Early in her career, a foray into communications eventually led Colleen to work with urban youth on developing problem-solving and leadership skills. Moved by this experience, she realized the enormous potential that children can access when they’re able to engage in---and reflect on---personally meaningful experiences.
Now an education veteran with more than two decades of expertise as a teacher, instructional coach, administrator, and learning designer, Colleen’s experience has helped her to deeply understand and access different levers of change. She has designed curriculum, led professional development, coached district and school leaders, and catalyzed innovation through philanthropic efforts. Through all of these initiatives, she has worked to empower every child while addressing scale on an increasingly larger stage.
Colleen’s work to further learner-centric education has directly impacted thousands of students and teachers at local, state, national, and international levels. Her extensive experience includes key leadership roles at schools in the U.S. and abroad in Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, and Brazil, spanning both private and public settings.
In her role as VP of Learning at AltSchool, Colleen guides pedagogical direction across AltSchool’s technology, services, and lab schools, and ensures that our practice and product are rooted deeply in learning research. Her team ensures that we are developing flexible solutions that work in any school environment, enabling districts and schools across the country to shift toward more learner-centric models of education, in line with their own visions.
Colleen is a sought-after speaker who has presented at SXSW EDU, iNACOL, and CUE.
On the AltSchool blog, Colleen writes about creating the enabling conditions for learner-centered environments.
I Drive What I Learn: Enabling Learner Agency
As learners develop the ability to drive what they learn, enabling them to continue learning beyond the classroom, they can face the unknown future armed with the flexibility to succeed.
I Learn According to My Needs: Enabling Competency-Based Education
In a competency-based model, students learn according to their needs, and continue working on developing a competency until they have demonstrated mastery, regardless of age.
I Develop a Strong Sense of Self: Making Learning Personalized, Relevant, and Contextualized
When learners connect what they're learning to their own experiences, interests, and aspirations, they motivate their learning beyond formal education.
I Am Active in My Learning Community: Socially Embedded Learning
A socially embedded learning model has an intentionally created community. For students, this means building healthy, meaningful, and sustained relationships with peers and adults.