The Center for Innovative Education Team

Additional Members of the Astra Team

Kristin Blais

Kris has been with the Astra Foundation since 2001. For many years, Astra’s primary focus was creating programs and curricula that emphasize individualized, relationship-based, and developmental approaches to working with children with autism and other challenges of relating and communicating. She is excited to help Astra bring many of these same principles of human development to all learners through the Center for Innovative Education. Kris’ master’s work focused on the critical nature of emotion in the learning process, and she is especially interested in classroom applications of current research relating to authentic engagement, relationships, and creativity. Kris is a certified K-8 teacher and stays in the classroom part-time teaching middle school math and literature in addition to her work with Astra. 

Sara Bailey

Sara’s work focuses on researching innovative practices at schools across the country, building partnerships with like-minded organizations, and creating professional development materials that allow schools to think deeply about their current practice and implement a more innovative approach.  Her previous experience as a middle and high school teacher at the F.W. Parker Charter Essential School allowed her to refine her instructional stance and prioritize building strong relationships with students and families; she also worked to develop engaging teaching strategies that built on students’ natural curiosity and wonder.  Sara attended Boston College, where she earned her B.A. in Secondary Education and English, and she is a certified English teacher in both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.  She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband, son, and cats.

Mary Kadera

Mary has more than 25 years of experience in education, working in a variety of capacities to support educators and students and to transform K-12 teaching and learning so that it is more engaging, effective, relevant, and joyful. Prior to her current work with the Astra Center for Innovative Education, she served as interim executive director at Center for Inspired Teaching in Washington, DC. She has consulted with nonprofits including The George Lucas Educational Foundation, Learning Forward, TED, PBS, and others. Earlier in her career, Mary was the vice president for education at PBS, where she managed PBS’s portfolio of national digital education services and coordinated the educational initiatives of PBS and its local member stations. She began her career as a high school teacher of English and Biology in Virginia’s public schools.  

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Bernard Haan

bern@astrafoundation.org

Bernard Haan is the founder and Executive Director of the Astra Foundation. After graduating from Brown University in 1984, Bern began a career in high tech. He went on to lead the engineering team of an internet start-up. In 2000, he established the Astra Foundation. Since that time, Astra has supported a variety of projects and initiatives designed to help children thrive in their home and educational environments. In addition to his work with Astra, Bern is the board chair of Parenting Journey and president of the board of trustees of ICDL. Bern lives in Acton with his wife, Cindy Stack, and their children.

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