Ms. Deborah E. Louis, Ph.D.
Owner | The Jane Schaffer Writing Program®
For the past sixty years, my life has been a part of the psyche and psychology of the American teacher in public education and, particularly, the English language arts classroom. I was born in the 1950s to high school teachers: my mother taught high school English language arts; my father was a P.E. teacher, coach, football official, and basketball referee. At ten, I was hired by my father every summer for the next twelve years as a swimming instructor to students ranging from two years old to seventy. At twenty-two, I lost my mother; at thirty-two, my father. So my journey continued without the two greatest teachers in my life.
I was educated by teachers and professors in the 1960s,70s, 80s, and 90s, and the first decade of the 21st century.
In 1989, I began my career in education as a high school teacher. Until the fall of 2006, I taught On-Level, Pre-AP, and AP English to freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior students of diverse ethnicity with a variety of learning styles. Over the course of fifteen years as a classroom teacher, I also had the opportunity to work with great colleagues in the following positions:
- English Vertical Team Coordinator
- Instructional Technology Specialist; and
- Lead AP English Instructor
Next to being in a classroom full of students or teachers, I most love developing programs, coordinating workshops and institutes, and modeling effective lessons in the classroom.
I realized how much I loved working with teachers when I became a College Board consultant, conducting numerous one- and two-day workshops as well as summer institutes across the Southwest Region and on the National circuit between 1994 and 2005. I met Jane Schaffer in 1992 and began using her program with high school students in various socioeconomic districts and of various learning styles and abilities. Over the years, I followed Jane around like a puppy dog, attending her many o workshops and over the years we developed a professional and personal relationship. In 2007, Jane asked me to become one of her national presenters. That worked out well, because I had just left Advanced Placement Strategies, a Dallas-based company who became the National Math and Science Institute. I started my own firm, Louis Educational Concepts, a company devoted to providing professional development to K-12 teachers of all content areas. I was busy working for Jane and conducting other workshops in English language arts and educational technology, when in 2009, Jane contacted me. She and her husband, Dan, informed me that she had contracted brain cancer and that the prognosis was dire. In 2010, I and English teachers across the country lost Jane. She was like a second mom to me and one of the greatest teachers I ever had.
After Jane’s passing and with the family’s blessing, I purchased the Jane Schaffer Writing Program®. Today, many years later, I continue to serve Jane’s vision and #1 philosophy: all students can think; all students can write. I also serve teachers and their students every day by (1) understanding and valuing the teacher/student relationship and archetype; (2) working with educators to create and provide innovative and pragmatic strategies for teachers to implement in their classrooms; (3) designing blended learning options for demands of the 21st century; (4) focusing and responding to teachers’ struggles; and (4) learning every day.
I’ve been fortunate to earn a B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin (1980), an M.A. in English with Emphasis in Classical Rhetoric from The University of North Texas in Denton (1996), and an M.A. (2009) and Ph.D. (2013) in Humanities from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. I live in Dallas, Texas.