The Templeton Way
Nurturing Student Agency
Templeton Academy is revolutionizing access to Student agency, meaning that our Students have voice and choice in their learning and goals. Each Student is on their own educational journey. We believe that the best fuel for that journey is wrestling with good questions rather than simply reciting the correct answer. Further, we believe in not only learning to know, but learning to do, and most importantly, learning to be. Through this process, a Student finds their purpose. How do we actually do this? What does it look like? We invite you to review our best practices below.
The Templeton Core Foundations curriculum is focused on learning how to learn. Students come to understand that their job is putting in the work to educate themselves. Whereas a teacher’s job is to be a “guide on the side” rather than a “sage on a stage,” Students work to master critical skills such as resourcefulness, conscientiousness, creativity, curiosity, resilience, persistence, stress management and time management. They set SMART goals, are supported and held accountable with Peer Advisors and more senior Learning Coaches, developing active listening, collaboration, compassion and empathy — thereby becoming Peer Advisors and Learning Coaches themselves. Ultimately, all work is shared with the school community and larger community at quarterly Community Exhibitions, fueling constant reflection, assessment, action and growth.
The City As Classroom
Templeton Academy prioritizes learning from authentic experiences and interacting with the world around us. Thus, we use our longer learning blocks to learn by doing — leveraging the resources of the city from museums, to libraries, to gyms and green spaces. In addition, the focus is on giving back to the city, as projects for courses are deeply intertwined with the community and its needs. Going beyond typical community service, students work with community-based organizations helping devise solutions to their current challenges.
Our Academic model is built around Student agency, defined as giving Students voice and choice in how they learn. And our goal is structured agency — a learning community that is both Student and teacher designed and led. Academic blocks of two hours over a 10-week term provides substantial time for rich, Socratic discussions, independent and community projects. We use the academically rigorous model of Gold Standard Project-Based Learning that focuses on authenticity and real-world connections, contains rigorous reflection and revision, and whose efficacy in increasing higher-level thinking skills and key success skills is well-documented.
A Culture of Inclusion
Templeton Academy is committed to eliminating biases and racism in our community. To that end, we are:
ENGAGING in ongoing anti-bias, anti-racist education training for all staff members, focusing on uplifting our own uniquenesses while honoring the differences of others;
RECOGNIZING the biases and privilege that permeate our interactions with families, staff, and children;
SUPPORTING each other in understanding and dismantling our personal biases and privilege;
RESTRUCTURING our systems to eliminate barriers to accessing quality education;
INCORPORATING lessons that teach how to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate our students, staff, and family differences.
Developing Soft Skills
Templeton Academy’s model is inherently designed to hone students’ soft skills. EMPATHY, CONSCIENTIOUSNESS, SELF-REGULATION, PERSEVERANCE, and TIME MANAGEMENT can be learned most effectively through project-based learning. While a student can readily measure their cognitive gains in pre- and post-testing, they do not always take time to reflect on their own work, be it successes or challenges, in specific non-cognitive skills. Having students judge their own efforts — especially in an area where they exercised effective failure — helps them understand that developing resilience is ultimately more meaningful than say, memorizing the state capitals. Deliberately adding reflection and growth to our lesson design helps students add goal-setting and self-reflection to their educational experience and helps prepare them for long-term success.
Meet the Team
John Templeton (Temp) Keller is Co-founder and President of Templeton Academy. Also Co-founder and President of Templeton Learning, Temp serves on the boards of the Loomis Chaffee School, Austin Achieve Public Schools and the African Leadership Foundation. He received his B.A. from Princeton University and his M.B.A. from The University of Chicago.
Mandy Brooks is a graduate from University of Texas at Austin, she began her professional career at the independent bookstore, BookPeople, as their Marketing and Events Director. From there she made the leap into the nonprofit world becoming the Managing Director for Mainspring Schools, one of the most highly accredited Early Education Centers in the state. Her experience at the school strengthened her love of learning and understanding about how social/emotional wellness is just as important to child development. She now serves on the school’s Board of Directors. Most recently she worked as Donor Relations Manager at the United Way for Greater Austin. She is excited to bring her lifelong love learning and organizational skill set to Templeton Academy.
Dr. Laura DeLima
Dr. Laura DeLima is the Head of School at Templeton Academy D.C. An experienced educational leader with 15 years of experience in the field, she has started two progressive secondary schools, the second of which she became one of the most successful campus in the Fusion Academy national network of schools. She balances deep knowledge in adolescent development, education policy, and pedagogy with exceptional skills in strategic planning, personnel development, operational and financial management, and is committed to using her unique combination of knowledge and skills to developing schools that bring personalized, purpose-driven, project-based and empowering education to young people. Dr. DeLima holds a B.A. from Vassar College, a Masters in Education Policy from the University of Wisconsin, and earned her Doctorate in Education from The George Washington University.
Kalee is the founding Head of School for Templeton Academy. Kalee is a Nashville native with a decade of educational experience Educated at the University of Tennessee, Lipscomb, and Vanderbilt Universities. Kalee is deeply committed to personalized, experiential education. She has a strong track record in developing relationships with students and teachers, and cultivating a student-centered classroom.Kalee spent the past three years in Washington DC, founding Washington Leadership Academy, an XQ Super School focused on reimagining high school, as the assistant principal. Prior to that, Kalee taught in Nashville for six years. She is excited to return home to bring Templeton Academy to the city.
Nicole Weston is the Director of Admissions and Outreach for Templeton Academy- DC. Nicole brings with her a wealth of experience in the field of education spanning over 20 years and across public, private non-profit, and private for-profit settings. Nicole has served as a high school teacher, director of student support & outreach, assistant director, and head of school. She is passionate about strengths-based education and fascinated by innovative school models that make strengths-based learning a priority and a reality. In addition to her work in the field of education, Nicole is also a certified expert life coach.
Tee Wilson is an experienced leader who has achieved success in organizational development, brand building, new media marketing, project management, and strategic planning. Tee holds a BA in Communications and a Masters in Secondary Education. Her background includes progressive experience and leadership roles across multiple industries, including national non-profits, higher education, real estate development and entrepreneurship. She possesses transferable skills that prioritize developing strategies with measurable results. With over 25 years of experience, Tee brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise that is unmatched in her field. As a military spouse, Tee has worked for a wide variety of notable organizations including The United States Air Force, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Remington College, Loyola University New Orleans, Ingram Book Company and Coldwell Banker. As Director of Admissions, Tee will be managing our recruitment and retainment activities, brand strategy and our diversity and inclusion programming. Her creative thinking combined with her true commitment to the mission of Templeton Academy makes her a welcome addition to the team.