The Catalyst Approach

The Catalyst Approach is a comprehensive professional development and implementation model developed by creative partners Nancy Burns and Jacki Brickman, and is based on their observations in more than 50,000 classrooms and school-wide common spaces. It includes a suite of courses, coaching components, leadership development, and systems support that accelerates deep implementation of skills that lead to the creation of improved classroom and school leadership, relationships, and culture.


Empowering leaders to strengthen relationships and create cultures where people propel each other to learn and grow while embracing who they are.


Every student is surrounded by leaders who understand, nurture, inspire and support them.

Core Values

  • Opportunities to lead are everywhere
  • Make connections
  • Be a champion of equity
  • Speak up
  • Persevere and problem solve
  • Serve and inspire
  • Set the bar high for quality services and meet it – every single time


A full suite of engaging workshops that accelerate strong school leadership, positive relationships, and cohesive cultures


  • Whole Group Leadership
  • Keeping Them in the Room
  • Trauma Informed T.L.C.
  • Equitable T.L.C.
  • Classroom Support Leadership
  • Co-Teaching Strategies Synchronized Teaching
  • UNIS: Creating Groups that Understand, Nurture, Inspire, and Support Each Other
  • Small Group Leadership: Maximizing Instructional Impact “Right Here”
  • Managing Multiple Small Groups: Strategies for Increasing Independence “Out There”
  • Early Childhood Classroom Leadership
  • Technology Secrets
  • Field Trip
  • Practical Tips for Proctoring Tests
  • Understanding Learning Styles and the Impact on Differentiation


  • Feedback that Empowers Growth
  • Presentation Skills that Make an Impact
  • Successful Communication with Different Styles
  • Group Dynamics & Healthy School Culture
  • Catalyst Live Visit Facilitator Training
  • Leadership Development
  • The Catalyst Approach Coaches’ Week
  • Evaluator Lab Week
  • Presenter Lab Week

Families and Guardians

  • Communicating with Children at Home
  • Family and School Conferences

Special Situations in the Classroom

  • Students on the Run
  • Supporting Self-Contained Special Education Settings
  • Interventions: Small Steps in the Right Direction

Beyond the Classroom

  • Belief Based Schoolwide Behavior Plans
  • Creating & Sustaining Effective Systems
  • Communication Tips for Office Staff
  • Get Them There: Safe & Happy Bus Rides
  • Buildings & Grounds
  • Strategies for Food Service and Kitchen Teams
  • Intervention Rooms
    – Reflection Room
    – Calm Room
  • Intervention Programs, Alternative to Suspension

Common Spaces

  • Good Hello, Good Goodbye
  • S.A.F.E. Playgrounds
  • S.A.F.E. Cafeterias
  • S.A.F.E. Elementary Hallways
  • S.A.F.E. Secondary Hallways

School Spaces

  • Creating Learning Environments Where Children Thrive
  • Tips and Tricks for School Design: Architecture and Design Through the Educators’ Lens

Our appreciation

We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. Here are some who deserve our gratitude:

Michael Grinder for his development of the Classroom Management Trilogy, as well as his support and mentorship.

Terry Abel, Jenna Beaverson, Brianna Canfield, Julie Danielowski, Alissa Geisenhoff, Leslie Hanson, Carrie Kinkel, Jenny Kraft, Dawn Lundeen, Jon Mares, Jackie O’ Connell, Jamie Tam, and Niki Wodash for letting us work alongside them to establish the initial criteria for Demonstration Teacher Certification (sometimes without even knowing they were doing so) and for continually working towards meeting the changing requirements to maintain highest level of implementation as a Demonstration Teacher.