At Catalyst, every student is excited about learning and engaged in her education and intellectual development. Learning is playful, relevant, project/problem based, and appropriately challenging…
At Catalyst, every student understands that learning is not limited to school contexts and textbooks. Opportunities for observing, questioning, synthesizing, and creating meaning are ever-present in students’ lives. Learning to recognize these moments is crucial. Students develop the desire to pursue them and the skills to explore and evaluate them....
At Catalyst, every student deserves an education that prepares her for the needs of her individual future, not for our collective past. Our purpose in education is to develop autonomous problem-solving and facilitate each child’s quest to create meaning from the world around her. These goals intentionally encompass 21st Century skills, such as creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. STEAM competencies are nurtured as an outgrowth of our future focused approach. Students must be challenged and empowered to be builders of their futures. We provide an environment that encourages agency in their learning...
Christy Durham is an educator with over 15 years of elementary and middle school teaching experience. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. First beginning her career at the Walt Disney Company as a recruiter, she pursued her passion for teaching in 1998 and soon landed at the prestigious Buckley School in Sherman Oaks as a 6th grade teacher. A valued member of the Buckley faculty and popular with her students, Christy helped plan and orchestrate the 6th grade outdoor educational program. She was also instrumental in the creation of a diversity initiative round table for the Buckley faculty. Most recently, she developed procedures for newly hired personnel. Her connection with her students was recognized in 2011 when she was awarded the Buckley School’s Parent’s Association Award – which gave her the opportunity to study in Peru. Later in 2012, she was also awarded the National Junior Honor Society Teacher of the Year Award. Having increasingly developed a teaching philosophy around integrated, project-based learning, Christy left Buckley in 2012 to teach 4th and 5th grade at Los Encinos School, where this teaching philosophy is part of the daily curriculum. With this experience, Christy now begins a new chapter as a co-founder of Catalyst Education, a team that is focused on revolutionizing education. Christy and her partners most recently presented at Archer School for Girls STEM conference and the Milken Community School Playful Learning Summit.
Tedd Wakeman has been working with children in education, recreation, and research for two decades. He worked locally with LAUSD, teaching inner-city youth at the elementary level for 13 years, while concurrently traveling the country teaching and developing STEM curriculum for Nike/Eco Educators. Tedd has also taught extensively across the globe. He worked in the Republic of the Maldives, teaching English to groups of adults from over 25 different nations while diving the local coral reefs as a dive master. In Bali, he lived and worked with Indonesian rice farmers, implementing permaculture practices while utilizing a distance education program created through Queensland, Australia to educate local teenagers. Tedd went on to spend two years in Costa Rica where he taught 4th-5th grade, while exploring local rainforest ecosystems. After these varied approaches and experiences in the field of education, he returned to Los Angeles and joined the GameDesk team in founding the revolutionary PlayMaker School. PlayMaker gained notoriety for its unique approach to 21st Century learning and game-based curriculum. Tedd's current adventure has been the founding of Catalyst Education, where he hopes to preserve the spirit of creativity and curiosity in elementary-aged students as they grow and transition to middle school. Catalyst opens its Malibu campus in September 2015 with The Sycamore School.
Innovator and educator AJ Webster brings more than 15 years of classroom experience to Catalyst Education. He holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, as well as a Single Subject Teaching Credential in science. He began his teaching career at the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks as a 6th grade teacher. Over the years, he has taught science, Latin, language arts, math, and social science. AJ left Buckley in 2012 to pursue his passion for game-and project-based learning with the PlayMaker program at New Roads. AJ also embraces the Maker Movement, in which students design, construct, and “think with their hands.” AJ’s work with the PlayMaker School was featured on PBS News Hour. He has conducted workshops for the national Game Learning Society and was the keynote speaker for the 2014 Milken Playful Learning Summit. He has been a panelist at P+W’s SparkLA event and at the Institute for the Future. AJ continues to focus on revolutionizing learning as a co-founder of Catalyst Education.