Education Researcher, Changemaker, Ashoka Fellow, Speaker, and Author.
As a speaker and author, I leverage my personal experiences and research to engage, inform, and inspire my audiences. My mission is to ensure schools prioritize social connection, equity, inclusion, and well-being. As both a practitioner and an academic, I have over 20 years of experience leading university-school partnerships in the U.S. and Canada.
As an advisor, I combine my education in Educational Psychology (PhD Simon Fraser University) and Learning Sciences (M.S. Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy) with my research and experience in social change - informing and guiding leaders towards progressive and innovative education practices.
Because children are in school for the majority of their childhood, schools play a critical role in shaping their overall behaviors, mindsets, interactions, and quality of life. Schools are - or should be - much more than sites for 'learning'. Schools are communities that influence social connections, feelings of belonging and caring, beliefs and attitudes, individual and social identities, and the very meaning and quality of childhood - for better or for worse. Ultimately, social patterns take root in childhood and follow children across their lifespans, influencing learning experiences, school engagement, academic success, and overall health and well-being outcomes. And the effects cascade into the larger social and cultural fabric to shape future relational patterns and collective population health. As a researcher, then, my strength is in my approach: I combine Design Thinking and Collaborative Action Research to leverage the perspectives of social neuroscience, equity, school engagement, well-being, and educational change. But the most important part of my work is ensuring that the voices of my 'subjects' are heard - particularly the children. We cannot truly understand schools unless we listen - carefully - to the everyday experiences of children.
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