What is 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.

Our Mission

Empower others to view themselves as leaders with a responsibility to learn and grow while purposefully contributing to a culture where everyone is a catalyst to developing relationships and disrupting inequity.

Our Vision

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

Our 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

The People

Nancy’s Team


Our Workshops

Our original curriculum includes a comprehensive suite of engaging workshops to support many aspects of well-run schools. We also work with clients to create custom training, coaching, and consulting options based on their unique needs.

For Educators
  • Whole Group Classroom 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 who surround us. Here are a few who deserve our gratitude:

For the privilege of working alongside you to establish the initial Demonstration Teacher Certification criteria (sometimes without even knowing you were doing so) and for continuing to be high implementing Catalysts, thank you:

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
Niki Wodash