As many folks in the d.school community know, after five years of inspiring leadership, Susie Wise decided to step down as Director of the K12 Lab and focus her efforts on new projects in her home base: Oakland. She wrapped up in August and, among other things, is working on documenting the insights from her work at the d.school in order to share them more widely. You'll be hearing more from her in the future and she'll continue to collaborate with the School Retool program in the near term.
After conducting a nationwide search, the d.school is enormously thrilled to welcome two new leaders: Laura McBain and Sam Seidel. The breadth of their combined skills will allow us to stretch in new, dynamic ways as we work towards a world in which creative confidence is the norm for all kids and educators are empowered to design powerful new models of education. Sam will be the Director of K12 Strategy & Research, and Laura will be the Director of K12 Community & Implementation.
Despite working for two different organizations on opposite coasts, Laura and Sam have known each other as colleagues for many years. When they get together in a room, a powerful creative energy is truly unleashed. We can't wait to see how they usher in this new season for the K12 Lab at the d.school!
Laura McBain is coming to us from High Tech High in San Diego. She has worn several hats, including the Director of External Relations and the Director of Education Leadership Academy at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.
As the Director of External Relations, Laura has traveled the globe designing and leading professional development focused on the implementation of progressive education, school transformation, deeper learning and equity initiatives. She has served as a principal of two HTH sites and has taught middle and high school classes in public charter and comprehensive schools. She has written charters, analyzed educational data and worked closely with district and state accountability agencies. Laura has also been the architect of the Deeper Leaning Conference, a 1200 person, adult learning experience aimed at activating and galvanizing educators for large-scale change. Her work has been inspired by those who have come before like Dewey, Ted Sizer, Paulo Freire and Deborah Meir. She is passionate about disrupting educational inequities and unleashing educators.
She has B.A. in English and minors in Political Science and Spanish from Miami University and an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. At Harvard she worked at the Center for Law and Education developing policy initiatives relating to the re-authorization of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act. Her current research centers on transformative change in school. Laura is an avid runner, runs an educational podcast, and is always ideating.
Sam Seidel is the Director of the Student Experience Lab at the Business Innovation Factory and author of Hip Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011). Sam speaks internationally about innovative solutions to challenges facing schools, community organizations, and prisons. He is a passionate and experienced leader in education transformation.
Sam has taught in a variety of settings from first grade to community college. He has built and directed programs for young people affected by incarceration. As a consultant, Sam worked with leading national education organizations, including the Black Alliance for Educational Options, Big Picture Learning, and Jobs for the Future, as well as a spectrum of other clients on a diverse set of projects, ranging from redesigning a statewide juvenile justice system to working with the Rockefeller family to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws. Sam was the Director of Partnerships, Annual Reviews, and Student Leadership for the Association for High School Innovation, a national network of school developers and replicators funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Sam graduated from Brown University with a degree in Education and a teaching certification. He was a Scholar-in-Residence at Columbia University's Institute for Urban and Minority Education, and a Community Fellow at the Rhode Island School of Design. He is always learning.