Who We Are

We are a group of four progressive educators from New York City and Los Angeles. Our combined experience includes designing Imaginative Inquiry Social Studies curriculums for grades K-5th and teaching in K-6th grade classrooms for a combined 45 years in both public and independent schools.

We work with classroom teachers to design and implement lessons that activate student engagement by presenting contexts that allow students to experience critical issues of a time and/or place, consider multiple points of view, and step in as expert problem-solvers. These lessons are created in tandem with teachers so that they meet a school’s specific curricular goals, and help support and deepen teachers’ existing curricula. Our Institute offers teaching residencies, on-site coaching and workshops in our methods.


Elaine Chu

Elaine Chu has been an education consultant for 25 years, working with teachers, administrators and museum educators nationally and internationally. Elaine has sixteen years’ experience as a classroom teacher in independent and public elementary schools in New York City. She currently provides professional and curriculum development to schools and teachers in Imaginative Inquiry, and has worked with faculty in schools such as the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, Packer Collegiate, the Town School, the Coop School, the East Village Community School, and more. She has worked in the field of education throughout her professional career, designing programs for schools and museums, and has worked internationally to help create educational infrastructure in developing countries. She has a B.S. in History from Tufts University and an M.S.Ed. in Childhood General Education from Bank Street College.  

Kelli Dawn Holsopple

Kelli Dawn Holsopple has been a progressive educator for 20 years. She has led workshops on using drama for learning and Imaginative Inquiry for both public and independent schools, and was founder and director of the Inflight Theatre in Education program at East Village Community School where she created Imaginative Inquiry social studies units for grades K-5 for 10 years. Currently, she serves as Director of Curriculum at The Walden School, a progressive school in Los Angeles, California. There, she develops social studies curricula through strong social justice and environmental justice lenses. 

Jessie Kirk

Jessie Kirk has been an elementary school teacher for over 10 years, and currently teaches Third Grade at the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School in Manhattan. As someone who grew up attending progressive schools, she believes passionately in the ideals and methods of progressive education. Jessie collaborates with her colleagues to develop and implement lessons using drama conventions and Mantle of the Expert. She has always believed that children should learn through play, and that student inquiry should be what drives curriculum. Jessie has a B.A. in Human Development from Connecticut College, and a M.S.Ed. in Childhood General Education from Bank Street College.

Ella Moran

Ella Moran is the Sixth Grade Teacher at The Walden School in Pasadena, CA. She previously taught Third and Fourth Grade at the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School, and in other progressive elementary schools in New York City. Before becoming a teacher, Ella worked for 10 years as a multimedia producer at Human Rights Watch. Imaginative Inquiry is an apt synthesis of the social justice work, activism, and the vibrant and experiential learning that Ella has been committed to in her work at Human Rights Watch and as a progressive educator. Ella has a B.A. in Literature from The New School University and a M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood and Childhood General Education from Bank Street College.