 (Cincinnati) hosting ICSEI members and colleagues from around the world with true southern US hospitality.
Sam was a regular keynote speaker and panel member at ICSEI conferences, and was a co-author of the State of the Art School and System Improvement article that foregrounded much of ICSEI?s current debate and work. Sam served as an ICSEI Board Member from 2000-2002 and accepted a second term from 2015 to his untimely death.
Sam was Professor and Educational Leadership Program Coordinator at the University of Cincinnati. He spent three decades studying teacher, school, and system-effects on academic and other achievements of students. Throughout his career Sam worked to improve schools for all young people, particularly those in areas of significant poverty. The High Reliability project, which he co-designed with Professor David Reynolds using school effectiveness principles, was successful in supporting and sustaining school improvement in many parts of the world. His core belief that those working within the School Effectiveness and School Improvement (SESI) movements had a responsibility to make a positive difference to schools and students, was infectious and compelling.
Sam was a prolific writer and author of over 170 articles, books and chapters. He co-authored three chapters in the 2016 International Handbook of Educational Effectiveness, and several articles on the application of high reliability organization processes in the context of schools and school systems.
Sam served as a member of the New Board of School Commissioners of the Baltimore City Public Schools, and in a variety of positions for the American Educational Research Association. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), a member of the SESI Board, and served on the boards of several other highly respected journals.
Sam was a wonderful mentor to emerging scholars, and, because of his support and advocacy, many of his former graduate students and postdoctoral fellows went on to have productive and sometimes very prominent careers, making significant contributions to the fields of school effectiveness and improvement and educational change. Among all of his considerable contributions, this is one of his many lasting legacies.
Sam was a great scholar and champion of the SESI field. He was a firm believer in equity and excellence. He will be deeply missed by scholars, colleagues and friends around the world.
With deepest respect
Professor Michael Schratz, Professor Andy Hargreaves, and Professor Alma Harris