Jennings Institute Session 2

How can you create a culture of professional learning at your school? And what does teacher self-care have to do with student growth?

Date: Saturday, October 24, 2020
Time: 8:00am – 12:00pm
Presenter: Greg Brown, Superintendent, CEO at The Graham Family of Schools & Graham School Educators

The Graham Elementary and Middle School (GEMS) administrators and coaches will share about the culture of professional learning, especially our wrap-around support for teachers, to be their best selves professionally and social-emotionally. How can administrators and teachers work together to develop a system of caring for the caretaker, to prevent teacher burn-out? How can curiosity and inquiry be cultivated in professional learning, either as a team or on one’s own?

We will share how working alongside our expeditionary learning partner, EL Education, through expeditions, best practices and targeted professional development we are supporting teachers to advance skills and create strong classroom environments. Also, we will share our struggles to meet the daily demands of working to create productive classrooms laced with the emotional needs and demands of a diverse, urban, high-trauma school.

Finally, we will explore the relationship between trauma informed classrooms, restorative practice, mindfulness, and how these can facilitate student growth academically and emotionally.

Meet the Presenters

Greg Brown - Superintendent, CEO at The Graham Family of Schools & Graham School Educators

Greg Brown is superintendent and co-founder of The Graham Family of Schools (TGFS), a group of charter schools located in Columbus, Ohio. Along with his colleague, Eileen Meers, they started and co-lead TGFS. The first school, The Graham School, opened in 2000 as a high school dedicated to experiential education, self-direction, community engagement, and social and emotional understanding and growth. Today, three schools comprise TGFS, including The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University, and the Graham Elementary and Middle School, (GEMS). Our schools partner with: the Middle College National Consortium, bringing professional development to early college high schools across the country; EL Education, a national group of schools devoted to expeditionary learning; and hundreds of local and national business and non-profit organizations. The schools have worked closely with the International Institute for Restorative Practice and the University of Chicago on restorative practice, ninth grade success, and trauma informed schools and classrooms. All our work at the schools, including with our partners, is designed to help our students grow academically, socially and emotionally to lead meaningful lives today, and be best prepared for the next grade as they move toward graduation. Brown previously worked at Columbus City Schools, The Ohio State University, and taught school in Australia. He is a graduate of North High School in Columbus, and Miami and Ohio State universities.


James Kutnow - Dean and Director at the Graham Elementary and Middle School

James Kutnow has been with The Graham Family of Schools for 12 years and helped to open GEMS in 2010. He earned his MS in Student Affairs & Higher Education Administration from Indiana State University. Some of his current professional interests include restorative practices, trauma-informed practices, and staff culture development.






Leah Ecaruan - Dean of Students at the Graham Elementary and Middle School

As the Dean of Students at Graham Elementary and Middle School, Leah helps to develop a strong culture amongst students and staff. This will be her fifth year working at GEMS. Throughout the five years, Leah was a 5th grade science teacher, team lead, and instructional coach. Leah attended the University of Portland and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary and Middle School Education. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Educational Administration at The Ohio State University.

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