LSE Student Resources

LSE Faculty

Heather Burns, EdD
Associate Professor, LSE program coordinator and Learning Gardens Lab Faculty Coordinator

Heather Burns, EdD, is an associate professor and coordinator of the Leadership for Sustainability Education program in the Educational Leadership and Policy department. She is also the faculty coordinator of the Learning Gardens Laboratory. Dr. Burns completed her doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis in sustainability education at PSU.  Her master’s degree, from Oregon State University, combined adult education, women studies and communication studies into an interdisciplinary degree focusing on social justice education abroad. Dr. Burns has extensive experience as an administrator and instructor in higher education, including many years spent working with international students. Dr. Burns currently teaches courses on sustainability leadership, sustainability pedagogy, spiritual leadership, and deep ecology.  Her scholarship focuses on sustainability leadership and teaching sustainability in higher education, including the roles of transformational learning, experiential learning, contemplative inquiry, and community-based learning in creating sustainable change. In 2015 Dr. Burns received the Excellence in Teaching and Sustainability Award from the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University. In addition to her academic interests, Dr. Burns also started and ran her own community supported farm business in the Portland area for several years.

Sybil Kelley, PhD
Associate Professor, LSE advisor

Sybil Kelley, PhD, is an associate professor of science education and sustainable systems in the Leadership for Sustainability Education program in the Educational Leadership and Policy department. In addition, she teaches the elementary science methods course for the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Dr. Kelley completed her doctorate in environmental science and management at PSU with a research focus on teaching and learning science. She earned her master of science teaching from the Center for Science Education at PSU. Throughout both programs, she worked closely with school and community-based partners to improve educational opportunities for underserved schools and neighborhoods in North and Northeast Portland. She has nearly 20 years’ experience working with teachers and students in schools and informal science settings.

Dr. Kelley’s programming and research focuses on connecting K-12 students and educators in underserved schools and neighborhoods to authentic, project-based learning experiences that contribute to community problem solving. Taking a collaborative approach, Dr. Kelley supports teachers and community-based educators in aligning out-of-school learning experiences with state and local academic requirements. Her research focuses on investigating the impacts of these experiences on student engagement, thinking, and learning; and teacher self-efficacy, pedagogical content knowledge, and instructional practices. Prior to her work in education, Dr. Kelley worked as an environmental scientist and aquatic toxicologist.

Dilafruz Williams, PhD

Dilafruz Williams, PhD, is a professor of Leadership for Sustainability Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy (ELP), at Portland State University’s College of Education. She served as department chair from 2004 to 2007.

Dr. Williams is co-founder of the Leadership for Sustainability Education program within the ELP department, and of the Learning Gardens Laboratory. She also co-founded the Sunnyside K-8 Environmental School in the Portland Public School District. These successful initiatives address ecological and cultural foundations of K-12 and higher education with strong community-university-school partnerships. She was elected city-wide and served on the Portland Public School Board 2003-2011.

She is frequently invited to give seminars, workshops, and talks both nationally and internationally. Dr. Williams is co-author of Learning Gardens and Sustainability Education: Bringing Life to Schools and Schools to Life (Routledge), and co-editor of Ecological Education in Action: On Weaving Education, Culture, and the Environment (SUNY). In addition, she has authored over 50 chapters, journal articles, and curriculum resource guides and has given over 100 invited lectures, symposia, and/or conference papers. Dr. Williams has graduate degrees from Bombay, Syracuse, and Harvard Universities in the sciences, public administration, and philosophy of education.

She is recently Principal Investigator for an NSF-funded project: Science in the Learning Gardens: Factors that Support Racial and Ethnic Minority Students' Success in Low-Income Middle Schools. Her areas of expertise are:

  • Sustainability Education; Environmental Education
  • Learning Gardens: Curriculum Design; Research; STEM
  • Community-University-Schools Strategic Partnerships
  • Civic Engagement/Service Learning; Professional Development
  • K-12 Public Policy

Among her Honors & Awards are:

  • Ehrlich Award for Faculty Service-Learning
  • Institute for Sustainable Solutions Excellence in Faculty Research Award
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar
  • 100 District Leaders for Civic Engagement and Service-Learning Network, of the Education Commission of the States’ National Center for Learning and Citizenship
  • Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Award for strong partnerships

Active Alumni Network

The following are some examples of Sustainability Education work that LSE alumni are engaged in. You are welcome to contact these alumni with any questions you may have about their experience in LSE, or their work as sustainability educators.

Non-profit organizations:

Lacy Cagle. Director of Curriculum and Community Engagement for the Northwest Earth

Teresa Gaddy. Green Workforce Academy Program Manager at Ecotrust. Teaches environmental literacy and manages hands-on career training in green jobs for young adults who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).

Sarah Gaither. Community Development Director for the Refugee Center Online. Building online resources and educational programs to strengthen refugee communities and improve resettlement success. Currently designing strategies for partnership with other refugee community organizations.

