Professional Development

We provide dynamic opportunities for learning about Gender and Sexuality Diversity. We help teachers, administrators, staff, coaches, counselors, trainees, board members, and leadership teams connect their learning to both the philosophical and practical aspects of PreK-12 education.

In my own time as a teacher, I sat through too many pedantic, uninspired professional development programs. In addition to being rather ordinary, these presentations were often disconnected from the reality of school life.

It’s not enough to be the expert in a particular subject area. Experts also need to understand:

the organized chaos of day-to-day school life

the way school communities operate on both small and large scales

how systemic change does and does not happen

Whether we are presenting at an Annual Conference or spending the day working at a school, Team Finch offers professional development programs that are contextualized and help participants apply their learning in immediate and meaningful ways.

Here is what attendees thought of Jennifer’s session at the 2013 Northwest Association of Independent Schools Fall Educators Conference:

She had a wonderful list of picture books that help teach gender roles to younger students and the handout of the Teaching Tolerance lesson was brilliant!

This was a great session. She clearly knows (and cares about) what she’s talking about and talked through some real-world situations with us. Very engaging speaker on an important topic.

She was amazing! The audience wanted more and could have sat through lunch to hear more of her insight!

As one of the most active independent school associations in the Country, AIMS presents as many as sixty speakers in various workshops and conferences every year. Among those many, many speakers we have come to know over the years, Jennifer Bryan is one of the very best. She is smart, engaging, and an invaluable resource to both students and teachers. At our day-long conference on Sexual and Gender Diversity, Jennifer served not only as the keynote, she also facilitated the various break-out group conversations throughout the day. Jennifer was tireless, inspiring, and deeply thoughtful as she helped both students and teachers reach higher levels of understanding and insight. That the conference was viewed as invaluable by all who attended was largely owing to Jennifer’s energy, good humor, dedication, and, above all, her expertise. Jennifer is, without a doubt, an extraordinary resource on a topic of urgent importance for schools whose mission it is to respect and keep safe every student and member of the community.

Ron Goldblatt Executive Director, Association of Independent Maryland & DC Schools

Dr. Jennifer Bryan is simply the best workshop presenter I have encountered in 28 years of teaching. I teach in a conservative area and the issues of gender and sexual diversity are very challenging for many on our staff. What Jennifer was able to accomplish with them in a three-hour workshop was simply astounding. People who had voiced extreme fear of gay and transgender students were smiling and nodding by the end of the workshop. Dr. Bryan’s empathy and insight made her a perfect fit for our staff and we have grown so much as a school since meeting her.

Anne StebingerRemedial Reading Teacher/Diversity Club Faculty Adviser, Rondout Valley Intermediate School, NY

Since 2009 Jennifer has been a plenary presenter at our Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI) formally known as the Summer Diversity Institute (SDI). NAIS produces a wide range of professional development opportunities, and we are always looking for skilled and knowledgeable presenters on a variety of topics. I can honestly say that Jennifer is one of the best presenters with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. She never disappoints in delivering presentations that are well prepared, research based and experiential, all with a wonderful sense of humor. Jennifer helps her audience see gender and issues of sexuality through a different lens, one that is more objective and fact based. She opens up minds and creates a better understanding of sensitive issues that are often filled with emotion. In addition, she provides sound, practical advice to educators who are looking for concrete ideas to take back to their communities to help their students. I cannot say enough about Jennifer and the work she does. It has been an honor to know and work with her year after year.

Jay RappSenior Director of Programs, National Association of Independent Schools