Education Imagination Retreat

Philadelphia, PA

March, 2016

Media Reports

Imagination Man


Angela  Duckworth

Angela Duckworth

Cofounder, Character Lab; Professor of Psychology, Penn

ANGELA DUCKWORTH (Co-Founder, Character Lab, Professor of Psychology, UPENN) is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a 2013 MacArthur Fellow. Angela studies non-IQ competencies, including self-control and grit, which predict success both academically and professionally. Her research populations have included West Point cadets, National Spelling Bee finalists, novice teachers, salespeople, and students. Angela received a BA in Neurobiology from Harvard in 1992 and, as a Marshall Scholar, a Masters in Neuroscience from Oxford. She completed her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Before her career in research, Angela founded a non-profit summer school for low-income children which won the Better Government Award for the state of Massachusetts and was profiled as a Harvard Kennedy School case study. Angela has also been a McKinsey management consultant and, for five years, a math teacher in the public schools of San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York City. 

Marie Forgeard

Marie Forgeard

Lead Scientific Consultant, Imagination Institute, Penn

MARIE FORGEARD is the Lead Scientific Consultant for the Imagination Institute, as well as a post-doctoral fellow at McLean Hospital’s Behavioral Health Partial Hospital Program and Behavioral Health Partial Clinical Research Program. Her research focuses on understanding when and how creative thinking styles and behavior may enhance well-being. To that end, she has investigated the role of motivational styles, personality, psychological flexibility, and self- efficacy, among other constructs. Her past studies have examined this topic in a variety of samples, including professional/aspiring artists and scientists, individuals experiencing highly stressful life events, as well as individuals suffering from psychopathology. Dr. Forgeard was the 2013 recipient of the Frank X. Barron Award from Division 10 of the American Psychological Association (the Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts). Her research has also been funded by grants from the John Templeton Foundation. 

Scott  Barry Kaufman
Barry Kaufman

Scott Barry Kaufman

Scientific Director, Imagination Institute, Penn

SCOTT BARRY KAUFMAN (Scientific Director, The Imagination Institute) is the scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he investigates the measurement and development of intelligence, imagination, and creativity. Kaufman has authored/edited seven books, including Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (with Carolyn Gregoire), Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice, and The Philosophy of Creativity (with Elliot Samuel Paul). Kaufman is also co-founder of The Creativity Post, host of The Psychology Podcast, and he writes the blog Beautiful Minds for Scientific American. Kaufman completed his doctorate in cognitive psychology from Yale University in 2009 and received his masters degree in experimental psychology from Cambridge University in 2005, where he was a Gates Cambridge Scholar. 

Stephen Hamilton

Stephen Hamilton

Dean of the Graduate School of Education, High Tech High

STEPHEN HAMILTON (Dean of the Graduate School of Education at High Tech High) came to the Graduate School of Education as Dean in 2015 from Cornell University where he was Professor of Human Development and served terms as department chair and associate provost. His research is on youth development and education with an emphasis on the transition to adulthood, work-based learning, service-learning, and mentoring. As a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow in Germany, he did research leading to the book, Apprenticeship for Adulthood: Preparing Youth for the Future (Free Press, 1990). This book and a demonstration project, adapting German-style apprenticeship to the United States, helped to inform the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994. With Mary Agnes Hamilton he co-edited The Youth Development Handbook and conducted action research with youth-serving organizations in Latin America. He was a social studies and English teacher at Phelps Vocational High School in Washington, DC. His degrees are from Swarthmore College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Elizabeth  Hyde

Elizabeth Hyde

Research Specialist, Imagination Institute, Penn

ELIZABETH HYDE is a 2014 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania currently working as a research coordinator for the Imagination Institute. Also, referred to as the Institute’s “Chief Curiosity Rover,” Elizabeth loves learning about openness to experience and creativity through the lens of positive psychology. 

Jessica  Lahey

Jessica Lahey


JESSICA LAHEY (Journalist/Author) is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and an English teacher. She writes “The Parent-Teacher Conference” column at The New York Times, is a commentator for Vermont Public Radio, and is the author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. 

