Program Manager, K12 Lab Network
It took her awhile, but Katie finally came to the realization that the bumps and bends in the road behind her (otherwise known as her career) have actually been a series of experiments preparing her to land right where she is – as the Program Manager for the K12 Lab Network at the d.school.
Katie began her career as a traditionally trained secondary teacher endorsed in English and Social Science. After experimenting every day with new lessons and ways of teaching in a traditional public school classroom, she jumped at the chance to turn those little leaps into a much larger experiment: helping to get a small independent school off the ground. This new environment allowed Katie to explore project-based, interdisciplinary learning with students collaborating across age groups.
Katie’s next experiment took her out of the classroom and into Spark, an award-winning education non-profit that she helped grow from a local start-up to a national organization. Spark works to place underserved middle school students in workplace apprenticeships in their dream jobs. While at Spark, Katie saw firsthand the power of relevant learning experiences to inspire and motivate students to achieve.
All of these pivots and experiments eventually led Katie to the d.school, where she has joined her colleagues in pursuing the experimental edges of what K12 education (and beyond) can do and be. The d.school is the perfect place for Katie to bring together her experiences in a wide array of educational settings while also drawing on her belief in the power of project-based, interdisciplinary learning to inspire students to solve real-world problems and feel empowered to make the world a better place along the way.
Katie is an educator by training, a maker by trial and error, and a steadfast believer in the power of empathy to bring compassionate solutions to the messiest of human problems. Indeed, the fact that empathy is a central component of design thinking is what led her to the d.school. She was thrilled to find a place where empathy is not only a value, but also a process and a place to start. Katie is also excited to find a place where learning, teaching and doing are all equally praised and ecstatically executed; in other words, the perfect place to hang her work hat.
Ask her about her 1978 Vespa scooter, her menagerie of rescued pets who all hail from Walla Walla, WA, her vegetarian/vegan recipe blog (www.veghere.com), her recommendations for eating in San Francisco or the time her car was in a movie.