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The KDSL Global Story eBook Sample

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How does one transition from a teacher to an entrepreneur? How can one work in education around the world? Reflecting on his last decade of living these questions, Kevin Simpson shares lessons learned and the most prominent ideas that have kept him on the journey. The KDSL Global Story: 10 Lessons from an Education Entrepreneur will provide food for thought to other educators who are seeking to take the plunge and find their passion. Readers will find out how having standards, taking risks, being open to change and more impacted this entrepreneur’s expedition.

KDSL Global is a leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.

To order the complete eBook please visit www.kdslglobal.com and click on Celebrating 10 Years.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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The KDSL Global Story eBook Sample

  1. 1. The KDSL Global Story: 10 Lessons from an Education Entrepreneur
  2. 2. This is dedicated to my wonderful mother, Paulette Simpson; the advising team of Alister Aranha, Dr. Johnnie Gordon and Dr. Mary Thormann; Thalia Suzuma for turning a spoken dream into a written reality; John Ritter for hiring me to serve in Laos and countless thought partners, mentors, mentees and friends encountered on this ten year journey.
  3. 3. kdslglobal.com4The KDSL Global Story Contents 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 19 19 21 23 24 Foreword by Bernard West............................................................ Introduction: Taking the Plunge..................................................... Standards ....................................................................................... Process........................................................................................... FMOB............................................................................................. Mentor ........................................................................................... Relationships.................................................................................. Travel ............................................................................................. Risks ............................................................................................... Give................................................................................................ Change........................................................................................... The Future...................................................................................... Conclusion...................................................................................... ...................................................................... About the Author........................................................................... Testimonials from Education Entrepreneurs ................................. KDSL Global: Gives 10
  4. 4. kdslglobal.com5The KDSL Global Story Dear Reader, Beware: the knowledge shared in the subsequent pages will radically change your thinking about your career path and the power that an entrepreneurial mindset can have on your professional life. Through 10 lessons, the author, Mr. Simpson, reveals the principles and actions that propelled him from successful classroom teacher to global education entrepreneur. In doing so, he dispels myths and unlocks truths about building an impactful international entrepreneurial career to help others achieve their global aspirations. Too often we are told that there are limited paths to success and that the risks and leaps of faith associated with entrepreneurship and working abroad are too high. The author’s lessons reveal the very opposite. With the workplace, today we must all be entrepreneurs. If ideas are worth spreading, then the 10 lessons in this book are worth implementing. They inspire us to follow our passions, assist us in navigating risks, and allow us to commit to achieving our professional dreams. the last decade, his commitment to education has driven him to impact thousands of students, educators, and education investors across multiple communities, cultures and continents. I have watched him take lessons he learned from Flint (Michigan, USA) and apply them to Bangkok (Thailand); and solutions from Laos and leverage them in Lagos. The education platform that the author built, KDSL Global, has had and will continue to have a lasting and transformational impact in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This book’s impact on you is This book is a welcomed addition addressing multiple points of view: the teacher seeking an entrepreneurial path, the student charting a career in international education, and the social entrepreneur aiming to have a global impact. By sharing his journey, the author has delivered a new treatise on education entrepreneurship. His personal story This book is a work-book. Be ready to take notes. Be ready to change your way of thinking. Be ready to take action. Enjoy! Bernard West Education Investor and Advisor
  5. 5. kdslglobal.com6The KDSL Global Story Taking the plunge I’m never too sure how to answer these questions fully but succinctly, so I thought I’d write it out here instead. In 2007 I became an entrepreneur. This had certainly not been my life’s plan: I was not a business major. I had not studied or specialized in consultancy in any way. I think a number of my friends and colleagues were shocked by my decision and questioned my reasoning. What was I thinking? But I believed in my convictions and actually, I had always been interested in start-ups. When I was growing up in Flint, Michigan, there were always some folks from church or from a local store who were doing something interesting: people trialing a new product or selling a unique service. I was really drawn to that, but I still followed a pretty standard trajectory: high school, college, job. I graduated from high school in 1994 and then majored in Education and Political Science at Michigan State University. I almost didn’t become a teacher – it was a choice between Education and Law. In the end education won, partly thanks to participating in a program called the Young Spartan Program, which connected university students to local schools in Lansing, Michigan. I worked with young kids on various projects and helped schools with new initiatives. After graduating from university I relocated to Washington, D.C. where I worked as a White in the city. Living and working in D.C. was a complete revelation. It was such an amazing opportunity to be able then did a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Michigan State University and moved on to work in Fairfax County Public Schools after graduation. This was a great place to be in the early 2000s. They were ahead of their time in terms of investing in their educators. I knew it was a place I’d be able to grow a lot. I was later invited to take an administrative position at the county level – it was two years away from the classroom but gave me a fantastic grounding in the background machinations of education. After that, the travel bug really kicked in. I taught in Laos – only my second time out of the country ever. I worked alongside people who had been teaching When I got back to the USA, I found myself back in Fairfax County Public Schools working as an instructional coach and consulting with the Department of Education during the summer. It was great, but I knew it was time for me to take the plunge and start up my own company. From then on in, everything was unknown. