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  • Chloë Fraser

Redefining Excellence: META’s CEO Joins Top 100 Leaders in Education

META Learning's founder and CEO, Nicholas J. Martino, received the “Top 100 Leaders in Education Award” at the Global Forum for Education & Learning (GFEL) conference. The ceremony was held virtually on June 23-25, 2021.

The Global Forum for Education & Learning (GFEL) has awarded our founder and CEO, Nicholas J. Martino, the “Top 100 Leaders in Education Award” at this year's annual conference. In recognizing Nicholas and other trailblazers’ contributions to the field, GFEL prompts us to reflect on how our founder’s vision of education, alongside the industry itself, has evolved in the past 15 years.


Almost a decade ago, Sir Ken Robinson released a video called Changing Educational Paradigms, in which he discussed moving away from the industrial schooling model and towards an education rooted in autonomy, mastery, and purpose. A few years later, he shared another speech in which he examined why schools fail to value creativity just as much as any other academic skill.


Sir Ken Robinson's theories have since gone on to change our way of thinking about education. In many ways, Nicholas’ journey reflects these changes in the field as he’s moved from one institution to another. It’s been about putting in some of the lightwork to ensure that Sir Ken Robinson’s visions and theories can become realities.




Nicholas’ career began over 15 years ago, at Mountain View High School, in the United States. Early on in 2010, he was recognized as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction for developing a deep rapport with students, with the appreciation that no significant learning can occur without meaningful relationships.


At Mountain View, Nicholas also discovered the power and promise of community-based projects. He used the AmeriCorps program, Learn & Serve, to teach students how to get into their community and start making a local impact through volunteering. Through this, Nicholas explored the world of service-learning, which eventually led to an array of international projects and global projects. These earned him the awards of Stafford County Teacher of the Year and Washington Post Teacher of the Year in 2011.


With THINK Global School (TGS), Nicholas taught project-based learning and place-based learning in a range of locations around the world. Traveling alongside TGS' dynamic student body, Nicholas got the opportunity to apply these learning philosophies and pedagogies across 30 different countries. Using project and place as frames for learning allowed META's founder to explore the full potential of alternative education models. Later on, through designing TGS’ new changemaker program, he discovered what’s possible in education when we begin re-centering educational paradigms around learning.


Leaving TGS behind a few years later, Nicholas founded a digital school by the name of Authentic Learning Lab. This organization focused on student learning and professional development for educators. It also created a space for our founder and CEO to design innovative learning curriculums centered around project-based learning. This allowed him to implement higher-level change and support thousands of educators through professional development and training all around the world.


Whether it was through teaching flipped classroom theory, digital teaching, or authentic learning, Nicholas helped ensure thousands of students could enjoy high-quality curricula.

Through the Authentic Learning Lab, Nicholas also had the opportunity to meet some of the best educators in the world. Building upon a rich and diverse network of teachers from Mountain View High School and THINK Global School, Nicholas ensured the Authentic Learning Lab became a top-notch hub for educational experts.


META Learning has since become an opportunity for Nicholas to distill these experiences and harness his educational leadership. Our vision for META is centered around redefining excellence in the 21st-century with personalized, future-focused, and impact-driven education. Ultimately, the META community aims to create a global ecosystem of learners, educators, businesses, organizations, and politicians whose common goal is to use education for impact.


We thank the Global Forum for Education & Learning for recognizing our founder and CEO's achievements in education. Throughout the past fifteen years, Nicholas has enjoyed growing alongside the best in the field in over 30 countries. He looks forwards to continue applying the insights he’s gained throughout these experiences towards transforming education with META.


For all of GFEL's Top 100 Leaders in Education, it’s an honour to continue down the path Sir Ken Robinson and fellow revolutionaries in education traced before us. At META Learning, it's also an opportunity for us to continue turning theory into reality as we redefine excellence in the 21st century.

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