Gever Tulley 2014 Allen Distinguished Educator


Educator: Gever Tulley
School/District: Brightworks School
Location: San Francisco, CA

In 2010, Gever Tulley founded the Brightworks School to provide an environment where kids can do anything, build anything and in doing so, learn anything. The concept for Brightworks was based off his experience with Tinkering School, a series of summer camps that created deeply engaging, hands-on learning experiences for children.

Brightworks is an effort to build the successes of the summer camps into a year-round program. The school functions much like an open-space laboratory, where engagement-based and experience-first learning is considered a complete education. Students form small groups where they work through projects from inspiration to completion and teachers serve as a guide in the process. The curriculum follows three phases of design: exploration, expression and exposition. Through the exploration and expression phases, students are expected to document their methods, skills and discoveries in a self-reflective process that ultimately culminates in the exposition phase.

At Brightworks, students are profoundly and totally engaged, where research and projects are rigorous and challenging, and students take on this rigor by choice. There are no lines between traditionally separate disciplines like science and art, and concepts come to life as students put their ideas into action. The program is pioneering because it starts with the youngest students and enables them to build a portfolio of projects that demonstrate not only what they came away with, but what they put in.

Bay Area teachers win Allen Foundation awards
Kathleen Pender, San Francisco Chronicle
February 5, 2014