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Big Ideas is the online journal of Authentic Education, an educational consulting organization headed by Grant Wiggins. Big Ideas is a bimonthly publication featuring themed issues, each of which is devoted to a key concept in education and school change.


Grant Wiggins

Executive Editor


Grant Wiggins is the president of Authentic Education in Hopewell, New Jersey. He earned his Ed.D. from Harvard University and his B.A. from St. John’s College in Annapolis. Grant consults with schools, districts, and state education departments on a variety of reform matters; organizes conferences and workshops; and develops print materials and Web resources on curricular change. He is perhaps best known for being the co-author, with Jay McTighe, of Understanding By Design and The Understanding By Design Handbook, the award-winning and highly successful materials on curriculum published by ASCD. His work has been supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

Over the past twenty years, Grant has worked on some of the most influential reform initiatives in the country, including Vermont’s portfolio system and Ted Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools. He has established statewide Consortia devoted to assessment reform for the states of North Carolina and New Jersey. Grant is the author of Educative Assessment and Assessing Student Performance, both published by Jossey-Bass. His many articles have appeared in such journals as Educational Leadership and Phi Delta Kappan.

His work is grounded in fourteen years of secondary-school teaching and coaching. Grant taught English and electives in philosophy, coached soccer, cross country, baseball, and track & field. Grant has more recently coached his two sons in soccer and baseball. He also plays guitar and sings in the Hazbins, a rock band.



Denise Wilbur

Editor-in-Chief

Denise Wilbur: Denise Wilbur is the vice president of Authentic Education as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Big Ideas. She combines many years of teaching in social studies, English, and ESL at the middle school, high school, college, and adult-education levels with experience in curriculum development, school administration, and academic support. As a consultant and writer, Denise specializes in helping educators teach through Essential Questions, develop learning through classroom dialogue, and use textbooks wisely and effectively. She has also consulted at the state level in the revision of learning standards, written the core of a district-wide curriculum, and created a set of videos on teaching for understanding.

Outside of education, Denise has worked in international economic development, designing and managing projects to assist Third World artisan groups in refining and marketing their crafts. Most notably, she led the renewal of crafts cooperatives in Hungary after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Denise lives in New Jersey and is the mother of two nearly grown sons, Matt (17) and Zach (19), and a brilliant but slightly neurotic border collie, Piper.



Alexis Wiggins

Managing Editor

Alexis Wiggins: Alexis Wiggins hails from the Boston area, and she received her B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently completing her M.F.A. in Creative Writing through the University of New Orleans. Alexis has taught English, Spanish, and ESOL at the middle and high-school levels in the U.S., Hong Kong, and Spain. She was an editorial intern at Francis Ford Coppola’s literary magazine Zoetrope: All-Story, and she currently works as a freelance writer and editor in Spain.

Alexis joins our team as managing editor of Big Ideas, Authentic Education's online journal for educators. The eldest daughter of Authentic Education company president, Dr. Grant Wiggins, Alexis currently lives in Madrid, Spain.

Alexis and her husband love to travel, and they have lived and traveled in Asia, the United States, and Europe. In her free time, Alexis likes to cook, work on her novel, do yoga, and see films.


Beth Krasemann
Associate Editor
Beth Krasemann grew up in Portland, OR, where she participated in all kinds of athletics - soccer, tennis, skiing, cross-country, and track. She earned a B.A. from Williams College, where she played soccer and ran track. While at Williams, she studied abroad for a semester in Rome. After graduating, she taught history and coached sports at the Taft School (Watertown, CT) for two years.

Beth later attended Brown University for an intensive, one-year M.A.T. program that shaped her educational philosophy. After receiving her master’s, she went on to teach history at the Ethel Walker School (Simsbury, CT) for several years and at Suffield Academy (Suffield, CT), where she currently teaches high-school history. Before having children, Beth and her husband spent summers travelling in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Caribbean. Now in her fifth year at Suffield, she enjoys teaching ninth-grade World History and chasing after her children, Daniel (4) and Emma (2).


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