Path v2.0: My New Opportunity

Almost two years ago I wrote a post about leaving education after a 27 year career to pursue a passion around design and learning spaces.

missy schmidtMy opportunities working with The Third Teacher+ have been everything I thought they would be and more.  In the past two years, I’ve grown tremendously as a professional, had the opportunity to work with some of the most creative and amazing people I’ve ever met, and have had the opportunity to learn about architecture and design in a very deep way, much more than I could have ever done as an educational practitioner.  My experience over this time meant learning a new profession with its own language, and it required me to learn with a new focus, new intent, and at a velocity I had not encountered in a long time.  I think the most beneficial thing that I have learned is how to approach problems and opportunities with the mindset of a designer, and with that I’ve been able to see education in an entirely new way.

During my time at TTT+,  I’ve had the opportunity to work on a number of great projects from the redesign of the College of Education at The University of Idaho to the design of the Waukee Center for Advanced Professional Studies in Waukee, Iowa.  Along the way, I’ve worked with The Lovett School and The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, with Winona State University, Rockford (IL) Public Schools, St. Francis Xavier in Wilmette, Illinois, Logan City Schools in Logan, Utah, the Beacon Academy, Quest Academy, the Rondout School, and with the Lyon School, all in Illinois.  I’ve had opportunities to work on design competitions for major additions/renovations and for new construction in the Chicago area.  Much of that work that I have done has been focused on the design of learning spaces, and doing the front end component of the design process (called Discovery) and using my understanding of education to support the interactions of client and designer.  I also had a unique opportunity to provide a different perspective for the designers and help them understand their designs through an educational lens.

I’ve had a chance to develop relationships with architecture firms across the country, including my friends at INVISION Architecture in Des Moines and the Miller-Hull Partnership in Seattle.  My work has also included developing relationships with a variety of furniture manufacturers, including Steelcase, VS, and KI.

During my time at The Third Teacher+, I’ve also done a great deal of professional development and speaking in support of my role, working with The Lovett School, with the Texas Computer Education Association, with the Illinois Computing Educators, Hamilton Community Schools in Hamilton, Michigan, and with Cypress Fairbanks ISD in Houston, with Cattaragus-Allegheny BOCES in New York and with the National Association of School Boards.  I’ve written articles for NSBA and for Learning Spaces Magazine.

Needless to say, I’ve had a very rich experience.  It has been absolutely terrific.

So I’m excited to announce that I am now venturing into my next experience by forming my own consultancy that will leverage a 30 year career in education as a teacher, as a school administrator, as an educational technologist, as a speaker and professional developer, and as a learning space designer.  I think that is a timely intersection of a variety of skill sets that are interesting and will be of high value in helping reshape schools in a number of ways.

I anticipate that a great deal of work will be focused on crafting new spaces for learning, both physical and digital, and providing realistic solutions for moving forward with the development of learning spaces, at a range of scales across schools.  This work will also include providing educators with the opportunities that are required to understand the addition of new spaces and how they can be utilized to support a different condition for student learning.

If any of those skills match with a need of yours, please let me know.  I’ll also be looking at a variety of strategic partnerships, and I’m thrilled that some are already in progress.   If you see an opportunity or connection in your role or profession that would be interesting, let’s talk.

I’ve always wanted to do this and the time is now.  So, with all of that said, I’m just beginning to get started, so please look forward to the launch of what will be a new adventure, and new opportunities to step forward to work with individuals and organizations to create a new expedition for students and for their learning.

image courtesy of Hampton Roads Partnership


  1. David,

    I’m excited for you. I’ll be retiring from my district this year and I’m working on some new directions as well. Here’s to doing something different and changes that suit us.


  2. Congratulations on new opportunities. Your wealth of knowledge and experience will be well received in a variety of contexts. Keep well.

  3. Best wishes for the plunge, and I hope we can find a great project or two, if not more, to get our collective noddles together in one room.

  4. David,

    Congratulations and all the best to you! May you have a fabulous adventure.


  5. David, Congratulations on your new path! I hope mine continues to cross with yours!

  6. Go, David, go! 🙂

  7. Marybeth Kingsley says:

    Congratulations, Dave! Sound like you found your niche. I wish you all the best in your newest endeavor.

    • davidjakes says:

      Hi Marybeth: it’s been a long time! Certainly many years from sitting in your office next to the library! Hope you are doing well…and thank you for the comment.

  8. Good luck, David. You will have a big impact on the future of education.

  9. Some of my most engaging work with teachers has been around the thoughtful design of learning spaces. I’m glad to know you’ll continue to scratch such an itch.

  10. You will be outstanding in this role, my friend. Your breadth (and depth) of knowledge is amazing and invaluable. This is something I’ve considered myself, but I’m no David Jakes. 🙂 Congrats and best of luck!

    • davidjakes says:

      Thanks Randy, appreciated. I have great admiration for you my friend, and not only because you can catch sharks without getting sick!

  11. Marissa Tomei and I wish you the best of luck!

  12. best of luck to you. I made the jump into the freelance world a couple of years ago and it’s be great (and the hardest thing I have ever done!). Creating value for others from your knowledge and experience is very rewarding.

    • davidjakes says:

      Hey John: thanks! Yes, its been interesting getting into a flow and figuring things out. Hope our paths cross again.

  13. Congratulations as you embark on the next chapter in your life. You bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences. – Karen

  14. Beat wishes on your newest venture. Consider Texas!


  15. I know it’ll be a great opportunity for others to utilize your skill set to their advantage. Looking forward to having you back in Texas soon!

  16. Scott Glass says:

    Sounds exciting, David. Congratulations and best of luck.

  17. How exciting!! CONGRATULATIONS!! Let me know when you are in California again — it would be great to have you share to my campus.

  18. Congratulations and best wishes to you Jakes! Happy to hear you are on a new adventure in life!

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