George Lucas Educational Foundation
Dr. Donna Wilson and Dr. Marcus Conyers  profile

Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers

Authors of Teaching Students to Drive Their Brains, Positively Smarter, Smarter Teacher Leadership, 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. Dr. Wilson began her career as a classroom teacher in Oklahoma 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. Dr. 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, Dr. 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(r) 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.

Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers are the authors of more than 40 books and professional articles for educators, including, most recently, 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), Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice (Teachers College Press, 2013) and Flourishing in the First Five Years: Connecting Implications from Mind, Brain, and Education Research to the Development of Young Children (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 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. Wilson and Conyers have presented with many professional organizations such as NEA, Jamaica Teachers Union, ASCD, Title I, Learning Forward, American Educational Research Association, International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology, American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education, National Association of Elementary School Principals, Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes, National Association of Secondary School Principals. Leiden University in the Netherlands, Florida Atlantic University, University of Central Florida, and Cambridge University, and Rollins College. Dr. Wilson also serves as an assessor on national Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence teams.

Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers 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.

To learn more with Donna Wilson’s and Marcus Conyers, visit and To book a keynote or workshop, contact us at

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