Katie is an instructor and co-owner at Lions Krav Maga. She has an extensive background in Education and Teaching Methodologies, holding a Master’s Degree in both Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College, and Educational Policy & Planning from the University of Texas at Austin. For more than 20 years, Katie has had a passion for teaching and has taught students of all ages, from infants to adults.
In 2011, Katie discovered Krav Maga. Since becoming a practitioner, Katie has diligently studied the techniques, the history, and the theory of self-defense and how it is applied to today’s world. Since then, Katie has achieved several Krav Maga Teaching Certifications from some of the top Krav Maga instructors in the world, including Eyal Yanilov of Krav Maga Global and Alan Predolin of 360 Krav Maga. She has several specialist certifications, including Krav Maga for Law Enforcement, Women’s Krav Maga, and Krav Maga for Children & Teens. She continues to seek out the best instruction available on the planet and has had the opportunity to train with extraordinary combative instructors such as UFC Veteran, Green Beret, & Army Special Forces Sniper Tim Kennedy, Army Combatives Black Belt Kris Perkins, and UFC Veterans such as Colton Smith, Andrew Craig, Bas Rutten, Carlos Condit, and Duane Ludwig.
Katie’s Background & Mission
Katie has an extensive background in trauma-informed, empowerment-based educational practices. She started her teaching career at Operation Breakthrough in Kansas City, a nonprofit educational services center that provides a safe, loving and educational environment for children in poverty and empowers families through advocacy, emergency aid and education. In her position as an Early Childhood Teacher and Literacy Coordinator, she learned about the prevalence of adverse & traumatic experiences that occur as a result of systemic inequity, and she was trained on strategies for recognizing signs of trauma as well as strategies to support students who experience or who have experienced trauma.
It was at Operation Breakthrough that Katie decided to pursue a Master’s at Boston College through the Donovan Urban Teaching Scholars program, an intensive 1-year program where a select cohort of students learn to flourish as teachers in urban schools through a curriculum that prioritizes critical inquiry, social justice education, and community building. While in this program, Katie learned how to provide differentiated, scaffolded instruction for all different types of learners as well as how to interrupt systems of oppression through the educational process. She left Boston in 2008 with her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education Curriculum & Instruction and an additional certificate for Teaching English Language Learners.
From Boston, Katie moved back to her roots in Texas. She began working at Mainspring Schools, a nonprofit school that provided underserved children and their families with high-quality education and holistic support. While at Mainspring, Katie wrote her first school-wide curriculum that combined the Texas State Standards with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards, which are broadly considered the highest standards for Early Childhood Education in the country. The curriculum covered all domains, including social and emotional learning, for students age 6-weeks to 5-years, demonstrating the breadth of Katie’s child development & educational expertise. Katie would go on to write two more school-wide curricula, culminating in the creation of Lions Krav Maga’s Krav Junior program.
After her years of teaching underserved students in nonprofit schools, Katie decided that she wanted to make a bigger impact by getting to the heart of the issue; she decided to pursue a postgraduate degree in Education Policy & Planning at UT-Austin in order to advocate for students at the legislative level.
It was during her studies at UT that Katie began training in Krav Maga. Her studies at school combined with her Krav Maga training started to take her research away from her initial policy focus (school finance policy) and towards studying the effects of trauma on learning. This led Katie to an internship with Texas CASA, where she did legislative research & advocacy on the effects of psychotropic medication use in foster care & its effect on long-term educational, health, and wellbeing outcomes. She also was a fellow with the Institute for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, where she worked on a research project & public awareness campaign on recognizing domestic human trafficking. In both positions, Katie received an extensive education on trauma-informed practices for providing a continuum of care for children & adults who have experienced trauma.
After graduating from UT-Austin, Katie continued her work in the child welfare field by working as a Grant Administrator for the Federal Children’s Justice Act. In this position, Katie was responsible for understanding the full scope of child welfare intake & investigations in the state of Texas. She attended several conferences and trainings designed to train social workers, nurses, judges, law enforcement officers, mental health clinicians, and more on the ins and outs of child welfare, from understanding the roots of the issue, to recognizing the signs, to trauma-informed intervention, to investigating child welfare crimes, to navigating the child welfare legal system. Katie’s research on abuse & trauma lit a fire in her that still motivates her today.
This is the background that informed the creation of all of our programs at Lions Krav Maga. Katie has instituted several policies & practices to ensure that our classes are developmentally appropriate, fully inclusive, empowerment-based, and trauma-informed. Here are just a few examples of the policies & practices that arose as a result of Katie’s extensive background in the fields of child welfare & education:
- Every instructor is required to be SafeSport certified. The SafeSport training course is designed to teach coaches how to prevent abuse in sports, how to recognize warning signs of abuse or misconduct, and how to intervene responsibly & report incidents of abuse.
- Every instructor goes through a training on trauma-informed coaching. This training includes:
- How to create an emotionally safe training environment.
- The importance of consent conversations in training & how to facilitate them in classes.
- How to differentiate instruction & increase or decrease the level of stress in the drills as necessary.
- How to introduce stressful or emotionally triggering topics in a way that is slow, safe, and conscientious.
- How to respond if a student has a trauma response, such as a PTSD panic attack in class, in ways that are respectful & empowering, and that help the students get back to a space where they feel regulated & safe.
- The Krav Junior Mat Chats are developmentally-appropriate guides for children age 3-12 to learn how to recognize & navigate warning signs of abuse (i.e. signs that someone is a “tricky person”), how and when to report to a safe adult what happened or is happening, and how to honor their feelings & protect themselves in a variety of different self defense scenarios.
- We provide a library of parent education resources to help parents with navigating the stresses of parenting, including information on how stress affects learning, and research-backed discipline strategies for emotionally healthy children.
Katie’s mission continues to be to interrupt systems of violence & oppression through empowerment-based practices. To schedule a consultation or private training session with Katie, email us at email@example.com.
Some of Katie’s Favorite Things
MMA Fight: Barao vs. Dillashaw, UFC 173
Inspirational Quote: “‘You’ll find,’ he remarked gently, ‘that the only thing you can do easily is to be wrong, and that’s hardly worth the effort'” –The Phantom Tollbooth
Action Hero: Hit Girl
Walk-Out Song: “World Town” by M.I.A.
Words of Wisdom: “If you always liked it, it wouldn’t really be training.” –Henry Lane Nevils