About Us


Thea Durling  |  thea.durling@gmail.com

Danielle Patenaude  |  dxpate00a@gmail.com

Thea Durling lives and teaches in North-Central Massachusetts.  She has been teaching math (grades 7 and 8) and English as a Second Language for over 18 years in the Commonwealth and abroad.  She has an M.Ed. in Multicultural/ESL/Bilingual Education and a second M.Ed. in Math (5-8) and she holds teaching licenses in math (5-8, 8-12), ELL (5-12), and Moderate Disabilities (5-12).

Thea was introduced to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) by her former assistant superintendent and UDL consultant, Dr. Katie Novak.  Thea took her first course with Dr. Novak in the fall of 2015 and began working as a graduate assistant  and instructor for Dr. Novak in August 2016.  Since then, Thea has taught the following courses:

  • Co-Teacher (with Julie Spang, Instructional Technology Coach):  Integrating Technology and UDL (hybrid graduate course); summer 2020

  • Instructor:  UDL Strategies for the Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School (online graduate course); November 2019-April 2020

  • Co-teacher (with Danielle Patenaude, UDL coach and Literacy Coach):  Universally-Designed Project-Based Learning; summer 2019

  • Co-Teacher (with Dr. Katie Novak):  UDL Design Lab (online graduate course); 2018-2019

  • Instructor:  UDL 101 (online graduate course); summer 2018

  • Co-Teacher (with Julie Spang, Instructional Technology Coach):  Enhancing your UDL Practice with Technology (hybrid graduate course); summer 2018

  • Instructor:  UDL in-service (in-district professional development); 2018

  • Instructor:  UDL 101/UDL 102 (online courses for in-district professional development); 2017

  • Graduate Assistant/Coach (with Dr. Katie Novak):  Scaling and Optimizing UDL Implementation; 2017

  • Facilitator/Coach:  UDL Working Group (in-service); 2016-2017 school year

  • Graduate Assistant/Coach (with Dr. Katie Novak):  Universal Design for Learning (in-district Professional Development); summer 2016


Thea has presented on UDL at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference (2017, 2018) and at the MassCUE Fall Conference (2017, 2018).  She co-presented with Sarah Jordan, Ph. D., on "Using Technology to Strengthen ELL Instruction through UDL" on December 4, 2019, at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference and shared information about the work she and her district colleagues do with adapting high-quality math curriculum using UDL at the January 2020 meeting of the Math Leaders Network.  Thea will be presenting at the Virtual Valley conference in August 2020.

Thea recently wrote a blog post for ASSISTments called "My Experience at the Intersection of Teacher Professional Development and Edtech Research."  In 2020, Thea and Sarah had an article published in Currents, the MATSOL publication, and Thea was also interviewed by ASSISTments for the December 2019 blog post, "How can EdTech Tools Support All Learners?

In July 2018, Thea gave the closing plenary address, “Snapshot of a UDL Journey,” at the UDL Rocks! Conference hosted by Groton-Dunstable Regional School District.  She worked with the Massachusetts Department of Education to set the standards for the 7th and 8th grade MCAS and returned in August 2019 to repeat the work with the 10th grade MCAS scores, including participating in the Validation process for Competency Determination.

In the 2019-2020 school year, Thea worked as an OPTIC Content Fellow for the Center for Instructional Support with the Massachusetts Department of Education, in addition to her usual work.  She opened her classroom for observation during the UDL Symposium in October and November 2019.

Thea works as a private consultant in Universal Design for Learning and has served as the co-chair of the district committee on MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) since its inception.  She is a Level One certified Responsive Classroom teacher.  Thea also works for Worcester Polytechnic Institute creating online content for the What Works Clearinghouse-reviewed ASSISTments program, focusing on Eureka Math, grades 6-8, and is a registered Professional Development provider for the state of Massachusetts.


Thea is frequently joined by some of her four cats who insist on "helping" as often as possible.

I taught ELA for seven years at GDRHS, and last year I was the technology teacher/coach at Swallow Union Elementary. I was also fortunate enough to provide UDL coaching at the high school when time permitted. This will be my ninth year at GD, and I'm beyond excited and humbled to be the new literacy coach at GDRMS. 

Though I have always enjoyed being an informal coach -- coaching colleagues whenever time permitted -- my formal training began last year. In this role, I learned the importance of having coaching protocols in place in order to make teachers' lives easier. This year, I have the privilege of working in earnest towards getting every teacher a coach they deserve. The instructional coaching movement is taking off, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it.

I'm so looking forward to working with you, and I hope you found this website informative.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Massachusetts English Language Arts and Literacy Frameworks

  • Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science Frameworks

  • Universal Design for Learning

  • Google Apps for Education: Certified Educator Level 2

  • Sheltered English Immersion

  • Getting Things Done® (GTD®): Thework-life management system that alleviates overwhelm, and instills focus, clarity, and confidence."