Katie Novak of Novak Education: 5 Things That Should Be Done To Improve The US Educational System

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I would prioritize the redefinition of success in American education. Rather than solely focusing on standardized measures in ELA and math, we need to embrace a broader vision of success that encompasses a range of knowledge and skills. This includes critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, resilience, empathy, and global awareness, which are arguably much more difficult to measure. By adopting a more holistic view of success, we can cultivate well-rounded individuals who are prepared for the challenges of the future. These students, of course, would perform well on standardized measures because they would be learning deeply. And in this scenario, standardized measures would incorporate the tools that are available to us as adult learners (read: spellcheck, read-aloud, etc.)

As a part of our interview series about the things that should be done to improve the US educational system, I had the pleasure to interview Dr. Katie Novak.

Katie Novak, Ed.D., is an internationally renowned education consultant, author, graduate instructor at the University of Pennsylvania, and a former Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Massachusetts. With 20 years of experience in teaching and administration, an earned doctorate in curriculum and teaching, and twelve published books, Katie designs and presents workshops both nationally and internationally focusing on the implementation of inclusive practices, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), multi-tiered systems of support, and universally designed leadership. Novak’s work has impacted educators worldwide as her contributions and collaborations have built upon the foundation for an educational framework that is critical for student success.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the “backstory” behind what brought you to this particular career path?

As the daughter of two teachers, education has always been in my blood. Funny enough, I never saw myself becoming a teacher despite volunteering in my mom’s 5th-grade classroom every chance I got. She would always tell me, “You’re going to be the best teacher,” but I had a different path in mind. I pursued a degree in recreational therapy, convinced that it was my calling until an internship made me realize it wasn’t the lifelong career I envisioned. Sometimes in life, you feel a pull towards a different path, and that’s exactly what happened to me. I decided to pursue a teaching career, and the moment I stepped into the classroom as a student teacher, I knew I had found my place (Momma, you are always right!).

In hindsight, my studies in disability and psychology training to be a recreational therapist prepared me for where I am today. However, my journey wasn’t as straightforward as I would have hoped. I experienced non-renewal from my first teaching job, which is the fancy way to say “You’re fired” in the education world. Instead of discouraging me, this kick in the pants ignited a fire within me. It made me realize how much I wanted to be a teacher. When I got another chance at a new high school, I vowed to make it count. I spent over a decade in the classroom, working with thousands of incredible students who brought laughter to my days. There’s nothing quite as humbling as the honest opinions of a 13-year-old!

After two years of teaching HS, I became a middle school teacher. We are a special breed indeed! As a 7th-grade teacher, I attended a professional development session on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and had the privilege of working with David Rose, the founder of the UDL framework. I LOVED him. During one conversation, I mentioned that you could apply UDL principles to anything, even making chips and salsa, and I enthusiastically shared how I could lead a cooking class using UDL. In a moment of total happenstance, he invited me to showcase my ridiculous salsa lesson at the Harvard University UDL Symposium. I thought, why not? So, my very first professional development session took place at Harvard University in a room filled with superintendents, principals, researchers, and educators from around the world. After my presentation, people approached me, asking for my business card as they wanted me to come to their districts. That night I Googled “How to order business cards.”

I never envisioned myself in a consulting role, but sometimes the universe makes the decision for us. And that’s how my consulting career began. I was fortunate to balance both consulting and being a practicing educator until 2020.

Over the years, I juggled roles as a district reading coordinator, ELL director, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools while continuing my consulting work. However, the balance eventually tipped, and now I have the incredible opportunity to consult with educators worldwide and dedicate myself to writing full-time. But deep in my heart, I will always be a teacher. It is such a blessing to work with educators every day.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Ha! — The infamous “non-renewal” (aka getting canned) from my first teaching job. As fate would have it, years later, I was invited back to that very same district to provide professional development for the teachers there. Talk about karma! Sure, it felt great, but it meant more to me than just a moment of triumph. I’ll never forget the email I received from a principal in that district — it felt like I was being punked. People often inquire about the reason for my non-renewal, but I can only speculate since I was given the standard response of “It’s just not a great fit.” The truth is, I don’t have a clear answer. Looking back, though, I can acknowledge that I didn’t always handle myself with the utmost professionalism. Here’s an example: I remember my classroom had a carpet in it. No one was supposed to eat in the classroom because of that carpet, as daily vacuuming wasn’t the norm, but when two kids felt excluded at lunch, I allowed them to eat in my room. I figured that I would prevent any problems by buying a vacuum. I stand by being there for kids, but clearly, communication, transparency, and radical candor are good too!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Oh, I am super excited about this! I’m thrilled to share that my twelfth book has been published, co-authored with my long-time colleague and partner in crime, Kristan Rodriguez (or, as I affectionately call her, KRod). She’s the one who nudged me to attend that UDL training with the legendary David Rose, and she played a huge role in supporting my growth as an administrator.

