As a third grader, Katie fell in love with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when she read it as a school assignment. Then she had to take a test to prove she had read it, tainting an otherwise beloved experience. She remembers thinking at eight years old, “There has to be a better way.” That experience stuck with her, and so did many others like it. Finding that “better way” inspired her career in education. It also fueled a desire to create educational experiences in which students’ voices mattered, and in which learners felt heard and supported.
Katie’s passion for transforming education has only grown as she’s witnessed firsthand how impersonal metrics and compliance-based educational standards can stymie students’ enthusiasm. As a mother of two young children who have an unbridled love of learning, her desire to shift to authentic learning from grades and report cards is now coupled with a growing sense of urgency.
At AltSchool, Katie supports school and district leaders to reimagine school. Along with the professional learning team, Katie supports district and school leaders to create the conditions and experiences to shift to learner-centered models of education that empower all learners to develop the real-world knowledge, transferable skills, and mindset to thrive in a changing world.
Katie began her career as a middle school English language arts teacher. She has also served as an instructional coach and led a mentoring program for new teachers in her district. Before joining AltSchool, she served as director of district leadership at the Buck Institute for Education, which prepares students for the future through project-based learning.
She earned her Master of Education in middle school education and Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Her doctoral research focused on supporting new educators. Katie’s experience in research and practice continue to guide her belief that if we want to change how students learn, we must change how educators learn.
Katie is the author of Learner-Centered Innovation: Spark Curiosity, Ignite Passion, and Unleash Genius. Her writing has been featured in numerous educational publications. She is a regular contributor to the AltSchool blog.
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