Vicki Philips is a former teacher. Life-long teacher champion. Avid reader. Lover of geography. Committed to empowering the next generation of solution-seekers, planetary stewards and changemakers.

She is driven by a fierce determination to help all students realize their dreams. Over the past four decades, she has worked at all levels of education to champion students’ rights to a high-quality education, including as a teacher, superintendent of schools, state chief of basic and higher education, nonprofit CEO, and director of K-12 education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

She joined the National Geographic Society in 2019 to lead the organization’s global education strategy, focused on transforming the classroom experience for millions of students and educators. As chief education officer at the National Geographic Society, Vicki Phillips oversees the Society’s education strategy and programs focused on inspiring the next generation of planetary stewards. Phillips has been in education for more than 30 years, and has served as a teacher, state-level policymaker, nonprofit leader, superintendent of schools, chief state school officer, and K-12 education director.

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Show Highlights

  • A weekly tip and challenge to help you thrive. 
  • Memorable insights that have educators showing up differently in the future.
  • Be a Cosigner to the teacher’s needs and how they’re experiencing things. 
  • Developing an explorer’s mindset and an empowered voice. 
  • Nat Geo provides a door for learners to understand the interconnected world around them.
  • 90 miles for a global perspective that minimizes inequities between people. 
  • Nat Geo’s superpowers, solutions, and impact around issues we care about.
  • Find yourself ahead of the curve in your educational career.
Vicki Philips: Leading With An Explorer’s Mindset

“If ever there was a discipline suited to problem solving, it’s 21st century kinds of notions around geography. Where you’re studying how things came to be and the way they are. You’re taking those insights and thinking about what that means for what’s happening to the earth and the inhabitants of it. Whether those activities are helpful or harmful and how you could be a part in changing that. It’s that ability to think like a geographer that might be one of the most important skills that we can give young people now, along with having an Explorer mindset. Being curious about the world and your place in it.”

“Victory is in the classroom. Victory is where the learners are. You can’t claim success if you’re not impacting learners. The bond between teachers and learners is so powerful. I always felt that the job that I had as an administrator, whether I was at a school level, a district level, a state level, even when I was acting as a philanthropist, I always felt that it was my job to power that bond. It’s the job of principals and district superintendents and others, to make sure that that bond between teachers and students is as powerful as it can be. That’s where the magic of learning happens.”

– Vicki Philips



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