Select Interviewees & Schools

Student Voices

One of the unique and inspiring aspects of RE:Thinking is that it captures many student voices. It turns out that students know a lot about how to rethink education as they are as eloquent and as insightful as the many researchers, teachers, and administrators we interviewed for the film. One of the things we hear most about RE:Thinking is how appreciative people are that so much of the arc of the film is expressed through student voices.

Derek Cabrera

Cornell University

Derek Cabrera (PhD, Cornell) is currently Professor of Systems Thinking and Management at the Systems Thinking Institute (STI), senior scientist in the Cabrera Research Lab and visiting faculty at Cornell University Institute for Policy Affairs where he teaches systems thinking and modeling and systems leadership in organizations. He is author of eight books including Systems Thinking Made Simple: New Hope for Solving Wicked Problems, numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles, and his research has been profiled in peer-reviewed journals, trade magazines, and popular publications. Credited with discovering the underlying rules of systems thinking, Cabrera is currently co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Systems Thinking that synthesizes and unifies the field. Prior to becoming a scientist, Cabrera worked for fifteen years around the world as an experiential educator and mountain guide for Outward Bound and other organizations and has climbed many of the world’s highest mountains.

Laura Cabrera

Cornell University

Laura Cabrera (PhD, Cornell) is currently Professor of Systems Thinking and Public Understanding at the Systems Thinking Institute (STI), senior scientist in the Cabrera Research Lab and visiting faculty at Cornell University Institute for Policy Affairs where she teaches systems thinking and modeling and systems leadership in organizations. Over the past decade, Cabrera has applied her expertise in research methods and translational research to increase public understanding, practical application, and dissemination of sophisticated systems science and systems thinking models. Cabrera is the acting Executive Director of ThinkWater, a USDA-funded initiative designed to implement systems thinking nationwide in water-based research, extension, and education. She has authored five books including Systems Thinking Made Simple: New Hope for Solving Wicked Problems and Thinking at Every Desk: Four Simple Skills to Transform Your Classroom (Norton). She is a member of the United States Military Academy at West Point’s Systems Engineering Advisory Board.

Tara Rossi

Education Specialist

Tara Rossi is a pioneer in the field of education for over a decade. In working to transform the landscape of education, her contributions include educational consultant, administrator, college professor, reading specialist, literacy coach, child advocate, teacher, tutor and author. Tara is an innovative practitioner, constantly looking to break the mold and push the boundaries of education. She acquires resources through her grant writing abilities and works to develop revolutionary opportunities for children including Innovation Labs, Literacy Labs, Makerspaces, and Think Tanks. Her passion for education comes from helping children, large and small, to realize their endless capabilities. 

John Nittolo

Superintendent of Schools, Green Township School District, NJ

John Nittolo, Superintendent of the Green Township School District in New Jersey since 2010, has transformed Green Hills School into one of the most innovative schools in the nation with a constant focus on creating the best version of every individual. John believes it is a school’s duty to get to know every child as well as he or she can be known. This philosophy drives his every decision. John began his career as a teacher prior to earning his Masters in Educational Leadership from Point Loma Nazarene University. 

Luvelle Brown

Superintendent of Schools, Ithaca City School District, NY

Luvelle Brown, currently serves as Superintendent of the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) in Ithaca, New York. Prior to coming to Ithaca, Dr. Brown was a former Central Information Officer for the Albemarle County Public School District and Executive Director of the Division of School Improvement, has held various posts in public education: teacher, assistant principal, and principal.  While serving as Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Brown’s focus has been on building a world-class organizational structure through partnerships, collaborations, embracing 21st century learning skills, utilizing technology tools and fostering meaningful interactions with the ICSD team and within the community. He was named New York State Superintendent of the year for 2016.

