Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE): Building Environments for Student Success (1 LU)

Program food and beverages generously sponsored by One Workplace.



Join the Committee on Architecture for Education for a panel exploring how learning environments can support our continuously evolving approach to teaching and learning – and ultimately – how those environments can positively impact student success.

The emergence of new pedagogies is driven by a recognition that today’s students are developing in a very different world than those of the past, when traditional educational models were developed. The proliferation of technology, changing workforce trends, and our growing awareness of how students learn mean that one-size-fits-all industrialized education is nearing obsolescence. New approaches that meet students where they are, in the variety of ways they learn, require learning environments designed for flexibility, adaptability, and authorship. The traditional factory floor model of desks in rows with the teacher at the front now has very limited applications, yet makes up the bulk of educational spaces.

Since architecture is by nature difficult and expensive to change, schools are struggling to adapt their physical assets under new pedagogies, let alone build new facilities. This panel will bring together leaders from private, public and charter school environments to explore the successes, challenges, and opportunities of adapting existing environments, and to consider new ideas for learning environments to support changing methods of teaching and learning.


Learning Objectives:

  • Discover how new pedagogies in practice today create a demand for new types of spaces and programs.
  • Explore with the panel what works and what’s missing in learning environments that can support new pedagogies.
  • Identify ways in which can space accommodate the needs of different learners, while being cost-conscious, and without creating impediments to flexibility.
  • Recognize the barriers to building effective space for learning and how can they be overcome.


About the Presenters:


Kirsten Daehler (Moderator)

Kirsten Daehler is the mom of two teenage daughters, a former high school chemistry and physics teacher, the Director of Making Sense of SCIENCE teacher professional learning, and an Associate Director of the STEM program at WestEd — a nonprofit educational research organization. Her driving passion is to transform the way educators learn the complex art of science teaching. Her work in the field has led to a respectful and impactful model of teacher professional learning that strengthens classroom practices and has a proven track record of increasing student achievement. Her work helps build leadership capacity in districts and regions across the U.S. to support next generation science learning and engaging STEM education. Kirsten’s research interests focus on expert teacher knowledge, children’s science thinking, and teacher pedagogical content knowledge.


Matt Pietras, AIA, LEED AP (Co-Moderator)

Matt is a proponent of evidence-based design and building intelligent places to better align with institutional mission and culture. He considers himself a gentle provocateur, and for this evening’s event, Matt aims to be a catalyst for uncovering insight and inspiring forward-thinking discussion.

Matt is an Associate Principal at Solomon Cordwell Buenz in San Francisco, focused on supporting student and institutional success through his work at premier university and college campus environments. Off-hours, Matt is a passionate co-chair of the AIASF Committee on Architecture for Education.


Wanda M. Holland Greene

Wanda M. Holland Greene is Head of School at The Hamlin School in San Francisco, a mission-driven institution dedicated to best practices and innovation in the education of girls and young women. She is nationally recognized as an experienced leader in education with a powerful voice and presence, and she has focused careful attention on academic and ethical excellence, gender equity, performance evaluation, diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, and global citizenship. Prior to Ms. Holland Greene’s tenure at Hamlin, which began in 2008, she served for eleven years as a senior administrator at The Park School in Brookline, MA. She began her career in education in New York City at The Columbia Greenhouse Nursery School and continued thereafter at The Chapin School, where she was a teacher and the school’s first Director of Student Life. Currently, she is a trustee at Columbia University, Head-Royce School, a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow at The Aspen Institute, and a former trustee of Concord Academy, The Chapin School, Hamilton Families, and Lick-Wilmerding High School. A former faculty member of the National Association of Independent School’s Aspiring Heads Fellowship, Wanda continues her advocacy for new heads of school as an executive coach.

A proud Brooklyn native, Wanda graduated from The Chapin School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia, majoring in English Literature with a concentration in psychology. She holds a masters degree in curriculum design and instruction from Teachers College, a permanent teaching license in New York State, and has completed extensive coursework in private school leadership at The Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Center at Columbia.

Mary Oliver poetry, live music, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, journal writing, and travel provide much-needed rejuvenation and quiet pauses between her commitments to work and family.


Ryan Chapman

Ryan is the Co-founder and Head of School for the New School of San Francisco, a K-12 public charter school. Established in 2015, New School’s focus is on the whole child, instilling curiosity, and providing personalized learning based on a student’s interests and needs. Over the past 21 years, Ryan has worked to start-up and grow education organizations focused on expanding opportunity and bridging communities. This work has spanned the non-profit and public sectors, focused on both youth and adults, and landed him in Asia, Europe, and the US. Before New School SF, Ryan held leadership and/or Founding Director roles at Teach for America, Leaders’ Quest, Working Ventures UK, and Breakthrough. Ryan started his career in finance with RCM Capital Management in San Francisco.

Ryan received his B.A. in developmental psychology and K-6 teaching certification from Vassar College and Masters of Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University. He lives in SF with his wife, daughter and son (both New School students and 5th generation San Franciscans). The families been adopted by an orange tabby cat who thinks he’s a dog and a 110 pound Great Pyrenees who thinks he’s an area rug.


Bruce Duncan

Even from the start of his teaching career, Bruce has been deeply interested in the interplay between learning spaces, engagement and learning. He’s written and won multiple grants to improve the design of active learning spaces, including a Schools Plus grant to build an entire set of flexible classroom furniture to a Steelcase Active Learning Center grant for Lipman Middle School in Brisbane, CA.

Currently serving as the Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning for the Burlingame School District (BSD), Bruce works to catalyze new/different/better approaches to designing and facilitating active learning experiences for the young learners served by BSD. His work encompasses many facets of systems re-design, including the re-design of learning spaces and furnishings. Bruce strives to increase impact by encouraging teacher exploration and innovation, sponsoring professional learning, and strengthening stakeholder connections and engagement.



  • AIASF Member: $5
  • General Admission: $10

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