I founded Teachers Without Borders (TWB) in 2000 to connect teacher leaders to information and each other, in order to make lasting change. Today, TWB members represent 171 countries. We are a demand-driven organization, emphasizing local leadership and capacity building over charity. At well over 65 million, teachers are the largest professionally-trained group in the world. My vision is to connect teacher professional development with global change.
I am a Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), and hold an appointment with Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education.
A few months after Ireceived mydoctorate (while serving as a high-school principal), Ifired himself and founded Teachers Without Borders, a nonprofit devoted to connecting the world’s teachers to information and each other in order to close the education divide.
Myresearch and personal commitment center around the connection between teacher professional development and global development. Having witnessed teacher leaders making extraordinary change in their communities, I believestrongly that brains are evenly distributed. Mobilized, those brains can create a virtuous cycle of accelerated social change. A country is only as vital and sustainable as its teachers—today, more than ever, as the lines between the local and global have blurred. Great teachers educate for global citizenship and participation.
All Teachers Without Borders programs are conceived and led by teacher leaders. Programs are designed to be adaptable, adoptable, affordable, and accessible so that local leaders can ensure relevance for the communities they serve. This distinguishing characteristic and focus on local capacity earned TWB the prestigious “Champion of African Education Award” from the W.F. Hewlett Foundation and Ashoka, the social entrepreneurship network, as well as numerous commendations from the Cisco Foundation, the Peace Corps, and Desmond Tutu, to name a few.
As an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University, I launched public online courses for teachers in global education, girls’ education, peace and human rights, education in emergencies, and technology. He connected Hopkins doctoral students to non-governmental organizations focusing on girls’ education, resulting in his successful MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in Girls’ Education, which has reached educators and interested participants in 47 countries.
As a Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB-University of Brussels), I also supervise doctoral students, teach a course on innovative curriculum design, and am developing MOOCs (massive open online courses)
I advise foundations, corporations, and global agencies on teacher development, technology adoption, and educationalreform. I am proud of my work in advisingThe Organization of American States, the oldest regional association in the world, on policies and programs emphasizing the transformation of teacher education, havingwritten the research backgrounder for Ministers of Education meetings.
At over 59 million, teachers are the largest professionally trained group in the world. They know who is sick or missing or orphaned by AIDS. Even though a mountain of research affirms that teachers key to any community’s development, teacher professional development – worldwide – is tragically more often than not spotty, inconsequential, or missing entirely. They’re more than bumper stickers or political footballs to be tossed around at will. They’re action figures! I’ve dedicated my professional life to their well-being. The world depends upon it.
Awards and Commendations
2018: “Luxembourg Pace Prize.” World Peace Forum and Schengen Peace Foundation
2014 and 2015: “Global Innovation Award.” Education We Want. Lucknow, India
2014: “Fedex Award Runner Up.” Fedex. Education for Disaster Prevention Innovation. For education in emergencies
2013: “Special Commendation.” White House Equal Futures Partnership. For Girls’ Quake Science and Safety
2012-2013: “Exemplary Resource.” Organization of American States. TWB Peace Education program
2013: “Winner, People’s Choice Non-Profit.” Verizon Foundation
2012: “Lead Education Selection.” Commonwealth Ministers of Education. Briefing book for Ministers of Commonwealth countries
2010: “Champion of African Education Award.” Ashoka/W.F. Hewlett Foundation
2009:“Seattle Best Non-Profit Award.” Best Education and Teacher Association. Seattle, Washington
2008: “Commendation.” Cisco Systems. Clinton Global Initiative. For work on teacher professional development in sub-Saharan Africa
2006: “Invitee.” Cisco’s selection for attendance at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony
2003: “Desmond Tutu Special Recognition.” Personal Letter. Teachers Without Borders Community Learning Centers
2006-2008:“National Finalist.” Volvo for Life Award. For innovative use of technology
2007: “Special Commendation.” The U.S Peace Corps. For service to teachers in Honduras
2006: “Giraffe.” Exemplary community leaders who “stick their neck out”
1997: “Fred Mednick Faculty Resource Center.” The Bush School. For outstanding service to teachers and students
1983:“California Outstanding Educators Award.” Johns Hopkins University Gifted and Talented Program. Johns Hopkins University
Education and Professional History
Ed.D, Educational Leadership, 1999 Seattle University, Seattle, WA
M.A., Education, 1983 Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA
B.A., Literature, 1978 University of California, Santa Cruz
- 2000 – Present: Founder, Teachers Without Borders (Seattle, WA)
- 2015 – Present: Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Univ. of Brussels)
- 2013 – Present: Assist. Prof, Johns Hopkins Univ.School of Education (Baltimore, MD)
- 2012-2013: Visiting Fellow, Johns Hopkins University School of Education (Baltimore, MD)
- 2012: Lecturer, Carlson Center, University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
- 2010: Lecturer, Lewis and Clark College (Portland, OR)
- 1994-2000: Principal, Helen Taylor Bush School (Seattle, WA)
- 1986-1994: Dean and Principal, Oakwood School (Los Angeles, CA)
- 1983-1984: Instructor and “Foreign Expert.” Henan University (Kaifeng, China)
- 1980-1982: Dean, Oakwood School (Los Angeles, CA)
Research Interests and Publications
- Impact of global teacher professional development programs on global development initiatives
- Role of teachers in accelerating disaster risk mitigation and community development in natural and national disasters
- Connection of science, public health and safety, and community well-being
- Impacts of crowd-sourced community participation in educational evaluation
- Teacher education, school reform, and policy development in developing countries
- The measurement, sustainability, and scale of professional development
Mednick, F. (2015). Outside my Window: Teachers Overcoming the Odds. (in negotiation). Book of stories highlighting Teachers Without Borders change agents.
