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Rob and Melani Walton
Sustainability Teachers' Academies

Teaching for a reimagined world.

Lead the way to a sustainable future

As a teacher, you inspire your students to change the world. Now, give them the tools they need to make a difference. The Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Teachers’ Academies provides educators like you with the knowledge and resources you need to bring the science of sustainability into any K-12 classroom. In turn, you will help future leaders create and innovate solutions to the economic, social and environmental challenges we face.

Our professional development workshops incorporate contemporary research by sustainability professionals, scientists and scholars from across Arizona State University. This work demonstrates that promoting sustainability takes more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, one must analyze the complex problems faced by individual communities, and work with local stakeholders to design unique, effective solutions.

The Sustainability Teachers’ Academies can help you to apply the lessons from sustainability experts to empower your students to build a better, more sustainable future for your school and community.

Rob and Melani Walton National Sustainability Teachers’ Academy

The Rob and Melani Walton National Sustainability Teachers’ Academy is an intensive, five-day professional development workshop for K-12 teachers held every summer. Teachers of any subject and grade should apply with a partner from their school or district. These teacher teams receive a thorough introduction to sustainability science through hands-on activities and lectures by experts in the field. Engaging fieldtrips highlight sustainability in action at local business and other organizations. Through ample networking opportunities, teachers become part of a dedicated community of sustainability activists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and other educators.

The National Academy explores sustainability from many important perspectives, from the triple-bottom-line of sustainable economies, to the dangerous effects of climate change experienced by individuals in vulnerable communities. Along the way, teachers master five sustainability competencies—an essential skillset for taking action personally, locally and globally.

Upon completion, teachers return with a site-specific action plan for promoting sustainability in their schools and communities. They also receive a suite of lesson plans and activities to engage students in the science of sustainability. These lessons are based on real science, aligned to Common Core and Next Generations Science Standards, and easily adaptable to any class. Your students will learn about the sustainability challenges we face, and develop their own innovative solutions to these problems.

Who should apply

The Rob and Melani Walton National Sustainability Teachers Academy welcomes applications from K-12 teachers of any subject from all 50 states. Teachers should apply in two-person teams from the same school or district. Cross-disciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.

Seeking teachers who are:

  • Passionate about improving the lives of their students.
  • Eager to work with colleagues on collaborative, cross-curricular projects.
  • Willing to lead a school or district in promoting sustainability.
  • Life-long learners.
  • Innovative and open to new ideas

Program Details

An Academy mentor helping one of the summer 2015 National Sustainability Teacher's Academy participants
  • Academies are run Monday through Friday and include roughly 40 hours of professional development.
  • Training sessions feature hands-on activities, lectures by experts in sustainability and fieldtrips to local business and community organizations.
  • Workshops are facilitated by experts in sustainability education with help from local scientists and other stakeholders.
  • Trainings span issues such as poverty, privilege, social capital, circular economy, food systems, urban ecology and much more.
  • During the Academy, teachers work together to develop a unique action plan to support sustainability in their school.
  • Teams are expected to implement their sustainability action plan, implement a sustainability project with students and/or train additional teachers in sustainability education.
  • Each individual receives a $500 stipend for participating in the workshop. Additional stipends of up to $500 are available after completing a project in their home school and/or district.
  • Lodging, most meals and travel allowances are paid for by the Academy.
  • Participating teachers receive certification of participation in 40 hours of professional development.

If you have any questions about these or other upcoming programs, please contact .

Important Dates – National Teachers’ Academy

Dates Applications
January 1, 2020 Summer 2020 Academy Applications Available – APPLY NOW
March 15, 2020 Summer 2020 Academy Application Deadline
March 27, 2020 Participants Announced
June 15-19, 2020 Academy Group 1, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
July 13-17, 2020 Academy Group 2, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
“The variety of speakers, perspectives, experiences, and participants made for an extremely rich week overall. It was also nice that we were so well taken care of, so we could focus on the work at hand. There was such an overwhelming amount of information and food for thought, it was a luxury to be able to focus on that with nothing else to worry about in terms of basic living at ASU. I also really appreciated gaining access to some activities that I can use practically out-of-the-box, like the lifecycle activity, and Rob’s writing activity. Others, like Stakes on a Plane, are useful starting points for me to develop my own activities. Right now my brain is FULL!”

Wells Fargo Regional Sustainability Teachers’ Academy

The Wells Fargo Regional Sustainability Teachers’ Academy was a program that created regional two-day professional development workshops for K-12 teachers. The workshops were designed to help K-12 teachers from all subjects integrate sustainability science into their curriculum, develop campus projects and encourage community engagement in regions throughout the United States.

Over the past three years, 95 alumni from our workshops have developed 70 unique projects that work to improve sustainability in their classrooms, campus and community. Explore the map below to learn more about their efforts.

Wells Fargo Regional Sustainability Teachers’ Academy workshop

Featured Projects

Wells Fargo Regional Sustainability Teachers’ Academy workshopThese regional projects were featured as part of ASU’s series

Mark Reynolds works with students of all abilities to create and maintain Drachman Montessori’s ecology projects. See how he uses sustainable gardening as a tool to help his students grow personally and academically.

Olivia Gerstein is a librarian, heads up the school garden, and works on climate change education with students at Scales Technology Academy. The school has expanded their garden to include 12 in-ground beds, 12 barrel planters, and 25 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. All 425 of their students are involved in the garden, working on a thriving compost from cafeteria food waste, and incorporating Native American gardening practices.

The Oak Harbor Public School district on Whidbey Island, Washington helps teachers with sustainability and garden efforts in their community.

Project Reporting

Teachers who have participated in either the National or Regional Sustainability Teacher Academies are eligible for a one-time stipend of $300 upon completion of a student-led project promoting sustainability in their schools or communities.

Once you have completed your project, click here to apply for your stipend:

Use this interactive map to discover how teachers across the nation are promoting sustainability in their schools and communities. Each teacher is an alum of the National Sustainability Teachers’ Academy.

Teacher Resources

The Sustainability Teachers’ Academy is committed to creating and providing curricular resources that span a diverse range of topics—including food systems sustainability, quality of life and well-being, decision-making for sustainability, and much more. Our lessons are applicable for grades 6-9 with variations presented that will enable you to tailor the activity for a younger or older audience. Because sustainability is an interdisciplinary topic, these lessons are relevant across all class subjects.

For National Academy inquiries, contact:

Robert McGehee
Program Manager, National Sustainability Teachers' Academy, School of Sustainability

For Regional Academy inquiries, contact:

Molly Cashion
Program Manager, Regional Sustainability Teachers' Academy, School of Sustainability
The Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Teachers’ Academies program is supported through funding from the .