Now, let’s talk cocktail parties (I promise this pivot will make sense!). Picture this: you’re at a formal gathering, and the only thing on the menu is chocolate milkshakes. Sounds fab, right? Well, not if you’re lactose intolerant or have a gluten allergy. The same goes for classrooms. If we stick to one teaching approach or expect all students to demonstrate their knowledge in the same way, we’re unintentionally excluding many from learning. That’s where our instructional design comes in. We need clear goals and flexible means to ensure all students thrive.

Initially, I believed that the effective implementation of UDL was the responsibility of individual teachers. However, as I transitioned into an admin role and reflected upon the support I received as a teacher, a realization dawned on me — the responsibility for uplifting educators lies within the system. It’s about providing teachers with high-quality instructional materials, ongoing professional development opportunities, meaningful feedback, and fostering robust connections with families and communities.

Let’s face it: our current educational system falls short of meeting the needs of educators and students. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We have an opportunity to change education,, starting with a fresh vision of what our schools can be. We can’t just patch up the existing system to make it work for everyone. We need to be bold and dismantle those systems, constructing entirely new ones that embrace the diverse needs of today’s learners and teachers while leveraging the vast resources of information and artificial intelligence.

So, if you’re reading this, check out “In Support of Students: A Leader’s Guide to Equitable MTSSIn Support of Students: A Leader’s Guide to Equitable MTSS!”

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority in the education field?

As a lifetime educator, an adjunct instructor at the University of Pennsylvania, a consultant, and a mom of four incredible children, I believe in the power of teaching and learning. Witnessing the impact education has on my own kids has strengthened my resolve to be an advocate for all students. I firmly believe that every child deserves the same opportunities and resources that my own children have been fortunate to have. It is this personal experience as a mom that fuels my drive to ensure that every student, regardless of their background or circumstances, has access to a high-quality education that empowers them to reach their full potential.

This passion for driving positive change led me to establish Novak Educational Consulting, a 100% woman-owned and certified woman business enterprise (WBE). I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do what I love. Writing, in particular, brings me immense joy. Over the years, I have authored 12 best-selling books, including “UDL Now! A Teacher’s Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning in Today’s Classrooms,” “Innovate Inside the Box” (co-authored with the amazing George Couros), and most recently, “In Support of Students.: A Leader’s Guide to Equitable MTSS.” My books have sold over 200,000 copies, and I am thankful every single day for the impact they have had on educators worldwide.

Through Novak Educational Consulting, I provide in-person professional development, long-term implementation, and consulting in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and multi-tiered intervention systems in 30 states and 28 countries. Working with tens of thousands of educators and administrators, I have had the privilege of collaborating with amazing clients such as the NASA Science Activation Team, the Gates Foundation, Harvard University, the Los Angeles Unified School District, WGBH, the US Department of Education, Jobs for the Future (JFF), and the Office of Special Education Programs. I have also had the opportunity to work directly with universities, state departments of education, and international schools around the world.

Whether delivering professional development sessions or teaching a graduate course, my commitment to empowering educators is at the core of everything I do. I am dedicated to ensuring that every learner, especially those who have been marginalized, has equitable access to a high-quality education. This requires that every teacher feels prepared to meet the needs of the kids they serve.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. From your point of view, how would you rate the results of the US education system? ‘

This is a difficult question because I struggle with “What results are we talking about?” We can no longer rank educational systems of test scores alone.