Dominic Randolph

Dominic Randolph

Head of School, Riverdale Country School, NYC

DOMINIC RANDOLPH (Head of School, Riverdale Country School, NYC) is Riverdale's sixth Head of School and a leader in the international character education movement. He is a co- founder of the nonprofit educational research organization, Character Lab; a steering committee member of the International Positive Education Network; and an ongoing collaborator with IDEO on design-thinking in education. In October 2015, he was featured in a documentary produced by the U.K.-based Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues that described Riverdale as "on the forefront of the U.S. debate on character." In 2014, the Brookings Institute featured an article by Randolph on character education as part of an investigation of character and opportunity. His work is recognized in the new book,"Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids For The Innovation Era," by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith. 

Neil  Stevenson

Neil Stevenson

Executive Portfolio Director, IDEO

NEIL STEVENSON (Executive Portfolio Director, IDEO) Neil’s fascination with emerging technology and culture started at the age of eight when he began programming his first computer, a Commodore Pet. Now he carries a cellphone which has four million times as much memory and cannot shake his sense of amazement at how fast the world is changing. As Executive Portfolio Director of IDEO Chicago, Neil has led projects on everything from video game interfaces to digitally-enabled education to cutting-edge food and beverage work. He has also taken his accumulated experience in psychology, technology, and cultural trends, and woven it into a futurology offering. He gives regular talks on emerging trends and future scenarios, with an emphasis on the tension between new tech-enabled experiences and our relatively unevolved brains.

Before IDEO, Neil studied the human brain and behavior at Oxford University, coming away with masters degrees in Psychology and Social Anthropology. From there he was drawn to London, where he was the editor of Mixmag and The Face, among other magazines. 

Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman

Director, Positive Psychology Center, Penn

MARTIN SELIGMAN (Director of the Positive Psychology Center; Executive Director of the Imagination Institute) is the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology and director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focuses on positive psychology, learned helplessness, depression, ethno-political conflict, and optimism. He is a best-selling author of several books including, most recently, Flourish. He received the American Psychological Society’s William James Fellow Award for basic science and Cattell Award for the application of science and two Distinguished Scientific Contribution awards from the American Psychological Association. In 1996, Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association by the largest vote in modern history. His current mission is the attempt to transform social science to work on the best things in life—virtue, positive emotion, good relationships, and positive institutions—and not just on healing pathology. 

Diane Tavenner

Diane Tavenner

Founder & CEO, Summit Public Schools

DIANE TAVENNER (Founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools) Summit Public Schools (SPS)is a non-profit charter management organization focused on Silicon Valley. SPS opens and operates high-performing public charter high schools and works with communities and parents to ensure that every child has access to a rigorous, college preparatory public school education. In 2003, Diane founded Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City. Today, Summit Prep is ranked by Newsweek as one of 10 miracle high schools in the nation that are transforming student lives. 100% of Summit's graduates exceed the entrance requirements for the UC/CSU system, and 97% of the graduates have been accepted to at least one four-year college. 

Kanya Balakrishna

Kanya Balakrishna

Cofounder & President, The Future Project, NYC

KANYA BALAKRISHNA (co-founder and president of The Future Project) a national movement calling on young Americans to create the future of their dreams. Launched in 2011, The Future Project dispatches Dream Directors into high schools across four cities who then challenge students and staff to channel their passions and build Future Projects that transform their schools and their world. She is a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur, and a Yale graduate, who studied anthropology and served as managing editor of the Yale Daily News, then served as the chief speechwriter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. 

Mark Gutkowski

Mark Gutkowski

Director of Mastery, Avenues: The World School, NYC

MARK GUTKOWSKI (Director of Mastery at Avenues, NYC) joined Avenues: The World School in fall 2015. The mastery program is a key component of the Upper School curriculum and is a reflection of the school’s commitment to graduating students who, as outlined in the mission statement, are “confident because they excel in a particular passion.” The goal of the program is to allow students the opportunity to engage in a field of activity or study that is of particular interest to them and to provide support and guidance as they pursue those passions. Mark works closely with Upper School students to help ignite and foster their individual interests and oversees the work of those who choose to complete a formal mastery project in their 11th and 12th grade years.

