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Adam Haigler

Adam Haigler

Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer

Adam Haigler embarked on his journey as an educator at the young age of 18, igniting a lifelong passion for providing transformative educational opportunities to underprivileged students. It all began when he volunteered as a docent in a mountaintop coffee farming village in Costa Rica, where he witnessed both the generosity and inequities that shaped his perspective, while igniting a passion for working with students. 

Eager to deepen his knowledge and understanding of educational practices, Adam pursued a dual degree in Biology and Education at Evergreen State College, renowned for its innovative approach to learning. This academic journey provided him with valuable insights into pedagogy and curriculum design while showing him the immense power of experiential education and self-directed learning.

Driven by his commitment to educational equity and transformation, Adam ventured into outdoor education, working with inner-city youth in eastern Texas, Seattle, and western North Carolina. Also exploring international education, Adam found himself guiding students on semester-long service learning and cultural immersion trips through Central America and East Africa, where he exposed them to diverse experiences that fostered their personal growth and broadened their perspectives.

Drawing on these formative experiences, Adam co-founded a program that focused on traditional craft, outdoor leadership, and sustainable living. This endeavor allowed him to combine his passions for experiential education and environmental sustainability, empowering students to connect with nature and develop vital life skills.

Continuing to expand his impact, Adam joined Tri-County Early College as a High School Science Teacher where his dedication to social justice and innovative teaching methods earned him a regional science teaching award in 2016. He also played a key role in transforming the school model into one that garnered international attention. During his time at TCEC, Adam began to serve as a Teacher-Powered Schools ambassador, a role he continues today to promote collective, student-centered leadership in schools.

In addition to his hands-on experiences and advocacy efforts, Adam co-authored two influential books and many blogs. The Gap Year Advantage, co-written with his parents, showcased the transformative potential of gap year experiences, while Open Up Education, co-authored with Ben Owens, emerged from his work at Tri-County Early College and inspired his collaboration with Ben to establish Open Way Learning (OWL). OWL, an organization dedicated to fostering equity-based, experiential, and learner-centered cultures in schools, has allowed Adam to leverage his decades of experience in unique educational settings to support schools in their pursuit of educational excellence.

Adam’s remarkable journey as an educator, author, and advocate embodies his unwavering commitment to empowering students and revolutionizing education. With each endeavor, he continues to challenge traditional educational norms, foster innovation, and create opportunities that unlock the full potential of learners from all walks of life.

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