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Detail Mentor Profile: KATHLEEN FORSYTHE

The Transformative Learning Foundation


River Meyer

University of Northern Colorado, M.A. 1976

River’s post graduate work of the mid-70s expanded an interest in children and families into the fields of child development, early childhood education, special education, and child psychology. Her M.A through UNC in the School for Educational Change and Development gave her a wide variety of field experience with institutions and programs doing research in the fields of attachment and bonding, developmental measurement, early learning, and abuse/neglect. Subsequent related work experiences included early intervention programs, infant and preschool special needs projects, child abuse prevention, court advocacy for minors, child custody investigations, adoption home studies, the creation of a U.S. non-profit for education and service work, and consulting with SelfDesign Learning Foundation from 2004 to present. Additional trainings have been focused in areas of individual and family therapy and personal development.

Her current position is Director of Organizational Learning and Culture for SelfDesign Learning Foundation (SDLF), consulting to SelfDesign Learning Community (SDLC), the flagship educational program operating in British Columbia as one of the largest K-12 distributed personalized learning schools funded by the BC Ministry of Education. River co-authored the SelfDesign book (SelfDesign: Unfolding Our Infinite Wisdom Within, 2012) with Brent Cameron, founder of SelfDesign. She has written numerous articles and posts about SelfDesign’s vision, learning approach, and outcomes of engagement in the process of becoming a SelfDesigner.

River has lived in various parts of the U.S. and Canada, moving in 2011 to the beautiful town of Nelson, BC, to enjoy its people, climate, and outdoor opportunities. She and her selfdesigning daughter are dual citizens of the two countries.


  • University of Minnesota, B.A. 1970


Main Interest

SelfDesign philosophy, methodology, and praxis; SelfDesign conscious parenting; Educational consulting with families and educators; Creating environments of trust and openness in virtual and face-to-face settings; Shifting the paradigm of learning

River lives in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada


SDGI Courses

SD 519 A SelfDesigning Path (3 credits)

Learners in this course explore key elements of SelfDesign through class sessions and a thirteen-part multimedia workshop focusing on how the elements weave together to create a unique environment supporting learning through loving interaction. Exploration of personal beliefs, values, and family and cultural norms engage learners in articulating and clarifying their current values, beliefs, and practices about learning. Personal reflection through journaling will be combined with facilitated group interaction and discussion of the basic SelfDesign elements.

SD 520 Being Real in a Virtual World (3 credits)

How can we effectively communicate with people we may see only intermittently online, or may never meet, and whose response to our communications cannot be measured through our traditional auditory or visual methods? Learners in this course explore the use of languaging techniques that override the efficient or distant tone virtual connection often creates, moving instead toward communication that develops, deepens, and enriches the relational qualities of our professional work.

SD 521 The Art of Deep Listening: Creating a Meaningful Relationship as a Consultant (3 credits)

A key to excellence in consulting lies in developing our ability to listen deeply to the other, putting aside our assumptions, and continually finding a space of openness and curiosity. Our skills as authentic listeners are magnified when we hone our ability to listen. Learners in this course explore techniques that take us ‘beyond words’ and assist us in bringing forth the core needs and desires of those with whom we consult in a respectful, whole-hearted manner.


  • “A SelfDesigning Path”, online course for parents & educators, created 2009
  • “SelfDesign Your Path: A Learning Journey for Parents of Children with Special Needs”, online course for parents and special education educators & support people, created 2015
  • “The many faces of SelfDesign” on For the Love of Learning, and alternative education online program, Dec. 2015:
  • Reflections on Dalai Lama Center conference, Human Connection in a Digital World, a video conversation with SelfDesign educators. By request.


Publications/Presentations/Professional Projects

  • SelfDesign: Unfolding Our Infinite Wisdom Within, co-authored with SelfDesign founder Brent Cameron, 2006 (Sentient), 2009 & 2012 (SelfDesign Learning Systems, Inc.), eBook available.
  • “The SelfDesign Learning Plan”, Life Learning Magazine, Sept/Oct 2005
  • SelfDesign Thinking and Reflections, various topics. By request.