Jill Vialet has been making life better for children throughout the country for more than 25 years. In 1996, she launched Playworks, a national nonprofit that supports learning and physical health by providing safe and inclusive play to low-income students in urban schools. Playworks now reaches more than 600,000 students nationwide through direct training and services in more than 1,000 schools and youth-serving organizations.
A member of the Ashoka fellowship, the Clinton Global Initiative and the Pahara Aspen Education Fellowship, Jill published her first book, Recess Rules, in 2013. Prior to Playworks, she founded the Museum of Children’s Art (mocha) in Oakland and served as its executive director for nine years, expanding its programs to reach 20,000 young people each year.
Building upon her work at Playworks, Jill will be exploring how to enable schools and districts to transform substitute teaching from a necessity to an asset. Right now, roughly 10 percent of the teachers in U.S. classrooms are substitutes, and yet 90 percent of school districts offer them an average of four hours or less of training. Teachers and principals report high levels of dissatisfaction with the quality of substitutes available, and many classes go unstaffed because of substitute shortages. Not surprisingly, the substitute teachers themselves report equally high levels of unhappiness with the system. This is the problem Jill will tackle as a d.school fellow. You can find Jill on Twitter at @jillvialet.