Regardless of how we measure success, it is essential to acknowledge both the achievements and the areas that require improvement within the system. On one hand, we have witnessed significant progress in terms of expanded access to education, advancements in integrating technology, and the unwavering dedication of educators who tirelessly support their students. These accomplishments should be recognized. Teachers put in an incredible amount of time and effort, and despite the fact that we have failed to yield significant progress as a nation using traditional assessment methods, it is not for lack of trying. However, our current systems were not designed to adequately support all teachers and students, and this urgently needs to change.

There are numerous areas where we must focus improvement efforts. Persistent opportunity and achievement gaps persist among different student populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, and English language learners. Addressing these disparities is not just an educational concern; it is a matter of human rights. As a nation, we must prioritize efforts to address these inequities and ensure every student has an equitable opportunity to succeed.

Another aspect to consider is the current overemphasis on standardized testing and the narrow focus on academic achievement in English/language arts and math as measured by inaccessible tests. While academic success is undeniably important in those subject areas, we must also value the holistic development of students. This entails promoting learning in all content areas, social-emotional learning, cultural responsiveness, and critical thinking skills. We need to be able to measure our impact in these areas to reflect on how we are doing.

It’s crucial to recognize that today’s students are competing with advanced technologies like ChatGPT, and we have to transform education to prioritize the human aspects of learning. We should help students celebrate their unique identities and move away from outdated teaching practices that no longer serve the needs of teachers or learners. Teachers are overwhelmed, many students are excluded or disengaged, and many systems are continuing to use the same old practices while expecting different results. It’s time for a paradigm shift in education that aligns with the demands of the modern world.

Can you identify 5 areas of the US education system that are going really great?

Sure thing. First, I’m proud of the nation’s inclusion efforts. The education system is increasingly recognizing the importance of inclusive practices, where all students, regardless of their diverse learning needs, are welcomed and supported. Efforts are being made to implement Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) to ensure that classrooms are accessible and responsive to the needs of every learner. While there is still progress to be made toward full implementation, we have witnessed positive steps in creating inclusive learning environments.

There is also a growing emphasis on promoting deeper learning experiences, which go beyond rote memorization and encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity. Many schools I work with are adopting project-based learning, inquiry-based approaches, and other instructional strategies that foster deeper understanding and skill development.

The recognition of social-emotional learning, a sense of belonging, and building strong communities has taken center stage, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools are prioritizing SEL and dedicating resources to support students who have experienced trauma or face mental health challenges. We’re seeing explicit SEL instruction integrated into the curriculum, the implementation of strategies to nurture students’ social and emotional development, the adoption of restorative practices, and the cultivation of positive school climates that prioritize students’ overall well-being.

Schools are also increasingly embracing technology as a powerful tool for enhancing teaching and learning. My son, who is in second grade, knows his way around Google Docs better than I do! From interactive digital resources to online learning platforms to the normalization of assistive technology, schools are leveraging tech to personalize instruction, expand access to resources, and foster digital literacy skills among students. This integration of technology opens up new avenues for engagement, collaboration, and creativity in the classroom, preparing students to thrive in a digital world and take on robots!

Lastly, I think there has been positive growth in data culture. This doesn’t mean we are looking at kids as numbers, as robust data practice is so much more than that. In general, there is much more of a focus on looking at the impact of instruction on students. In addition to examining assessment data, student-led conferences, and perception data from students and families, there is a growing emphasis on leveraging the collective expertise of professional learning communities (PLCs) to analyze data collectively, share best practices, and build collective efficacy.

Can you identify the 5 key areas of the US education system that should be prioritized for improvement? Can you explain why those are so critical?

Oh, this one is tricky, as there are so many things we could change. This list is not exhaustive, but based on the work I do every day, the following are critical.

If we’re serious about transforming educational systems, there’s no room for compromise when it comes to inclusion. We have to ensure that every single student has a rightful place in classrooms with their peers. Our national inclusion rates of students with disabilities hover just over 60%. That means almost 40% of students with disabilities are not fully included with their peers. It’s disheartening to witness the ongoing legal segregation of students with disabilities and the lack of public outcry against it. It is possible to include all students. We just have to do it.

