THE CENTER FOR TEACHING, LEARNING, AND INNOVATION
DEDICATED TO YOUNG LEARNERS
ABOUT THE CTLI
Both a physical place and virtual space, The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation serves as a resource for the study and development of learning-centered teaching, curricular innovation, and social-emotional development for the young learner at Congressional School. The Center is committed to academic excellence, creative collaboration, and the cultivation of an inclusive, 21st-century student and faculty community.
Congressional School is well positioned to leverage its considerable strengths to develop more innovative opportunities that address the changing context in which students learn and teachers teach. However, we can do more. Our curriculum has the capacity for it and our teachers and students deserve it. That's where the CTLI comes in.
EXPLORE THE THREE PILLARS OF THE CTLI
The Mission of the CTLI is to:
- Exist as both a physical place and virtual space
- Serve as a resource for the study and advancement of student-centered teaching, curricular innovation, and social-emotional development for the young learner at Congressional School
- Provide support to students preschool - 8th grade no matter where they are on the learning continuum as theybegin to take ownership of their learning
- Promote a learning environment where social-emotional and academic growth are mutually supported
- Support an array of new classroom and co-curricular offerings that will provide students and teachers access to innovation expertise, applied learning experiences, and powerful new networks
- Continually be committed to academic excellence, creative collaboration, and the cultivation of an inclusive, 21st-century student and faculty community
The Guiding Principles for the CTLI are:
- Support teachers of all grades and help develop practices that promote inclusive teaching and learning
- Support students in preschool - 8th grade of all abilities no matter where they are on the learning continuum
- Employ research-based decisions about teaching, learning and social-emotional development for young learners
- Encourage collaboration in all activities
- Promote open conversations about teaching and learning
- Respond to teachers’ and students’ needs
- Foster experiments in technology, student support and pedagogy
The vision for the CTLI and why our leaders are excited about it.
THE WHY BEHIND THE CENTER
Teaching and learning in this day and age are evolving rapidly and require a deeper and more nuanced understanding of how young people learn and the many ways to teach them.
IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTAL RESEARCH:
- A child’s experiences during the early years can have substantial effects on both short-and long-term outcomes in learning, behavior, physical, and social-emotional health.
- Mounting evidence indicates that strong influence of early experiences on brain architecture makes the early years a period of both great opportunity and great vulnerability for development.
- A growth-promoting environment that provides adequate support and is rich in social interactions with responsive teachers prepares the developing brain to function well in a range of circumstances.
- Children develop within an environment of relationships. These relationships affect virtually all aspects of development--intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and behavioral--and their quality and stability in the early years lay the foundation that supports a wide range of later outcomes.
GIVEN THIS CHANGING LANDSCAPE, IT'S IMPORTANT WE ASK OURSELVES:
- What should Congressional School do now to ensure that our students PS-8 continue to experience a high quality education that also supports their social and emotional development?
- What programs and structures are necessary to foster a culture of great teaching, learning and curriculum Innovation at a school dedicated to the young learner?
The CTLI is like a roadmap for transformative education, if you will, aimed at establishing a framework for considering these questions and others crucial to address as we look to planning the future of our academic programs and student life experience.
Provides leadership of the Center and is responsible for the overall operation and day-to-day management.
Click the arrow to learn about the members of our leadership team.
Leah Webster, Director of Learning and Center for Teaching, Learning and Innovation; Grades 5-8 Instructional Coach
- B.S. in Journalism and Public Relations, Asbury University, KY
- Master of Education degree in Elementary and Moderate Disabilities, Gordon College, MA
- B.A. in Sociology, Georgetown University
These are made up of our Learning Specialists, Instructional Designer, Co-Teachers, and Instructional Coaches.
Click the arrow to learn about our partners.
Tabitha DeMaio, Grade 2 Teacher
- B.A. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education, University of Alabama at Birmingham
- M.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies for International Teachers, State University of NY
Rebecca Ginnetti, School Counselor
- Masters in School Counseling, George Mason University
Sofia Gong, Grade 1 Teacher
- B.S. in Journalism, Boston University College of Communication
- M.A. in Teaching Elementary Education, Johns Hopkins University
- International Montessori Teaching Diploma, North American Montessori Center
Susan Klein, Grade 3 Teacher
- B.S. in Business and Finance, Mount St. Mary's University
- Masters in Education, University of Southern Maine
Jose Ojeda, STEM Educator
- B.S. Industrial Design, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia
- M.B.A, Florida Atlantic University
Michelle Pacifico, Middle School Math Teacher and Primary and Lower Math Specialist
- B.S. in Secondary Mathematics Education and Mathematics, University of Maryland
- Master of Education, George Mason University
Maura Rice, Instructional Coach for Little School and Jr. Kindergarten Teacher
- B.A., University of St. Andrew
- M.A., Trinity Washington University
Ali Sheibani, Director of Technology
- B.S. in Management, George Mason University
Heather Thompson, Librarian and Technology Specialist - Instructional Designer who supports technology-enhanced teaching in face-to-face, hybrid and online environments.
- B.S., Math Education, Hope College
- Masters in Library Science, East Carolina University
Leah Webster, Instructional Coach for Big School
- B.S. in Journalism and Public Relations, Asbury University, KY
- Master of Education degree in Elementary and Moderate Disabilities, Gordon College, MA.
Works with the Center Leadership to help build new programs/initiatives, develops strategic alliances, guides toward grants/extramural support, and serves as a liaison with school community.
Click the arrow to learn about the members of our council.
Bweikia Foster Steen, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Education at George Mason University, College of Education and Human Development
Dr. Edwin Gordon, Head of School
- B A., English, Baylor University
- M.A., English, Baylor University
- Ph. D., Educational Administration, Cornell University
Brent Hinrichs, Associate Head of School, Director of Lower and Middle School
- B.A. Beloit College
- M.A., St. John’s College Graduate Institute
- M.A., Stanford University
Holly Keimig, Middle School English Teacher
- B.A. in English, The College of William & Mary
- M.A.Ed. in Secondary Education, William and Mary
Chari Nickerson, Dean of Primary Faculty and Students, Logan School for Creative Learning, Denver, CO
Kim O’Neil, Assistant Head of School, Director of Early Childhood and Primary School
- B.S., Cabrini College, Elementary Education
Alyce Penn, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
- MBA in Marketing, Northumbria University, UK
- Post Graduate Diploma, Business Studies, Northumbria University, UK
Susie Welty, Preschool Teacher
- B.S. George Mason University
MEET THE TEAM
Interested in learning more about the CTLI? Contact our Center Leadership below.