ASCD Presenter Bio
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa as the first woman graduate from Williams College, Willis attended University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, where she was awarded her medical degree. She remained at UCLA and completed a medical residency and neurology residency, including chief residency. She practiced neurology for 15 years before returning to obtain her teaching credential and Master of Education degree from the University of California–Santa Barbara. She has taught in elementary and middle school, college, and graduate school.
ASCD publishes her books for education professionals, Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist and Classroom Teacher (2006), Brain-Friendly Strategies for the Inclusion Classroom (2007), Teaching the Brain to Read: Strategies for Improving Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension (2008), and Learning to Love Math: Teaching Strategies That Change Student Attitudes and Get Results (2010).
Her first book for parents and caregivers, How Your Child Learns Best: A Parent Guide to Raising Smarter Children by a Neurologist and Classroom Teacher (2008), was published by Sourcebooks. She also had a recent book, Inspiring Middle School Minds: Gifted, Creative, and Challenging (2009), published by Great Potential Press.
She was a distinguished lecturer at the ASCD Annual Conference in 2008 and 2009, copresenting with Goldie Hawn, founder of the Hawn Foundation for Mindful Education, for which Willis serves on the board of directors.
Willis writes extensively for professional educational journals, and she was honored as a 2007 finalist for the Distinguished Achievement Award for her educational writing by the Association for Educational Publishers.
Currently, Willis is on the adjunct faculty of the Graduate School of Education, University of California–Santa Barbara and gives neuroeducation presentations. She also conducts professional development workshops nationally and internationally about educational strategies correlated with neuroscience research. In 2011, she was recognizeed by Edutopia as the newest member included in their website video interviews with “Big Thinkers on Education.”