Being a PD “Thought Stretcher”
A professional development pro questions his way forward
Drew Perkins has a lot of questions. That’s what sets him apart as a “thought stretcher” in the world of education professional development. Instead of telling teachers and administrators how to teach, he tries to turn it around and get them asking questions about how they can get better. When a school inquires about a PD workshop, he likes to ask questions to identify needs they have and then personalize and co-construct a PD program for them.
“What is your mission statement?” Drew will ask, knowing most mission statements are a list of platitudes in a frame on the wall. He then turns that mission statement into a mission question and uses the inquiry process to say, “What do we need to know and be able to do in order to answer that question and achieve that mission? What does that vision look like? What do we want our schools and our districts to look like, sound like, and feel like? And what are the actions that we need to take as leaders, as schools, and as individuals?”
That is what really drives his approach to professional development for individuals, teams, department heads and schools. When they are finished, he comes back and asks, “In what way did that meet and align with that mission and vision? And, if not, why not and do we need to do something differently and/or do we need to revise our mission and vision?”
It is this approach that separates Drew from the crowd and solidifies his position as an innovator and thought leader in the world of professional development.
About Drew Perkins
As TeachThought’s Director of Professional Development and co-host of the TeachThought Podcast, Drew Perkins helps design and deliver workshops and learning both on-site and virtually as well as coordinating PD work with our other Facilitators. A graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Political Science in three years, he was decidedly against the idea of being a teacher. With a mother and grandmother both educators, a stint as a substitute teacher lured him back to earn a teaching certificate in secondary social studies. Thus began a journey that includes 15 years in the classroom and leadership in Michigan, California, Texas and most recently Kentucky and spanned middle and high school, Special Education to Advanced Placement and basketball and golf coaching.
Formerly with the Buck Institute for Education and the Collaborative for Teaching and Learning he has designed and contributed to several PBL models, including the TeachThought PBL Model. Drew continues to deliver professional development and speak at conferences and events around the country. He has been referred to as a professional thought stretcher due to his emphasis on leading through inquiry and questioning.
Follow Drew Perkins on Twitter.