Run Your Life Show With Andy Vasily

#177 - Universal Design for Learning With Dr. Katie Novak

May 01, 2021 Andy Vasily
Run Your Life Show With Andy Vasily
#177 - Universal Design for Learning With Dr. Katie Novak
Show Notes

When Dr. Katie Novak was a student early in life, she did what was required by her teachers, handing in her work on time and following rules and expectations set by the school, but she never genuinely developed a deep love of learning. She didn’t feel that she really had what it took to be a great student, but all that changed when a teacher that she had truly believed in her capabilities and pushed for Katie to be moved into advanced classes in high school. This genuinely changed the trajectory Katie’s life and she learned to believe in herself and she began to develop the habits and skills needed to thrive academically. This led Katie on a path that would have her eventually become a teacher herself wanting to reach all of her students and help them to find success in their own unique ways. 

Katie would journey into educational leadership and ultimately become the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Massachusetts. She would go on to earn a doctorate in curriculum and teaching, and publish 8 books. She now designs and presents workshops both nationally and internationally focusing on the implementation of inclusive practices, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), multi-tiered systems of support, and universally designed leadership. 

In today’s episode you will hear Katie talk about what Universal Design for Learning is and how it can be implemented successfully in schools. She shares many examples of what UDL looks like and what educational leaders need to think about when considering this framework and how it might be embedded within their school in authentic ways. Hope you find some valuable takeaways from this discussion with Katie.

About Katie:
Katie Novak, Ed.D., is an internationally renowned education consultant, author, professor at UPenn, and a former Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Massachusetts. Dr. Novak is the author of the best-selling book, UDL Now! A Teacher’s Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning in Today’s Classrooms. Her book, Innovate Inside the Box, with George Couros, explores how to create innovative and purposeful learning opportunities for students within the constraints of educational systems. Let Them Thrive was endorsed by the PACER Foundation. Two additional publications, of which she is a co-author, have been endorsed by leading professors in the field of education and state departments of education. UDL in the Cloud was endorsed by the Executive Director of The Initiative on Learning and Teaching at MIT while Mitchell Chester, the late Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), endorsed Universally Designed Leadership.

Novak’s work has been highlighted in many publications including Edutopia, Language Magazine, NAESP Principal, ADDitude Magazine, Commonwealth Magazine, The Inclusion Lab, Think Inclusive, School news, the Huffington Post, Principal Leadership, District Administrator, ASCD Education Update, and School Administrator.

Connect With Katie:

UDL Guidelines:

Opening music written and performed by New York-based musician Scott Ferrare. You can find his work at:

Special thanks to Bronx band Conversing with Oceans & Alex Bondarev for creating the podcast intro music.