Research Agenda

  • My research agenda focuses on the development of learning communities as it relates to teacher leadership, collaborative inquiry communities, and developing teacher practice through professional development. I primarily use qualitative methods to study the professional development of teachers in learning communities within their schools to better understand and describe how leaders can develop the culture and systems necessary to support innovative teaching and improve student learning. Within my projects, I integrate my research with my content expertise by providing specific subject-matter professional development for teachers, while studying the development of the collaborative inquiry communities that are created as the teachers improve their own understanding of the content with others.
  • In addition to my research related to professional learning communities in professional development for teachers in K-12 schools, I am beginning to connect this work to research in developing learning communities with university students. Specifically, I am examining how instructors facilitate community learning in traditionally lecture-based university classes, and how instructors orchestrate productive online discussions to create communities in online and hybrid classes.

Selected Publications:

Wolfe, Z. (in press). “You explore, I guide, we learn!”: One way to think about inquiry-based teaching. Childhood Education.

Groffman, J., & Wolfe, Z. (in press). Using visual mapping to promote higher-level thinking in music making. Music Educators Journal.

Brown, R., Wolfe, Z., & Tily, S. (2017). Using push and support cards for differentiation. Ohio Journal of School Mathematics, 76. Retrieved from:

Wolfe, Z. & Brown, R. (2017). Navigating the bridge between teachers and administrators. The New Jersey Mathematics Teacher: Journal of the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New Jersey, 75 (1). 17-25. Retrieved from:

Furtak, E., Glasser, H., & Wolfe, Z. (2016). The feedback loop: Using formative assessment data for science teaching and learning. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.

Wolfe, Z. (2017, November). Using protocols in online discussions. NSRF Connections. National School Reform Faculty.

Herrmann, Z., & Wolfe, Z. (2017, March 17). Creating a culture of entrepreneurship in schools. [blog post]. retrieved from teacherpreneur- zachary-herrmann-zora-wolfe