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Founders

Cristina C. Alvarez, Ed.D, Design-Lab Schools LLC
Cristina C. Alvarez, Ed.D
Design-Lab Schools LLC

Dr. Cristina C. Alvarez of Design-Lab Schools LLC, offers educational services in school design, leadership development, curriculum, charter start-ups, school turnarounds, and research and evaluation. Along with Dr. Martin Rayala, she founded Delaware Design-Lab High School, the first public charter school in the state to use Design Thinking as a signature instructional practice. Delaware Design-Lab High School serves as the flagship school and replicable model in the Design-Lab network of schools. Design-Lab High is part of the XQ Super School Project, a national movement to reimagine high schools for the future.

Dr. Alvarez has had an exciting career as an educator and entrepreneur in the graphics arts industry, teacher, technology coordinator, curriculum supervisor, principal, accountability administrator, and chief executive officer in K-12 district and charter schools. Dr. Alvarez advises districts, universities and firms on how to use Design Thinking to increase achievement, productivity, and market share.

As a result of what she accomplished using Design Thinking at CHAD and Design-Lab High, Dr. Alvarez was invited as a juror for the 2016 Educational Facilities Awards. The CAE Awards are given to excellent educational facilities from an international applicant pool, and awarded by the American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Education (AIA CAE) Leadership Group.

Her leadership work informed Daniel Pink’s breakthrough book, A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, when she served as Deputy CEO for Philadelphia’s Charter High School for Architecture + Design (CHAD). CHAD is featured as an innovative and successful school using Design methods to innovate learning.

Dr. Alvarez holds K-12 Administrators’ and Superintendent licenses in several states and is bilingual and bicultural. She is an alumnus of LeadershipPhiladelphia and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, a Masters in Educational Administration from Temple University, and a Doctorate in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Martin Rayala, Ph.D., Design-Lab Schools LLC
Martin Rayala, Ph.D.
Design-Lab Schools LLC

Dr. Martin Rayala brings national-level thought leadership, curriculum and instruction, and design education expertise. He is the former State Art, Media and Design Education Supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Dr. Rayala has taught at all levels; from elementary through teacher preparation at the university level. Along with Dr. Cristina Alvarez, he founded Delaware Design-Lab High School, the first public charter school in the state to use Design Thinking as a signature instructional practice. As the flagship school and replicable model in the Design-Lab network of schools, Design-Lab High is also part of the XQ Super School Project, a national movement to reimagine high schools for the future.

Dr. Rayala served on the Education Committee of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and for the Getty Institute for Arts Education.

He serves on a task force writing national standards for media arts for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) and standards for Art Facilities Design for the National Art Education Association. In 2015 he was awarded the Jesse McCanns Award by the National Art Education Association for lifetime achievement in arts education.

He is an editor for the Journal of Media Literacy, a columnist for School Arts Magazine, and co-wrote a chapter in the anthology, Creativity and Design in Technology and Engineering Education. Dr. Martin Rayala earned a BS and MS from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Art Education from the University of Oregon.