The award-winning UnSchool model is the brainchild of sociologist, designer, and cultural protagonist Dr. Leyla Acaroglu (A-jar-a-loo), who is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of disruptive design, sustainability, and education. After completing her PhD in change-centric disruptive design in 2014, Leyla started developing the Disruptive Design Method that is the backbone of her unique approach to positively affecting social change; thus, the UnSchool evolved as a medium to agitate the status quo’s knowledge exchange methods and understanding of what it means to be ‘sustainable’. Her brilliant educational methodology and environmental expertise shows in her mainstage TED Talk that has over a million views and is one of the most-watched TED talks on sustainability. Leyla has won a host of design awards for her projects: The Design Play Cards, The Secret Life of Things, The Game Changer Game, Designercise. She also founded two additional design agencies, Eco Innovators and Disrupt Design, in support of her mission to activate positive change through all her creative provocations.
Director of Communications and Strategy
Heidi is an action-oriented collaborator and consultant for social enterprises. She has been referred to as the "Mary Poppins of Startups" and has been an integral part of the UnSchool since Day 0. Her role involves a dynamic mix of strategy, communications, outreach, and community engagement. In her practice, she combines our Disruptive Design Method, the aspirations of Ephemeralization, and her experience in Lean Startup, pushing us to test out (and validate) the many avenues through which we can activate change as an organization. In addition to communicating what we're all about and what we've got on offer, Heidi looks for opportunities to amplify the voices of our growing community of alumni and mentors. Having dedicated her undergrad years to studying Alternatives, Social Change & Social Entrepreneurship, it only seems fit that she is obsessed with exploring and co-creating alternative ways to activate change and unschool with us. Originally from New York, she currently lives in Mexico City, where she explores personal projects that range from unpacking Chilango slang, to concocting the best possible batches of cold brew.
Global Program Manager
Vicky is a designer of meaningful systems and programs. She is the wizard behind the curtain who makes good things happen beautifully and effectively. With years of experience developing and managing global education programs, she brings a strategic and analytic core to help grow the impact of UnSchool programs. As Global Programs Manager, she is focused on the consistently fabulous delivery of UnSchool core programs as well as evolving offerings to un-school more communities. Vicky currently lives in Carrboro, NC and consults global organizations to build their capacity with smarter strategies, systems and stories. She is obsessed with busting knowledge silos and connecting people, ideas and tools for greater access and impact. With her curiosity in rethinking education pathways, she is thrilled to be a part of the UnSchool’s exploration of knowledge transfer.
Realtionships and Community Manager
Esteban Gast is an educator, entertainer, and entrepreneur currently working as President of the Kalu Yala Institute, an experiential education and environmental institute in Panama. He is thrilled to be part of the UnSchool team, where he is eager to learn and connect with a community as passionate about dynamic, challenging, and action-oriented education and as he is. He is Colombian, grew up in Puerto Rico and for years lived in Central Illinois. Before moving to Panama, he developed and taught classes on creativity at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he co-authored a book on creativityand developed an online version of the course. He travels as a stand up comedian, is a TEDx speaker, speaks at colleges and high schools and makes short films. His most recent short film "Teach" is a satire on the white savior narrative present in Hollywood films. He's passionate about finding the intersection between education and entertainment and doing all he can to ensure that the UnSchool tribe is activated.
Regina is a Mexican development, arts, technology and language appassionada. She is a project-manager-Internationalist by schooling and a paparazzi-quesadilla-chef by un-schooling. As part of the Fellowships team, Regina has helped the crazy flow of awesomeness and surprises become an organized chaos of un-learning, fun and discovery for all the agents that take part in these programs. She loves to work in projects that involve empowering individuals, sharing information and questioning the way current systems promote progress and development. She has devoted most of her professional life to the NGO realm, where she has worked on sustainable urban development projects, promoting/building dialog between organized citizens and government entities, and on education in multicultural indigenous communities in Jalisco. Currently, she is also project manager at the design studio Bestias en la Sopa and a blogger for Ciudad Pixel.
Kathleen has been on the UnSchool's radar since it was still a brain-embryo-idea, and we are thrilled that she will now be running the show in Berlin for our first European fellowship program. She says herself that she would probably have been much better in school if real school had been a bit more the UnSchool. She got herself educated in various parts of the world, real life school, in New York, Melbourne, Berlin and Hamburg. With a background in cultural studies and arts management, Kathleen has always worked in the field of storytelling and/or curating events, from very DIY to very high end, mostly in the field of Arts and Media. She worked for music TV, public radio, governmental and non-profit institutions, currently as a producer for documentary films. Applying sustainable methods into the process of film production is one of her current topics and sometimes does her head in.
Producer, New Zealand
Bec attended the first UnSchool Fellowship in New York and has been hooked on the UnSchool ever since. Co-hosting the Melbourne Fellowship in January 2016 and now bringing the UnSchool to her homeland of New Zealand in January 2017. Bec can’t wait to give emerging leaders from across the Pacific (and further afield) the opportunity to be Unschooled and given real tools to create positive change in their own domains. Bec is the Lead Catalyst of her Sustainability Consultancy and Collaboratory, Sustainable Projects. She’s a seasoned project manager + doer of many varied projects, focused on delivering meaningful and positive impacts for people and the planet. Bec’s recent projects include launching the Good On You ethical fashion rating app in New Zealand and designing and producing an exhibition on climate change.