Kaara Kallen

Editorial expert with an eye for both the big picture and the details; experienced developer of informative, instructional, and creative content; skilled producer of written collaborations.

Independent consulting—content

Nov 2012–present

Provide editorial services for socially and creatively focused clients. A sampling:

  • MayaSmart.com, Austin, TX: Edit posts and book chapters for early-literacy blogger and author; editing includes clarity, conciseness, pacing, structure, and context as needed.

  • UIC Latino Cultural Center, Chicago, IL: Develop innovative dialogue facilitation guide for wide dissemination based on department's internal guide and institutional knowledge

  • PI Kids, Chicago, IL: Author creative non-fiction works for children zero to eight, with a focus on science topics; copyedit and proofread book content, covers, and packaging

  • AnteUp!, Oakland, CA: Consult on educational standards and content for justice-focused professional development and curriculum developer

  • Cottage Door Press, Rolling Meadows, IL: Create school-based English as a Foreign Language program for children ages 7 to 10 based on existing video story

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 teaching

Mar 2017–present

Classroom instructor, Design Thinking and Communication (DTC), Cook Family Writing Program

  • Instruct first-year engineering students in principles and practices of design thinking; this project-based program is co-taught with McCormick School of Engineering faculty

  • Spring 2020: Designed and piloted sustainability focused DTC course

Writing mentor, Masters of Project Management program (McCormick School of Engineering)

  • Provide 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