We also have to put a cog in the standardized testing machine or at the very least, ensure that standardized tests are universally designed. By adopting a more comprehensive approach to assessment, such as incorporating performance-based assessments, portfolios, and project-based evaluations, we can better capture students’ skills, knowledge, and growth across a range of dimensions. Aligning assessments with the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can further support students in demonstrating their knowledge while accessing necessary supports and accommodations.

The next shift that is necessary is a shift to more student-centered learning. In our classrooms, we are doing way too much for students that they can do for themselves. We have to prioritize the design of instructional practices that cultivate critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills. In short, we have to shift from teacher-led to student-led. The days of one-size-fits-all learning experiences are behind us; instead, we have to embrace instructional strategies that actively engage students, foster independent thinking, and provide them with opportunities to learn how to be learners in the age of AI. We can do this by implementing UDL and blended learning.

The last two are focused on supporting teachers. First, schools need to adopt high-quality instructional materials. Too often, teachers are buried in creating their own materials, leading to gaps in knowledge and inconsistent expectations across classrooms. By providing teachers with high-quality instructional materials, we allow them to prioritize what truly matters: building relationships with kids, providing personalized feedback, and targeting instruction to small groups. Oh, and the whole work/life balance thing.

We have to do a better job of supporting teachers. Supporting our teachers is synonymous with supporting our students. If we don’t have teachers — we don’t have learning. We need more support, trust, ongoing professional learning, and more time for teachers to plan and collaborate with colleagues. While technology like ChatGPT has benefits, it cannot replace the unique and invaluable instruction and support that dedicated teachers bring to the classroom.

How is the US doing with regard to engaging young people in STEM? Can you suggest three ways we can increase this engagement?

The engagement of young people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in the US shows variability. To address this, it is crucial to level the playing field and ensure that STEM instruction is accessible to all learners. Recently, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the NASA Science Activation Teams, a group of organizations dedicated to making the wonders of the universe accessible to all Americans. Every school needs to align itself with the same mission.

Additionally, providing science with equal emphasis as mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) is pivotal in enhancing engagement in STEM. Many elementary schools prioritize literacy and math, often allocating limited time to science instruction. However, integrating science as a core part of the school experience, dedicating ample instructional time, and integrating it across other subjects allows students to grasp the interconnectedness of STEM disciplines and develop a comprehensive understanding of the world.

In addition to increasing access to STEM, it is essential to shift the focus from knowledge acquisition to active engagement in scientific exploration. By promoting inquiry-based learning, we can empower students to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and investigative skills. Encouraging them to ask thought-provoking questions, explore concepts through hands-on experimentation, and draw evidence-based conclusions fosters a deeper understanding and ignites a genuine passion for STEM.

Can you articulate to our readers why it’s so important to engage girls and women in STEM subjects?

In every field of study, including STEM, the presence of diverse perspectives, experiences, and ideas is invaluable. Actively engaging girls and underrepresented groups ensures we embrace a wider range of voices and talents. This diversity not only fosters innovation, creativity, and problem-solving but also enables us to develop more comprehensive and impactful solutions to real-world challenges. The issues we confront as a society, such as climate change, healthcare, and technological innovation, demand an all-humans-on-deck approach. By involving girls and underrepresented groups in STEM, we welcome fresh insights and solutions to tackle intricate problems.

Also, when girls and underrepresented groups witness individuals who resemble them achieving success in STEM fields, it reinforces their belief in their own potential. We are now familiar with remarkable scientists such as Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan, whose story was portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures, as well as Mileva Marić, widely recognized as Einstein’s wife. These women serve as role models for girls who envision themselves as scientists. It is imperative that we ensure all young individuals perceive a path where they can thrive. By engaging diverse learners in STEM, we create role models who can inspire future scientists to pursue their passions and contribute to scientific advancements. This ripple effect holds the power to drive long-term change and foster a more inclusive and equitable STEM community.

How is the US doing with regard to engaging girls and women in STEM subjects? Can you suggest three ways we can increase this engagement?

While progress has undoubtedly been made in recent years, there is still work to be done in engaging girls and women in STEM subjects in the United States. Also, it is essential to recognize that the focus should not solely rest on girls but also encompass any group that is underrepresented in the science fields, including minority communities and individuals with disabilities.

