Kelly began her teaching career in north St. Louis County, where she taught eighth grade language arts, observing first-hand the implications of institutionalized racism and poverty. Kelly’s experience working with oft-marginalized students has been the foundation of and inspiration for years of research and pedagogical growth, as she found her own philosophy in progressive pedagogies and democratic education. Throughout her nearly 20-year career as an educator, she has developed an empathetic, listening ethos. She has continually demonstrated her commitment to educational justice, making inclusion, access, and community relationships central to her teaching and leadership.
Kelly identifies as a lifelong learner and remains committed to professional growth and development, having participated in a two-year Pathways to Leadership program with NWAIS, and regularly attending and presenting at regional and national conferences. She is passionate about service- and project-based learning and the infusion of arts and music in the classroom. Kelly loves talking through ideas and planning curriculum with teachers.
Kelly most recently worked at the Academy for Precision Learning (APL), where she joined the leadership team first as Director of Curriculum and Instruction and later as K–8 Program Director. Kelly served as the Head of School in 2020 at APL after the retirement of the long-standing head, and despite the challenges of leading in a pandemic, Kelly oversaw an increase in enrollment, managed the acquisition of a new campus, and guided the school through its first self-study for full accreditation with the NWAIS.
Kelly, her partner Ryan Aiello, and their son Declan live nearby in Issaquah. Kelly enjoys gardening, traveling, live theater, yoga, afternoon tea, farmers markets, and, most of all, opening her home to guests for long, yummy dinners and laughter across the table.