Witnessing the regularity with which students become bored in school, Tiffany Adamski decided to do something about it. She came from a family of educators, attended public school in Maumee, then went on to BGSU, before she began a teaching career. Despite her scholastic history, she always felt somewhat disenchanted with education.
“I was bored out of my mind in school,” Adamski said. “Then watching my own kids go through school, they were bored, and I said, ‘Wait a minute, this is just wrong.’”
That’ll teach someone
As a high school teacher, she fell in love with an alternative educational model and started designing schools herself. About a decade ago, she spent time developing an independent school model to pitch to charter school companies. After, Adamski continued teaching at the university level and received two master’s degrees.
She left academia to focus on a turnaround project for Central Academy of Ohio in Toledo (grades K-6). Next, Adamski worked with a group of private
investors to bring her school concepts to the Middle East in Amman, Jordan.
“(With) the Jordanian education (model), teachers have complete control and are talking all the time, and we wanted something a little different,” she explained. Adamski spent 71 days in Jordan to help them get their school off the ground. Her time was spent intensely concentrated on the project, as Jordan’s culture moves at a slower pace than in America.
“The people were so welcoming and excited to have an American school going in and giving their kids a leg up,” she said.
iLEAD integrates STEM education with the arts to help all ages develop creative, collaborative, critical and innovative thinking.
iLEAD comes to NW Ohio
While Adamski admits she found her dream job in teaching, she believes she discovered even more fulfilling work in January as regional director for iLEAD. With thanks to her efforts, the non-profit California-based educational company is set to launch its first Ohio location in Holland this fall. The tuition-free public charter school will serve K-8 with project-based learning that promotes collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving skills.
iLEAD and Adamski are building national partnerships with NASA, and local ones with the University of Toledo and the area Metroparks, to facilitate hands-on learning and to create career options for students.
“What really sets us apart is the way we set up and collaborate within our school buildings,” Adamski said. “There aren’t classroom walls, so if you walked in, you’d see all the learners in pods working in the room. There’s just a nice flow and hum that runs through these buildings.”
Toledo’s iLEAD will be the company’s 11th, including eight in Southern California and two online/homeschool offerings. Adamski said she’s also looking at an eventual high school location in downtown Toledo for next year.
“I jumped on board with (iLEAD) because I think this is the best thing I could be doing,” she said. “This is a chance to bring this learning model to my own backyard.”
For more information, visit ileadschools.org.