Teaching Spark

Training and Retaining
Inspired Educators

Teachers can't help but be inspired when they come together with our top-tier multidisciplinary team in the city that birthed some of the world's greatest artists, mathematicians, scientists, architects, philosophers, poets, playwrights, musicians, chefs, and innovators of all kinds!

What is a Teaching Spark Summer Institute?  image
Teaching Spark Global is the brainchild of Leilani Barnett, who after taking teachers to Europe more than a dozen times began noticing the way her programs in Italy rejuvenated teachers' spirits, energy, and love for their profession. Thus, Teaching Spark Global was born, and our team of master teaches, coaches, and nationally-known administrators began to form!

Our Summer Institutes are a gift to both teachers and their schools systems with built-in inspiration and professional development! Schools may use the tour and training as a reward with no strings or opt for our commitment contract plan, through which schools are guaranteed an effective teacher for a period of time they select (we suggest three to five years). The teacher's registration makes clear this is not an offer of continued employment, but a reward for those good teachers schools want to retain year after year.

All details beyond selecting the plan desired and naming the teachers who will be sent are taken care of by the Teaching Spark Team, so this recruitment and retention effort requires no extra employees, no administrative overtime, and no financial risks!

Teaching Spark Summer Institute helps districts and schools reward educators with the kind of incentives usually reserved for corporate rockstars. Your teachers will be wined and dined throughout the trip as they experience Italy with benefits usually associated with the rich and famous -- private local guides, amazing meals in some of the city's most historic and delicious restaurants, and reserved airport transfers to and from their charming hotels or apartments, all in the city center, of course! The Teaching Spark experience is designed to spoil teachers the way they deserve and leave them feeling appreciated by their schools, districts, or state departments of education.

In addition to seeing sights such as Michelangelo's David, Florence's amazing duomo, and the world's greatest collection of Renaissance art, teachers will meet in small subject-based groups with an assigned master teacher for idea-generating lesson-planning sessions, using what they've experienced each day in this enchanting Italian city, the birthplace of the Renaissance.

Like all of Teaching Spark's programs, the summer institute will empower teachers to use their full set of higher mental faculties and fall in love with the profession of teaching!

Equally important for administrators, for those districts opting for the commitment contract option, sending teachers to the Institute will save your organization thousands of dollars usually spent in the perpetual cycle of recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding new educators every year. In fact, we believe districts who choose this option will save between $7,000 and $150,000 for each participating teacher!  

And, imagine the public relations and recruiting benefit of being "the school that sends its teachers to Europe!"

Schools, Districts, or States may send between one to 240 teachers to one of the eight Institutes offered in 2024 and 2025. Registration is now open for the summer of 2024 and 2025. But, act fast as spaces will fill quickly.

Schedule your discovery call today to learn more about Teaching Spark Institutes today!

Your Best and Brightest New Hires

Use the Institute as an incentive to recruit new hires! With the commitment contract* option, you'll be guaranteed each energetic teacher you select will stick with your school through the dreaded one to three-year period in which 44% of all novice teachers leave schools or leave the profession entirely!


Teachers in Hard-to-Fill Subject Areas

Offer the Institute as an extra reward for teacher commitments in hard-to-fill subject areas. Math, science, and foreign language teachers will relish an opportunity to spend time in the home of Paulus Geometrus (Paolo il Geometra, "Paul the Geometer"), Leonardo da Vinci (the great inventor), and Galileo Galilei!


The "Could Retire but Still Have that Fire" Teachers

An experienced teacher who knows the culture of your school is a jewel beyond measure! Use the Institute as a reward for committing to keep these priceless employees in their classrooms a few more years! Or, use the Institute to acknowledge teachers who have reached milestone levels of devotion to your school -- 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?


The Classroom Rockstars

In every school, there are one or two teachers who just have a little extra spark! Any student or good principal can name them immediately. Reward those who go the extra mile to create student achievement and a positive school culture, and encourage others to replicate the ways of these superstars. The Institute will recognize and enhance their skills and their confidence to become greater faculty leaders.


Teachers in Challenging Schools or Assignments

Use the Institute to motivate teachers to commit to challenging schools or difficult assignments, or use the Institute to help encourage those good, steady workers whose passion for teaching has been dampened post-Covid. Conversely, you can use the Institute to reward teachers in a high-performing department in your school or a high-performing school in your district!

Leilani Barnett

Institute Director

With more than 30 years of experience from the classroom to campus coaching to district-level training of principals to district curriculum writing and testing coordination, Leilani now devotes herself to adding world travel, amazing training, true support, and a week of luxury to the lives of teachers who commit to this profession! Leilani was the first National Chairperson for an Assembly of National Board Certified Teachers, District Teacher of the Year for Scottsboro City Schools, president of the Alabama Council of Teachers of English and a member of the executive board for AAMU's National Writing Project. You may have heard her speak at events for the National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, Toyota Corporation, Texas ESC Regions 8, 10, and 11, the International Institute of Education, etc. She is also the author of "Sacred Journaling: Ten Ways to Use the Power of Words to Craft Your Ideal Life" and "Guaranteed Ways to Make an A: Getting Inside the Head of Your Teacher."

Dr. Quentin J. Lee

Co-Coordinator of the TSG Administrators' Institute

A dedicated family man, Dr. Quentin J. Lee is Superintendent of Talladega City Schools and became a viral sensation in 2020 when his "Can't Touch This Covid Parody" was viewed more than 9 million times and helped schools navigate safely to back to school. Dr. Lee has been featured on several national platforms such as: 360- CNN, Fox and Friends, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Greatest At Home Videos, and NBC Nightly News. Dr. Lee was able to virtually speak with various media personalities including by not limited to Lester Holt, Hoda, Anderson Cooper, Cedric The Entertainer, and ultimately MC Hammer. You may have heard Dr. Lee's Ted Talk, or heard him present for Google for Education (EDU Onair), Kahoot (conference presenter and host), and ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) presenter and main stage speaker, and the HOPE Institute Summer Character Education Summit. He was named Principal of the Year 2020-2021 by the Alabama Black Education Alliance, and received the Go Be Great Award by Varsity Brand Sports and a Character Education Award from Samford University.

Ann Anderson Halbrooks

Flight Coordinator

Marketing and Travel Expert that owns and operates WanderLux Travel in Coppell, TX. With her expertise and connections, she will share travel tips and news for your destinations to make sure you have all the information you need to properly prepare. Ann is also available for consultation, to assist with travel customizations and to keep everyone on task with payments and final plans. Ann is excited to join TEAM Teaching Spark Global to assist with everyone’s travel plans – making sure your travel is seamless and you are able to sit back, relax and enjoy the trip!

Trisha Somers

Professional Teaching Mentor and Mindset Coach

Trisha brings vast experience from teaching elementary to college students, plus expertise in classroom management, planning, and content-specific strategies. She focuses on building relationships with students to create a more harmonious classroom environment. As a DiSC facilitator, Trisha shares how strengths and weaknesses of differing personalities can work together in productive ways. As a Mindset Coach, she works side-by-side with teachers to allow them to see new perspectives while encouraging their continued growth and motivation. She delights in helping others navigate busy lives successfully.

Teaching Spark Global is in frequent contact with educational employers and would love to help move your resume to the top of the list in schools, offering the free Summer Institute in Europe with Commitment Contract option! This service is completely free and should not replace your normal job search efforts. Please only check the school types or regions in which you already live or for which you would happily relocate for an all-expense paid week in Florence, Italy!