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to work in education around the world. I volunteered with a start-up in D.C. called One World Education. I reached out to a charter school professional development program called Student Support Center. KDSL USA grew out of these beginnings, and shortly after I went to Dubai. KDSL USA’s real focus was on collaborating with organizations worldwide in order to further student achievement, teacher learning, and support education leadership. In late 2016, KDSL USA evolved into KDSL Global, which is simply a mature iteration of the earlier company, with a key focus on empowering educators and education companies globally. This is my story of how I came to be an entrepreneur, and here are the 10 most important lessons I’ve learned along the way.
  6. 6. my 10 key lessons
  7. 7. kdslglobal.comThe KDSL Global Story Standards Standards is such a big word for me. In the early days of KDSL USA, when I was just feeling my way, I would focus the foundations that need to be ever-present in the company? What standards do I always want to uphold? High standards lead to achievement. Focusing on standards was particularly important in the early days, before my of metamorphosis, in order to stay current and relevant. Moving from working in the USA to the Middle East was a big move, not just logistically, but in terms of working in such a different market with different needs. I would constantly look back to assess how I was doing – I would remind myself to connect back with students and educators and to see what kind of impact I was having. Were the goals being met now? Had there been a tangible difference? I’ve found it helpful when working with clients and all kinds of educators to use the ‘I’m hearing x but I’m seeing y…’ phrase. I do it with myself, too. Repeating back clients’ intentions to them is really useful in order I recently began collaborating with ArabiCollege, an e-learning platform for students of Arabic. The CEO reached focus is to identify the disruptors in the education world: people who are providing a new service that people don’t know about, people who have the potential to impact a segment anywhere in the world. And I’d actually wondered for a long time why expats living in the MENA region weren’t learning more Arabic. After some research, I saw that with a range of webinars and education networking opportunities. We’ve now got the platform into schools, and their presence in the MENA region and beyond continues to grow. What expectations do you have for yourself as an entrepreneur?
  8. 8. kdslglobal.com9The KDSL Global Story I strive to always remember to trust the process as I go along, and also to always try and enjoy the process of the journey. This is important, as it balances out that focus on achievements, standards and end results. Trusting the process and enjoying the journey has got me through months on end of unpredictable travel, endless jet lag, and the humble beginning of starting a company in a different country while living off an air mattress in my best doing? What do I need to stop doing?’ had to consciously work on my work-life balance. These days with smart phones and all the other devices, we’re constantly connected. It’s easy to glance at your phone, get sucked into some work, and suddenly four hours have gone by and you’re still sitting in the same place. I make sure now that what I do is more intentional. I establish a routine that works for me, one that maintains my health, and affords me time to read and to connect with people. As I’ve grown more experienced as an entrepreneur, my network of contacts has grown with me. This has been great as even if I do sometimes have to turn down an opportunity, I can often link that person or company with The part of the process that gives me the most joy is undoubtedly the opportunity to create and to connect. It’s so exciting to know that I have this opportunity to create something meaningful and to connect with people anywhere around the world. Being able to help people who want to be a vehicle for change is incredible. I recently had an associate who was setting up a company called Teacher Leaders International. Its aims were in line with my own – focusing on growing education leaders around the world and sharing resources – and I knew I wanted to help them. We brainstormed, and it was just great to support her in creating something for the education community. Moments like this are real highlights for me.
  9. 9. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  10. 10. kdslglobal.com21The KDSL Global Story KDSL Global is an education consulting company launched by Flint native Kevin Simpson in 2016 in the USA and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Simpson has served 500+ schools and thousands of educators worldwide in 20 countries. The majority of his work in education has centered on American curriculum schools. training, and development and served as a thought partner on school start-up projects. Simpson is co-founder of the UAE Learning Network (one of the largest online network of educators in the UAE) and has participated in numerous education panels and radio shows where American curriculum was the topic. In addition, he has co-authored two white papers on American curriculum schools in Dubai, co-authored a white paper on NGSS in MENA American curriculum schools, and co-wrote a bilingual document on American Education in the UAE. He also owns KDSL USA. Simpson has worked with over 40 educators who have taken the leap to become consultants. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Michigan State University (USA). Currently, he is a member of the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) and studying in their Institute for International School Leadership. Kevin Simpson

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