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Christian Long

Chief Growth Officer

1. Hi Christian, tell us a bit about yourself and your background in education.

At the heart of it, I love finding genuine ways for students and teachers to explore the world around them, even more so when their own curiosity fuels it. Sometimes this means “going out there.” Most of the time, however, that means “looking closely” wherever you already are.

My professional path might be described like this: 

A summer camp counselor and trip guide who became a high school teacher and coach.

Who went on to become a leader of experiential education and project-based learning programs.

Who then became a school designer working with architects and visionaries.

Who is now a passionate advocate for creating the conditions for “the future of learning” based upon a student’s natural curiosity and desire to impact the world around them positively.

Along the way, I learned about TGS during its pre-start-up phase. I was 100% inspired by that first hint of what would become a respected traveling school one day. From afar, it quickly became my “dream school.” While I didn’t think I’d ever be in an actual position to work at the school, I always kept an eye on it, talked about it as a powerful model for educational innovation, and eventually was lucky enough to meet its staff and students. 

But a chance encounter with Rus during a two-day design course I led in 2017 sparked his sharing of an early concept for what would eventually become the THINK Learning Studio. My first response was: yes, go do it! And please keep me informed. 

Flash forward to 2022, and it was a no-brainer to say yes to the chance to join Rus and Chung Man to help make that vision a reality.

Away from work, I’m a proud husband of a remarkable middle school leader (who now helps lead a 2,000-acre arboretum); the proud father of two teenagers: an 8th-grade daughter and a 10th-grade son; and a “dad” to two hounds, three Nigerian dwarf goats, and eight egg-laying chickens. 

We call a small college town in Ohio our home and the coast of Maine a place where we will eventually “retire.” 

2. What is your role within the THINK Learning Studio?

I formally serve as the team’s Chief Growth Officer (CGO).

This position allows me to support the Learning Studio’s future growth related to our strategic objectives. Part of it is about relationship building. Part of it is about how we can build a business. All of it is about how we can expand the impact of TGS.

THINK Global School has an unmatched global reputation for positioning young people to explore and understand the world within a place- and project-based learning model. While we know most students and teachers around the globe can’t travel in the same way TGS does, the heart and soul of TGS’ Changemaker Curriculum can naturally be adapted to any school, campus, and community.

This is what really excites me about the studio and my role.

Big picture-wise, the Learning Studio aims to help teachers, schools, and educational networks utilize the spirit and practice of TGS’ Changemaker Curriculum to empower young people, wherever they are.

Remember, though, that we are in the early phases as a start-up (growing from TGS). Therefore, our team’s first “challenge” is to figure out how to do this in a way where the Learning Studio becomes discoverable, translatable, desirable, and ultimately sustainable.

To accomplish this, my CGO role combines a bit of everything from market and trends analysis, marketing and brand positioning, communicating our team’s vision, developing partner and client relationships, to managing our financial and resource goals.

But in these early months and years, as a member of a small “start-up team,” my day-to-day role is to support everything we do however I can. This will include supporting our ongoing curriculum and content development process, workshop facilitation, conference presentations, and ongoing research and networking.

3. What innovative educational practices would you like to see adopted in schools throughout the world?

It’s tempting to focus on game-changing emerging technologies or inspiring architectural spaces that don’t even look like schools. I can think of countless things that would make that list, but, ultimately, I think it’s simpler than any of those things.

In my experience, genuine educational “innovation” comes down to aligning a school’s unique values (aka its “mindset”) and verbs (aka its “actions”) to help its learners and community adapt to and be of value within an unknown, constantly shape-shifting future. From there, it becomes a lifelong mindset. And it’s infinitely deployable.

What makes TGS truly innovative isn’t the travel (although that is both precious and rare given the vast majority of schools on the planet). Instead, it’s how its community instinctively re-learns to honor and adapt to each new place, culture, and experience alongside respecting each individual’s unique path of discovery.

For the TGS Learning Studio, we have the unique opportunity to help teachers and schools establish their own culture and curriculum regardless of location. The real innovation will become about making sense of the familiar with new eyes and the unexpected with select values.

4. What are your goals for the THINK Learning Studio over the next ten years?

After launch, our first goal is to discover how we can share the most compelling aspects of TGS’ Changemaker Curriculum with our clients while adapting it to meet their different goals and needs. If we get that right early on, we will be in a wonderful position to inspire and mentor a wealth of participants and partners over time.

We also need to make sure the Learning Studio becomes self-sustainable so that we can mature past the start-up phase. To accomplish this, we must ensure that our client and project list purposefully grows across diverse regions and school structures.

Just as importantly, I believe we must creatively support the ongoing work of the TGS community over the next decade by expanding available connections and resources for its students and educators. To that end, it’s an exciting prospect that the school can become a real-time lab for the studio, and the studio can become a real-time lab for the school.

Over time, I believe the studio will become a trusted guide and curator to a global network of real-world learning practitioners, leaders, and visionaries. They will be united in their belief that curiosity and the desire to explore are fundamental to creating positive change in the world.

5.  Since THINK Global School is so closely intertwined with travel, is there a country you look forward to visiting most in the world?

I’ve dreamed of exploring Tasmania, Iceland, and Patagonia for years. Tasmania seems to me like experiencing the entire geographic United States in a fraction of the physical space; plus, after multiple trips to New Zealand, it feels like it’s time to pop “next door.” Iceland feels gorgeously other-worldly to me in so many ways; I want to find out if my imagination can be bettered in reality. And Patagonia has been a land I’ve been captivated by through travel literature but must see first-hand to really understand.

Ready to embark on the educational journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

Ready to embark on the educational journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

Apply now

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