Laura Flaxman

Laura Flaxman

Laura Flaxman

Vice President, Strategic Projects & Innovation

Laura Flaxman, Ed.L.D., has twenty-five years of experience in urban education as a teacher, principal, school founder, non-profit leader, school designer and coach. She leads a portfolio of grant-funded projects focused on reimagining how school could be – from the student to the teacher experience, as well as groundbreaking new work on developing a “growth culture” for adults within schools, districts, and nonprofits.


Laura recently completed her doctoral work at Harvard University where she worked on creating a new higher education model serving out-of-school and unemployed older youth. Laura holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Harvard along with two Master’s degrees: one in Educational Leadership (also from Harvard) and the other in English from the Bread Loaf School of English. She earned her Bachelor’s at Wesleyan University.


Before pursuing her doctoral degree, Flaxman served as the Executive Director and Co-Principal of ARISE High School, the Co-Director of the Reach Teacher Incentive Fund Consortium, and as an English instructor for the Peralta Community College District.


Laura has co-directed the Small Schools Project for the Coalition of Essential Schools. She launched a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded national project that created ten new schools and converted five large schools into small schools. She also worked for Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound in New York City where she co-created and supported several new middle schools and some existing high schools. She has taught English, art and social studies at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, a residential treatment center in Manhattan, and South Bronx High School, where she coordinated a program with the New York City Outward Bound Center.


Flaxman came to Oakland in 2000 to start Life Academy, a small district high school, where she served as principal. She founded and served on the board of the Oakland Public Education Fund and is currently on the Advisory Board of the San Francisco Film School. Dr. Flaxman is also the co-author of Small Schools, Big Ideas: The Essential Guide to Successful School Transformation.

About the Author