About Us

Coeylen Barry: Founder and Head of Professional Development

When Coeylen Barry first learned about Design Thinking as a graduate student at Stanford her first response was “Why didn’t I learn about this earlier?”  After graduate school she made it her mission to bring design thinking to schools around the world.

Coeylen has spent the last 10 years working in innovative educational programming.  After receiving her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University, she joined the founding team of African Leadership Academy (www.africanleadershipacademy.org) as manager of curriculum development.  In this position she oversaw the design of a cutting edge Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Design, and African Studies curriculum.  Students who have completed this program are already changing the world with their innovative ideas.

After launching the ALA in South Africa, Coeylen joined the K-12 lab at the Stanford Institute of Design to help with teacher training and curriculum development.  She successfully led workshops for schools and educators from around the world. In additions to working with a variety of world-class institutions Coeylen has done extensive educational consulting with schools both locally and internationally.

Photo on 8-12-15 at 10.38 AM #4Sara Heintzelman: Director of Operations

For the past 17 years Sara has been sharing her love and fascination of the natural world with students of all ages through experiential environmental education.  She has been involved with teaching, curriculum development, learning assessment, teacher workshops and most recently Design Thinking.

At Createdu, Sara is combining her passion for innovative thinking with her skills in program design, system development and data management to help keep Createdu running smoothly.  A master of multitasking, Sara loves learning new skills and using the process of Design Thinking to perpetuate growth at Createdu and help it to become an even more effective business.

Sara earned her B.S. in Ecology from the University of California, San Diego and her M.S. in Marine Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Sara lives in California and enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors, especially on or in the water!

Tara Jahn: Createdu Strategist and Facilitatortara_pic

Tara drives to improve education through Design Thinking, network building, leadership development and experience re/design. She has served directly in high impact youth organizations for the last 13 years.

Most recently she led systems-level initiatives while at the Colorado Education Initiative, where she supported educators and leaders to build creative confidence and be effective models for their students in a reimagined education system. Tara was also a lead creator for SpaceLab, the organization’s innovation lab.

Tara has training in change management, facilitative leadership and emotional intelligence coaching (EQi2.0), which allow her to take both a systems and personal change approach to supporting projects. Putting this experience into practice, Tara coaches nationally for School Retool, a principal fellowship designed by the Stanford d.school and IDEO, to build mindsets and provide a change structure to Hack towards Deeper Learning.

Tara has a Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont.

Alexis Perella Profile PictureAlexis Perella: Createdu Facilitator and Program Manager

Alexis is a designer, project manager, and educator who uses Design Thinking and human-centered design to increase the impact of organizations.

She has 5 years of classroom experience teaching in public elementary and middle schools. She also has several years of experience as a producer and designer in the toy industry. She has designed numerous educational (and a few not-so-educational) toys for Hasbro, Mattel, MGA, and many others. Several of her toys have been nominated for prestigious Toy of the Year awards.

At Createdu, Alexis designs and facilitates workshops and design projects to help educators and other organizational team members develop focus and clarity, while increasing their creativity and effectiveness. She also plays a critical role in managing large organizational design projects to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

She received a degree in Computer Animation from Stanford University.

Alexis lives in Boulder with her husband and two young kids. When she is not teaching Design Thinking, she is teaching her own kids how to ski, cook, rock climb, and sew.


Garrett Mason: Createdu Strategist and Facilitator

Garrett is a designer, educator, and school leader with over 11 years in teaching, adult training, curriculum development, and program design. He currently serves as the Director of Innovation + Design at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana where he runs a school-wide curricular program to foster student ownership of learning and community impact. In addition, he is responsible for managing the process of innovation for the school, establishing community partnerships, building a culture of collaboration and experimentation, and supporting teachers as they create experiential learning opportunities for students through the application of design thinking to real-world problems.

Garrett has served as an independent and public school educator and administrator, teaching a variety of subjects at the primary and secondary school levels and initiating innovation and experiential learning programs for schools. He also ran a small international non-profit organization and served as a Peace Corps Education Volunteer in Liberia. He has led design thinking, leadership, and group dynamics workshops in the U.S. and overseas, facilitating professional development training for classroom teachers, school administrators, non-profit leaders, and community development volunteers.

Garrett’s academic training is in the physical sciences and humanities with B.A. in physics and philosophy from Colgate University. He believes passionately in empowering individuals with the tools they need for creating change within their own organizations and communities.

marniesteelebiophotoMarnie Steele: Createdu Facilitator

Marnie has always had a passion for creating engaging learning experiences for students. She wants students to be excited to come to class. She believes in creating authentic learning experiences that have a positive impact on her students’ lives and their communities. Marnie is aware that education is not a one size fits all and that we best serve our students by including them in the process of learning.

Marnie spent 11 years with St Vrain Valley School District (CO) teaching middle school science and coaching basketball. In addition to implementing Design Thinking in her own classroom, Marnie taught at Innovation Academy for a Smarter Planet; a camp created by the St. Vrain Valley School District and IBM to provide an innovative learning opportunity for students with a foundation in Design Thinking. She is currently the teacher librarian at Meadowlark School in Erie, CO.

Marnie’s experience as a classroom teacher is a strong asset to the Createdu team and she knows how crucial it is for teachers to be supported as they work to implement Design Thinking within their own classrooms. She enjoys partnering with fellow teachers and supporting them in creating innovative learning opportunities for their students as well.

Marnie earned her B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College in Biology and Teaching and her M.S. from Adams State University in Education. She is also a certified massage therapist and lives in beautiful Boulder, Colorado with her daughter Brynley. Marnie is excited to share what she has learned about incorporating Design Thinking in her classroom with fellow educators.



The most valuable part of working with Createdu was... "learning about the process and power of Design Thinking AND having the chance to practice it and apply it in our educational environment. Having [Createdu] available to work with small groups of teachers on specific projects was an important part of embedding the methodology."
-Middle School Principal

Design Thinking increases achievement and engagement by challenging students with real world complex problems and encouraging them to take risks. Createdu founder Coeylen Barry spoke about Design Thinking in schools at TEDx Denver Teachers in 2013. See the talk here.

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