Getting to Know WLS
We are a small team of committed individuals. Together, we have decades of experience around innovative educational practices in the classroom, wilderness and diverse global environments. We are proud to foster student leadership and enrich lives with our numerous travel abroad programs and opportunities. Our staff coordinates World Leadership School’s travel abroad program operations across our different global locations. Our Teacher Coaches partner with faculty in order to create student-driven, world-connected classrooms. Our instructors are amazing, intrepid, humorous, and wise experiential educators. Our coordinators live and work near our host communities and nurture the long-term relationships that are the bedrock of the work we do. The staff of TabLab, WLS’ sister non-profit, partners with rural schools to transform learning and enable powerful school-to-school partnerships.
WLS has been built over the last decade by a group of individuals committed to the idea of working with K-12 schools in order to transform learning and foster empathetic, globally-connected students. After working for a decade as a journalist in Latin America, WLS Founder Ross Wehner decided to stop reporting on problems and, instead, find solutions. He went to work as a classroom teacher and wilderness instructor before starting WLS with the idea of using rural communities as leadership labs to help empower young leaders. Erin Hawk became WLS’ first employee in 2008, after having worked as a Montessori teacher, an instructor for a global travel organization, and the Director of Programs for a non-profit serving inner city youth. Jennifer D. Klein joined the team in 2010 with two decades of experience as a classroom teacher and global educator. Over the years, our community has expanded to include additional staff, community coordinators in 10 countries and three domestic US locations, and a diverse team of consultants and field instructors. The most recent additions to our community student leadership travel programs are the overseas staff and Teacher Trainers for TabLab. Our entire community convenes every April at our annual instructor training, which is held in Colorado’s Arkansas Valley. Our work has evolved with our community, but our mission remains the same: empowering young leaders.
WLS began by partnering with North American schools to build long-term partnership programs with rural schools in Belize, Peru, Costa Rica, and Kenya. As these partnerships deepened, our schools asked for tools to integrate students’ global experiences into classroom learning. WLS began offering global education in-service workshops to help teachers globalize their classrooms. Shortly afterwards, we launched our Virtual Teacher Institute because we realized certain teachers wanted deeper one-on-one coaching throughout the year. School leaders also asked for support for designing and crafting global education programs, and for understanding how to manage the risks of a growing number of off-campus programs. We responded by offering a variety of administrative consulting services, including strategic planning and risk management workshops for both trip leaders and school leaders. We have stayed focused on offering the services that allow our K-12 schools to drive change and empower leaders.
TabLab partners with rural schools to transform learning in the same way WLS works with North American schools. This non-profit initiative, which has its own staff and leadership, has grown out of WLS’ work over the last decade with rural schools around the world. TabLab, via TabLab Partnerships, enables virtual collaboration between schools of a different social demographic. TabLab is a two-year transformation program for rural schools that uses Teacher Trainers, a unique curriculum, and mobile tablet technology. Rural schools have to meet strict requirements in terms of leadership, committed teachers, and time allotted for professional development. Although not all of our rural partner schools are ready for TabLab, our long-term goal is to have TabLab operating in all of our rural partner schools worldwide.
World Leadership School (WLS) is proud to be a Certified B Corporation. We joined the B Corp movement in 2007 as a founding B Corp Member, and the first certified B Corp in Colorado. Today, there are over 1,800 B Corps in 50 countries, including well-known corporations such as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s. B Corps are for-profit companies that meet rigorous, independent standards of social and environmental performance. B Corps create greater economic opportunity, strengthen local communities, and preserve the environment. Most importantly, B Corps demonstrate how capitalism can drive positive change in the world. Watch this video to understand the B Corp movement.
At WLS, we believe that market forces should be used whenever possible to drive change. World Leadership School uses a for-profit model to partner with schools in North America to transform learning. World Leadership Foundation and its TabLab initiative rely on grants and donations to drive change in rural schools. Therefore, WLF is a registered 501©3 non-profit foundation.