Shawn T. Loescher is an American Educational Research Association (AERA) awarded scholarly practitioner in the field of action research and sciences with over 25 years of experience. He began his career as an educator as a teacher’s aide at the age of 17—a path that led to P/K-12 teaching, adjunct professorship, administrative work, and cabinet-level school district leadership in a diverse group of settings, schools, and education systems domestically and abroad. Dr. Loescher has a proven record of successful educational leadership having served as a Chief Executive Officer, District Executive Director, District Director, Program Specialist, Principal, and Academy Director. He has been a presenter to the California Senate Education Committee on the topic of career readiness and post-secondary preparedness. He has served as a member of think tank groups and special committees for groups such as the International Center for Leadership in Education and the Center for Secondary School Redesign.
Recently, the internationally renowned TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) organization named Dr. Loescher as one of their 16 worldwide awardees for the TED-Ed Innovative Educators for 2019. He recorded his talk at the TED Summit in Edinburgh Scotland in July 2019. Dr. Loescher was the keynote speaker for the Center for Secondary School Redesign 2019 conference on the topic of redesigning the educational experience. He was honored by the University of California at San Diego as a featured scholar in their Design@Large series where he present on design thinking for organizational and community development. His research was featured at the 2018 AERA annual meeting in New York City and his work Hope as Strategy: The Effectiveness of an Innovation of the Mind was named the AERA Action Research Special Interest Group Dissertation of the Year for 2020.
Dr. Loescher has been responsible for the effective implementation and sustainability of multiple federal, state, and private/non-profit grants. He has extensive experience on college and career readiness, workforce development, and pathway alignment as reviewed in the U.S. Department of Education commissioned research report of Bachofer, Betts, and Zau (2014). He earned his Doctorate in Education with a focus on leadership and innovation at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College of Arizona State University. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of an inner-city innovative school system in San Diego, CA utilizing design thinking for social transformation.
As the Chief Executive Officer of Urban Discovery Schools Dr. Loescher is charged with the development of an inner-city K/12 school system based upon Design Thinking. He has put a focus on the development and implementation of programs and services to address school site culture, the program of study, college and career readiness, social-emotional learning, human resource development, and all aspects of operations using both Design Thinking and action research. This has included expanding the number of schools and urban locations in partnership with higher education institutions. Last year Dr. Loescher announced the expansion of the Design Thinking Education Center which has garnered national attention. This campus in downtown San Diego, CA will include a new elementary school, middle school, and high school location and the Design Thinking Incubation Center for community learning. Construction of this facility began in November of 2018.
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My primary research interest pertains to change agent leadership to develop systems and environments where innovative practice can thrive. My theoretical framework explores how Hope Theory (Snyder, 2002) may provide a means of navigating the elements of social oppression that may be embedded within Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory (1994; 1977).