Penny Bender Sebring is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Chicago and Co-Founder of the UChicago Consortium, at the University’s Urban Education Institute. She is an author of Teens, Digital Media, and the Chicago Public Library and the book Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago. The research underlying the latter provides the intellectual foundation for the 5Essentials survey, which provides a comprehensive picture of schools’ strengths and weaknesses as organizations. The survey is now being used by over 5,400 schools in Illinois and other states and districts.
Sebring graduated from Grinnell College, following which she was a Peace Corps volunteer and high school teacher. She received her PhD in education and social policy from Northwestern University.
She is currently a Life Trustee of Grinnell; a member of the Policy Advisory Board for Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy; and a member of the board of directors for the Chicago Public Education Fund. Sebring has received an Alumni Merit Award from Northwestern; the John J. Dugan Award from OneGoal; the Stanley C. Golder Community Service Award from the Golden Apple Foundation; and a Community Service award from the Associated Colleges of Illinois.