Gianna Cassetta


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Gianna grew up in NYC’s East Harlem, where she also began her teaching career. Under the leadership of District 2’s Superintendent Tony Alvarado, she developed expertise in the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and balanced literacy approaches, as well as developing the framework for her beliefs about learner centered communities for both children and adults. Gianna’s passion for the teaching and learning process, and her commitment to whole child focused opportunities for all students led her to co-found and lead public, charter conversion, and charter schools in Harlem, New York, and in Denver, Colorado.

She believes that learning is never done and that at all levels and positions, high quality, personalized coaching supports work satisfaction and personal and professional growth. She continues to invest in her own professional learning and has continued to develop her own coaching skills. She began this work as mentor teacher in the classroom, and then as a coach for aspiring principals through New Leaders for New Schools and university-based partnerships. As Director of Leadership Development for Denver Public Schools’ Office of New Schools, she shepherded new school developers through the application and start up process. As Director of Literacy Services at Generation Ready, she supported principal, coach, and teacher development during the implementation of professional learning projects.

Gianna is the co-author of two Heinemann books, Classroom Management Matters: The Social and Emotional Learning Approach That Children Deserve, and No More Taking Away Recess and Other Problematic Discipline Practices. Her third, The Compassionate Teacher, will be released in the fall of 2018.  Gianna also authored Literacy Centers: A Standards Based Approach for Grades 3 and Beyond and is featured in accompanying instructional videos on effective literacy practices, including Step into Guided Reading, for the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s Learning Media.

Gianna is committed to contributing to a more humane and just world for people and animals alike. She serves on the State Council of the Humane Society of the United States.  Gianna lives with her husband and two sons, and her ever growing non-human family of dogs, cats, chickens and horses.