To #Unboundary

(n.) strategic design studio, located in Atlanta, GA, which helps companies “define their purpose and pursue significance.” [from the Unboundary web site]

(v.) to remove limits of an area, subject, or sphere of activity [adapted from Apple’s spotlight definition of “boundary”]

In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

– Eric Hoffer

As you walk into the former Atlanta-roundhouse space that is now inhabited by Unboundary, the Eric Hoffer quote greets you near the door. This is a door, in fact, that draws me in; this is a door that greeted me daily during my sabbatical (see two of many sabbatical posts here and here); this is a door that will mark my coming and going much more frequently beginning on July 15. Through this door, Hoffer reminds me that I am, indeed, in times of profound change, and he reminds us all to be learners embracing change.

During my almost twenty years as a professional educator, and certainly during my almost nine years as a school principal, I have found myself immersed in countless discussions concerning the pace and nature of change in our world. In the most recent years, I have concentrated my efforts to be one who enables and empowers schools to maintain pace with this never-ending change, so that we might help people of all ages serve and lead in our changing world.

Joining the conversations and communities on Twitter and other world-connecting blog media, I have similarly surrounded myself with hundreds and hundreds of professional educators and others who are contemplating and implementing school change so that schools remain deeply significant in an age defined by ubiquitous access to information and learn-anytime-anywhere technology. In so many conversations, both those that happen online and those that happen face-to-face, it seems that we educators are striving to unboundary the areas typically referred to as “school” and “real-life.” During her TED talk, Kiran Bir Sethi beautifully espouses the notion of blurring the lines between school and life so that students can be infected with the “I can bug” and realize their ability to make a positive difference in our world – not when they graduate to their real life, but now, because now is their real life.

On September 19, 2011, I announced that the 2011-12 academic year would be my last as principal of The Westminster Schools Junior High School. I took a leap of true faith. Then, I began to piece together and design a potential next chapter of my educational career as something akin to an innovation strategist and synergist for 21st century school change and development. In the months of October, November, December, and January, I benefited immeasurably from the wisdom, questioning, advice, and guidance of about two dozen individuals who graciously engaged me in countless conversations about how to create a job serving as a hub to the various spokes of this learning-in-the-21st-century wheel. To each and every one of you – THANK YOU! And to my wife Anne-Brown, BLESS YOU for your faith and support, and thank you for being the first and foremost of this tribe who helped me discern my next steps.

As of Tuesday, February 21, I officially have my new, dream job…my next chapter…my ideal, “plan A” role that will allow me to continue and to expand my service as an educational leader in these times of profound change. In his announcement to the Unboundary team, president and chief executive Tod Martin explained my future work in the following way:

Bo joins us in a hybrid role. He will be integrated into existing client work, particularly in workshopping, and will also play an instrumental role in expanding Unboundary into a new arena. Over the past year, you’ve heard me talk about the vision of us developing new kinds of clients — other than corporations — where our skills at transformation design would be valuable. One of the “new kinds of clients” we’ve talked about is education. Bo will help lead our efforts to build a practice and develop clients in education.

Already I am indebted to the visionary leadership of Tod Martin and to the team that he has fielded at Unboundary. So much synergy potential exists at the crossroads of corporate leadership and educational innovation, and I believe that Unboundary works at this exciting crossroads. Likewise, I am forever grateful to Westminster for eliciting and developing in me the vision and the skills that this fine school declares for all learners in its community – to serve and lead in a changing world.

To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?
– Katharine Graham

I do love what I do, and I feel that it matters greatly. I am excited for this next chapter, to which I take a great deal of learning. Yet, I dare not consider myself learned. I am a continuous learner, and I intend to do all that I can to serve and lead in this changing world – to play my role on the team that strives to define purpose and pursue significance.

Our children – our leaders of today and tomorrow – deserve nothing less.

14 thoughts on “To #Unboundary

  1. Congratulations! Sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I was on campus at Westminster last week actually…I tried to find your office, but it wasn’t where I was expecting it to be! I’d love to catch up with you and AB (and the boys who must be SO big) the next time I’m in town. All the best!

    Love, Katharine

    • Katharine,

      Thanks for the congratulations and support! I hate that I missed you last week. AB, PJ and JT, and I would love to see you. I hope and trust that all is well with you and your family in Texas.

      Love, Bo

    • Jeff,

      I owe you many thanks for the incredible curiosity and drive that you bring to education and schooling. You are kind to say that I have taught you about teaching. I do feel that we have learned much together. Thanks so much for the thoughtful encouragement and support. I am thrilled for the opportunity, and I hope to keep stretching my thinking with you.

      Take care.

  2. The Beck Family is sad to see you leave Westminster but are also happy you have found a new, exciting place to work. Thank you for your support and leadership. Congratulations!

    • Sande, thank you for your support and encouragement. I really appreciate that you “stopped by” the blog and took time to comment. Best wishes to you and your family, too.

  3. Yay, yay, yay! Congrats and looking forward to the possibilities this provides you and the entire educational community.

    • Thanks, Grant. I am excited to see you tomorrow at NAIS in Seattle. Also, I am thrilled for this next chapter in my career and service…and the pages that this means we can work on together!

  4. Bo,

    We are all blessed to have your learning mindset and synergistic approach. Your work at Unboundary will be “unboundaried”; what a remarkable opportunity for you and they to help us all be the change we want to see.


    • Laura, thank you for your support, encouragement, catalyzing, and questioning. One of the primary reasons for my excitement at this next chapter involves the continued good work with you to help schools align with the needs of our world and learning community. I look forward to reimagining education with you.

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