Wayne Jennings Vita

1996 Langton Lake Drive
St. Paul, Minnesota 55113
Phone (651) 644-2805 Cell: 651-233-3252
Email: wayne@designlearn.net

• Won and directed one of the eleven award teams to redesign American education in a nationwide competition. The design, Community Learning Centers, has been implemented in several schools.

• Started or helped start many schools: St. Paul Open School, Chiron Middle School, Saturn School of Tomorrow, St. Paul Area Learning Center, Children’s Theatre School, Mall of America High School, Minnesota New Country School, EXPO Magnet Middle School, and six charter schools (Family Learning Center, Minnesota Technology High School (Now Jennings Community School), High School for Recording Arts, Museum School, Learning Adventures Middle School, Concordia Creative Arts Academy.

• Established and directed The St. Paul Open School (1971), a K-12 research, demonstration school of the St. Paul Public Schools. It attracted 10,000 visitors and was described in articles or books. The school won the Pacesetter Award from the U. S. Office of Education as being educationally effective, cost-effective, and worthy of replication and is in its 47th year, now called Open World Learning. It pioneered personal learning plans, advisor-advisee programs, student as a resource, competency-based learning, and other progressive practices.

• As principal helped reverse the negative image and established twelve magnet programs as part of a desegregation plan at Central High School, an inner-city school for 1,800 students.

• Established and directed the Staff Development Department of the St. Paul Public Schools which provided training programs for 130 administrators and 2600 teachers.

• Published the ASCD newsletter, the Brain Compatible Learning Networker for 18 years. Author of recent books: School Transformation, 2018; Inciting Learning: A Guide to Brain-Compatible Instruction, with Joan Caulfield, 2002: Bridging the Learning/Assessment Gap: Showcase Learning, with Joan Caulfield, 2005, and other books and chapters in several books.

• Other projects: wrote Five Year Plan for Adult Literacy for St. Paul that culminated in a state-of-the-art adult learning center; member of the Congressionally funded team for the evaluation of charter schools; delivered over many addresses to workshops, seminars, and conferences; assisted several foundations and the USDE with evaluating proposals.

• Established successful businesses: construction; manufacturing fiberglass canoes; education consulting.

• Experience on boards and leadership positions include:
o President of the International Association for Learning Alternatives (2001-2018)
o Board chair Jennings Community Learning Center (2001-present)
o Board chair High School for Recording Arts (1997-2016)
o President of the Education Industry Association (1996-97)
o President of Minnesota Alliance for the Arts in Education (1996-97)
o President of The Continuum Center board (1991-1993)
o President of the National Association for Core Curriculum (1966)
o President of the Minnesota Association for Core Curriculum (1963-65)
o President of the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools (1997-99
o President of the Mounds View Public Schools’ Board of Education (1968 71)
o President of the Lauderdale School PTA(1962)
o President of St. Paul Administrators’ Forum (1980)
o President of the Board of Directors, Responses, Inc., Mpls. (1987-89)
o Vice President, Minnesota Futurists (1983 84)
o Vice president, The Minnesota Children’s Museum, St. Paul (1975 76)
o Treasurer, Center for Policy Studies (2006-2012)

• Other board positions:
o The Agency for Instructional Technology, Bloomington, IN (1981-1987)
o Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs (1991-95)
o Futurics magazine Editorial Board
o Changing School magazine Editorial Advisory Board, Muncie, IN (1979-89)
o National Advisory Committee, City Innovation (1989-1998)
o Transforming Schools Consortium (1988-2001)
o PivotPoint board member
o Brain-Compatible Learning Network Board
o Director The Institute for Learning and Teaching
o Advisory Committee for the National Association for Core Curriculum (1995-2011)
o River Heights Charter School board (2004-2006)
o Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs (current ex-officio)
o Minnesota Education Trust (2008-10)
o International Association for Learning Alternatives

