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About Me

Across 35+ years in education I’ve worked as a classroom teacher, special education teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, elementary principal, curriculum and staff development specialist, author, speaker, and consultant.


On each of the stops along my journey, I’ve been fortunate to work alongside scores of other committed and caring educators from whom I have learned so much. Together, we’ve worked to create the kinds of classrooms where: 

  • Joyful and engaged learning is evident everywhere you look.
  • Everyone is a learner -adults and kids alike – growing, evolving and stretching day by day.
  • Evidence-based approaches are valued as a cornerstone for instructional design.
  • A kid-centered, strengths-based approach is the driver of all decision-making.
  • Adults look for and celebrate the beauty of each and every child.
  • There are abundant and authentic opportunities for reading, writing, and conversation. 
  • The practices of self-awareness, self-care, and self-regulation are valued for adults and students.
  • We remember that this work is much bigger than the big test!

No matter where I’ve been, or what my role, I’ve learned that success in schools takes courage, commitment, and collaboration.

None of us can do this urgent work alone.  It is only when we harness our collective energy, effort, and optimism that we’ll be able to create and sustain the vibrant classroom communities needed to equip students for the great journey that lies ahead for each of them.

Along the way, I’ve written some things down, hoping other educators might benefit from my experiences and opportunities. 

Besides being an educator . . . 

  • I am a mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
  • I love waterskiing because it makes me feel summery and young and free.
  • I love quilting because it allows me put small, unrelated scraps together in new and beautiful ways.
  • I love watercolor painting because of how it brings a blank page alive with both vibrancy and softness.
  • I practice yoga and meditation because they help me center and stretch both mind and body.
  • I read to connect with other people’s thoughts, ideas and inner lives.
  • I write to discover and share what’s inside of me.
  • I’m an early morning riser and a late afternoon napper.
  • I’m crazy for popcorn with lots of butter and dark chocolate with pretzels.

Most important for you, however, is knowing I am passionate about working with school leaders, coaches, and teachers to build brighter life outcomes for students, one next step at a time.

(This work, of course, can be always be paired with eating popcorn and chocolate.)

You can follow me on Twitter @Kari_Yates

My most recent work is over at where Jan Burkins and I are working to support the shift to support educators in making learning to read easier, not harder for children.

If you want to connect, inquire about speaking or professional development, you can reach out to me at [email protected] .