Betsy McKenna

Betsy McKenna

New York, United States

Betsy McKenna is the Founder of Exponential Returns, a company designed to help professionals in the academic and nonprofit communities advance individual and team performance by deepening conversations, tapping into creative minds and talents, and fostering strategic relationships. With over two decades of educational leadership experience, Betsy McKenna has developed a sharp eye for what, when, where, and why communities learn, as well as delved deeply into how those inquiries change depending on the sensitivity of each audience—the “who”. Betsy describes herself as a life-long learner whose work is also her passion as she is committed to building progressive academic communities that embody twenty first century teaching and learning.

Why do you want to be a part of the HundrED Community?

I am passionate about education and care deeply about the teaching and learning process. I am energized by the opportunity to contribute. participate and move the need in the education space. There is much to do!

How can education support students to flourish?

It is time to disrupt the current state of conventional schooling, and create a movement around a kind of education that provides student centered teaching and learning. We must build inspired environments that create authentic and contextual experiences. How can we engage students in a deeper learning process? We can no longer teach in silos and subjects must be about interdisciplinary learning. Students must be challenged to see relationships, solve problems , and advance new ideas forward. Teachers must play the role of facilitator and guide and cultivate a learning environment where students have agency and empowerment.

What role does innovation play in education change?

This is a transformative time in the field of education and I’m eager to join the conversation. I believe that teaching is a noble craft and is a practice that requires patience, persistence, humor and warmth. School is a social construct where connectivity and relationships are at the heart of it all. Over the course of the past three decades, I have uncovered perplexing questions and have received unending inspiration from children, teachers and parents that keep the daily work of teaching and learning alive. Innovation is the response to the technological advancements and our global identity. It is critical that we provide students with the skills et required to embrace the problems, opportunities and challenges that exist past, present and future. 

Three HundrED innovations you love. (and Why?)

Education Cities in Israel- Is a network paradigm whose mission is to develop the art of collaboration: Building relationships around understanding the value and importance of working together through collaboration!

Shadow a student, in the US creates provides administrative leadership to experience the needs of a student in an authentic and context based way: Building relationships though empathic understanding!

Strong Together- Evolving School, Finland- a game that strengthens the school experience through relationship from within the school and the surrounding community: Building meaningful Relationships with internal and external community!

Three innovations you would love for HundrED to know about. (and Why?)

Design Thinking Process - a tool for teaching students to design ways to solve problems through empathy/needs of others.

Maker Faire - an experience that celebrates the creative process in action

Maker Space - a space inside the home or school where students can build, design, create and explore the impact of their creative ideas