Everyone reading this has been there.

Sometimes you recognize the point in time when your life changes.   Those moments are filled with light, the pathway illuminated by the choice that lies ahead.  Sometimes those moments are not appreciated for years, when the subtle change that changed everything was brought visible by age and wisdom, and at a time when the true significance could be appreciated.

A fortunate person is one who has multiple passions.   I’m guessing that all of us have at least one, and what we identify as our passion contributes to our uniqueness as a human being.  Accordingly, when you share the same passion with others, you can find yourself in a magical place, a place where your life is enriched and worth living.  And when your passion is someone else, and their passion is you, well, that’s as good as passion can get.

Those that know me, and know of my professional interests, recognize my interest in learning spaces.  I’ve spoken and written about the value of spaces in relation to learning on many occasions.  And while I don’t have any formal education in this area, we all know what can happen when motivation and interest meets the opportunity afforded by the connections of the Web.  Certainly my interest in learning spaces, both physical and digital, and how they support and impact learning, has become a passion for me.

For the past 27 years, I’ve had the great fortune of working in schools, and working with young adults and with great professionals.  As a biology teacher for 15 years, I taught over 2000 young people the subject of biology.  I’ve had the wondrous opportunity of watching those kids enter a school as a timid and scared 14 year old and leave as a confident young adult at 18.  I’ve had the opportunity to be amazed and humbled by the very kids I have worked with, to share in their successes and failures, and to help them celebrate what was good, and help them through what was bad.  That is the essence of what it means to be an educator, and it’s just that simple.  All of that has been a passion of mine.  That will always be a passion of mine.

But a new opportunity has opened up for me, and I’ve decided on a new path.

I have chosen to step away from almost three decades of education to follow something I know I must follow.  It is my time to do that,  and I’m proud to be announcing that I will be joining a great organization that has offered me a wonderful and unique opportunity.  To that end, on July 1, I  join Cannon Design and The Third Teacher Plus in Chicago as a Digital Strategist and Designer on the TTT+ team.  I’ll also be responsible for developing new projects for Cannon Design’s K-12 practice in Chicago and throughout the Midwest.

As you can expect, I’m humbled, excited, and thrilled by what lies ahead.   Being able to work with Christian, Le, Melanie, Teri, Emi, and the entire Cannon Team will be energizing beyond belief.  And so the next part of my professional life begins.

Earlier I said that a fortunate person is one who has multiple passions.   A truly lucky one is someone who gets to follow them.

To Waubonsie Valley, Downers Grove North and South, and Glenbrook South, to all of the kids and to everyone who helped them learn in those places, thank you.  It has  been my honor and my privilege to be called your teacher, your colleague and your friend.

With admiration,



  1. Very cool move, Dave. Best wishes for a smooth transition!

    • davidjakes says:

      Thanks Scott, appreciate your comment. I’m really excited as you might expect, somewhat sad to be leaving the school environment, but I can’t wait to see where this goes. 🙂

  2. Beautifully written. I’ll miss working with you, but I’m so glad you’ll be doing what you love with such inspiring colleagues.

    • davidjakes says:

      Thanks Kris. I appreciate that. And I’ll miss everyone in the library terribly. You’ve all made my time at GBS very special…

  3. Fred Koch says:

    I know this must have been a tough decision for you. I know you will be missed by many and embraced by many, too. Go get ’em!

    • davidjakes says:

      Fred: it was, deciding on leaving education after 27 years was not an easy call. But the opportunity, and calling really, was too much. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Congrats my friend. I know you’ve been looking for a new challenge for a while. I know you’ll rock this gig. Looking forward to watching you do more cool and useful stuff.

  5. Jason Bednar says:

    Dave, as one of those former students, I have to thank you for all you’ve done for students and teachers. This sounds like a great opportunity for you and I hope you enjoy it as much as it seemed you enjoyed teaching biogy, at least it seemed that way in the eyes of a 14 year old student.

    • davidjakes says:

      Jason: I loved teaching biology, that’s true. I appreciate those comments, and it is a great opportunity for me. It will be interesting to move over to the corporate side, but I’ve enjoyed challenges all my life. 🙂

  6. David

    Follow your bliss makes a lot of sense at any age. I’m so glad to here you are following yours. I last saw you on the run at Iste in San Diego. You looked like a man in need of a change. I’m happy for you!

  7. Congratulations, my friend! They are lucky to get you!

    • davidjakes says:

      Yeah, pretty much. Ah, just kidding. It’s a great team, and I’m looking forward to unleashing some creativity and contribute to the work of my new teammates.

  8. Terry ZIemke says:

    Continue to use your passion and skills to help young people. You know how that adolescent mind works and what motivates them ( a God given gift). Never underestimate your abilities to impact what young people learn. God Bless!

  9. Judi Epcke says:


    It is no surprise that you would be highly sought after with your many talents. Congratulations on your new adventure and following your passion. I am proud to know you and look forward to hearing about your new work. I would love to show you around our newly remodeled learning space. The Glenbrooks and your work were certainly part of our inspiration.

    All the best!!

  10. David, what great news for you and superb for Cannon to have your nous on the team. There’s also slight relief that this is a post about your path, and not Path, which I still don’t get. Thank you for that, also.

    • davidjakes says:

      Hey Ewan: yes, it is very good news and I’m looking forward to the challenge. Yep, the title was intended to frame the new path I have in front of me. 🙂

  11. Earle Olson says:

    This is incredibly exciting news! You have always been a pioneer and always searched for new ways to learn, grow, and share with others. I wish you the very best as you move into this new adventure.

    • davidjakes says:

      Hi Earle: Thanks, those are very kind words. I guess its just an evolution of how I want to make an impact in education. I’m thankful for everything I learned in schools, especially at North, and of course with your support and guidance. Appreciate the comment, and let’s get together soon. I would enjoy that!

  12. Mark Kreiter says:

    Congrats on your new job! What a great opportunity for you to change the face of learning for teachers and students.

  13. Robin Ellis says:

    Congratulations David! It sounds as though this is an exciting time for you, with a great opportunity to share your expertise and also move into another area of learning. It is a big decision to make changes in life, and I am happy to hear this was one in which you felt the light was there to help you make your choice. It is a new phase of your life and I wish you the best, I am sure it is the beginning a great adventure for you.

    • davidjakes says:

      Hi Robin: Exciting to say the least! I do think it is the next step in the evolution of my career, and I’m really looking forward to it – everything officially begins July 1.

  14. Alice Hartel says:

    Congratulations on your new career move. This sounds like a great opportunity for you. I made a change to go into high school last year and can honestly say it was the best move of my life. Best of luck! They are lucky to have such a visionary on their team!

  15. Jill Maraldo says:

    Congratulations! This looks like such an exciting opportunity!! Wishing you all the best.


  16. Joanne Masri says:

    Your insightful and inspiring demeanor leaves GBS forever changed! Thanks for everything. It has been a true honor to work beside you.
    Cannon Design and The Third Teacher Plus are incredibly fortunate to bring you on board. You’ll be amazing! All the best!!!!

  17. Congratulations! I’m glad to see that you will be influencing on a greater level.


  1. […] hearty congratulations to David Jakes who’ll be leaving the classroom (sorta) to join the design studio The Third […]

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