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Allison Zmuda

The Competent Classroom, LLC

Allison Zmuda’s focus is to help every educator create a competent classroom—a learning environment where all participants believe it is possible for them to be successful—in which what teachers and students are expected to know and be able to do is challenging, feasible, and worthy of the attempt. Zmuda also specializes in short and long range continuous improvement planning, evaluating the degree to which structures, policies, and job descriptions support the work of the school to achieve its mission.

She began as a public high school teacher in Connecticut and her curricular and instructional practices led to her first book, The Competent Classroom (2001). Her second book, High Stakes High School: A Guide for the Perplexed Parents (2001), welcomes parents into the conversation about standards, assessment, and high-stakes testing. In addition to her work in the area of curriculum, assessment and instruction, Zmuda’s third book, Transforming Schools: Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement (2004) looks at the challenges and promise of engaging in building and system-wide improvement. Transforming Schools received the honor of being the designated member book and as such, over 100,000 copies were distributed its first year and was recently named a “best-seller.” Zmuda’s fourth writing project was as lead co-author of the Schooling by Design Action Tool, released by ASCD in October 2007. Her fifth book, released in June 2008, triumphs the power of the library as a doorway to creating rigor and relevance in student learning: Librarians as Learning Specialists: Meeting the 21st Century Learning Imperative (2008). Zmuda’s latest project, Breaking Free from Myths of Teaching and Learning: Innovation as an Engine for Student Success, was released in December, 2010. Her newest project is just-startkidsandschools.com — a place where educators, parents, and students can go to become inspired or share inspiration with others. Zmuda is focused on creating space in schools and communities for meaningful learning.


Zmuda works with the Association for the Supervision and Curriculum Development as a Faculty member in the Understanding by Design cadre and independently through her own consulting firm The Competent Classroom, LLC. She has presented at workshops and conferences across the United States and Canada. Zmuda resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband and her two children.