JoAnn Deak, PhD

JoAnn Deak, PhDJoAnn Deak, Ph.D., has spent more than thirty years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. The latter half of that period has also focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as guides or significant ‘brain sculptors’ of children. On her website is a quote that best describes her perspective on her work: “Every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”

Parents and educators at schools from New York to Hawaii, as well as such organizations as the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Association of International Schools, the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate Association, have heralded Dr. Deak’s ability to demystify complex issues of child development, learning, identity formation and brain research. Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia and The Shelter of Each Other has called Dr. Deak “an earnest idealist and a rigorous researcher… a good combination of head and heart.” Michael Thompson, author of Raising Cain and Best Friends, Worst Enemies, has said that her writing “offers parents humor, understanding, parenting philosophy, and well founded words of wisdom.” Linda Ellerbee, journalist and TV host, commented on Dr. Deak’s book: “There’s real wisdom between these covers. Do yourself a favor. Buy one copy for yourself [or your mother] and another to save for when your daughter is mother to a daughter.”

Dr. Deak began her career as a teacher and head of the science department. She soon learned the complexity of dealing with the many brain and motivational patterns represented by the diverse students in her classes. This led to her work at Kent State University, one of only three universities in the United States to have a specialty in Preventive Psychology at that time. Her doctoral work focused on how to assess those environmental, school and family patterns that lead to the healthy development of children and, conversely, those patterns that cause issues, problems and disabilities.

After several years in private practice, Dr. Deak began consulting with schools in Ohio. In the 1980′s she worked with the Laurel School as a consulting psychologist, where she participated in a six-year study with Harvard and a team of researchers lead by Carol Gilligan. Following that study, Dr. Deak joined Laurel School as the Director of the Lower School and Director of the Middle School. She also was the founding Director of Early Childhood. She left Laurel in 1999 to expand her consulting role with parents, schools and other organizations nationwide and internationally.

Dr. Deak has been an advisor to Outward Bound, a past chair of the National Committee for Girls and Women in Independent Schools, on the advisory board for the Center on Research for Girls [Laurel School], for the Seattle Girls’ School, Bromley Brook School, the Red Oak School, The 92nd St. Y, St. Anne’s School in Annapolis and Julia Morgan School. She consults with organizations and schools across the United States. Most recently, she has worked internationally with schools, organizations, associations and parent groups in every continent [except Antarctica!]. This includes: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Borneo, Canada, China, Denmark, England, Ethiopia, France, India, Kenya, the Philippines, Morocco, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. She has been awarded the Woman of Achievement Award by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, was given the first Female Educator of the Year Award by Orchard House School, and the Outstanding Partner for Girls Award from Clemson University. She has been named the Visiting Scholar in New Zealand, the Visiting Scholar for Montessori Children’s House and has been the Resident Scholar for the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute in Colorado Springs since 2004.

Dr. Deak has written four books:

  • The Driver’s Manual for Your Adolescent Brain, Little Pickle Press, 2013.
  • Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, Little Pickle Press, 2011.
    [also available in Mandarin, 2012, from The DEAK Group or Jiangxi Universities and Colleges Press]
  • How Girls Thrive, Green Blanket Press, 2010.
    Spanish Version: Assi alcanzan el exito las ninas, Green Blanket Press, 2011.
  • Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters, Hyperion, 2002.
    [now available on ebooks]

Co-edited one book:

  • The Book of Hopes and Dreams, 1999.

Contributed to three books:

  • What I Wish You Knew: Letters from Our Daughters’ Lives, and Expert Advice on Staying Connected. American Girl. 2001
  • Instructor’s Guide to Managing Adolescents in the Field. Outward Bound. 2003
  • Raising an American Girl: Parenting Advice, American Girl, 2010

An award-winning app for Your Fantastic Elastic Brain is available from the App Store. FREE lesson plans for teachers are available for both Your Fantastic Elastic Brain as well as the Owner’s Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain on the Little Pickle Press website.

Dr. Deak has written numerous articles, and is presently working on the manuscripts for these books to be released in early 2015:

  • Neuroscience Literacy and Practice for Teachers
  • Neuroscience Literacy and Practice for Parents