In her 11 years as a teacher, Kate McMullen has regularly found herself called upon to serve as a leader. This past summer, the UW Master's in Instructional Leadership student found herself in yet another leadership position as she traveled to New York and joined 12 other teachers from around the world for Performance at the Center.

The program paired the teachers with 13 New York City high school students to read, write and perform a creative remix of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein within two weeks. Run through the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers at Columbia University, the collaboration was part of an experiment in teacher education in which McMullen, her fellow teachers and students worked together to creatively collaborate, research, remix and reimagine the world through performance.

Since McMullen returned from New York, she has integrated what she learned into her teaching. For example, McMullen incorporated a daily exercise called “Invitations to Create” in which her students explore what it means to read through movement and voice. 

“Students are subsequently encouraged to reimagine and recreate their experiences with the texts by layering technology, media and their own ideas onto the texts they are reading,” she said. 

McMullen, currently a K-6 Title 1 Literacy Specialist in Anacortes, found her passion for working with struggling students when she started teaching in a third grade classroom. As she continued to find herself volunteering for or nominated to leadership positions, she was drawn to the instructional leadership program at UW's College of Education in order to strengthen her ability to help fellow educators improve instructional quality.

Participating in Performance at the Center was one way for McMullen to explore new avenues to engage students more deeply — knowledge that she's ready to share with fellow teachers.

“Each day I push students to question and probe the texts they read, looking for gaps authors have intentionally or unintentionally left for the readers to fill with their own imaginations and experiences,” McMullen said.


Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications