top of page

Kaara Kallen

Editorial expert with an eye for both the big picture and the details; experienced developer of informative, instructional, and creative content; skilled contributor of written collaborations; committed student of paradigm shifts for a sustainable and just future

Independent consulting—content

Nov 2012–present

Provide editorial services for clients in creative, nonprofit, and for-purpose fields. A sampling:

  • Maya Smart, independent author: Serve as a parent-consultant for early literacy advocate and author of Reading for Our Lives (Avery, 2022); write book’s discussion guide

  • Independent author: Line edit book about fundraising for community centered asset-based work for library, archive, and museum professionals (Routledge, 2022)

  • Sunbird Books, Chicago, IL: Author nonfiction graphic novel recounting the life of Marie Curie for It’s Her Story series for ages 7–11; develop educator/parent guides for all books in the series 

  • Phoenix International Publications, Chicago, IL: Author and edit various fiction and nonfiction works and accompanying educator/parent components for children 0–11 

  • AnteUp!, Oakland, CA: Consult on educational frameworks and edit for content and clarity for organization focusing on justice-focused professional development and curriculum 

o    UIC Latino Cultural Center, Chicago, IL: Develop dialogue facilitation guide based on department's internal guide and institutional knowledge with the goal of dissemination to external organizations and universities

Independent consulting—coordination

Jun 2012–Jun 2017

Provide project-based program coordination and outreach. A sampling:

  • Reach Out and Read Illinois, Chicago, IL: Coordinate new high school initiative for local chapter of nationwide nonprofit; develop outreach and instructional materials

  • Scenarios USA, Chicago, IL: Conduct multi-tiered outreach for arts integrated social-emotional learning program and consult on development of inquiry-based curriculum; as part-time staff in a role of a few months’ duration, almost doubled school registration

  • Hear Chicago Talk, Chicago, IL: Create, produce, and lead quarterly idea exchange about teaching and learning using a question-based topic exploration format

University Instruction

Mar 2017–present

Teach in classroom setting 

  • Design Thinking and Communication I and II (Cook Family Writing Program): Guide first–year engineering students in project–based course on the principles and practices of design thinking (co–taught with McCormick School of Engineering faculty)

  • Sustainability Focused Design Thinking and Communication II (Cook Family Writing Program): Challenge first–year engineering students to consider the opportunities and limitations of design thinking from within a sustainability framework (co-taught with McCormick School of Engineering faculty)

Mentor master’s degree students

  • Master of Project Management program (McCormick School of Engineering): Provide editorial guidance to students on organization, documentation, content, and formatting for completion of their capstone report, required for graduation

Editorial leadership

Oct 2002–Oct 2012

The Great Books Foundation                          Chicago, IL                                        Dec 2004–Oct 2012

K–12 Editorial Director (2009­–2012); K–12 Managing Editor (2004–2009)

  • Directed editorial development of K­–12 print and online materials, including concept development, research, writing, editing, and layout and design

  • Developed project plans for multiple long-term projects; anticipated how changes in one project might affect another; built in flexibility to allow for new developments

  • Contributed to development and execution of vision and strategy for K–12 program in collaboration with marketing, training, new media, and executive staff

  • Developed and applied deep knowledge of instruction and assessment related to critical thinking, discussion formats, English language arts, and fiction and nonfiction literature

  • Led in-house writing and editorial team and freelancers: hired, managed, and coached staff

  • Examined developments in pedagogy, technology, and education policy and led team in related changes to produ­­­ct strategy and workflow

  • Contributed to developing and conducting surveys, focus groups, and pilots


Edusoft                                                 San Francisco, CA                                   Apr 2003–Nov 2004

ELA content manager

Oversaw development of English language arts content for grades 2–12 in dynamic startup environment

Project Achieve                                         Rock Island, IL                                        Oct 2002–Apr 2003

Program implementation leader

Introduced and supported online instructional management tools in nine Illinois schools       

Classroom teaching



Wallenberg High School                               San Francisco, CA                                Aug 2000–Jun 2002

English Literature 9, 10, 10H; Spanish 9 

South San Francisco High School                   South San Francisco, CA                         Aug 1999–Jun 2000

English Literature 9, 10 

Hidden CV: CV
bottom of page