• 1985-2016: Director, The Institute for Learning and Teaching
• 1996-2000 Superintendent of 4 charter schools
• 1999-2000: Adjunct Professor, Minnesota University at Mankato, MN
• 1988-2000: Adjunct Professor, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN
• 1987-2000: Chairman, Designs for Learning, Inc., St. Paul, MN
• 1985-1987: Director of Staff Development, St. Paul Public Schools, St. Paul, MN
• 1982 1985: Director of Education, Children’s Theatre Company and School, Mpls., MN
• 1980 1982: Principal, Central High School, St. Paul, MN
• 1978 1980: Principal, Battle Creek Junior High School, St. Paul, MN
• 1971 1978: Principal, St. Paul Open School, St. Paul, MN
• 1970 1971: Assistant Director, Career Study Center, St. Paul, MN
• 1967 1970: Assistant Director, City Center for Learning, St. Paul, MN
• 1960 1967: Director of Activities and Teacher, Como Park Junior, St. Paul, MN
• 1958 1960: Teacher, Phillips Junior High School, Minneapolis, MN
• 1952 1954: Instructor, U. S. Army, Fort Riley, KS
• 1944-1955: Various: railroad track maintenance, plasterer, construction, farming, manufacturing

• Bachelor of Arts as a core curriculum teacher, University of Minnesota, 1958.
• Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction, University of Minnesota, 1961.
• PhD in education, University of Minnesota, 1968.

• Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
• Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs
• National Society for the Study of Education
• Phi Delta Kappa
• John Dewey Society

• Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: best network newsletter (6 times)
• Cunningham Award for Educational Leadership
• Exemplary Contributor to Education by the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs
• Jennings Community Learning Center (high school) named for him
• Chapter describing Wayne’s work in The Educational Entrepreneur by Leisey and Lavoroni
• Selected as one of the College of Education, University of Minnesota’s 100 Distinguished Alumni
• Honorary board member of the Minnesota Association for Alternative Programs
• Listed in the Hall of Fame for Alternative Educators (Alternative Education Resource Organization)
• Selected as the Governor of Minnesota educator for the day.
• Received the John Dewey Society’s Outstanding Achievement Award for lifetime practitioner of Dewey’s schooling philosophy and practice.

School Transformation


Wayne B. Jennings Ph.D.

Key Points:

Four Goals for K-12 Education
• Active, responsible Citizenship
• Productive, satisfying careers
• Lifetime learning
• Personal fulfillment

Seven Problems of Present Schooling
• Disengagement rates of 60 %
• Dropouts (one million per year)
• In-school dropouts
• Achievement gap between poor and middle class
• Suspension levels
• Limitations of the classroom model
• Curve of forgetting

Four Attempts at Fixing Schools
• 100 million each: Miami, Philadelphia, Newark
• Federal grants (millions)
• 1000s of workshops, seminars, books
• Abundant Consultants
• But: Disappointing results

Features of our New Era
• Technology: (more to come, e.g. AI)
• Families have changed
• Race, gender equity and preferences
• Many others

Four Key findings about how the Brain Learns
• Input: the more the better
• Experience: opportunities to test one’s wings
• Feedback: essential to refine learnings
• Safety: lack of anxiety, unconditional positive regard

Nine Basic Principles for Transformed Schools
• Personal learning plans
• Advisor program
• Trust and belief in youth
• Student-directed learning
• Vision, team building, commitment
• Supportive creative team
• Partnerships (many kinds)
• Choices: students and teachers
• Technology
But, (what to do with resisters)

Some Brain Compatible Learning Activities

• Project-based, place-based ventures
• Outdoors, escape from 4 walls
• Community resources (rural also)
• Service experiences
• Field trips, local and extended
• Sparks
• Interdisciplinary
• Exchanges, schools, rural, urban, ethnicity
• Reflection
• Photography, video tape, editing
• Drama, debate
• Fine arts, practical arts
• Sports, recreation
• Oral and written history
• Writing: stories, newspapers
• Internships, Shadow studies
• Decision making, democracy, PP
• Learned expertise, geniuses
• Exhibitions, public presentations
• Restorative practices
• Pupil-teacher planning
• Student as a resource
• Camping
• Competencies (Badging)