Judy Willis, with her background as a neurologist and classroom teacher, is an authority on brain research regarding learning and the brain and correlations of this research to best teaching practices.
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa as the first woman graduate from Williams College, Dr. Willis attended UCLA School of Medicine, where she was awarded her medical degree. She remained at UCLA and completed a medical residency and neurology residency, including chief residency. She practiced neurology for 15 years before returning to university to obtain her teaching credential and master’s of education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She taught in elementary and middle school for 10 years before dedicating her time to giving presentations and conducting workshops for educators and parents nationally and internationally.
She has been a distinguished lecturer at ASCD national conferences, was honored as a finalist for a Distinguished Achievement Award for her educational writing by the Association for Educational Publishers, and writes extensively for professional educational journals as well as consulting for the media including The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, USA Today, and NBC News Education Nation, among others.
Dr. Willis is a research consultant and member of the board of directors for the Hawn Foundation, an international foundation developed and directed by Goldie Hawn. She contributed to the Foundation’s MindUp book for curriculum, which provides teachers with strategies to help students use mindfulness to increase their emotional control, stress management, and attentive focus.
Dr. Willis also consults with California congressional lawmakers and educational policy makers to provide correlations from neuroscience research to educational policy. Her current collaboration in this area is to promote the incorporation of the neuroscience of learning into teacher education curriculum.