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kirsten olson 

Corentus Advisor and Consultant

Kirsten works with leaders engaged in transformational change, sector-shift, and the new demands of leadership in the learning sector, nationally and internationally.

Kirsten Olson is an ICF-certified leadership coach and an adjunct instructor Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. She focused on the systemic demands of large scale educational improvement, and is the author of The Mindful School Leader (Corwin, 2014), Wounded By School (Teachers College Press, 2009), and Schools As Colonizers (Verlag, 2008). Also a retreat leader focused on mindfulness for leaders, self-compassion and permissioning in leadership and social action, Kirsten was a founding board member of the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA), a national not-for-profit organizing educational leaders, teachers, students, and parents around a vision for education founded in greater equity, social justice, compassion and passionate learning. 

Kirsten holds a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she focused on issues of social justice and educational policy, and an undergraduate degree in English literature from Vassar College. Kirsten is a member of the ICF, certified at the PCC level, is a certified Creativity Coach, a graduate of the Compassion-Focused Therapy Institute, Training for Change, and is certified to use the Global Leadership Profile, measuring leadership action logics, through Bill Torbert and Action Inquiry Associates. She is a member of ICF Northeast, the Institute of Coaching, and the Socratic Seminar on Educational and Social Innovation at Columbia University. She is certified through the Georgetown Leadership Coaching program. Her clients include the Kennedy School at Harvard University, the New York City Department of Education, the National Charter School Association, and the Massachusetts Center for Public Charter School Excellence, Juvenile Court and Community Schools in San Diego, and many emerging leaders and entrepreneurs involved in transformation of the educational sector.

An experiential retreat leader with two-year facilitator training with Parker Palmer at the Center for Courage and Renewal, she leads week-long residential and one-day retreats on mindfulness for leaders, self-compassion, and permissioning in leadership and social action. Kirsten is the mother of four children—her best and most perceptive teachers—and is a daily yoga practitioner. She works on showing up as more real, compassionate, and vulnerable every day.

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