Dr. Katie Martin


Katie is the Director of District Leadership for the Buck Institute for Education (BIE). She works with districts and school systems to create the conditions that support high-quality project-based learning and deeper learning for all students.. She has also served as middle school English language, literacy coach, new teacher mentor and coordinator of district programs and enjoys teacher graduate classes in diverse teacher education programs. At the university, district and school level Katie aspires to create experiences that empower all learners to develop knowledge, skills and mindsets to thrive in a changing world. Katie has a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in middle school education and her Ph.D. specialized in new teacher induction and support.


As a leader, teacher, and speaker, Katie’s experience in research and practice continue to guide her belief that if we want to change how students learn, we must change how educators learn. She is the author of Learner-Centered Innovation; Creating Experiences that Spark Curiosity, Ignite Passion, and Unleash Genius. As a mom, she wants her kids to have learning experiences in school that build on their strengths and interests and as an educator, she is passionate about making sure we do the same for all kids. You can check out more at Katie’s blog or connect on Twitter @KatieMartinEdu

Keynotes and Workshops: Katie Martin

Katie works to customize learning experiences for the specific context but here are topics and workshops that she commonly focuses on.  


Keynote: Learning, Teaching, and Leading in a Changing World

The desire to change how students learn in school is often expressed as a goal but the teacher’s role in this change, or how to get there, is not often as clearly articulated or supported. To change how students learn, we must change how educators lead and learn. This talk will inspire you to think about how we can build on the strengths, interests and talents and create better learning experiences for those you serve. We will explore how to move toward a shared vision of teaching and learning, embrace learning as a process and not an event, and make learning public to share what you are learning and inspire others.


Keynote: Learner-Centered Innovation

When we tell kids to complete an assignment, we get compliance. When we empower kids to explore and learn how to make an impact on the world, we inspire problem solvers and innovators. This change in education will require more than providing training for administrators and teachers to implement new curriculum or programs and resources.  To create a culture of learning and innovation for all, these learning experiences must be situated in an ecosystem that redefines how we measure success, prioritizes learning at all levels, and is always evolving to meet the needs of those we serve.  This talk will focus on the characteristics of learner-centered experiences and how we can create experiences that spark curiosity, ignite passion, and unleash genius.  

Keynote: The Evolving Role of the Educator

Most educators in our schools and district offices have gone through their own education without the access and opportunities that exist today. Access to technology has transformed how we learn and interact with the one another. To meet the needs of the learners in our classrooms today and align school with the world we live in there is a need to embrace new mindsets about learning, along with new tools and resources available to make these shifts across diverse classrooms. Making these shifts requires more than equipping schools with technology or creating creative learning spaces, instead it is about us, as educators, evolving to meet the needs of those we serve.

Workshop: Creating Experiences that Spark Curiosity, Ignite Passion, and Unleash Genius

If done well, projects can provide authentic contexts and experiences for learners to develop skills and content knowledge aligned with desired outcomes . But if it is not done well, two problems are likely to arise. First, we will see a lot of assignments and activities that are labeled as “projects” but which are not rigorous PBL, and student learning will suffer. Or, we will see projects backfire on underprepared teachers and result in wasted time, frustration, and failure to understand the possibilities of PBL. In this workshop, we will examine student work  to critique and revise projects to ensure they are designed to meet the needs of all learners.

Workshop: Creating a Strengths-based Culture

Did you know that according to a recent Gallup Poll, by the time students graduate in the US fewer than 30% are engaged, feel successful, or enjoy what they are learning in school? As they continue to their career, only 13% of the world’s workers are engaged in their work. In contrast, the world today requires creative, passionate, and skilled individuals. To harness the power in each of us, we need to create systems that allow for more personal learning experiences and tap into the strengths and potential of each individual. In this workshop, we’ll bring the Ancient Greek maxim “know thyself” to life.  I this workshop we will explore our own strengths and interests and explore how to create experiences in school that empower all learners to discover their place in the world.

Workshop: Leveraging Technology to Create Learner-Centered Experiences

This workshop is designed to support professional learning communities as well as individual educators who are seeking to create relevant and innovative learning experiences through purposeful integration of technology. It is intended to provide educators with a snapshot of where they currently are in their instructional practice and to generate discussion about how they may want to grow to meet the learners they serve.  We will explore case studies of teaching and learning to understand the most impactful intersection of technology and pedagogy to empower learners to take ownership of their learning and create new knowledge and ideas.  

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