As I mentioned earlier, one crucial aspect is increasing the visibility of underrepresented scientists who have excelled in STEM fields. By shining a spotlight on their achievements, we can ignite a fire within young scholars to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Young learners need to learn about Guatemalan scientist África Flores, Ynés Enriquetta Julietta Mexía, a Mexican-American botanist, and Nicole Anunapu Mann, the first Indigenous woman in space, and Jesse Ernest Wilkins Jr., a world-class American mathematician, mechanical engineer, and nuclear scientist. He attended the University of Chicago at the age of 13, becoming its youngest-ever student.

In addition to this, we must continue to emphasize the creation of more inclusive learning environments. This entails addressing biases and stereotypes that persist both within the education system and society at large. It is also important to provide additional resources and support systems for students who may face additional challenges in accessing advanced science education. By investing in resources such as science laboratories, technology tools, and mentorship programs, we can bridge the opportunity gap and ensure that all learners have the chance to engage in rigorous scientific inquiry.

Another impactful approach involves increasing the availability and accessibility of STEM programs and extracurricular activities. As one example, Girls Who Code is an organization that offers club programs and summer programs free of charge for girls to learn more about computer science. Collaborating with community organizations like Girls Who Code to establish STEM clubs, workshops, competitions, and summer camps specifically tailored to underrepresented scientists can create supportive spaces for them to explore and experiment with STEM concepts.

If you had the power to influence or change the entire US educational infrastructure, what five things would you implement to improve and reform our education system? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Okay, first of all, if anyone who has the power to make these changes wants to chat, please contact me!

First, I would prioritize the redefinition of success in American education. Rather than solely focusing on standardized measures in ELA and math, we need to embrace a broader vision of success that encompasses a range of knowledge and skills. This includes critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, resilience, empathy, and global awareness, which are arguably much more difficult to measure. By adopting a more holistic view of success, we can cultivate well-rounded individuals who are prepared for the challenges of the future. These students, of course, would perform well on standardized measures because they would be learning deeply. And in this scenario, standardized measures would incorporate the tools that are available to us as adult learners (read: spellcheck, read-aloud, etc.)

Next, it would be about better preparing, elevating, and celebrating teachers. Teachers are the heart of our education system, and empowering them is vital for student success. I would advocate for robust professional development programs, mentorship opportunities, collaborative learning communities, and adequate resources. By investing in our teachers’ professional growth and well-being, we equip them with the tools and support they need to meet the diverse needs of their students effectively. When I learned about UDL as an educator, my district went ALL IN. I had two weeks of intensive training during the summer with the amazing David Rose, a release day once a month to co-plan with my UDL cohort, and someone who observed my classroom once a month to help me reflect on my practice. In addition, I had daily co-planning time with a co-teacher and a high-quality flexible curriculum. I LOVED teaching because I was supported. This isn’t rocket science. Two half days a year for professional learning isn’t going to cut it.

I would also continue to advocate for inclusive education for all students. Students with disabilities are general education students, and they belong in general education classrooms. In our country, it is mandated to educate students in the least restrictive environment possible, and I strongly believe that with the right support and infrastructure, every classroom can become the least restrictive. I recognize that many families with students with disabilities have experienced situations where their child’s needs were not adequately met in a general education setting, leading them to advocate for separate educational settings. I understand their concerns and the desire to ensure their children receive the necessary support. But if you’re a parent and you are reading this — know that inclusive practice and inclusive placement can be the best place for your child. To realize this, we have to change the system, but that starts with elevating a vision for inclusion and preparing teachers to work together to meet the needs of all students.

Drawing from my experience as a parent of a remarkable child with learning support needs, I know firsthand that a classroom environment becomes enriched when she is included. She possesses incredible creativity, a delightful sense of humor that rivals Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and she is kind to her core, always rescuing salamanders, sending thank-you notes, and surprising people she loves with small gifts. By providing her with access to assistive technology, additional time, and opportunities to move around, she has thrived and made significant progress in her learning journey. I am so grateful to her teachers for including her.

