Around the Green

Dr. Catherine Stines joined Forman School this year as one of the Deans of Learning and Innovation. Catherine was diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult. She says her learning difference experience affords her a unique perspective when collaborating with faculty, teaching students, and implementing innovative curriculums at Forman.  

“I believe dyslexia is actually the answer to so many people who struggle with 21st-century learning skills. People with dyslexia naturally harness these skills,” says Catherine. “While I didn't necessarily thrive in the classroom early on, my learning difference has given me the intrinsic and powerful skills of communication, collaboration, and creativity.”

Catherine says sharing her learning difference with students creates an opportunity for them to recognize their own potential beyond Forman. 

“I think they hear what I've accomplished in receiving my doctorate or background other than education earlier in my career and they see that they have endless possibilities in the pursuit of their future,” she says. “Vulnerability in sharing your neurodiversity with others opens the door for learning without those barriers in place.”

She adds that she encourages students to look to her as an example of how to overcome obstacles and trust that success is achievable. 

“I just tell them to look at me. From corporate event planner to a teacher to an international educational consultant to senior administration. Life is long and they are able to pursue everything they love as long as they think creatively about their approach,” she says. “A person that hated school now works full time in pursuing how we learn in schools around the world. I think oftentimes the things that scare us most can become our most powerful mission. That's where I think a student’s learning difference can indeed become their superpower.”

Watch Catherine in Forman’s Learning Differences and Dyslexia Awareness Month video here