Laura K Spencer, Ed.D.

Leading and Learning with Empathy

“If we want people to fully show up, to bring their whole selves including their unarmored, whole hearts—so that we can innovate, solve problems, and serve people—we have to be vigilant about creating a culture in which people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.”
― Brené Brown, Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

I’ve been in the field of education since I was four years old. Well, okay… I took a few years off to serve my country in the United States Army, but even in the military, I was taking classes. I’d like to say I learned a lot, but every time I learn something new, I also un-learn something I thought I knew.

Leading through an empathetic lens requires an open heart and a receptive ear, and the capacity to be vulnerable so that you are open to the experiences of others. When you lead this way, you find that you have to un-learn and learn a lot, because every experience is a unique journey of its own.

Here, I share those journeys and insights with you.

Like what you read and want more? I also present! And facilitate design thinking workshops.

Oh, and I write courses, teach college courses, serve on amazing boards, and tweet (a lot)… and am blessed to be mom to the most amazing girls in the world.

Let’s connect and learn together!

Some of My Fave Posts

You’re Doing The Best You Can…And That’s Enough

My first year teaching middle school was …well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I had spent my teacher prep program determined I was going to be a high school English teacher. Students would love discussing literature as much as I did, and would turn in glorious essays filled with thematic connections, thoughtful historical references,…

Designer or Design Thinker?

Innovation is when something new is created and implemented that adds value. Inventions happen every day, and every year inventions find their way into our classroom.  It’s only when an invention adds value that they become an innovation. A lot of times we get caught up in the invention, or the idea. I call this…

The Pyramid Scheme of Bloom and Maslow

I’m not sure when I was introduced to the triangle guys… Bloom and his taxonomy, and Maslow and his hierarchy… but it was early on in my teaching career. I remember being told how important it was that students learn the basics before moving up the hierarchy of thinking. I also remember being told that…


Prescott, Sabia. “Bridging Digital Equity and Culturally
Responsive Education in PreK–12:
Leveraging Pandemic Pedagogy to Rethink the Status Quo.”
New America, 19 Jan, 2021

Spencer, Laura, and Ishmael, Kristina. “For Schools, Coronavirus Shutdowns Are Only Half the Battle.New America, 16 Mar. 2020.