About Me

Hello and Welcome!

My name is Julie Kallio (she/her/hers), and I’m a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. (Need a short bio? Click here.)

I study how educators and researchers can come together to solve common problems through design. Participatory design practices and my background as a teacher inspire me to think about how researchers, educators, and communities collaborate to create socially just schools, and I see Networked Improvement Communities as a desirable and viable pathway to making it happen.

My dissertation, Solving Problems Together: Findings from the Early Stages of a Networked Improvement Community, is a case study framed by the three guiding questions of the NIC model: “First, what problem(s) are we trying to solve? Second, whose expertise is needed to solve these problems? And third, what are the social arrangements that will enable this work?” (Bryk et al., 2011, p.4).

I draw on social network and qualitative data to take up each question, demonstrating how our research team (1) used member-checking processes to identify a problem of practice with educators and (2) designed collaborative activities to support knowledge transfer, and (3) how the affordances of the collaborative activities fostered help-based interactions, a precursor to relational trust.

Overall, this work contributes to emerging ideas of how NICs are initiated and developed, with the goal of realizing their potential to improve and sustain educational systems that routinely meet the needs of each and every student.


I am currently a project assistant with the Wisconsin Collaborative Educational Research NETWORK. Part of my work is with the Research Development Team to support faculty in applying for grants.

I am also the lead researcher for the Personalization in Practice research group and former director of a subproject to build a Networked Improvement Community, an IES grant-funded position to bring together teachers to do participatory design work around emerging practices. Read more about my research experience.

My parents were both teachers and I found my way there too. I taught in outdoor education at a place called AstroCamp and 2 independent schools, leading technology integration, teaching science, and dorm parenting. I earned my M.S. in Science Education from Montana State University and a B.S. in Biology and French from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. For specific examples of leadership in K-12, click here.

I’m originally from Northeastern Wisconsin, but I moved to Paris, France, when I was 7. I spent my school years at the American School of Paris, taking International Baccalaureate courses and traveling in Europe, and summers selling fireworks and riding horses by Shawano Lake. My education and career has since taken me to Montana, Southern California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and now back to Madison, and I have no doubt more adventures lie ahead!

Be in touch. Please contact me via email, twitter, or LinkedIn.