Kathleen Butts has worked in urban education for over 20 years. While earning her master’s degree in Education, she first worked as a high school English teacher at PYC Arts and Technology High School. PYC is an alternative school that contracts with Minneapolis Public Schools to ensure graduation for students who have dropped out, been pushed out, and/or expelled from their original school. After teaching for 7 years, Kathleen moved into administrative positions, including the Director of Education, and was then appointed Associate Executive Director of Plymouth Youth Center (PYC) in 2013.

During this time, Kathleen’s gained and fostered a wealth of urban education experience and is passionate about working with youth who come from the heart of the city. She has specific expertise in developing effective programming for Title I schools, establishing school-wide benchmarks and goals, fostering a culturally responsive school climate, and creating resiliency amongst at-risk (or–as she likes to say–at-promise) youth.

Kathleen was the co-founder of a community based, advocacy group called the Northside Schools Coalition. This coalition is comprised of families who engage in grassroots organizing work to create high quality, equitable schools in Minneapolis’ most under-resourced neighborhoods. Through social media, she also helped promote the Little Free Library movement in Minneapolis and helped place nearly 100 Little Free Libraries in these same neighborhoods.

In 2015, Kathleen relocated with her family to Pennsylvania, where she chose to return to her roots as a classroom teacher. She now works at YESPhilly in North Philadelphia. YESPhilly (aka Youth Empowerment Services) is a 501(c)3 non-profit agency whose mission is to develop a broad base of opportunities for Philadelphia’s out-of-school youth to prepare them to become successful, self-sufficient adults. Since its inception, YESPhilly has provided opportunities to over 200 high school drop-outs per year. They have developed an educational model that prepares students for college and careers by tying together personal development, media arts and technology skills, and academic instruction to meet Pennsylvania standards for high school.

In her freetime, Kathleen is a poet, a gardener, and enjoys taking road trips to unusual destinations with her husband and 11-year-old daughter. She now plans to also take up kayaking in the Poconos. Kathleen’s greatest hope is that all families can lead lives of perseverance and exploration. The Mars Generation embodies the spirit of this hope!