About Lisa

About Lisa Abel-Palmieri, Ph.D.


An educational innovator passionate about shaping the future of learning. Collaborative leader successful at rallying a team, designing and launching new strategies and developing metrics to show growth. A poised public speaker and fundraiser that's not afraid to get into the trenches. An activist of equity and social justice. An avid design thinker and researcher that believes building empathy is the key to change management, shifting culture and developing new concepts.

Lisa is the Head of School and Chief Learning Officer at Holy Family Academy, an innovative, college preparatory, and STEM-focused independent Catholic high school. Holy Family Academy is "Rethinking High School" by providing an interdisciplinary and project-based environment that also includes a work study internship program, field-based learning and the ability for students to earn digital badges/micro-credentials to show what they know. Holy Family Academy is an equitable school choice in the Pittsburgh region - accessible to all families through its disruptive funding model. Prior to joining Holy Family Academy (HFA), Lisa was most recently the Director of Technology & Curricular Innovation, Head of Computer Science and led partnerships and outreach as Director of the Learning Innovation Institute at The Ellis School, a PK-12 independent school also in Pittsburgh. A disruptor, designer and change agent, she brings over 15 years of teaching, outreach, marketing and administrative experience.

Lisa's background is diverse as she has worked for large corporations, the United States Nuclear Navy and in higher-education where she has taught in a variety of disciplines. She has done field-based research and practicum work in public education in addition to her private school teaching and administrative experience. In addition to her role at HFA, Lisa is an education consultant helping other schools and informal learning organizations re-envision curriculum particularly shifting from passive learning to deeper learning. She frequently leads workshops on design thinking, maker education, equity and educational technologies. Lisa has been a national speaker and workshop leader at conferences and schools across North America.

Lisa focused her Doctorate studies on curriculum development and technology integration. She has multidisciplinary degrees in both STEM and the Humanities with Masters Degrees in both instructional technology and integrated marketing as well as undergraduate work in english, art history and graphic design. She is an avid grant writer and enjoys developing community outreach programs, training and camps for under-resourced students so that all students may have equal opportunity to build confidence, leadership skills and engage in innovative thinking, making and contributing. Her research studies have focused on equity in STEM learning, blended learning, active learning, women's leadership in education and design thinking as a framework for project-based learning. She is currently researching how deeper learning builds future-ready mindsets like perseverance, optimism and entrepreneurialism in urban youth.

Sharing, growing and enabling describe what drives Lisa. In the past fifteen year she has volunteered for FIRST Robotics and many girl-serving organizations focused on engaging young women in STEM including serving as a Trustee for the Online School for Girls. 
She is the co-founder and active organizer of EdCampPGH. She is also on the planning committees for the Three Rivers EdTech Conference (TRETC) and the Pittsburgh STEM Summit and has also enjoyed being a judge for Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh. Lisa is a proud member of the Remake Learning Network, Schools That Can Pittsburgh, on the young leaders advisory council for Adagio Health and the advisory team of The Maker's Clubhouse. 

Lisa was awarded Non-Profit CIO of the Year by the Pittsburgh Technology Council in 2013. In 2014, she was an honorable mention for Leader of the Year from Technology & Learning Magazine, Athena Young Professional Award Nominee and an NAIS Teacher of the Future. In 2015, the Huffington Post selected Lisa as the 18th most social
K12 technology leader. Lisa was named an ASCD Emerging Leader  and Deeper Learning Equity Fellow in 2016. 

LinkedIn Profile 
Detailed Curricula Vitae - By Request




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