Professional Biography

Prior to her appointment to the faculty of the Graduate School of Education at UPenn, Ms. Leibowitz was for 35 years a teacher, senior career teacher, and school counselor in the School District of Philadelphia. As a 13-year teacher, she taught first grade and science in the District’s elementary schools. As a 22- year school counselor, she worked in both the District’s elementary and middle schools, developed a range of peer, team, and cross-school programs that engaged teachers, students, administrators, and parents. She initiated innovative programs to help students faced with the crisis of “split” families, whether caused by separation, divorce, immigration, foster care, incarceration, or death.

Highly skilled and experienced in urban education, Ms. Leibowitz has worked in diverse educational settings. For more than two decades, she served as the only counselor to a school of 1100-1200 students, which exhibited the entire range of challenges and opportunities faced by contemporary urban schools. There, she organized individual and group counseling programs, provided crisis intervention services, coordinated the school's Comprehensive Student Assistance Program (CSAP), provided consultation to both parents and teachers, was a member of the school's IEP and 504 Plan Team meetings, served on the school’s leadership team, as well as providing classroom guidance and coordinating the high school application process.

Research Interests and Current Projects

As a former teacher/school counselor in the Philadelphia School District, Ms. Leibowitz remains committed to the important role that school counselors play in an urban educational setting. She is now engaged in strengthening that role by designing tactics that work in a school setting both because they demonstrate effective results and because they are realistically tailored to the limited resources of urban schools.


B.S. (Elementary Education) Temple University, 1972.
M.A. (School Counseling) Villanova University, 1978.

Areas of Expertise

Elementary and Middle School Counseling
Developmental and collaborative counseling programs
Program administration
Peer programs for children at risk