Before Avenues, Mark spent 18 years as a Latin Teacher at Morristown High School (Morristown, NJ). In that role, he taught a variety of Latin courses, redesigning the structure of the Latin program to employ a self-paced, proficiency-based class model of learning of his own design; and co-founded, developed and facilitated expansion of the Morristown High School Classics Academy, a two-year immersive experience culminating in a major end-of-year passion project. In 2005, Mark was recognized for his work as an educator when he received Princeton University’s Distinguished Secondary Teaching Award. He has spent the past year working with MacArthur Fellow Angela Duckworth and her team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania to explore questions about self-control in students. Mark holds a B.A. in English and an Ed.M. in foreign language education both from Rutgers College. 

Donald Kamentz

Donald Kamentz

Executive Director, Character Lab

DONALD KAMENTZ (Executive Director, Character Lab) before becoming the Executive Director of the Character Lab, Donald served as the Managing Director of College and Career Initiatives for YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, where he created a program recognized nationally as a model for supporting first-generation, low-income students to and through college. Donald received a BA in Political Science, with a minor in International Affairs—Latin American Studies from The George Washington University. 

Andrew Mangino

Andrew Mangino

Cofounder & CEO, The Future Project, NYC

ANDREW MANGINO (Co-founders and CEO, The Future Project, NYC) a fast-growing national education initiative to transform education and unleash a generation of dreamers—young people who are using their passions to change the world. Named one of Forbes “30 Under 30” Social Entrepreneurs—and a Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow—Andrew worked after college at Ashoka, where he helped launch Start Empathy; as the speechwriter for Attorney General Holder; and as a speechwriting intern to Vice President Biden. He graduated in 2009 from Yale University, where he covered the New Haven and education beats, served as the 130th Editor in Chief of the Yale Daily News, and won the Marshall Scholarship to study education and social innovation at Oxford. He is passionate about the intersection of social entrepreneurship, human transformation, movements and messaging, and American history. In 2013, Andrew and his team at The Future Project launched to call upon Americans to take action to reimagine education and unleash the full possibility of the next generation. 

Rebecca Nyquist

Rebecca Nyquist

Research Coordinator, Duckworth Lab, Positive Psychology Center, Penn

REBECCA NYQUIST graduated from Princeton University in 2009, majoring in Religious Studies with a certificate in Environmental Studies. She is also a graduate of University of Pennsylvania's Residency Masters in Teaching Program, where she earned a Masters degree in education while teaching History and Religious Studies at the Lawrenceville School, a private boarding school in New Jersey. Her Masters thesis focused on cultivating empathy in high school history classrooms and this focus further deepened Rebecca's interest in the role of non- cognitive traits in learning. Currently, Rebecca is a full-time research coordinator in Angela Duckworth's lab at Penn's Positive Psychology Center, studying traits like grit and self-control in youth. Currently, she is working on a longitudinal study, following 1,400 8th grade students from the beginning of their 8th grade year into the spring of their 9th. The study is an effort to examine character development in adolescence, as well as explore the relationship between character strengths like grit, self-control, prosocial purpose, actively open-minded thinking, and gratitude. In addition, Rebecca is piloting various character interventions and evaluating their impact in Baltimore city middle schools. She is particularly interested in the role that teachers play in developing these capacities in students, as well as the capacities needed to sustain themselves in the profession. To pursue this research interest, Rebecca will be starting her doctoral degree in Education Policy this coming fall at Penn's Graduate School of Education, where she will focus on teacher preparation and teacher retention. 

Boyd White

Boyd White

Assistant Director, Summer Academic Programs, Center for Talented Youth

BOYD WHITE (Curriculum, Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth) is an assistant director for Summer Academic Programs at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth where he oversees curriculum development and instructional staff training. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and Emory University, Boyd has taught for the Westminster Schools of Augusta, St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School, Emory University, and CTY. He is interested in digital culture, genre fiction, film studies, and the teaching of writing.