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Accomplished Researcher. Trusted Author. Beloved Friend.

A reflection on Dr. Debra Pickering's professional legacy by Dr. Robert J. Marzano

“Above all, Dr. Debra Pickering was a consummate teacher of teachers. She had the uncanny ability to take even the most complex and sometimes obtuse research or theory and translate it into practices that K–12 educational practitioners could use immediately.

I first started working with Debra in the late 1980s when she collaborated in the development of a comprehensive framework for teaching academic content, while also teaching and reinforcing cognitive and metacognitive skills. That effort resulted in a program known as Dimensions of Learning. It has been used throughout the United States and a number of other countries. Debra was the primary spokesperson for the program and a driving force in the training associated with it.

Next came an analysis of the current research on effective instruction. This culminated in a book entitled Classroom Instruction That Works, which is still widely used across the country. That book, published by ASCD, sold over 1.5 million copies. The book Classroom Management That Works came on the heels of Classroom Instruction That Works and provided practitioners with a comprehensive interpretation of what research says about classroom management.

These works and others came together in 2007 in a book entitled The Art and Science of Teaching. Again, Debra’s thinking and passion were behind much of the training and practical materials that accompanied that program.

While Debra’s contribution to my efforts over the last 50 years to develop programs and practices educators can use, as chronicled above, was second to none, her contribution to my personal life exceeds it. I rarely had an encounter with her that did not make me laugh, or feel better about life, or become aware of insights I had not previously had, or all of the above. She will be missed by me and countless educators around the world.”

—Robert J. Marzano, cofounder and chief academic officer, Marzano Resources

“The world lost a great educator with the passing of Debra Pickering. As an author and associate for Marzano Resources, Debra had a profound impact on educators across the globe, and in turn, their students. Both professionally and personally, Debra touched the lives of everyone she knew. On behalf of Marzano Resources and Solution Tree, I want to share our deepest condolences to Debra’s family, including her husband, Michael, and their children.”

—Jeffrey C. Jones, cofounder and CEO, Marzano Resources

Dr. Marzano celebrating with his dear friend Debra at her 70th birthday party.