I spent the first decade of my career as a high school English teacher, and the following twelve years as as a district-level administrator responsible for curriculum, instruction and professional teacher development. Additionally, I have worked for the CT State Department of Education, in higher education, for the RESCs and privately to support the work of many school systems across Connecticut.
My focus has always been on the students, on how we make school meaningful, provide valuable learning experiences, assure that what we demand of young people is worth their time. Because often it is the programming itself, the uninspired curriculum or the ineffective delivery of instruction, that prevents learning and leads students to struggle. Even excellent programming, however, does not work for everyone, and those young people who struggle despite it have always compelled my interest and professional attention.
In 2016 I founded REALize Learning, LLC with the mission of providing meaningful support for students who are struggling in their pursuit of academic and life fulfillment. I love teenagers and young adults for all of their complexity and confusion. (And I continue to raise three of my own). As my administrative work took me farther and farther away from working directly and personally with this age group, I realized I needed to make this career shift.
Since opening my practice, I have coached and supported numerous individuals and families from nearly all of the schools and colleges in the greater Hartford area, in addition to working virtually with others who are farther away.
I use a strengths-based approach rooted in empathy and mindfulness to promote growth and positive change with students. Our connection becomes the safe foundation for the hard work we do together to identify their strengths, dig into the roots of their challenges, experiment with strategies that work for them, promote their honest self-awareness, and ultimately support their autonomy and independence as they seek fulfillment and satisfaction, not just academically, but in all aspects of their lives.
Hayley Zinn Rowthorn, founder and owner of REALize Learning, LLC,
Hayley lives in West Hartford with her husband, their teenage daughter and 2 dogs. Their oldest son is a college graduate living in Chicago and their middle son is a college student in NYC.
University of California, Riverside, Coursework in Educational Therapy
Southern CT State University, 6th Year Degree, Educational Leadership
Wesleyan University, MA, Humanities
Yale University, English Teacher Certification
Univ. of Paris IV La Sorbonne, MA equiv. French Literature
Boston University, BA, Art History
Administrator and Supervisor,
State of CT (#092)
English, 7-12, Professional Educator, State of CT (#015)
Coaching teens and college students (ICF accredited certification)
Service and recognition
One of seven Connecticut Commissioners on the Education Commission of the States, (ecs.org).
Appointed by Governor Malloy in 2014, I am the first K-12 educator ever appointed from Connecticut.
Outstanding Educator Award, Cornell University
Exemplary Service Awards, East Lyme Public Schools