Mednick, F. (2014). “Research briefing: Eighth Ministerial of Education Ministers.” Case for integrated development throughout the Americas. Inter-American Council for Integral Development
Mednick, F. (2014). “Inequality and Social Inclusion in the Americas: Working to create educational opportunities for all.” (chapter). In “Inequality and social inclusion in the Americas: 13 essays. Organization of American States, Secretary General. Washington, DC. On behalf of Mrs. Marie Levens, Director of Department of Education and Human Development (OAS). pp. 173-195.
Mednick, F. (2013). “Science Inquiry Methods in China.” Chengdu Ministry of Education. China
Mednick, F (2012). “Strategy for Teacher development in Latin America.” San Jose, CA: Cisco Systems
Mednick, F. (2011) “Old Dogmas and New Tricks: Teacher collaboration versus Magic Bullets and Killer Apps.” Commonwealth Minister’s 2011 Briefing Book. London, UK: Henley Media Group Limited
Mednick, F. (2010). “To Haiti from China: With Sorrow and Love.” New York: Louis Blouin Foundation (blog)
Mednick, F. (2008). “Education and Islam.” Gather.com
Mednick, F. (2004). “Lesson 42: Excerpts from Rebel Without a Car.” (chapter). Biederman, L. Parent School: Lessons from Leading Experts on Being a Mom or Dad. Forward by Penelope Leach, Ph.D. New York: M. Evans and Company, Inc.
Mednick, F. & Jain, V. (1999). “Qualities of an Educated Teen for the 21st Century: Reflections on the Study-Process in Udaipur.” Udaipur, India: Shikshantar Publishers
Mednick, F. (1995). “Lessons.” Notes Plus and Ideas Plus: National Association of Teachers of English
Mednick, F. (1984). From Newcomers to Naturalists: Early American Literature. Kaifeng, China: Kaifeng University Press
- 17 years as head of Teachers Without Borders, a nonprofit global teacher professional development NGO in 171 countries
- Introduced and propagated platforms for online education employing TWB’s distributed network of regional experts
- Conceived a suite of professional development offerings for teachers in girls’ education, education in emergencies, global education; peace and human rights; leadership
- Led consultations for Director of Education and Human Development at The Organization of American States on teacher professional development throughout Latin America and the Caribbean
- As Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, developed online professional development for Continuing Education Units and created program for Hopkins online EdD students to collaborate on joint research directly with NGOs facing challenges in girls’ education
- Conceived and currently lead an academic program for a B.A. degree in ICTs in Education for pre-service and in-service teachers in Suriname
- Created NGO programs designed to build local capacity, enhance community ownership and educational leadership and cultural inclusion, and ensure rapid feedback systems designed for the reporting of impacts, transparency, and local adoption
Keynotes and Talks
2017: Arizona Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (AZTESOL). “The World in Your Classroom.” AZTESOL State Conference (2017). Tucson, Arizona
2016: Vrije Universiteit Brussel Redelijk Eigenzinning Keynote for “Education in National and Natural Disasters.” Brussels, Belgium.
2015: Organization of American States. Featured Speaker, Ministers of Education (Latin America) Annual Meeting, Washington, DC and Panama City, Panama
2014: Google. “Girls Quake Science and Safety Initiative,” Interplanetary Network Conference, with Vint Cerf (VP and Chief Internet Evangelist)
2013:-2015: Education We Want conference. Keynote, “21st Century Teacher Development,” in Lucknow, India
2013: White House. Special Guest Speaker, “Girls’ Earthquake Science and Safety Initiative.” Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Washington, DC
2013: Model United Nations. “Students and the Influence of a Global Sensibility.” Taipei, Taiwan 2003-2013: Cisco Systems, W.F. Hewlett, Agilent Foundations: Consultations on global teacher development and online communities of practice
2012: Qing Yang Bureau of Education Conference. Keynote, “China’s Science Inquiry Methods: A Connection to Student Achievement”
2011-2012: Harvard. Guest Speaker, Harvard International Development Conference
2010-2012: Aid and International Development Forum. Moderator and Panelist
2011: University of Pennsylvania. “Global Teacher Communities of Practice”
2011: TEDx, Denver: “Building Education from Below the Ground and Up” 2010: Oxford University. Panelist, Oxford University “Beyond Borders” conference
2010: Carnegie Association for the Advancement of Teaching. Speaker, “Online Platforms and Teacher Development”
2011: USAID. “Literacy and Open Educational Resources.” Washington, DC 2011: East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools. “Global Teachers, Global Change.” Borneo
2011: Northern Colorado University Graduate School. Graduate School Commencement Addres
2009: Canadian Federal Parliament. Speaker, “Education, Islam, and Development”
2007-2012: Blouin Creative Leadership Summit (100 Global Leaders),
2007-2009: W.F. Hewlett Foundation. Annual Grantees Meeting on Open Educational Resources
2004: Ministry of Education, Pakistan. Lead Speaker, on “Educational Reform in Pakistan”
2002-2003: Government of Costa Rica. Panelist, with Jane Goodall and President Oscar Arias, Costa Rica