Greater Allegheny’s Siobhan Brooks excels at nationally recognized program

woman wearing glasses smiling in front of a tree

Siobhan Brooks

Credit: Zachary Rosen

MCKEESPORT, Pa. – Building upon a professional career devoted to increasing educational opportunities for youth, Siobhan Brooks, coordinator of the John H. Gruskin Learning Center and disability services at Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport recently completed the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).The 10-month program, offered by The Education Policy and Leadership Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, engages educators and community leaders in thoughtful conversations on policymaking, leadership, strategic planning, challenges and financial difficulties within the pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade education system. 

“I attended the program to become more informed on the politics surrounding policymaking,” said Brooks. “I also attended the program to become more educated on public policy within the education field, and to attain additional leadership skills.”

“The EPFP platform allowed me to interact with professionals and leaders in the public policy area, which has provided a phenomenal networking opportunity,” said Brooks. “I also gained a wealth of knowledge about the pre-K through 12 educational system.”

While enrolled, Brooks and her peers studied the strategic thinking of leaders and completed an open-ended policy project.  They considered how state policymakers can ensure that qualified and highly effective teachers are placed in every classroom as enrollments in teacher preparation programs decline. 

“This program has opened my eyes; there is not enough access for all children to receive a high-quality education,” said Brooks. “This opportunity has inspired me to advocate for change in our educational system so that all students are receiving a high standard of education.”

Brooks acknowledges schools are impacted by social and economic gaps that create significant barriers and can restrict students’ opportunities to develop the skill set needed to be successful.  Visiting high schools and working with students to prepare them for the rigors of college are motivating factors for Brooks. 

Brooks plans to use her recent experiences to build partnerships that can help impact students by “becoming an agent of change when it comes to leadership within the diversity and equity arena.”

Brooks is the second Greater Allegheny employee to attend the prestigious program.  Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Jacqueline Edmondson completed the program in 2004 and was honored with the EPLC Leadership Program Alumni Award in 2012.