About Dr. Deborah Wahlstrom

Deb Wahlstrom Picture
Dr. Deborah Wahlstrom

Deborah Wahlstrom is founder and president of Successline Inc, a company that provides training and consulting services to school districts in the areas of student assessment, data-based school improvement, instructional strategies, and curriculum alignment. Deb’s practical hands-on/minds-on workshops have been highly acclaimed.  As a past winner of two National School Boards Association awards for 100 Best Curriculum Ideas in the country, Deborah continues to design and deliver only the highest-quality training.  She has also received awards for her work in research and evaluation.  In addition to numerous other honors and recognitions, Deborah received a Distinguished Faculty Award from the Center for Global Business and Executive Education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Before opening her own business, Deborah taught at the middle school level for Norfolk and Virginia Beach City Public Schools; served as a science specialist at the elementary level for Virginia Beach City Public Schools; served as Director of Research, Evaluation, and Communications for Portsmouth Public Schools; and served as a regional staff development facilitator for the Virginia Department of Education.  Deborah earned her doctorate in Urban Services (Ph.D., 1988) from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Deborah is the author of several books including Practical Ideas for Teaching and Assessing the Virginia SOL, Using Data to Improve Student Achievement, Designing High-Quality Paper-and-Pencil Tests and Designing and Using High-Quality Rubrics for 21st Century Skills.  Her newest innovative tool, Comprehensive Needs Assessment Toolbook, was created  in 2018.  Additionally, Deborah has produced custom software for high-impact data analysis for the states of Michigan (MI Tracker), Virginia (SOL Tracker), and Pennsylvania (PA Tracker), as well as SMART DATA Golden Packages nationwide.

Deborah has also served as superintendent in a turnaround school district.  During her tenure, district finances got back on track while student achievement and enrollment increased.

With varied interests, I have plenty to write about including these topics:

  • Brain and learning, including how to teach a brain in pain
  • Using data to improve student achievement
  • Designing and using high-quality rubrics
  • Designing and using high-quality paper-and-pencil assessments
  • Data visualization
  • Microcredentials, including the design and development of courses
  • Comprehensive needs assessments, including the toolbook which is loaded with content and practical ideas
  • data skills needed for the continuous improvement process
  • data skills needed for working in professional learning communities or instructional learning teams
  • How to interpret data
  • How to figure out which indicators a school team can use as evidences of success and evidences of success
  • Designing high-quality, high-impact data reports 
  • Science of reading
  • Instructional strategies
  • Disciplinary literacy
  • Unpacking standards to include learning targets, core content, and core vocabulary
  • Developing benchmark assessments including how to use the data from the benchmark assessments to improve student learning
  • Professional learning communities/Instruction learning teams
  • Designing innovation configurations