• Robert Ahdoot

Starting the conversation on teacherpreneurship - an interview with Dr. Bruce Powell

Updated: Jun 21

The consummate teacherpreneur, Dr. Bruce Powell

Entrepreneurship and teaching traditionally have been mutually exclusive endeavors. Entrepreneurism stirs images of the self-starting creator of products or services. This business-savvy person grimaces at the thought of being bound by systems or conventions, while also understanding that to be successful, he must strategically navigate those very systems.

On the other end of the spectrum, the concept of “teacher” conjures iconic images of chalkboards, desks, walls, rambunctious students, grading papers, and apples on wooden desks. But over the past decade, a quiet movement has been taking place: These two worlds have proven their ability to exist simultaneously. It is between these two zones where I work, live and breathe. I am a teacherpreneur.

In the coming months, I'll be helping SmartBrief Education shine a light on teacherpreneurship. To start things off, let’s bring our attention to a wildly successful teacherpreneur in the flesh, Dr. Bruce Powell. He is a valued personal mentor, who took a chance on me ten years ago, with no more to go on than his instincts and a conversation we shared on a late August afternoon, only days before the school year began.

RA: How does the term “teacherpreneur” strike you?

BP: I love the term. I think it’s descriptive of a lot of what we do here, and it was the subject of a meeting we just had on the topic of innovation. What I’ve discovered is that you have to be motivated to take part in this idea. You have to have initiative. People may choose to come in and only teach their classes, and they can do a great job, but they are not invested in a larger vision for their school, a community, and frankly, for our nation. Those teachers, who are truly teacherpreneurs, have the initiative, ideas and motivation to go out and execute. Getting this new language out, for this article you’re writing, will be a great contribution by itself.

RA: So how would you define "teacherpreneur"?