Gunnar Counselman is a former Marine HUMINT Officer who served in Iraq, Bosnia, and the Horn of Africa. He performed initial research for the book Disrupting Class in 2005 and currently is the co-founder and CEO of Fidelis Education, a leading Learning Relationship Management company.
GETTING TO KNOW GUNNAR
Tell us how your organization is impacting education?
We develop personalized learning plans that put relationships at the center.
What are the major events that took place throughout your life that positioned you as a thought leader in education?
It was not until I went back to school and read The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clay Christensen, which made me realize that education should be more like that.
What about being on the forefront of this movement gives you the greatest fulfillment?
People who say “finally” and realize this is exactly what we are looking for.
PERSONALIZED LEARNING JOURNEY
What is it about the personalized learning pedagogy/process you believe will have the greatest impact on education as we know it today?
Helping people develop a vision for life and align their education around it.
What do you see changing about the role of the teacher?
Teachers are going to spend a lot less time chasing after students, doing the “annoying” parts of teaching and a lot more time helping students to be successful.
Can you tell us a story of a time that you persevered through a then-challenging situation which now serves as a great life lesson?
Growing up as a student, I had a fixed mindset and I had to develop a growth mindset, which was very important.
SECRETS TO SUCCESS
In all the things you’ve observed, can you tell us a story of something you’ve witnessed that gives you confidence that personalized learning will transform education?
During my military days and going into Iraq in 2003, there were many skills that the Fleet Marine Forces lacked. They had to put together some pretty massive personalized programs to motivate them to be successful.
Imagine you are standing amongst a room full of people who are influencing education – just like you when you started your personalized learning journey. They too have fears, worries and doubts as they struggle to find their footing. What one strategy would you suggest they apply every day that would result in powerful outcomes?
It all comes back to relationships-forming a personal connection to somebody.
Would you please share with our audience your “i am ME.” statements?
i am passionate. i am a father. i am a friend.