IBSC Action Research Leadership
With a professional background that includes a certification to teach English, roles dedicated to teaching adults in corporate and educational environments, and several years working as an academic technologist, Laura Sabo now serves as librarian at St. Christopher’s School (United States). There she has the pleasure of teaching boys in grades JK-5 using a learning commons model, integrating technology, library, and information literacy skills in the context of classroom curriculum. Along with nurturing a love of reading in her students, she values the many opportunities for collaboration and professional development that this role entails. A strong believer in promoting a teacher-as-researcher culture, Sabo also works with the St. Christopher’s Center for Study of Boys. In her role as a Saints research coordinator, she supports a cross-divisional team of faculty members as they explore academic literature, engage in scholarly conversation, conduct research, and share knowledge with the school community.
Sabo first experienced the IBSC Action Research Program as a member of the 2012-13 team, completing a research project focused on creativity, technology, and boys, in which students used multimedia digital tools to create social awareness posters. In 2014, she became an IBSC Action Research advisor, and she has loved every moment of coaching her international teams of educators. She values both the wealth of information and the wonderful relationships she’s gained through the process. She is thrilled to continue supporting teacher researchers in boys’ schools around the world in the role of program coordinator.
Kori Brown is a world cultures teacher and Form II advisor at The Haverford School (United States). As a global educator, she also helps supervise a variety of extracurricular activities and interdisciplinary initiatives that allow Haverford boys to explore the diverse people and places that shape our world—from the MS Model United Nations team to the MS Newspaper to a series of nontraditional learning opportunities called the Fords Focus Days.
Brown had the opportunity to present with colleagues about the Fords Focus Days at the 2019 IBSC Annual Conference in Montréal. At that conference she gained an introduction to action research. Brown then joined the 2020-2022 cohort of researchers to investigate the topic Boys and Technology: New Horizons, New Challenges, New Learning, which gained profound significance when it overlapped with the shift to virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her project on selfie culture transformed the ways in which she and her students approach online communication, digital self-representation, and intercultural exchanges.
She feels honored to join the inspiring group of mentors who make up the IBSC Action Research team, for Brown believes that action research is what education should be: a space in which educators are encouraged to innovate, where educators are trusted to find what works best for their students, and where educators are able to learn with—and from—their boys.
Trish Cislak spends her days as head of libraries at Crescent School (Canada). Her role encompasses integrating ed technology and information literacy skills in a future-forward skills continuum, team-teaching many courses, including AP Seminar with an inquiry-based approach, as well as building a reading culture among the boys. In 2019-20, Cislak took on the role of director of research for the Crescent Centre for Boys’ Education (CCBE). The research center focuses on teaching and learning best practices for boys. Her main role is engaging and empowering student researchers as they investigate ways to positively impact school culture. She supports a four-tiered system for colleagues to engage in research as part of their practice and co-hosts WELLRead, the CCBE podcast. In 2010, Cislak began her IBSC Action Research journey with a project examining the use of audiobooks to support reading habits in boys.
She and her husband, Steve, have a daughter who just completed a master’ degree in instrumental chemical analysis and a son, a Crescent alum, in his second year of law school.
Cislak looks forward to her 11th cycle on the IBSC Action Research team, which she describes as the most enriching professional development experience for teachers interested in improving their practice. She feels grateful for the ever-growing network of global colleagues due to her involvement with IBSC.
As head of upper school at King Edward’s School (United Kingdom), Polly Higgins looks after the needs of boys in upper school striving to prepare them for life’s rich journey after school. She also serves as a drama teacher, teaching across the school and assisting in productions over the year.
Seven years ago, she joined the IBSC Action Research family researching a project that explored how using digital, oral, or video reflection might help boys’ confidence in drama class. Investigating the topic Adaptability in the 21st Century proved an invigorating process both for the boys and her. She marvels at how much it has changed her teaching life! Her school has expanded the project across year 8 and is in the process of implementing it into year 9.
Higgins is delighted with this year’s project topic and looks forward to learning more from this team of researchers. She considers it a privilege to collaborate with teachers from all over the world. The IBSC Action Research Program has made a massive impact on her professional development and she keeps in constant contact with her cohorts and mentors—they have become great friends. Higgins looks forward to collaborating with the new team on the journey ahead.
Currently assistant head of school and director of enrollment at The Browning School (United States), Janetta Lien previously served as a member of the science faculty at Browning, teaching lower school and middle school science classes and an upper school science elective in geology and environmental studies. She first had the pleasure of participating in action research during the 2015-16 school year on the theme of global citizenship. Being a part of an action research team afforded Lien the time and space to plan, execute, and reflect on her teaching practice while seeking to develop transformative experiences for the boys on an important topic. She was also delighted to meet and work alongside a group of like-minded, caring educators from all over the world. Lien will step down as a team advisor at the conclusion of the current action research cycle (on cultivating healthy masculinity in boys' schools). She is grateful for having had the privilege and pleasure to work with five cohorts of talented teacher-researchers across IBSC member schools.
Luke Rawle serves as head of teacher development at Toowoomba Grammar School (Australia). In striving for best practice in teaching boys, his strategic role aims to cultivate a culture of improvement through pedagogical innovation and professional learning. He also serves as a history teacher and is actively involved in the school’s co-curricular and pastoral programs.
Rawle first got involved with IBSC when he presented the workshop Discovering the Power of Expectations at the 2017 IBSC Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. He continued his association by participating in the IBSC Action Research Program as part of the 2019-20 cohort investigating the theme Developing Agency: Boy Voice and Choice. Rawle’s research transposed the traditional classroom dynamic in his Year 11 Modern History class, placing boys in the center of the learning experience through their role as tutors to younger students. His report found that peer-tutoring had a positive effect on increasing the boys’ self-efficacy in the skills of historical source analysis. Rawle believes the action research cycle has transformed his own practice, providing the catalyst for greater self-reflection on his pedagogy.
He feels truly excited to join the IBSC Action Research team, which provides him the opportunity to further develop personal and professional connections with those who are passionate about boys’ education throughout the world.