Jami Haaning. Corporate Responsibility Manager for Ecova. Develops and manages the strategic internal sustainability efforts including CSR reporting, community engagement, and employee experience efforts.

Bob Hatton. Bob Hatton. Operations Manager at Amagansett Food Institute (AFI.) AFI supports, promotes, and advocates for the farmers, vintners, fishermen, and other food producers and providers on the East End of Long Island.

Marissa Mastors. Digital Communications Manager for Wolfe's Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment, a 626-acre oceanfront education and demonstration farm on the coast of Freeport, Maine that serves as a leading center for sustainable food and farming: training the next generation of organic farmers, educating people about sustainable agriculture, and inspiring everyone to take an active role in our food system.

Marci Krass. Restoration Program Manager for Willamette Riverkeeper. Manages landscape-scale habitat restoration projects; builds collaborative partnerships; leads diverse community members in hands on stewardship, citizen science, and place-based education in natural areas on the Willamette River.

Businesses and other educational organizations:

Madelyn Mickelberry. Co-owner of Mickelberry Gardens. Creates and markets skin care and wellness products that are made from local raw honey, beeswax, and propolis. Sustainable beekeeping methods form the backbone of the company.
Heather Diamond-Vaught. Latin America Programs Director at Carpe Diem Education. Organizes 3-month experiential education programs for Gap Year students in Central and South America. Programs include cultural exchange, language study, volunteer work, and outdoor adventure travel. Also involved in recruiting and interviewing students, hiring Overseas Educators, and planning leadership trainings for staff.

Paul Nagel. Education Director for Live Local Organic, the first large scale local commercial organic aquaponic food producer within the city of Portland. Develops community engagement and outreach programs, sustainability curriculum and educational partnerships, systems thinking with multiple integrated systems, and niche ecological design.

Denissia Withers. (she/her/hers) Owner, Common Sense Gardens and was an Adjunct Faculty with PSU University Studies. Founded and operates Common Sense Gardens, a landscaping and gardening business in Portland, Oregon that focuses on permaculture design and provides garden education, coaching, and design services.

Higher education:

Emily Bowling. Civic Engagement and Service Coordinator at Oregon State University. Supports, develops, and coordinates student programs focused on civic engagement, sustainability, and co-curricular community-based service-learning.

Greg Dardis. Adjunct faculty in Educational Leadership & Policy and University Studies at Portland State University. Teaches environmental science, sustainability and local agrarianism classes and works on grants for garden education projects.

Beau Gilbert (they/them/theirs). Student Life and Leadership Assistant at Clackamas Community College. Supports, develops, and facilitates student programs within Student Life, including the associated student government, food pantry, multicultural center, and campus-wide events.

Julie Sheen. Adjunct faculty at Utah State University teaching Student Organic Farm Practicum and Fundamentals of Organic Agriculture classes. Faculty advisor to the USU Student Organic Farm.

Jamie Valentine. Assistant Director, Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability & Affiliate Faculty, Science, Technology and Environmental Studies Program at Butler University. Develops interdisciplinary and community partnerships to progress sustainability on campus and in the community. Assesses and reports on sustainability progress to AASHE and develops campus initiatives and climate action plans to progress the university to climate neutrality.

Garden-Based Education:

Bryce Belinski. (she/her/hers) Garden Educator, Grow Portland.Delivers hands-on education to teach kids about eating healthy food and environmental stewardship in 2 bilingual school gardens at elementary schools in PPS school districts.

Marc Boucher-Colbert. Garden Specialist. Teaches garden-based education and manages a garden for school lunches at Franciscan Montessori Earth School.

Emma Pesis. (she/her/hers) Environmental Educator and Program Liaison, Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center.Assists in the development, implementation, and program coordination of educational opportunities and curricula at Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center, an organization in Carnation, Washington that educates people of all ages about agriculture and the

Local government:

Johnny Dea. (he/him/his) Business Composting & Recycling Specialist, City of Beaverton. Provides consultations on best green business practices and creating green teams for the commercial sector in Beaverton, supports food-waste generating businesses begin composting programs, and supports the implementation of sustainability initiatives within the Beaverton community. / 503-526-2547(office)

Liana Harden. Engagement and Partnerships Specialist at Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation. Facilitates community collaboration and inclusion in the design and development of parks and nature trails in areas of Washington and Multnomah Counties.

Andrea Hussey. (she/her/hers) Program Supervisor, Multnomah Education Service District Outdoor School. Consults for and supports MESD Outdoor School, a residential science program for 6th graders and high school students in Multnomah County.

Kevin Pozzi. (he/him/his) Environmental Educator, Portland Parks & Recreation, City of Portland. Leads field trips and sensory nature walks for PreK-8 students and their families, and coordinates a nature-themed summer camp in Portland's parks and natural areas.

Rob Nathan. (he/him/his) Senior Solid Waste Planner, Metro. Plans cleanup services for dumped garbage on public lands and natural areas across the greater Portland metropolitan region and oversees the community enhancement grant program.