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Benjamin Owens

Open Way Learning
Brasstown, North Carolina
Ben Owens spent a 20-year engineering career in manufacturing and R&D locations across the U.S. and in that role saw first-hand the significant need to improve our approaches to education. He left the corporate world to do something about it by becoming a public school teacher in the rural mountains of Southern Appalachia. As a physics and math teacher at Tri-County Early College in Murphy, North Carolina for 11 years, he was able to work with a team of colleagues to develop, refine, and scale an engaging and unique approach to learner-centered teaching and learning - one that uses community-facing, cross-grade/cross-curricular project based learning in an intensely personalized, competency-based education framework and all part of a Teacher Powered School.

Ben was the 2017 Bridging the Gap Distinguished Teacher in STEM Education, the 2016 North Carolina Science Technology & Mathematics Center’s 9-16 Outstanding Educator, served on the Teacher Advisory Council for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is an Open Organization Ambassador, and is a “Community TA” for MIT’s Online Course: “Competency-Based Education: The Why, What, and How.” His role as a nationally recognized teacher leader gave him the opportunity to work with some of the best educators and thought leaders in the world and was the primary driver behind the book he co-authored, “Open Up, Education!" He is now leveraging these experiences by running the nonprofit, Open Way Learning, to help education stakeholders around the country develop authentic cultures of innovation that blur the lines between what happens in school and what happens in the real world.