I would also advocate for a fundamental shift in resource allocation to address the disparities that perpetuate inequities in our education system. It is essential to recognize that equitable access to resources plays a significant role in creating an inclusive and thriving educational environment. One of the key aspects of resource allocation is providing equal access to funding. Far too often, schools and districts face financial constraints that hinder their ability to provide necessary resources for students and teachers. Year after year, we witness the unfortunate cycle of budget cuts, teacher layoffs, and deferred professional development opportunities. This not only hampers the quality of education but also creates an environment of uncertainty and instability for educators and students alike.

In addition to funding, equal access to materials and technology is essential. All students, regardless of their socioeconomic background, should have access to flexible, high-quality instructional materials and adaptive technology tools that enhance their learning experiences. This requires investing in curriculum adoption, updating resources regularly, and providing schools and teachers with the necessary tools to engage students effectively. Furthermore, supporting educators through professional development is crucial for their growth and the success of their students. However, limited funding often leads to cutbacks in professional development opportunities, leaving teachers without the necessary support and training to meet the evolving needs of their students.

When I first started working as a district administrator, I pondered the results of a statewide survey that asked teachers to reflect on the quality of the professional development they received, among other things. Less than half of Massachusetts educators reported that there were sufficient resources for teachers to take advantage of professional development (47 percent), and only 40 percent agreed that adequate time was provided for professional development. Yikes!

We can’t just give teachers PD a couple of times a year where we kick off with, “You need to learn this because we are mandating it, and it doesn’t matter how much you already have on your plate, so listen up!” We need to understand the beliefs, motivations, and challenges of our educators in order to understand what they truly need in professional learning and support. We need to give them options and choices for how they learn and express their knowledge and skills. We need to meet them at their level before we help lift them up to the next so we can better serve our kids.

Lastly, it is essential to recognize that education is a collective responsibility that extends beyond the classroom, and collaboration among all stakeholders is vital for driving positive change. We need transparent communication, grace, empathy, and partnership to bridge the gap of distrust that currently exists between and among stakeholder groups. By engaging in open dialogue and actively listening to the concerns and perspectives of all stakeholders, we can foster a sense of trust and work towards shared goals. In this collaborative effort, it is important to come together and create shared goals for education, acknowledging that we may not always agree on the exact methods to achieve them. What matters is that we continue moving in the right direction with a shared commitment to inclusivity, equity, continuous learning, and creating a sense of belonging for all students. Our parents, teachers, and administrators are working hard, and now we need to work hard together.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of my favorite life lesson quotes is, “We can do hard things.”

In my professional journey as an education consultant and author, I often find myself in uncharted territory. The work I do involves advocating for change, challenging traditional practices, and striving to create inclusive and equitable learning environments. It is not always an easy path, but it’s one I chose, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

When I encounter resistance or doubt, I remember my momma’s words. They remind me that just because something hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be accomplished. This mindset allows me to embrace the challenges that come my way, knowing that with determination, resilience, and hard work, I can move forward.

The quote also reminds me of the power of belief and mindset. By affirming that “we can do hard things,” we shift our perspective from viewing challenges as insurmountable barriers to seeing them as opportunities for growth and learning. It encourages us to step out of our comfort zones, take risks, and embrace the unknown.

Ultimately, this quote serves as a constant reminder that the most meaningful accomplishments often require effort, perseverance, and a willingness to tackle difficult tasks. It empowers me to approach each day with a positive mindset, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth and believing in my ability to make a difference in the field of education.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would absolutely love to share a mocha latte with Brene Brown. Her work on vulnerability and courage rocked my world. I admire her ability to tackle difficult topics with honesty and compassion, and I always hear her voice in my head when I’m trying to show up and be seen. Brene, if you’re ever looking for an advocate for inclusion on your podcast, I’m your girl!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Luckily, I’m easy to find. To follow my work online, you can visit my website at novakeducation.com. There, you’ll find information about the books I’ve written, details about my consulting services, and access to valuable resources on topics such as inclusive practices and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). You can also stay updated by following me on Twitter (@KatieNovakUDL) and connecting with me on LinkedIn (Katie Novak, Ed.D.). I’m excited to connect with you and others in the cloud.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

Katie Novak of Novak Education: 5 Things That Should Be Done To Improve The US Educational System was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.