Meg Riordan, Ph.D. is the Director of External Research at EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning). EL Education is a K-12 non-profit organization partnered with more than 150 schools, serving 4,000 teachers and 53,000 students in 31 states. Meg directs several research projects, including EL's Teacher Potential Project, a federally-funded research project studying the impact of EL's curriculum and coaching on teachers' practice and students' achievement.
Student impact has been a central focus of Meg’s career. Prior to her current role, she was the Regional Director for NYC Outward Bound Schools, supporting a network of 11 EL middle and high schools. She supported school leaders with strategic planning, facilitated professional learning, and provided instructional leadership to EL coaches – all in service of students’ success across EL’s Three Dimensions of Student Achievement: mastery of skills and content, character, and high quality work.
Meg continues to research and write, co-authoring Going to Scale with New School Designs: Reinventing High School (Teachers College Press, 2009) as well as numerous journal articles in the Journal of Experiential Education, Teacher Education Quarterly, and Current Issues in Education, among others; and blog posts (The Huffington Post, Quiet Revolution, and Edutopia). Meg’s research centers on teacher professional learning, school reform, scaling up educational models, and experiential education. She also teaches an online Instructional Strategies course for Masters’ students through St. Joseph’s College in Maine.
Meg’s drive to affect meaningful change in students’ educational experiences was ignited at the age of 18 by an Outward Bound course; there, she lived out many Deeper Learning concepts including learning core content (paddling, map reading), using critical-thinking and problem solving (navigating a river to reach a destination), collaborating with peers (setting up camp), communicating effectively (signaling that a rock-climbing belay was in place), and tapping into a mindset of persistence (overcoming equipment challenges, persevering on long hikes). That experience inspired her to bring similar challenge and support into classrooms to spark students’ engagement and learning.
Meg received her B.A. in Education from Marquette University, her M.A. in Writing from DePaul University, and her Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning from New York University. Meg taught middle and high school English in Milwaukee and Chicago and English as a Second Language at DePaul University and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan. Meg lives in western, MA with her husband and 4 dogs.