Podcast Interview with Dr. Brett Jacobsen, the CEO of The Mount Vernon School (Atlanta, Georgia), The Mount Vernon School Online (global) and Mount Vernon Ventures (global)

September 23, 2022

Another inspiring conversation today with Dr. Brett Jacobsen, the CEO of The Mount Vernon School (Atlanta, Georgia), The Mount Vernon School Online (global) and Mount Vernon Ventures (global) portfolio of campuses / organizations for our latest Season 1 episode of the “Wander & Wonder: Exploring the Future of Learning” podcast.

So many ideas to explore soon, including:

– why Mount Vernon did not want to compete in their own Atlanta-area market as either a “traditional” school or a “progressive school; instead, why they choose to declare “innovation” as their unique market position in all that they did

– the vital importance of choosing to “fail up” as a community (from PreK learning journeys to explore bridges to athletes responding to striking out on the baseball field to prototyping solutions to complex societal challenges)

– how the school’s faith-based foundation naturally led to Mount Vernon becoming one of the most recognized leaders in the US (and beyond) in human-centered design thinking methodologies, inquiry-based learning practices, and innovation on and off campus

– why Brett says: “You cannot have innovation fatigue unless you are in the arena constantly trying to innovate”

– what it takes to develop a legit consulting platform at a PreK-12 school where corporate partners / clients (like Porsche, Delta, Chick-Fil-A, etc) are willing to turn to current high school students for genuine insights and strategic recommendations

– a benefit of the pandemic in realizing that learning is no longer tied to time, space, or place

– purposefully ensuring that all colleagues are given space and support to have a “revival of meaning and purpose” in their daily practice and career

– importance of committing early to a shared language that is constantly re-visited, tested, and deepened

– approaching ‘innovation’ on campus (and beyond) as a spectrum of possibilities as opposed to just one thing: 1) foundationally, making micro shifts to improve existing elements; 2) systemically, replacing entire methodologies and structures; and 3) blue ocean, exploring ways to adapt and evolve as if your entire field on longer existed.

– advice to Heads of School: “take the long path” by thinking of yourself as an “ancestor” of future generations from now

– helping new colleagues (who felt as if they were the only innovators on their previous campus) adapt and thrive where innovation is a shared mindset


– why Brett and team are heading to Vietnam to help a school develop their own version of Mount Vernon. Related: why they are also inviting the same Vietnamese students to take classes through Mount Vernon’s Online school while and providing a second diploma so those students could simultaneously graduate from Mount Vernon


Release Date: We’ll release Brett’s episode in early November.

All 13 episodes will be released over the month of November with short video snippets released daily M-TH and full episodes / transcripts each Friday.


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