Laura Gilchrist calls herself a strengths-based "capacity consultant" who specializes in helping educators nurture & grow their own "communities" of people -- whether those communities are their own classrooms, their schools, their districts or their families -- by recognizing, that in their own strengths, they already have within them the power to design a reality of expansive potential for their people! It's a matter of setting the right conditions and believing in and trusting the process. It's in the HOW. That's where I come in to guide you and your team through an experiential and dialogue-based path to seeing a future of joyful collective efficacy for which you can design!
Laura's goal is building capacity for Partnerships. Partnerships are connections formed in trust. Connections allow for the flow of energy, opportunities, support, love, learning and joy. Laura acts and interacts with clients based on her favorite 7 partnership principles of Jim Knight--Equality, Choice, Voice, Dialogue, Reflection, Praxis, & Reciprocity.
Laura served the youth and families of Kansas City as a teacher, coach, collaborator, mentor, community organizer and community leader for 25 years. Laura was a Missouri Teacher of the Year TOY Finalist 14-15 and received the 2014 Northland Chamber of Commerce Christa McAuliffe Pioneer in Education Award. Laura and her husband are proud of their amazing daughters, both of whom are in the medical field, and they laugh daily at their 3, yes 3, chihuahuas. Laura's backstory. She grew up in with love and trauma, trauma which was handed down through generations, like a virus. A cultural virus. She is on a mission to stop said trauma transmission to next generation in her own family -- and in other families. This is part of the story behind her mission to transform family-school-community engagement through our schools' leadership. Through right design, family systems can GROW out of the things holding them back, that they "inherited", like shame, limiting beliefs, and actions/language patterns that stunt growth and happiness of kids. Laura has lived and struggled her entire life with C-PTSD and Self-Love Deficit Disorder, the term that nails it, coined by Ross Rosenberg.
Laura, a TEACHER for life, is currently trying out a new side of 'teacher' -- entrepreneur and consultant. She felt the stifling lack of options for growth and diversification within the teaching career field. When you teach -- you teach or coach. Beyond that -- you're looking at very different roles, with loads of classes in front of you, classes that cost money and at the same time don't grow you in ways that interest or even help you. You can grow within a teacher role in methods, expertise, degrees and in steps on the pay scale--and it stops there. Other fields, such as nursing and engineering, started similar fashion to where 'teaching' is now and has been 'stuck', but they evolved to many avenues of expression, action, & opportunity. Laura wants the same opportunities to open up for educators. Laura is the CEO of Kid Champions Consulting, LLC and the Vice-President of ParentCamp.
ON A MISSION
Laura is on a mission to rebrand the mind/body experience around the words 'Family-School-Community Engagement" -- from negative, fearful and limiting to positive, trusting and expansive.
Laura is on a mission to see Teachers/Educators known as "KEY community and city LEADERS" who impact the hearts and minds of not just the kids sitting in their classrooms, but GENERATIONS and GENERATIONS to come; a shift from invisible, pitied, undervalued to visible, applauded and valued.
Educators and their stories, wishes, & dreams are hidden behind the opaque walls of schools. Teachers are suffering from isolation and loneliness. Educators need the support, love, kindness, encouragement, collaboration and partnership of families. Our KIDS NEED and deserve happy, supported teachers. The good news is this -- we can design for this. With the right conditions and consistent gathering opportunities for partnership, educators can receive the support, encouragement and JOY from families and community members that they deserve and so deeply need to sustain their commitment to developing our youth, our very future. And vice versa. The energy and opportunity flow both ways.
Laura is on a mission to see schools as OVERFLOWING with joy, happiness, fun and love. While our focus on TRAUMA was and will always be necessary, I believe with all my heart the biggest gift we can give our kids is to dedicate ourselves to making our schools the HAPPIEST PLACES ON EARTH, filled with kindness, opportunity, non-judgment, interaction and so many choices for learning and exploration. We want our kids (and educators & families) to FEEL a rush of happy chemicals the minute they SEE or THINK OF your school, which open them up to learning as well as to health and well-being. This positive energy will flow through the family-school-community ecosystem, impacting all other parts.