Staff

Human Restoration Project was founded in 2018 to assist everyday educators in radically changing education systems.

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STAFF MEMBERS

A headshot of Nick Covington.

Nick Covington

he/him
Creative Director

Nick teaches high school Social Studies in Ankeny, Iowa public schools, and promotes progressive education across the board in his classroom. Nick aims to reestablish the idea of what school could be to one of student-centered success that relies on their ideas and knowledge, instead of a dictated “future ready” curriculum.

dr. jen lucas

she/her
teacher action research coordinator

Jen is an Assistant Principal in a Texas public school in the greater Houston area. She is passionate about arts advocacy, and it is her hope that students will come to see art not simply as a reflection of culture but rather as a powerful tool to create it. Having grown up in rural Montana, she appreciates Houston’s scarcity of snow and enjoys exploring the city with her family.

A headshot of Chris McNutt.

Chris McNutt

he/him
Founder, Executive Director

Chris is obsessed with the benefits of progressive education and wants a practical place to find everything, for free, under one roof (hence HRP!) He is a public high school digital media & design educator who centers his practice on experiential learning, purpose-driven pathways, and community involvement.

A headshot of Naoya Okamoto.

Naoya Okamoto

he/him
Development Assistant

Naoya is a college student in New York who's excited about creating schools that are truly driven by the needs of every student. He's especially interested in connecting students with experiential learning experiences that help them develop the self-efficacy they need to impact their communities.

A headshot of Thomas White.

Thomas White

he/him
Development Director

Thomas is a recent high school English teacher, writer, and amateur gardener.  He lives in Portland with his wife, his son, and two Australian Shepherd dogs. He writes about culture, policy, and school.

*Our organization is really white and almost entirely male, and we recognize this is a problem. We're actively working to counteract this with future hiring and leadership decisions, and this is our primary objective in funding proposals. Our main goal as we expand HRP is to better reflect our community.

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100 Days of Conversations IniTiative

A headshot of Olivia Chiang.

Olivia Chiang

she/her
Social Media

Olivia is a freshman at Nueva High School in San Mateo, California. She enjoys dance, upcycling clothing, and Girl Scouts. Through her Girl Scout Silver Award project, she realized that teens today lack the core skill to discuss social issues, especially with people of different views. She joined this initiative to fight polarization, form connections through conversations, and improve education

A headshot of Summer Freed.

Summer Freed

she/her
Social Media

Summer is a social media professional based in Minnesota. Over the past six years she has worked with businesses, startups, nonprofit organizations, and student groups to create cohesive and effective social media and marketing strategies. She studied Media Culture and Leadership at the University of Minnesota, and is eager to employ the power of storytelling and conversation to amplify youth voices and create change with the 100 Days of Conversations project.

A headshot of Lea Henaux.

Léa Henaux

she/her
Social Media

Léa is a first-year university student at Minerva Schools at KGI currently studying in San Francisco. She is passionate about history, political science, and education. She is excited to hear from, interact and work with all the diverse and amazing people participating in these important discussions. Through the use of social platforms, she hopes to ensure that all youth voices have the opportunity to be heard and be supported.

A headshot of Nonto Mdlalose.

Nontobeko Mdlalose

she/her
Social Media

Nonto is a Business Management and Communications graduate from South Africa. She is passionate about sharing ideas and connecting with people, and loves to engage with people of different races, culture and to learn their ways of living. In her culture, she upholds the value of UBUNTU (I am because you are), which she believes has kept the world moving because of how life connects us. Further she believes that education is the backbone which shapes our understanding, hopes, dreams and how we view ourselves and those around us.

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Board of Directors

A headshot of Sunil Singh.

Sunil Singh

he/him
President

Mr. Singh is a former mathematics and physics teacher, who has taught the basics to IB math in honors-level courses. From socioeconomically challenged environments in Toronto to the prestigious International School of Lausanne in Switzerland, Mr. Singh has become a leader in creative math education. He is an Adviser at Amplify and a Content Creator at Mathigon, and is author of Pi of Life: The Hidden Happiness of Mathematics and Math Recess: Playful Learning in an Age of Disruption.

A headshot of Julia Fliss.

Julia Fliss

she/her
Secretary

Ms. Fliss is a language arts educator at Evergreen Middle School in Evergreen, Colorado. Ms. Fliss is an active supporter of progressive education, and encourages the use and exploration of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by connecting with educators around the world. She is incredibly passionate about supporting HRP’s message and finding ways to promote equitable, empowering environments.

A headshot of Skylar Primm.

Skylar Primm

he/him
Treasurer

Mr. Primm is a science educator at High Marq Environmental Charter School in Montello, Wisconsin, a small public charter school centered on interdisciplinary experiential learning with a focus on the environment. Mr. Primm is involved in his school’s governance council and serves as treasurer of the board for the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education. Further, Mr. Primm was one of the earliest and steadfast supporters of HRP.

A headshot of Bennett Jester.

Bennett Jester

he/him
Student Representative

Mr. Jester is a high school student who is an advocate of progressive pedagogy, specifically gradeless learning, who is pursuing unschooling in his own educational career. Jester’s voice and perspective is imperative for us creating a truly multifaceted organization, and offers a student voice to all of our resources and endeavors.

A headshot of Traci Nicole Smith.

Dr. Traci Nicole Smith

she/her
Member

Dr. Smith has 26 years of experience as a public-school teacher, leader, and graduate school instructor. She resides in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is a nationally recognized city known for its school reforms in public education yet is plagued with challenges. Traci is the founder of The Institute for Conscious-Driven Living, which is a learning portal designed to assist helpers and healers navigate their personal and professional journeys.

A headshot of John Warner.

John Warner

he/him
Member

Mr. Warner is an English professor at the University of Charleston, the author of many works including So You Want to Be President? and The Funny Man, a weekly columnist for the Chicago Tribune, contributor to Inside Higher Ed. He has focused his recent work on writing pedagogy in Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and its companion work, The Writer’s Practice: Building Confidence in Your Nonfiction Writing.

A headshot of Yong Zhao.

Dr. Yong Zhao

he/him
Member

Dr. Zhao is the Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and advocate of self-directed, meaningful learning. Zhao is a well-established author and researcher that can help us navigate human-centered practice, including writing What Works May Hurt and An Education Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste: How Radical Changes Can Spark Student Excitement and Success.

Emeritus Members

A headshot of Sean Michael Morris.

Sean Michael Morris

Mr. Morris is a Senior Instructor of Learning, Design, and Technology in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado at Denver, director of the Digital Pedagogy Lab, and former director of Hybrid Pedagogy. Morris is an expert on critical pedagogy, instructional design, digital learning, and social justice, and regularly presents and creates resources. Further, he is the co-author of An Urgency of Teachers.

A headshot of Susan Engel.

Dr. Susan Engel

Dr. Engel is a professor of developmental psychology at Williams College, with a focus on curiosity, school reform, and educational research. Her many works include The Hungry Mind: The Origins of Curiosity in Childhood and The End of the Rainbow: How Educating for Happiness, Not Money, Would Transform Our Schools. Further, Dr. Engel is co-founder and educational advisor to the Hayground School in Bridgehampton, NY.