Sabbatical Opportunity

Recently, on Wednesday, December 15, 2011, the president of my school Bill Clarkson announced a spring sabbatical for me. In brief, I will spend five to seven weeks focused on the exploration of school purpose and significance in the 21st century. Part of my concentration will be spent at Unboundary, and I am fortunate to be immersed in my internship during TEDxAtlanta Creativity. Additionally, my concentration will be spent visiting and observing other schools – to see how they are addressing learning in the 21st century. I am hoping to research further how we can transform schools from the industrial model detailed in Ken Robinson’s RSA Animation.

Having recently watched Science Leadership Academy‘s Diana Laufenberg deliver a compelling TEDx talk about authentic learning and exploration, I hope to gain a few more stones on the path to helping schools look more like what she advocates:

Certainly, some determined colleagues at Westminster have been working on a similar path. See John Burk’s and Jill Gough’s recent posts…they are in the blog roll at the right.

If anyone has other suggestions for educators to watch, schools to visit, books to read, ideas to explore, etc., I am open to your thoughts.

Below is the full text of the letter announcing my sabbatical.

December 14, 2010 

Dear Westminster Faculty and Parents:

Recently, the personnel committee of the board of trustees and I granted Bo Adams, principal of the Junior High School, a five-week sabbatical, which will begin on Saturday, March 5, 2011. Bo will return to his full duties at Westminster on April 11, 2011. Additionally, Bo will take a second phase of his sabbatical during a week in June and a week in July, which will bookend Bo’s typical four-week, summer vacation.

During Bo’s sabbatical, he will conduct a multipronged research study of secondary-school education in the twenty-first century. As one dimension of his study, Bo will serve a mentored internship at Unboundary, the company lead by Westminster parent Tod Martin, which assists businesses in defining one’s unique purpose and significance in the global, corporate landscape. Unboundary also coordinates and hosts TEDxAtlanta. In another dimension of Bo’s study, he will visit various secondary schools identified as benchmarks of educational excellence. While working with Unboundary staff and conducting his observations at other schools, Bo will be tweeting on Twitter (@boadams1) and posting to his blog, It’s About Learning ( As Westminster has just completed a SACS-SAIS self-study, and as we look toward our sixtieth anniversary and our next strategic plan, Bo’s sabbatical will provide further resources and insight for our school to continue positioning Westminster for the best possible education we can provide to your children in the twenty-first century.

While Bo conducts and enjoys his sabbatical, the Junior High School will be lead most ably by his immediate administrative team: Betsy Spruill, Director of Studies; Chuck Breithaupt, Dean of Boys; and Leslie Ann Little, Dean of Girls. If you have questions about Bo’s sabbatical, he is happy to respond to phone calls or emails.


Bill Clarkson

Many thanks to Bill and the personnel committee for allowing me this incredible opportunity!

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