David Stephen architect
david stephen bio

David Stephen’s professional life straddles the worlds of education reform and architectural design. As an educator, he has 20 years of experience partnering with some of the field’s visionaries, working with schools nationwide to imagine, develop, and implement innovative school programs. As a licensed architect, he has over 15 years of experience facilitating the architectural programming and design of forward-thinking school buildings. Not surprisingly, important and interesting connections happen at the intersection of these two disciplines. David speaks the “language of education” and the “language of design.” This allows him to not only translate and interpret best practices in education and design for his clients, but to assist them in fully exploring the relationship between the two.

At New Vista, David spends approximately 50% of his time helping districts, schools, and teachers develop student-centered and inquiry-based curricula and programs. His experience as a teacher, program coordinator, and curriculum developer in a variety of project-based educational environments grounds this work. The other half of his New Vista work involves partnering with districts, schools, and architectural firms around educational programming and school design. Over the past 10 years, David has collaborated with many pioneering architectural firms, playing a key role in the architectural design of over 40 new and redesigned elementary, middle, and high schools. His design projects include the highly acclaimed High Tech High network of schools, Denver School of Science & Technology, and Harlem Village Academy network of schools.

David’s work is informed by this essential question: How can the design of school programs and buildings best support the changing needs of 21st century students and teachers? He strives to help clients find a healthy and engaging balance between “heads-on” and “hands-on” approaches to teaching and learning by pursuing a seamless, robust, and authentic blend of academic and vocational content and methods. David holds a Bachelor in Architecture degree from Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters in Education from Lesley College. He lives in Boston with his wife Silvana, a high school teacher, and his daughter Izzi, a soon-to-be high school student.


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