About Us

Cady Staff
8th Grade Humanities Teacher – High Tech Middle Chula Vista
TL Graduate 2009

“Before I entered the HTH GSE Teacher Leadership Program, I didn't consider myself a leader. The program changed the way I understand leadership and helped me to pursue opportunities to lead from within. If not for the program, I would not have had the courage or confidence to leap out of my comfort zone and become a founding member of a new middle school this year. During the program (and beyond), I was able to work with an amazingly supportive and brilliant cohort of teachers who continue to inspire me and challenge me to be a better teacher. My colleagues, professors and advisor helped me clarify my goals as an educator – to promote life-long learning and positive change in the lives of my students – and take concrete steps toward these goals. And my learning did not end with graduation. Instead, the program planted the seeds for continuous growth as a leader and action researcher, encouraging me to pursue my "fierce wonderings" about teaching and learning, and equipping me with the skills to do so. Questioning, pursuing my passions, seeking out help from others, asking my students for constant feedback and looking at experts in the field. The Teacher Leadership program fostered all of these skills and habits in me, and helped me to nurture these same things in my students and colleagues.”

Cady Staff earned her B.A. in Literature/Writing from UC San Diego, her secondary credential and M.Ed. from UC San Diego and her M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership from the HTH Graduate School of Education. She worked at San Diego High School and Madison High School before becoming a founding teacher of High Tech Middle Media Arts in 2005. In 2010, she helped to found High Tech Middle Chula Vista, where she currently teaches 8th grade Humanities and publishes cool books with kids.Less ←
“The program changed the way I understand leadership and helped me to pursue opportunities to lead from within. If not for the program, I would not have had the courage or confidence to leap out of my comfort zone and become a founding member of a new middle school this year.”
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Cady Staff
8th Grade Humanities Teacher – High Tech Middle Chula Vista
TL Graduate 2009



Leading with Innovative Practice

Like the HTH K-12 schools, the HTH GSE is committed to providing its students with learning experiences that are personalized, authentic, and relevant. Our graduate students create personal learning plans, pursue a project-based curriculum, explore their own questions through action research and other forms of inquiry, and develop digital portfolios to demonstrate their learning. HTH GSE programs lead with practice and provide ample opportunities for students to apply theory to real-world teaching and learning contexts. Just as we expect surgeons to have hands-on experience in their residencies, HTH GSE provides its graduate students with hands-on, practical experience in the real world of effective, innovative schools. 

Challenging Common Assumptions

For over 75 years the American high school has followed three critical operating instructions that are so ingrained in the culture by now as to seem natural:

  • Segregate students by class, race, gender, language ability, or perceived academic ability.
  • Separate academic from technical teaching and learning.
  • Isolate adolescents from the adult world they are about to enter.

High Tech High schools overturn these tenets by grouping students heterogeneously, integrating the curriculum, and placing students in the adult world of work and learning. In turn, the GSE prepares educators both to design and to assume leadership in such programs, driven by a commitment to equity, rigor, and relevance for all students.


A Culture of Collaboration

GSE faculty are committed to providing educators with ample opportunities to work and learn together across grade-levels, disciplines, and diverse schooling structures. We believe that learning is a social enterprise, and occurs most deeply in communities where people are surrounded by caring, committed colleagues. To that end, our programs are selective and built on a cohort model, ensuring that all GSE students are known well and are surrounded by peers who encourage them to think deeply, take risks and take action to create positive change in their schools. 

A Total-Immersion Adult Learning Community

With a graduate school of education embedded within its K-12 schools, the entire High Tech High community is a powerful group of learners all working towards the same mission: to prepare K-12 students for postsecondary success and thoughtful citizenship. HTH GSE students learn and work alongside HTH teachers, administrators and students. They learn as the best teachers do from their students and each other by examining what works and what does not, by inviting feedback, and by assessing their own effectiveness in terms of student outcomes. As a community of learners, HTH serves as a laboratory of teaching and learning for all its members.


The mission of the GSE is to develop reflective practitioner leaders who work effectively with colleagues and communities to create and sustain innovative, authentic, and rigorous learning environments for all students. This shared vision is articulated in our Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) to Practice Thoughtful Inquiry and Reflection, Design Equitable Learning Environments, and Engage in Leadership for School Change and the corresponding learning outcomes for each program.

Practice Thoughtful Inquiry & Reflection (IR)
  • Graduates will be able to pursue scholarly inquiry and reflective practice that contributes to broader understandings of teaching, learning and leadership.
Design Equitable Learning Environments (D)
  • Graduates will be able to design learning environments that offer access and challenge to all learners.
Engage in Leadership for School Change (L)
  • Graduates will be able to build supportive learning communities to transform teaching and learning.


The HTH GSE aspires to be recognized within the country and around the world as a hub of progressive practice related to teaching and learning, and as a model of thoughtful, integrated, and transformative graduate education that has a direct impact on K-12 schools. This aspiration reflects HTH GSE's special and unique capacity as a graduate school embedded in highly effective and innovative K-12 schools to bridge the worlds of theory and practice, of scholarship and action.

To achieve this aspiration, the HTH GSE has outlined the following three strategic priorities:

Strategic priority number one: The GSE aims to model and promote thoughtful and forward-thinking teaching and leadership both within and beyond its clinical sites.

Strategic priority number twoThe GSE aims to assist teachers, administrators and policy makers in their efforts to transform teaching and learning locally, nationally, and globally.
Strategic priority number three: The GSE aims to secure the financial sustainability of our institution, and ensure its future.

To learn more about these priorities and our plans for achieving them, click here.


The 2014-15 HTH GSE Handbook and Catalog is available here

Updated: September 12, 2014, 11:28 am

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