News + People

Employee Spotlight: Doug Thilman

At schools who are proud members of the Participate Learning Partnership, students embark on a journey that allows them to travel the globe without having to leave their classroom. Global studies are embedded in all aspects of their day. Participate Learning works with schools to provide a global leadership framework so students can learn more about how to become global leaders.

These programs would not be possible without Participate Learning employees who are dedicated to ensuring equitable and inclusive access to a globally focused education. Doug Thilman worked in schools for over twenty years as both a principal and a central office administrator. He chose to bring his experience and skills to Participate Learning so that he could help enhance student learning through global education. Doug is one of our School Partnerships Directors, and he helps bring global learning into new school communities while also strengthening our existing school communities.

Read on to learn more about Doug’s role at Participate Learning.

Q: What do you do on a typical workday?

Much of my time is spent learning about each of our district partners. I focus on the history of our relationship with them and attempt to discover new ways that we can partner with them. In each case, I look for opportunities to work together to improve student outcomes in the partner district.

Q: How do you communicate with partners?

This is a great question for the work world we live in today. I have found that so much of our communication takes place via text, this includes direct work with our school partners. It is interesting to think that email is becoming a thing of the past for business communication. However, I have found that spending time with our partners over a meal is a tremendous way to build strong working relationships and improve the work of both teams.

Q: Tell us about an exciting project that you are working on.

I am currently working on a project to engage our school principals who host our ambassador teachers. The ambassador program will offer school leaders an opportunity to learn from each other in a Community of Practice built specifically for them.

Q: What do you find challenging about your position?

One challenge in my work is gaining the trust of our partners. Having only been with Participate Learning for a little over six months, I am still new to this work. However, my twenty years of experience working in a large school district helps me understand the school’s needs and better support them.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to spend time with family hiking, camping, and fishing. I also enjoy watching baseball and college football.

Q: What is your favorite memory at Participate Learning?

Honestly, I think my first day is one of my favorite memories. I had spent many years working in school or district leadership positions and this change was completely new and while not foreign to me, it was a real leap of faith. I have loved every day since!

Q: Which one of Participate Learning’s core values resonates most with you?

Participate Learning’s core value, “Make Each Other Better,” resonates with me. For my entire career, I have focused on what I can do to make teachers, schools and school districts better. This work has been what guided me to be the best I can be for those around me.

To learn more about how our employees exemplify our values read this blog post.