Meet Our Staff
Susan Lyon, Ed.D., founded The Innovative Teacher Project, (ITP) in
1994 at Dominican University in San Rafael, California. Susan's
interest in the Reggio Emilia approach to education began in 1991 when
she visited the city of Reggio Emilia with a delegation of
international educators. In 1993, Susan brought "The Hundred
Languages of Children" exhibit from Reggio Emilia, Italy, to the San
Francisco Bay Area creating the initial interest and research of the
Reggio Emilia Approach within public and private schools, colleges, and
universities. In 2000, a collaboration between the School of Education
at Mills College and ITP was initiated. The exhibit returned to Mills
College for two years, and ITP organized ongoing professional
development with Italian colleagues for local educators.
exhibit evolved into The Wonder of Learning that is currently traveling
worldwide and features the expressive world of children. It was
originally the catalyst for Susan's ongoing interest in this
innovative and respectful approach to educating children and the
importance of ongoing professional development for teachers.
teaching experience includes 15 years of preschool through second
grade along with several years as a professor in the Education
Departments of Dominican University and Mills College. At Mills, she
was a scholar at the Women's Leadership Institute where her research
focused on international perspectives of early childhood
education. After teaching, Susan decided to create her own educational
foundation in order to direct contributions to the field of early
Susan is one of the founders and a past
co-chairs of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA), which
works to promote the quality of early childhood education in the
United States. Her advocacy for preschool education is reflected by
her unwavering commitment to the educational community. She has served
as board treasurer of S.F.A.E.Y.C. and as a member of the Bay Area
Early Childhood Funders. Under Susan's direction, a five-year pilot
project integrating the Reggio approach at the Presidio Child
Development Center in San Francisco was established.
The last ten
years Susan has devoted her time to building La Scuola International
School in San Francisco and expanding and developing the network of
The Innovative Teacher Project.
Susan is the author of numerous
articles and has lectured extensively on various topics related to
early childhood education. Susan's articles were published in
journals including: Child Care Information Exchange, Innovations in
Early Education, and Rutledge Professional Journal. Susan has presented
at the National Association for Young Children, The California
Association for Young Children, and the World Forum on Early Care in
Education. She produced a video, "The Hundred Languages of Children,"
which is distributed worldwide.
Susan celebrates a career of over 35
years in early childhood education. She currently advises ITP and
supports the work in education through her foundation and
consultancy. She lives part time in Italy with her Italian-American
Heather is the new executive director of The Innovative Teacher Project.
Heather has nearly 20 years of experience working with teachers, families, and children in the Bay Area. Heather focused on a reflective, responsive, and collaborative approach in her work as the Executive Director of GeoKids for eleven years. Starting in the summer of 2016, she began serving at the Executive Director of Holy Family Day Home which serves homeless and low income families in the heart of the Mission District in San Francisco.
Heather has presented various workshops all over the country and has worked closely with the Innovative Teacher Project for the past ten years. Heather has traveled to Reggio Emilia, Italy, as a part of the Spring 2006, 2008, and 2015 delegations that were organized by Reggio Children.