Bronwen Exter

High School Teacher, Lehman Alternative Community School

Bronwen Exter attended the Lehman Alternative Community School in Ithaca, NY and now teaches there. After graduating from Smith College, she earned her MST at the New School for Social Research in New York with an emphasis on urban public education reform and teaching for social justice. She was part of the founding faculty of both Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) Manhattan in 2001 and BHSEC Queens in 2007, and has taught the Writing and Thinking workshop for the incoming freshman of Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Ba Win

Vice President of Bard Early College Programs & Policies

Ba Win is a former Provost and current Vice President of Bard Early College Programs & Policies, and his partner Judith is the Director of Psychological Services at Simon’s Rock. The Bard Early Colleges provide adolescents with a rigorous, credit-bearing, tuition-free college course of study in the liberal arts and sciences following the 9th and 10th grades. 

Cori A. Cotner

Director, BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, Pennsylvania

Cori A. Cotner previously served as Director of Educational Planning for BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, a regional educational service agency which implements programs and services mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the United States Department of Education, and the United States Congress.

 

Cotner also facilitated the Curriculum Council of BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, comprised of representatives from 19 school districts working together to best educate special needs children. BLaST describes its vision as audacious and involves the conversion of our region’s entire population into a community of thinkers.

William Martens

Executive Director, BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, Pennsylvania

William Martens currently serves as Executive Director of BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, a regional educational service agency which implements programs and services mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the United States Department of Education, and the United States Congress.

 

William acts as liaison to district superintendents and school boards, working with local district personnel, serves as chairman of the Superintendents’ Advisory Council and serves as liaison to the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the State Legislature for Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga Counties.

Green Hills School

Greendell, NJ

Through the lens of Derek and Laura Cabrera’s work with Systems Thinking at the Green Hills School in Greendell, NJ, we observe young students at a  public school  during their first experiences with the language of thinking as they learn how to name what they are doing, build knowledge, and transfer their thinking both across disciplines and forward through their education. We bear witness as students build a healthy, happy, confident relationship with thinking and learning that can follow them through all their future classrooms. We see that it is never too early to teach metacognition. 

BLaST - Intermediate Unit 17

17 Districts in Northern PA

BLaST Intermediate Unit 17 is a regional educational service agency created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1971 to serve the needs of public and nonpublic schools in Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga Counties.

Unit 17 assists regional schools with their charge to educate special needs children, provide speech, hearing, and vision services as well as psychological services. Their training and consultant staff provides a valuable resource to districts in the areas of behavioral management, reading & literacy strategies, progress monitoring, brain development theory, and technology usage…..just to name a few.

Derek and Laura Cabrera worked with Unit 17 for many years, training hundreds (if not thousands) of teachers and their  executive team in DSRP Systems Thinking. They helped shape its both mission and vision, and created an after-school program called ThinkSTEM, which provides support and resources to help kids delve deeper into topics of interest. 

In an initiative centered at residential facilities, the Cabreras worked with teachers to implement DSRP techniques and frameworks in select classrooms. Research and observation of the initiative's progress showed positive development across the board, along with reductions in negative outcomes compared to classrooms without the training.

ICSD Lehman Alternative Community School

Ithaca, NY

Public schools have the potential to be democratic institutions in and of themselves. At the heart of the relationship between public education and democracy, schools can sustain civic life and foster the development of responsible, active citizens and critical thinkers. At the Lehman Alternative Community School (LACS) in Ithaca, NY, we see teenagers thinking in community, engaged in active school governance and community service, asking moral questions and delving into areas of conscience, intersectionality and agency in recreating the world as they would like it to be.

Derek and Laura Cabrera worked with the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) and LACS training hundreds of teachers and their executive team in DSRP Systems Thinking and they developed ICSD's mission and vision: Engage, Educate, and Empower 6000 Thinkers.

Bard High School Early College

Queens, NY

What does it look like as young people become scholars? At Bard High School Early College in Long Island City, Queens, NY, we realize that real scholarship can be available to students at any age and from any entry point given a school culture characterized by intellectual vibrancy, the integrity of process, diversity of background and ideas, and a call to rigor. We see that thinking can change a life in the moment it lights up a student’s mind. Bard provides a great example of thinking applied to writing.

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