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Happy students with paint on their hands



At the Center for Innovative Education, we believe that all members of a school community thrive when there is a commitment to equity, belonging, shared purpose and trust.



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KRISTIN BLAIS, Program Director

Co-Director of the Center for innovative education

As the Program Director for Adult-Student Partnerships, Kris steers Astra’s work strengthening relationships between adults and students in classrooms and school communities and expanding the ways in which both groups view their roles in education. Her work involves researching, visiting, and building partnerships with schools and educational organizations as well as sharing research, tools, and strategies that can transform classrooms. When Radically Reimagined Relationships are at work in schools - when adults and students can build connections based on equity, warmth, curiosity, shared responsibility and high degrees of agency and trust – amazing outcomes are possible for both students and adults. Kris has been with the Astra Foundation since its founding in 2001, first working as a project manager and course developer with the Center for Neurodiverse Development, before earning a master’s in teaching and helping to found the Center for Innovative Education in 2017. Kris’ master’s work explored the critical nature of emotion in the learning process, a topic that continues to underpin her thinking and writing. Kris grew up in a military family and is amazed to find herself firmly rooted in Keene, New Hampshire where she has lived for nearly twenty years with her husband and sons. Preparations for an empty nest are underway.

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SARA BAILEY, Program Director

Co-Director of the Center for innovative education

As the Adult Culture in Schools Program Director, Sara leads Astra’s efforts in rethinking how staff work together to implement Radically Reimagined Relationships (RRR).  She promotes the interconnectedness and well-being of all staff, knowing that prioritizing these yield better outcomes for students, their families, and school employees.  Her work involves studying school and adult culture, visiting schools to learn with and from them, and consulting with school personnel to think about how policies and systems allow for individuals to feel seen, heard, and valued.  Sara creates professional development resources and writes for our blog, Learning Curve.  Her previous experience as a middle and high school teacher at the F.W. Parker Charter Essential School allowed her to prioritize building strong relationships with her colleagues, students, and their families.  She saw first-hand how critical these relationships were so that every person had what they needed to do their best work.  Sara also spent five years directing a summer camp in upstate New York, where she worked to develop a strong adult culture that reinforced the dignity of each person, whether they were four or forty years old.  Sara attended Boston College, where she earned her B.A. in Secondary Education and English.  An avid cooker (and burgeoning mixologist), she lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband, Jack, sons, Sullivan and Tucker, and cats, Nathaniel Pawthorne and Margaret Catwood. 


JAck Bailey, Social Media & Graphic Design Specialist

Jack comes to Astra with a broad range of child and educational experiences, including leading scout groups, teaching outdoor education, and overseeing the operations of after school programs. Alongside this, Jack has decades of experience with summer camps, including being a Counselor, Nature Director, and Summer Camp. Director. Throughout this time he has enjoyed spending time with students in an array of outside-the-classroom educational spaces, and believes all children should have the ability to learn where they can learn best, especially in spaces that encourage and support incredible relationships.

Jack graduated from Lesley University with a degree in Outdoor Recreation Management. He enjoys design, gardening, cats, and spending time with his family.


We are grateful to the following individuals for sharing their time and expertise with us:

Rebecca Bauer, Family Engagement Specialist, National PTA

Helen Beattie, Executive Director, UP for Learning

Thabiti Brown, Head of School, Codman Academy Charter Public School, MA

Pamela Gordon, Internship Coordinator, Leominster Center for Excellence, MA

Lindsey Halman, Program Director, UP for Learning

Steve Lazar, Social Studies/English Teacher, Harvest Collegiate High School, NY

Pamela Penna, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, The Park School, MA

Shyla Rao, Principal, City Neighbors Hamilton, MD

524 Main Street,

Acton MA 01720

(978) 266-3700

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