Penny Bender Sebring is a senior research associate at the University of Chicago and founding co-director of the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. Along with numerous Consortium reports, she is coauthor of Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2010), and of Charting Chicago School Reform: Democratic Localism as a Lever for Change (Westview Press, 1998). Previously at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, Sebring directed federally funded longitudinal studies of middle school and high school students.
Sebring was a Peace Corps volunteer and high school teacher. She has published articles on a variety of topics, including urban education and school leadership. Sebring serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Public Education Fund, and she is a member of the Visiting Committee to the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago, and the Policy Advisory Board of the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Sebring graduated with a B.A. from Grinnell College, where she is a life member of the Board of Trustees. She received a Ph.D. in education and policy studies from Northwestern University.
In 2009, Sebring received an Alumni Merit Award from Northwestern University, and, with her husband, the John J. Dugan Award from Urban Students Empowered and The Golden Apple Foundation Stanley C. Golder Community Service Award in 2010.