OUR TEAM - IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Jen has an unshakable belief that people can create anything they set their mind to. A skilled community facilitator, she knows the art and neuroscience of getting diverse perspectives to think and talk differently. Jen spent much of 2015 partnering with a host of Rhode Island educators, administrators, and community organizations helping facilitate conversations in support of the 2015-2020 Statewide Strategic Planning process for PK-12 education, a plan for the people written by the people. She is a trained Restorative Practitioner, working in partnership with the Youth Restoration Project to strengthen school communities using this proven means of conflict resolution. Jen is a serial mentor to youth and start-ups from Providence to South County and serves as an advisor to the board of Social Enterprise Greenhouse, which has grown in leaps and bounds, growing 10 ventures/50 jobs into 150 ventures/750 jobs in less than four years. In addition to Learning401 curation, Jen is an organization development consultant at Spartina Consulting, which takes her workshops and strategic planning to schools, community organizations, Fortune 500 board rooms, and rural African and Amerindian villages. Jen co-authored the book Positive Family Dynamics: Appreciative Inquiry Questions to Bring Out the Best in Families. At home Jen is a soccer and karate mom to her two strongheart daughters.
Learning401 is Jen’s “Make it Happen RI” brainchild for giving voice in education where MIHRI gave voice to the private sector in economic development. It’s a mom being the change she wants to see in her children's education.
Andy is a writer, lecturer, community organizer, and strategic communications consultant. He brings over 25 years of experience serving as counsel to large institutions, state and municipal government, higher education, startups and non-profits. He is a citizen diplomat known best for his mentorship to students and startup communities, as well as his advocacy for Providence’s arts and design, students/learning, and entrepreneurs. The Better World by Design student-led conference, co-designed by Andy has drawn over 4,500 professionals and student from colleges and universities from around the world since 2008. Andy’s marketing communications and digital media expertise has contributed to over 1,000 articles promoting Rhode Island. He has received numerous accolades for his work and contributions to the state of Rhode Island from the Providence Phoenix (Local Hero), Providence Monthly (10 People to Watch), Rhode Island Monthly (Best Pinterest Page in Rhode Island/Social Media Category), Providence Business News (40 Under Forty), and New Urban Arts (Sandra Olson Award). Andy is based in Providence, RI.
We are meeting with and seeding partnerships across Rhode Island and well beyond, from youth organizations, to student unions, teacher unions, government bodies, universities, foundations, filmakers and writers.
Best part: we're building bridges across differing perspectives and parties. Learning401 isn't a search for common ground, but higher ground. And culture change at this scale is ALL our responsibility. People commit to what they help to create.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
- Margaret Mead
Learning401 wishes to express its thanks to the following people and organizations whose financial contributions, devoted inspiration, and sweat equity helped make this Rhode Island experiment possible:
Neighborhood Centers Inc. Choices in Education
The Taos Institute
Anderimage helps companies realize who they are and show the world their value through the creation of video content, conversations, and other goodies unified by a single storyline.
Andreas Nicholas and Andrew Migliori are partners at AnderImage who met during their days at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). They create empathy-driven, data-informed stories, creating human-to-human experiences that build brands and enable widespread change within organizations and beyond.
Meet Bianca, a junior at Brown University studying Educational Neuroscience. Bianca's primary interest lies at the neurological nexus of learning and memory, and the implication of these insights to classroom and school design. As a Learning401 intern, Bianca's focus will integrate her passion for teaching and learning, creating a photojournal style blog that captures the learning stories of students from across Rhode Island. More than illustrating the many lives touched by Learning401, Bianca's work serves as a reminder that all students have a unique story that impacts their relationship with school and learning. Best of all, Bianca cannot wait to get to know the awesome, inspirational kids that are the lifeblood of Rhode Island education.
EDUCATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE, Brown University '16
As a senior education studies and sociology double-major at Brown University, Ken is excited to merge his academic research with Learning401's digital story capture. Much of the research in the field of education is quantitative, focused on numbers. This data is a valuable commodity to academics and policy makers working at the forefront of education reform, yet, by itself, cannot capture the rich subtleties, dynamic passion, or human experience in the way that stories do. Ken turns Learning401's powerful learning story narratives into research by exploring themes and labeling them with “meta-tags,” much like a website is tagged with keywords to ensure people can find it when they search for relevant topics. This kind of organization allows researchers to use stories as qualitative and quantitative data, linking the personal with the theoretical in pursuit of citizen-centric education reform, while providing local and state policy makers and academic institutions an alternative and comprehensive form of data for measuring powerful learning.