George Lucas Educational Foundation

Lisa J. Cooley

I have always been an Unschooler at heart; my philosophy is, if you teach kids what they want to learn, at the end of 12 years, they'll have a damn good education. Unschooling led me to project-based learning, from the Reggio Emilia example. Choice remained a large part of what drew me to it; the idea that teachers of these Italian preschoolers were taking note of what their students loved and wanted to do, and designed projects around that. That led me to the Project Approach, and from there to Buck Institute.

I'm also a Suzuki violin teacher, which makes me a little more suspect since kids generally don't want to practice, and music lessons are often a cause of battle between parents and children. But the method transcends that stuff -- or it should.

Now I'm a school-board member dedicated to bringing about true PBL in our small rural school district. I'm also dedicated to the ideas in the Talent Code and the notion that all children have the capacity for great talent. My goal is to educate my board and the parents in my district on what an ideal classroom looks like and how to get it.

Areas of Interest: 
playing music,
education reform,
glass bead making,
jewelry design,
kid playing,
husband talking,
weight losing