Ellie Drago-Severson is Professor of Education Leadership and Adult Learning & Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. A developmental psychologist, Ellie teaches, conducts research, and consults to school and district leaders, teacher leaders, and organizations on professional and personal growth and learning; leadership that supports principal, teacher, school, and leadership development; and coaching and mentoring in K–12 schools, university settings, and other adult education contexts. She is also an internationally certified developmental coach (Immunity to Change™ coach) who works with leaders to build internal capacity and achieve improvement goals. Her work is inspired by the idea that schools must be places where adults and children can grow, and she is dedicated to creating the conditions to achieve this and to helping leaders and educators of all kinds to do the same on behalf of supporting adults and youth.

At Teachers College, Ellie is director of the PhD Program in Education Leadership, teaches aspiring and practicing principals in Columbia University’s Summer Principal Academy and aspiring superintendents in the Urban Education Leaders Program, and also coaches principals, assistant principals, and teacher leaders in the Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Leaders. She earned her BA from C.W. Post, Long Island University, and her masters and doctorate from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, where she was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from 1998 to 2001. Prior to her work at Teachers College, she served on the faculty at Harvard (1998–2005), where she was awarded the Morningstar Award for excellence in teaching (2005). She has also received awards for excellent in teaching from Columbia University Teachers College and Harvard’s Extension School.

Ellie is author of the best-selling books Helping Teachers Learn: Principal Leadership for Adult Growth and Development (Corwin, 2004) and Leading Adult Learning: Supporting Adult Development in Our Schools (Corwin/The National Staff Development Council, 2009), as well as Becoming Adult Learners: Principles and Practices for Effective Development (Teachers College Press, 2004) and Helping Educators Grow: Practices and Strategies for Supporting Leadership Development (Harvard Education Press, 2012). She is also a coauthor of Learning for Leadership: Developmental Strategies for Building Capacity in Our Schools (Corwin, 2013), Learning Designs: Reach the Highest Standard of Professional Learning (Corwin, 2015), and Tell Me So I Can Hear You: A Developmental Approach to Feedback for Educators (Harvard Education Press, 2016). Her latest book (co-authored with Jessica Blum-DeStefano), Leading change together: Building educator capacity within schools and systems was recently released, 2 January 2018 (ASCD).

She serves as teacher, program designer/director, consultant, professional developer, facilitator, trusted advisor and consultant in K-12 schools domestically and internationally.

Her work has been recognized by and supported with awards from the Spencer Foundation, the Klingenstein Foundation, and Harvard Graduate School of Education where she served as faculty member for eight years. While serving at Harvard, Ellie was awarded the 2005 Morningstar Award for Excellence in Teaching. Most recently, Ellie received three outstanding teaching awards from Teachers College. She has earned degrees from Long Island University (BA) and Harvard University (EdM, EdD and Post-Doctoral Fellowship). She grew up in the Bronx, New York.

Please feel free to send inquiries and comments to Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson at

2 thoughts on “Biography

  1. mysticpoet108 says:

    Dear Ellie,

    Congratulations on such a remarkable career thus far in the field of education and adult learning. You look great! I was thinking about you today and feeling you in my heart. I know that the students you’ve taught have been fortunate to have you as a teacher..and I imagine that you’ve learned a lot from them as the best teachers are eternal students remaining open to life long learning. If you do read these words, it is my hope that this day finds you well. If you are ever open to talking on the phone or skyping let me know at my email:

    with love and appreciation,

  2. Laxmi Bhatta says:

    Congratulation !!!!!!!
    on your teaching profession & education leadeship and adult learning programme at Teacher college.
    Wow !!!!
    What a work ethic & dedication to creating a beautiful condition to achieve goal and helping leader empowerment,Espicially adult and youth across the world.

    Salute for your remarkable career & distinguished leadership, and revolutionary step in Education.All the best everystep in your life. contratulation in advance for your oncoming book 2017…
    Best of Luck !!!

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