In late 2009 while teaching in Texas, I caught wind of something magical: a soon-to-open ‘traveling’ high school with students from all over the world studying, exploring, and living together in 12 different countries over their 3 years of HS study.
THINK Global School represented everything I loved about experiential learning. It was a school I would have given the world to teach at earlier in my life and career.
Flashing forward to 2017, I am invited to keynote an ECIS, the Educational Collaborative for International Schools conference for international School Leaders in Berlin. At the last minute they ask me if I’d be willing to run a 2-day workshop on ‘design thinking’. One of the school leaders who joins my workshop is Rus Cailey (left, photo), a principal (at the time) at THINK Global School.
Over the next few years we become friends and thought partners. He invites me to be the school’s graduation speaker in Bilbao, Spain. I begin collaborating with his colleagues and students virtually thru the pandemic.
He also shares a vision for opening an ‘innovation and professional development center’ to help teachers and schools explore TGS’ interdisciplinary ‘place-based’, ‘project-based’ and ‘learner-led’ educational strategies.
Flashing forward to fall 2021, Rus asks if I’d be game to discuss formally teaming up — his vision for the center was becoming a reality.
He and another TGS colleague, Chung Man Chan (center, photo), were preparing to exit their administrative / teaching roles with the traveling high school (after 10 and 7 years respectively) in the summer of 2022 to build, launch and run the new ‘center’ full-time.
Flashing forward to May 2022, the three of us had our first in-person planning meetings here in Athens, Greece — where the school is spending their current term and hosting graduation for the 12th graders — officially launching the THINK Learning Studio.
As Managing Director, Rus will be based in Dubai; as Chief Product Officer, Chung Man will be based in Singapore; I’ll be based in the US; and other teammates / collaborators will join from around the world as our team grows, projects emerge, partnerships evolve.
Our first client projects begin in Colombia next month followed by India in August with several more quickly taking shape in other parts of the world.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the many years leading students on transformative adventures; running countless types of project-based learning experiences in (and out of) various schools; empowering kids to craft their own creative visions and solutions; leading schools thru design projects to shape architecture, professional development and culture; and imagining ‘one day’ being part of an innovative school where the ‘world’ truly was the ‘classroom’.
Standing with my partners in Greece this week, I felt enormous gratitude, wonder and excitement to be a part of this.
And for all that came together to make it happen.