Mara Simmons, PhD

A Tinker in Education that Promotes Joy and Curiosity

6 Reviews
Joined January 2021

My Teacher Intro

Teaching is my life, my parents would say. In my young adult life I took great joy at creating explanations for things and sharing new knowledge with others. As I matured I learned that much of teaching is learning, listening and understanding others' perspectives and experiences and the combination of learning with my love for sharing knowledge helps define my approach in any course I teach.

I have been privileged with having a long and varied teaching career that includes teaching math, science, history, leadership and English to young students in Los Angeles for nearly 10 years in mostly low income, culturally diverse communities. In addition, I have served as a school head, director and school founder for 12 years and most recently was a program manager for teacher training in the UK where I shaped what teacher training can look like for the post 16 sector.

Choosing to teach online is a new venture for me and an opportunity for me to grow. I appreciate the in-person sessions and look forward to cultivating discussion and learner engagement. Also, I believe education should be about choice, and I love that here you choose what you want to study.

The subjects I will teach will be relevant to those wishing to improve their professional skills, whether it be working with others, ways of writing, or how to increase colleague engagement and enthusiasm. In addition, I hope to bring in some courses specifically for teachers and presenters around how to prepare lessons and how to increase student engagement and joy for learning. Lastly, I am interested in teaching about how to cope with remote learning and working as I have observed and at times struggled with these issues in the past and have found some useful strategies that have worked.

In my classes you will never be quiet for an entire session, nor have to listen to me lecturing - I am a believer in collaboration, discussion and facilitated learning. Problem-based, project-based learning is my approach in a school setting; here online we will have a version of it. At the end of each session, we will re-cap to make sure that you have left with a nugget of learning or provocation to go further along with some extra tools to be that value add.

Qualifications & Experience

As a passionate educator. I have actively engaged in learning all my life. I have a PhD in Urban Leadership focused on school design and school leadership. Prior, I completed a Masters Degree in Education with a focus on school leadership and curriculum design. My teaching qualifications are UK and US with a California Credential in secondary math education. Academically I studied Politics and achieved a BA from UC Santa Cruz many moons ago.

Most recently I lead and taught on a teaching qualification programme in Oxford, UK and before that was leading schools in Los Angeles for 12+ years after teaching in several public schools for 6 years. Now when not teaching online I am growing an Ed-Tech company and designing a new school model to improve secondary education internationally.


Juggling work and children - We Can Help

Struggling with work and remote learning? This course will provide you with tools and ideas to help you all.

Engage Your Learners in Relevant, Meaningful Projects

Using Design Thinking we will create a project-based learning task to revitalise your teaching practice and re-energise YOU the teacher.

Considering a Leadership Role?

Are you the next leader? What is your Why and How Might you Achieve Leadership?

Worker to Sage

Employer and school engagement: Learn how to evoke passion and engage learners when collaborating with schools and school projects.

Redesign Secondary Education: Now and the Future

There is a lot of debate with respects to how best to return to schools post-COVID. Let's explore forward-thinking options.

Thinking of Changing Careers?

I will help you ground your 'why', and you will gain tools to help you with options for making decisions