Tyler Thigpen
Ambassador, Advisory

Tyler Thigpen

Atlanta, US

Partner at Transcend and co-founder at The Forest School

I live with my wife, Joy, and four children in a new town in Georgia (U.S.)—Pinewood Forest—of which Joy is Creative Director. I've worked in innovative district, private, and charter schools in Georgia, as well as national and regional nonprofits in the U.S. I am co-founder of The Forest School: An Acton Academy in south metro Atlanta, co-founder of MENTOR Georgia, and co-founder of Transforming Teaching at Harvard. Formerly, I was head of the upper school at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta, a co-founder and former board member of Chattahoochee Hills Charter School in southwest Atlanta, and a former Spanish teacher in Gwinnett County, Ga., public schools. Earlier, I worked as minister at the Grace family of churches and led international development in Peru in areas of healthcare, education, poverty reduction, infrastructure, and human rights.

At Transcend, I've worked closely on projects such as nXu, Whittle, The Academy Group, The Forest School, Art in Motion, Hebrew Public, and Teton Science's Place Network.

I have a doctoral degree in education leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education, a master of public administration from Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a master of theological studies from Regent College of the University of British Columbia. 

Why do you want to be a part of the HundrED Community?

I wanted to become a part of HundrEd to learn from a network of innovative education practitioners about what leading edge school model concepts or components are working, where and under what conditions. I'm honored to be a part of this network!

How can education support students to flourish?

According to research, the healthiest, happiest, most joyful people have:

  • A sense of meaning or purpose bigger than one's self
  • Healthy, positive connection with others
  • Healthy, positive connection with themselves (mind, body, spirit)
  • Healthy, positive connection with nature
  • Experiences of flow states
  • Experiences of beauty

 What if school were designed to cultivate all aspects of flourishing? That's what we're building at The Forest School.

What role does innovation play in education change?

Thankfully, more and more educators are rallying to build breakthrough learning environments. There are powerful ideas and insights from learning science as well as examples of breakthrough charter, public and private schools. However, the intense demands of just operating a school prevents the possibility of pursuing new models and forces a return to what is known. Visionary school operators have neither the time, nor money, nor human capital to muster the latest learning science, design expertise and technical resources required to build and codify new models. This is why it's so crucial for early adopters in education to take the baton and create the landscape for these innovations.

Three HundrED innovations you love. (and Why?)

I'm a huge fan of the Mastery Transcript because I believe personalized learning without personalized outcomes is concerning, and Mastery Transcript is an exciting new tool to cultivate and visualize personalized outcomes for learners. I love The Daily Mile because exercise has both inherent and instrumental value for learners' health and development, respectively. Lastly, I like Newsela—which we plan to use at our school—for its ability to make reading fun and connected to learner interests.

Three innovations you would love for HundrED to know about. (and Why?)

Definitely check out the Graduate Aims Database, a growing collection of summaries focused on research-based learning outcomes that schools often take influence from when constructing their own graduate aims. Each summary includes information to help define and measure the outcome, insights into how the outcome develops, and potential design implications.

Also take a close look at the concept of Dream Teams for every student!