Helen Beattie is the founder and Executive Director of UP for Learning (Unleashing the Power of Partnership for Learning). Her seemingly eclectic professional and academic life course has woven itself into the creation of UP for Learning. It reflects a life-long passion for elevating the voices of those who feel disempowered and voiceless, either in the health or education realms.
Helen spent her first decade in the professional world focusing on health education and management. This phase was launched at the American Cancer Society as the Massachusetts Director of Service and Rehabilitation, and then Coordinator of the Cancer Information Service of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. During this time, she pursued her Master’s degree in Public Health from Boston University. Her subsequent position as the Internal Medicine Residency Education and Evaluation Coordinator at the U. Mass Medical Center afforded her the opportunity to simultaneously pursue her Doctorate in Education. This professional phase culminated in her move to Vermont and role as the Director of Northern Counties Health Centers, five rural community-based health centers in the Northeast Kingdom.
At this juncture, Helen retrained as a licensed School Psychologist and Educational Consultant, returning to her first love in college as a child psychology major. After a brief period of time doing psychological evaluations, she has specialized in strategies to engage youth in school change efforts to build their learning and leadership capacity. Her goal is to decrease referrals to school psychologists by helping educators better meet the needs of all learners, ensuring that the wisdom and potential of each and every child is fully mobilized.
Helen has written multiple place-based and action research curricula which have been implemented statewide and replicated nationally, facilitated numerous student leadership and faculty development retreats, and taught a variety of Master’s level courses on school redesign, experiential education strategies and the elevation of young people as change agents. She is an ardent advocate for reshaping the conception of the role of students in learning and change and contributing to research in this domain, including co-hosting for the second year an “International Seminar: Amplifying Student Voice and Partnership”. This event brings together researchers, educators (higher education and secondary level) community and school-based practitioners and youth from around the world, with the goal to elevate this nascent concept of youth-adult partnership in learning and school change (co-hosted with Penn State and the University of Vermont).
Helen was nominated by the Vermont Agency of Education as the New England Secondary Schools Consortium 2016 “Vermont State Champion,” defined as a “persuasive voice for enhancing learning through strong policy, best practice and supportive public will.”