Transformative Principal

This episode is part of the Summer of AI Series, brought to you by SchoolAI, Scrible, and FocalPointK12.

Welcome to another episode of Transformative Principal! In today’s episode, we have the privilege of speaking with Dr. Brett Jacobsen, the CEO of The Mount Vernon School, Mount Vernon Ventures, and Mount Vernon Online – The Global Online Campus. With over 15 years of experience leading Mount Vernon through a transformational period, Dr. Jacobsen has gained a national reputation for innovation in education.

In our conversation, Dr. Jacobsen shares his insights on creating a venture to fund your school. He discusses how Mount Vernon School, established in 1972 as a PK–8 school, has embraced an innovation mindset, even though they have been around for a long time. Driven by a desire to be known as an innovative school, Mount Vernon has experienced significant growth over the last decade.

Dr. Jacobsen introduces the concept of the Blue Ocean Strategy, emphasizing the importance of shaping your school’s narrative and brand. Rather than trying to compete with other schools, Mount Vernon Ventures focuses on consulting with other schools and developing accessible products and tools. They have also ventured into business development with Mount Vernon Online.

Dr. Jacobsen explores the challenge of separating funding from the backs of their people and finding alternative markets to support their initiatives. He also highlights the importance of creating multiple pathways for students and implementing an inquiry-based, competency-driven system.
  • Portfolio of three different areas
  • 1972 school established
  • PK–8 School
  • Felt Like a startup even though they’ve been around for a long time.
  • Giving more tours than serving our own community.
  • Over the last decade school has grown by 60%
  • Blue Ocean Strategy
  • Cirque du Soleil is it high art or circus?
  • Didn’t want to be known as a traditional school.
  • Didn’t want to be known as a progressive school.
  • how do you shape your narrative around your school’s brand?
  • Wanted to be known as an innovative school.
  • We would lose every time if we tried to compete with others
  • Mount Vernon Ventures
    • Consulting with other schools
    • Value proposition - current practitioners leading change.
    • What is your innovation intention?
    • Ventures work on developing products and tools that are accessible.
    • Business development as well - Mount Vernon Online.
    • Multiple Pathways
    • R&D Report around AI
  • Funding is generated from Mount Vernon Ventures
  • Traditionally generated from Non-tuition generating activities.
  • Externally, how could we reinvest back into the school?
  • How do you separate from funding being on the backs of our people?
  • Find another market that funds things.
  • How do we create multiple pathways for our students?
  • Learning outcomes explored in an inquiry model - assessed based on proficiency.
  • Inquiry, Competency-based system.
  • Lego-bricking courses - systems taken
  • Mod System is based on 9-week time periods - students take four courses during a mod.
  • They have to have more math courses at the backend of their high school course.
  • Did a lot of open share when we started.
  • Agnostic about things they implement with schools.
  • Ventures are about birthing opportunities that expand the Mount Vernon Ecosystem.
  • Training and investing in professionals in school
  • Identify market segments - creating more pathways for students.
  • Would look very different from the three we’ve talked about today.
About Brett Jacobsen

Entering his 15th year, Dr. Brett Jacobsen is CEO of The Mount Vernon School, Mount Vernon Ventures, and Mount Vernon Online – The Global Online Campus. Leading Mount Vernon through a transformational period since 2009, the School with 1,250 students strong, has gained a national reputation for innovation in education, As a result, Dr. Jacobsen launched a Transformation R&D consulting company known as Mount Vernon Ventures, partnering with schools throughout the world. Most recently, in August 2022, Mount Vernon Online, Mount Vernon’s online high school, welcomed its first cohort of students to the School. Outside of overseeing a portfolio of business units, Dr. Jacobsen frequently shares his journey of innovation and entrepreneurial impact at national and international conferences. Dr. Jacobsen was recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the 2017 Most admired CEOs in the education category. He is also a proud member of Leadership Atlanta, Class of 2013.


The Mount Vernon School | Mount Vernon Ventures | Mount Vernon Online

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Creators & Guests

Jethro Jones

What is Transformative Principal?

Jethro Jones interviews instructional leaders from around the nation to learn and teach what it takes to become a transformative principal. Episodes address topics like Response to Intervention (RTI), Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS), Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), the latest advances in educational research, standards-based grading, and interviews with industry leaders like Bill Daggett, Rick Wormeli, Todd Whitaker and even people outside the education like Seth Godin, JeVon McCormick, Liz Wiseman, and more.