The Story of a Living System: A Pathway to Enlivening and Transforming Education 

ISBN: 978-1-942545-10-1
216 Pages, 6 x 9
$17.00 Paperback
Pub Date: January 1, 2016


“They achieve their goal of guiding the reader to consider the whole child through engagement, inquiry, personalization, and emotional connections. Teachers will receive tools to be detectives looking for the unique gifts and potentials in all children and learn how to best nourish them to fruition.” —Judy Willis, M.D., M.Ed.

“Desautels and McKnight are pioneers by bringing practical strategies for a needed pendulum swing in education that celebrates and honors educators and their ability to cultivate the unique gifts of every child. This is a powerful, thought provoking and refreshing read!” — Christopher H. Kobik, Superintendent of Schools, NJ



Lori Desautels, Ph.D.

Michael McKnight, M.A.

Lori Desautels is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Marian University in Indianapolis teaching undergraduate and graduate students. Lori is currently applying educational neuroscience research, and social and emotional learning, two days a week directly in the 5th grade and 7th grade classrooms.

Michael McKnight is a curriculum specialist for the Department of Education in New Jersey. He is a former special education teacher and administrator of adolescents who have been challenged with emotional disabilities. He is currently an adjunct professor at Stockton University teaching special education.









Learning is the most natural thing human beings do. Yet, it seems the “harder” we work in schools helping our students to acquire the learning they need, the academic performances stay stagnant or lessen.

Schools are not machines. Schools are a network of human beings who feel, think, behave, and function within a human system that is alive and never static. Schools are living systems.

This living system of sentient beings are neuro-biologically wired to feel first; to think, to love, to connect, and to experience deep joy as well as deep disappointment and pain.

This system is wired to thrive, even through difficult times— Lori and Michael believe that we can begin to create wholeness and connection within our schools, and help them to thrive, mindfully and by design.


“UNWRITTEN follows in the historic footsteps of John Dewey's progressive education reform (Democracy and Education,1916 ) and Charles Silberman’s national best seller (Crisis in the Classroom: The Remaking of American Education,1970). UNWRITTEN integrates all the new concepts of psychological learning and neuroscience. It is a must-read book for anyone who believes that significant and lifelong learning is based on relationships and human connections rather than standardized content and computer programs.”
Nicholas J.Long Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, American University, President of the Life Space Crisis Intervention Institute