About Me

Hi, I’m Leslie. I’m an educator, design thinker, Ironman, amateur electrician, music lover, urbanist, renegade optimist, and outdoor adventurer.

I’ve been working at the intersection of design and education for the past 12 years. First, in NYC with an organization called the Design Trust for Public Space, where we used design to address challenges in the public built environment. We’d ask questions like “How might we make Times Square more pedestrian friendly?” or “How might we make the taxi system more sustainable?” and then put together a team of designers, architects, urban planners and civil servants to develop solutions that were actually implemented by the city.

After working on a partnership with another NYC-based organization, the Center for Urban Pedagogy that asked students to solve a big, messy problem in their community, I was so inspired by the power of using design and place-based learning to engage students in the world outside the classroom that I quit my awesome job in New York and moved back to Canada to get my teaching degree.

For the next 6 years, I taught at Greenwood College, where I developed an approach to using design as a framework for project-based learning to engage students in real world problems, like how to create a more sustainable food system, or how to improve Toronto’s waterfront communities. This is also when I had the good fortune of becoming a Facilitator in Cohort 21, where I was first able to use design thinking in a professional development program with teachers.

This eventually led me to Future Design School. While I loved working in the classroom with students, the opportunity to design programs that would empower hundreds thousands of teachers to use design in their classrooms to develop global mindfulness in students was too good to pass up. Now, as the Director of Professional Development, I spend my time bouncing around the world teaching teachers about design, project-based learning, and help them prepare their students for the future.

I am honoured to be a part of the program this year, and I look forward to connecting with new colleagues and future friends as we learn to better design experiences that prepare young people for an uncertain (a.k.a. exciting) future.

 

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