George Lucas Educational Foundation

Kathleen Cushman

Author and speaker about lives and learning of youth; co-founder,

Kathleen Cushman writes and speaks to a national audience about the lives and learning of adolescents. Her most recent book is "Fires in the Mind: What Kids Can Tell Us About Motivation and Mastery" ( A journalist and educator, over 35 years she has authored or coauthored 20 books, many of which resulted from her work as a reporter following national educational change efforts. In 2000 she cofounded with Barbara Cervone the nonprofit What Kids Can Do (, which makes public the work and voices of youth on subjects concerning their lives and learning.

Cushman’s previous books include the best-selling "Fires in the Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from High School Students" and its sequel, "Fires in the Middle School Bathroom," coauthored with adolescent psychologist Laura Rogers. In her book "Sent to the Principal," teenagers speak out about school climate and culture, and in "What We Can’t Tell You" they talk candidly about their lives to parents and other close-in adults. Cushman is also author of the two-volume "First in the Family: Advice About College from First-Generation Students" ( For more information, visit

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  • Project-Based Learning

    It Takes a Village: Teenagers Use Community Resources to Pen a Guidebook

    High school students published their own field guide with a little help from local organizations.