George Lucas Educational Foundation

Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers

Authors, Professional Developers, Co-Developers of Graduate Programs Applying Mind, Brain, and Education Science

Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers are internationally recognized experts in the domain of brain-based teaching and leading (mind, brain, and education) in both professional development and teacher education. Wilson began her career as a classroom teacher and realized many of her students were not benefiting from standard teaching practices. Looking for solutions, she became a school psychologist. She then conducted over 1,000 diagnostic assessments and discovered that the majority of students had the potential to be achieving more academically, but had not been taught the cognitive and affective skills they needed to do so. Wilson then returned to the classroom to co-teach, with a focus on guiding children to learn and use cognitive, affective, and metacognitive strategies. The positive impact of that approach led her to seek out opportunities to share with other teachers the implications of mind, brain, and education research to improve student learning and achievement. A longtime professional developer and teacher educator, Wilson serves as head of academic affairs for BrainSMART, Inc. and the Center for Innovative Education and Prevention (CIEP).

Marcus Conyers originally founded BrainSMART, Inc. and developed the BrainSMART program for leading, teaching, and learning. A doctoral researcher at the University of Westminster, he explores processes for improving teaching practice by applying implications of mind, brain, and education science. Conyers is a member of the International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology and the American Educational Research Association and of AERA’s Brain, Neuroscience and Education SIG. He has led three-year initiatives with the Florida Department of Education and with Florida Atlantic University, the latter supported by an Annenberg Challenge Grant Award. His audiences have included ministers of education in South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Ontario, Canada. Conyers serves as Director of Communications for the Center for Innovative Education and Prevention.

Wilson and Conyers are the authors of more than 40 books and professional articles for educators, including,  Teaching Students to Drive Their Brains: Metacognitive Strategies, Activities, and Lesson Ideas (ASCD, 2016), Smarter Teacher Leadership: Neuroscience and the Power of Purposeful Collaboration (Teachers College Press, 2016), Positively Smarter: Science and Strategies for Increasing Happiness, Achievement, and Well-Being (Wiley Blackwell, 2015), and Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice (Teachers College Press, 2013). Wilson and Conyers' articles have been featured in Kappan and Educational Leadership with ASCD.

The team has led professional development for more than 160,000 educators in 35 states and at various locations around the world, and they are co-developers of the curriculum for the Master of Science and Educational Specialist degree programs with majors in Brain-Based Teaching and Reading and Literacy. Their higher education curriculum in teacher education also includes courses at the doctoral level. Today, graduates from programs in Brain-Based Teaching based on the curriculum Wilson and Conyers co-developed are supporting student achievement in 47 U.S. states, Canada, Japan, South Korea, China, the United Arab Emirates, Bermuda, Malaysia, Vietnam, Guam, France, and Germany.

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George Lucas Educational Foundation