K-12 Administrator in the U.S., Egypt, South Korea, and China. Author and Videographer.
Dual citizen of the United States and the Republic of Armenia
Gulf War Veteran - U.S. Air Force Target Intelligence Captain
Educator with 27 years of experience at all levels of K-12 education, including state level regional director, school district technology director, science teacher, technology teacher, assistant principal, and international head of school.
Experienced with American Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate PYP, MYP, and DP curriculum.
Served in the United States, Egypt, South Korea, and China. Teacher and school administrator for many diverse groups of students, including American and international students, upper economic students, poverty students, minority students, special needs students, and at-risk students. Responsible for developing and implementing school budgets, interacting with U.S. and international government agencies, initiating change in school curriculum and teacher practices, and helping students to achieve their educational goals.
Educators must pass on wisdom and knowledge to the next generation, for children are the future and hope of our society. Respect for God, the United States, its Founders, the Constitution, and ideas that uphold life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is at the heart of what Classical Education addresses in America today. Knowledge of American history and our future challenges in an increasingly global society is critical if we are to be capable of making decisions based on facts rather than hyperbole. Since the mid 1900’s, we moved to a “progressive” educational model. Classical Education returns to a model of education that has endured and prospered since the Greek and Roman civilizations.
Children learn in three phases, grammar, logic, and rhetoric, referred to as the “trivium.” At the K-6 grammar stage, students are ready to embrace language and grammar, and they do so through songs, rhythm, and basic concepts. At the 7-9 logic stage, students begin to challenge and question every assumption, so research becomes an important skill. In the 10-12 rhetoric stage, students want to express themselves through their ideas, original writings, projects, and presentations.
As an educator and head of school, my responsibility is to establish this classical structure, ensure the teachers fully understand their roles and responsibilities, and create learning opportunities that will reinforce classical learning. K-6 classrooms should be designed around investigation and manipulatives. The classes should be bright and colorful and artistic. 7-9 classrooms should focus on “skill building” through research-based learning and project-based learning. 10-12 classrooms should develop independent thinkers, able to construct their own arguments and to defend them with logic and personal interpretations. Using the Understanding by Design curriculum model, educators can perform “backwards design,” identifying what students should achieve in each learning stage and work backwards to design content, skill building activities, and subjects to support the learning objectives. At all three levels, students must be engaged and responsible for their own learning.
Students should study authoritative, traditional, and enduring writings and thoughts. From ancient writers to modern American writers, we must establish a strong reading environment where students develop a love for reading. In this social media generation, thoughts are often condensed into 140 characters and attention spans range from 10-15 minutes. In order to reach our students, they must have a broad, deep, and diverse understanding of the world in which they live, both physically and technologically.
One of my passions is forensics (speech and debate). We must develop a comprehensive forensics program for all students. Students give poetic, impromptu, and interpretative speeches in the earlier stages, with older students learning to debate in Public Forum, Congressional, and Lincoln-Douglas debate formats.
We must prepare students for college, ensuring state and federal standards are addressed and students are prepared for ACT/SAT exams. “Teaching to the test” is not effective, so the goal is to develop independent thinkers who can also perform well on standardized tests. Using STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics), we guide student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. Using MAP (Measuring Academic Progress) testing, we can validate our teaching methods and student learning at all levels.
A return to Classical Education is not new. The Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment are examples of how society returned to Classical Education over the past millennia. The challenges our students face today are immense. There is an explosion of knowledge, information, and data that is not always valid, accurate, and true. Students must develop the skills to differentiate fact from fiction and to be able to communicate their ideas effectively and efficiently. The future of America depends on it!