Susan Lyon, Ed.D
Susan Lyon, Ed.D., founded The Innovative Teacher Project, (ITP) in 1994 at Dominican University in San Rafael, California. Susan's interest in the Reggio Emilia approach to education began in 1991 when she visited the city of Reggio Emilia with a delegation of international educators. In 1993, Susan brought "The Hundred Languages of Children" exhibit from Reggio Emilia, Italy, to the San Francisco Bay Area creating the initial interest and research of the Reggio Emilia Approach within public and private schools, colleges, and universities. In 2000, a collaboration between the School of Education at Mills College and ITP was initiated. The exhibit returned to Mills College for two years, and ITP organized ongoing professional development with Italian colleagues for local educators.
The same exhibit evolved into The Wonder of Learning that is currently traveling worldwide and features the expressive world of children. It was originally the catalyst for Susan's ongoing interest in this innovative and respectful approach to educating children and the importance of ongoing professional development for teachers.
Susan's teaching experience includes 15 years of preschool through second grade along with several years as a professor in the Education Departments of Dominican University and Mills College. At Mills, she was a scholar at the Women's Leadership Institute where her research focused on international perspectives of early childhood education. After teaching, Susan decided to create her own educational foundation in order to direct contributions to the field of early childhood education.
Susan is one of the founders and a past co-chairs of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA), which works to promote the quality of early childhood education in the United States. Her advocacy for preschool education is reflected by her unwavering commitment to the educational community. She has served as board treasurer of S.F.A.E.Y.C. and as a member of the Bay Area Early Childhood Funders. Under Susan's direction, a five-year pilot project integrating the Reggio approach at the Presidio Child Development Center in San Francisco was established.
The last ten years Susan has devoted her time to building La Scuola International School in San Francisco and expanding and developing the network of The Innovative Teacher Project.
Susan is the author of numerous articles and has lectured extensively on various topics related to early childhood education. Susan's articles were published in journals including: Child Care Information Exchange, Innovations in Early Education, and Rutledge Professional Journal. Susan has presented at the National Association for Young Children, The California Association for Young Children, and the World Forum on Early Care in Education. She produced a video, "The Hundred Languages of Children," which is distributed worldwide.
Susan celebrates a career of over 35 years in early childhood education. She currently advises ITP and supports the work in education through her foundation and consultancy. She lives part time in Italy with her Italian-American husband.
Heather is the executive director of The Innovative Teacher Project.
Heather has nearly 20 years of experience working with teachers, families, and children in the Bay Area. Heather focused on a reflective, responsive, and collaborative approach in her work as the Executive Director of GeoKids for eleven years. Starting in the summer of 2016, she began serving at the Executive Director of Holy Family Day Home which serves homeless and low income families in the heart of the Mission District in San Francisco.
Heather has presented various workshops all over the country and has worked closely with the Innovative Teacher Project for the past ten years. Heather has traveled to Reggio Emilia, Italy, as a part of the Spring 2006, 2008, and 2015 delegations that were organized by Reggio Children.