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Clare McKenna

Clare McKenna

National Program Director

As National Program Director, Clare works in partnership with HFLI’s leadership team to advance HFLI’s national programs and vision of excellence in education for all. Clare believes education should ultimately foster students’ abilities to creatively transform their world, and she leverages a Deeper Learning by Doing® approach to promote experiences that guide learners to develop future-of-work readiness skills and competencies. She spent ten years working in Detroit education as a secondary ELA teacher, a literacy instructional coach, an assistant principal, the founding principal of University Prep Art & Design Middle School, and the director of academics for a network of ten K-12 schools. In each of these roles, Clare’s practice was grounded in culturally responsive and restorative practices, aiming to develop strong relationships, with all community members, rooted in empathy, respect, dignity, and mutual concern. Leveraging these relationships, Clare worked to create systems that centered the voices of students and families in order to co-create academic and cultural rituals rooted in learning and joy. Dedicated to liberating education in Detroit and beyond, Clare is the board co-chair of Detroit Connect, which works to connect and mobilize professionals across the state of Michigan who are passionate about advocating for equitable educational outcomes for all students. She earned her School Administrator Certification in Education Leadership through Grand Valley State University, her M.A. in Teaching Secondary Education from Oakland University, and her B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University.

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