Board of Directors


Rachel Pickett


The Thinking Project's Executive Director, Rachel, strives to work with teachers and students to build classrooms where diverse perspectives are valued, learning is relevant to the lives all of us lead, and where students develop ways of thinking that support them in leading thoughtful, creative, contributing lives.


Finding authentic and creative ways to bring Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) to young people has been a living turnaround in Rachel's life since 2004. It ignited her passion to become a teacher and co-found The Thinking Project. She holds a Master's degree in Education (concentration in Curriculum and Instruction) from the University of Denver and is a Certified Facilitator of IBSR.


Serving on the Board is a privilege to her because she gets to collaborate with thoughtful, caring people to develop The Thinking Project as a quality, honest, equitable organization.

Rachel lives in Denver, Colorado and loves learning, walking, engaging with the world (both inner and outer), spending time with family and friends, and dreams of hiking the Hebrides Way in Scotland.  

As a serial entrepreneur, Michal enjoys dreaming up impactful products and bringing them to life. He’s a co-founder of Joya, the maker of Marco Polo video communications app for close friends and families. He studied computer science at Harvard and business at Stanford.

He’s been a big fan of Rachel’s vision and creativity from the moment he first learned about The Thinking Project in 2019. He’s excited to be joining the Board of Directors to help make research-based social-emotional education accessible to kids from all backgrounds.

Michal lives in Menlo Park, California, with his wife and two daughters. He loves the redwoods and super soft blankets :)

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Michal Bortnik



Kathleen Bullock


Kathleen began her work in education teaching second grade in 2008. She has spent time as a classroom teacher and mentor as well as served at the administrative level in both public and charter schools.

She holds a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Urban Education from the University of Denver, a master's in Prevention Science and Practice from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and completed a program in Educational Leadership from Regis University.


She is grateful to serve on the board of The Thinking Project having been impressed by the dedication and drive of TTPI to develop high-quality social emotional curriculum for young people while also supporting teachers through the process.  She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband Alex, twin boys Martin and Andrew, and their incredibly sweet dog Caymus.

Natasha holds a master of education degree (concentration in Human Development and Psychology) from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor of arts degree in Studio Art and Philosophy from Colorado College.

For the past 10 years she has worked as a high school teacher, curriculum developer, and teacher coach. She also worked in Harvard’s EASEL lab researching social emotional development and with Harvard’s Project Zero researching principles for creating rich cultures of thinking.

She is motivated to serve on the Board of Directors because of her own experience with Inquiry Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) and its demonstrated impact on others. She is inspired by The Thinking Project’s creative and thoughtful approach to sharing Inquiry with students.

Natasha lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with enough plants to make her living room feel like a jungle, her husband, two flatmates, and a baby. She designs learning experiences to develop critical thinking, perspective taking, and empathy in adolescents and teachers. 

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Natasha Blitz-Jones



Korinne Akridge

Board Member

Korinne worked as a school administrator and teacher for the bulk of her career, ultimately founding Riverstone Montessori Academy in Marietta, Georgia; a thriving Montessori school that serves children from 2.5 years - 10th grade. 


After selling her interest in the Montessori school, Korinne took a part time job with The Thinking Project as the Administrative Director in 2019.  She volunteered with The Thinking Project for approximately 2 years before joining the Board of Directors and becoming an employee.  


Korinne’s educational background consists of:

  1. Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola University

  2. Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Business from The University of West Florida 

  3. Association Montessori International Elementary Teaching Certification

  4. Certified Facilitator of Inquiry Based Stress Reduction


Serving on the Board of Directors for The Thinking Project is meaningful and important to her because this organization offers a tool (Inquiry!) for peace and personal freedom that was transformative in her own life and is backed by research.

Korinne lives in Boulder, Colorado and loves to explore the outdoors in her free time.