Lisa Finegan: Academic Leadership I Director
Lisa Finegan is passionate about unlocking potential and transforming lives through quality education. She is committed to driving excellence in education, using a blended learning approach and a college-ready model, focusing on ICEF's 3 A's; Academics, Arts and Athletics across the federation of seven ICEF schools. Key educational areas of interest include the development of social emotional learning, project-based learning and inquiry based teaching. Lisa is certified as a World Rugby Educator and won the World Rugby Sevens Series DHL Coaching Award as the only individual in the United States and was one of ten global winners in 2020. She was also nominated as a WISE LA Woman to Watch for the 2021 year.
Lisa grew up in Ireland and graduated from St Mary's University, London, completing a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science and went on to pursue a Postgraduate Degree in Teaching and Masters in Education at Brunel University, London. In her first year of teaching, she was responsible for leading as Head of Department at Guernsey Grammar School before returning to work at Harris Academy for Girls, London. Professionally, Lisa has worked all over the world including England, Guernsey, Australia, the East Coast of the United States and is now finally settled on the West Coast in Los Angeles, California.
This year, the Los Angeles Times featured View Park Preparatory High School as the 2021 National Charter Schools Winner of the "Reimagining School Sports in America" by the Aspen Institute. Winning innovations included "it's variety of unique sports offered, entrepreneurial approach to fundraising, and ability to grow sports participation at a higher rate than most charter schools. View Park stood out for providing so many unique sport options for an inner-city charter school, such as skiing, surfing, sailing and snowboarding". Lisa is incredibly passionate about supporting with innovating and providing transformational opportunities through non-traditional and action sports.
Another recent highlight included a new collaboration with The Alliance: Los Angeles; a new collaboration of the 11 professional sports organizations in Los Angeles. They teams joined together and launched a comprehensive five-year commitment to drive investment and impact for social change through sport. Following the recent protests nationwide, the teams united to address racial injustice, develop educational opportunities and support other important issues facing communities of color, particularly Black communities. The teams are working collaboratively, advocating for social justice, addressing disparities and taking collective actions to help end racial inequality.
Lisa has innovated with ICEF Rugby and aims to support the mission of developing character and building leadership through the sport of rugby. She coaches View Park Prep High School Girls Rugby and competes in the SoCal Youth Rugby 7s league annually. As part of a winning ICEF Rugby coaching team, she has led teams internationally to Brazil, Fiji, Hong Kong, The Philippines and Africa. She is the Director of ICEF Middle School Rugby, managing over 20 high school rugby players who act as intern coaches for an extensive co-educational 5th-8th grade rugby program. She features in the documentary about ICEF Rugby, Red, White, Black and Blue Odyssey, which aired on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and the sequel that premiered at the Pan African Film Festival.
Developmentally, Lisa is passionate about establishing and nurturing key relationships and partnerships with the Women's Sports Foundation, the LA84 Foundation, The Alliance: Los Angeles, USA Rugby, World Rugby, STOKED, Positive Coaching Alliance, Laureus, The LA Giltinis, Peace Players, Ready, Set, Gold! and Angel City FC among many others.
From a playing perspective, Lisa has represented in rugby at club, regional and international level in Ireland, England, Guernsey and now for the USA. Lisa was selected on Team USA and finished seventh at the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2019. Lisa has been named on the Women's High Performance Squad for the USA after the recent USA Nationals and post tournament development camp in preparation for the 2023 World Cup.
Lisa loves traveling the world and is looking forward to the LA2028 Olympic Games here in Los Angeles.