A watershed moment

Our education system is at a watershed moment.

In a 21st century classroom, teachers face the monumental task of facilitating authentic learning experiences that engage and challenge every student. Teachers must also enable every student to take ever greater responsibility for their own learning every day.

Existing and emerging digital technologies - if coupled with proven student-centered teaching methods - hold unprecedented potential to effectively and efficiently help schools and teachers transform K-12 classrooms into laboratories of learning.

Our mission

Watershed Collaborative is on a mission to better equip classroom teachers for the complex task of enabling students to learn how to learn for success in school, work, and life in the 21st century.

Our approach

Too often, professional development fails to engage and challenge teachers in the way we ask them to engage and challenge their students, and is rarely responsive to their daily needs. Too often, technology is designed to serve the needs of the system or the technology owners, first, and teachers and learners later.

At Watershed, we support teacher learning and practice differently, so that teachers can continuously improve and be responsive to the unique needs of their students.

Watershed promotes

student-driven inquiry, teacher collaboration, and reflective practice as evidence-based levers for improving outcomes and increasing equity.

Watershed enables

teachers to quickly learn - and master over time - methods they can use every day to build a truly student-centered mindset and inquiry-based classroom culture.

Watershed delivers

innovative, high-quality professional learning opportunities at less cost and with greater ease and engagement than traditional approaches to professional development.

Our products

We are constructing an integrated universe of training, instructional resources, expert support, and a community of motivated peers to empower educators to lead increasingly student-centered classrooms through their use of inquiry-based teaching and learning practices.

Our interactive courses in proven methods - such as Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) - are state-of-the-art and video-rich, and designed to support collaborative and reflective professional learning for teaching partners and teams.

In our inaugural course, VTS Basics, Watershed co-founder Philip Yenawine introduces educators to the core facilitation and questioning techniques of VTS, a method he developed and refined alongside Abigail Housen, PhD. Through our collaborative course interface, course takers are able to make annotations, pose questions, and share insights with a collaborator or team of collaborators as they move through the training materials and implement VTS.

Our services will soon include access to expert coaches who have been innovating within their respective specialty areas for years, and have practical insights and big ideas to share.

Our team

Watershed Collaborative is a non-profit social enterprise led by lifelong educators with a history of innovation and deep knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing our education system.

Our founder

Philip Yenawine

Nationally-recognized thought leader, Philip Yenawine, revolutionized museum education when he developed an inquiry-based teaching protocol called Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) decades ago at New York’s Modern Museum of Art.


Nick Gardner

Nick Gardner, who for years embedded with school districts and teachers nationwide to support student-centered improvement efforts, brings a vision for integrating practical strategies and digital infrastructure that enable more effective, efficient, and integral adoption of student-centered methods.


Lynn Pyfer

With a background in poverty research, after-school and summer camp operations, and data and evaluation analysis linking programmatic efforts to participant outcomes, Lynn Canzano Pyfer brings a multifaceted skill set and a mindset couched in designing for under-resourced communities.


Dr. Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Board Chair Dr. Stephanie Varnon-Hughes is the Director of Cross-Cultural & Interfaith Programs at Claremont Lincoln University.


Diane Zimmerman

Board Treasurer Diane Zimmerman, Ph.D. is a writer and consultant focusing on entrepreneurial learning and schools that make a difference.


Sandy LaBry

Board member Sandy LaBry is a recently retired educator of 38 years. In her prior position as an instructional supervisor, she worked with staff of the Smithsonian Institution, the Lincoln Center Institute, and VUE (Visual Understanding in Education) to increase learning in and through the arts in the school district of Lafayette, LA.