It was over a decade ago when we held our first Google Teacher Academy with a goal of bringing together outstanding educators using technology in the classroom. With so many changes since then, we decided it was about time to make some changes to the program as well. So today we’re thrilled to announce that applications are now open for the new and improved Google for Education Certified Innovator program—an energizing 12 month professional development experience for creative leaders in education. Built from the same magic that was present in each Academy, but extended into much more than a onetime event.

Certified Innovators help their organizations, each other and Google push the boundaries of what’s possible in education. As ongoing participants in this community of educators, they transform the organizations they’re serving, advocate for change, and grow their own capacity as thought leaders. The new program focuses on helping Innovators launch a transformative project to help improve education in their schools, regions, or the world. Support includes mentorship, online learning activities, and an in-person Innovation Academy.

 Kelly Kermode, Integrated Learning Strategist at Forest Hills Public Schools in Grand Rapids, Michigan and member of the Chicago 2013 says of the program: “This program has reinforced my freedom to try new things, fail and rebound. It is energizing that this group strives to break down classroom walls and give students barrier-free classroom experiences through innovation. It keeps me fulfilled as an educator.”

It’s this diversity of ideas and people that makes the Innovator program special. Our current community is comprised of over 1,500 educators, administrators, and thought-leaders representing 49 different countries. “What keeps me engaged is the energy you get from working with like-minded educators. Although it’s hard to put into words, it is inspiring to be part of a community that says ‘what if...’ rather than ‘no we can’t...’ and are willing to push the boundaries beyond what we already do well", says Adrian Francis, Director of Student Learning at Concordia College in Adelaide, South Australia and member of the Sydney 2013 cohort.
Certified Innovators move forward by iterating on projects they are passionate about. New to the application is a section for each applicant to share their vision for a creative solution to a challenge in education. Innovators will be selected based on the vision they present as well as their passion for teaching and learning, innovative use of technology in school settings and potential impact on other educators. "The Certified Innovator program is where the lone wolf meets their pack. It’s where the dreamers, the disrupters, the idealists meet with the intention of being the change” says Tanya Avrith, pedagogical consultant in South Florida and member of the New York 2012 cohort.
If you have an innovative idea and would like the support of passionate educators to make it happen, please apply. We recognize that innovation occurs at all levels and roles in the education community, which is why we’re excited to invite a diverse set of education professionals to apply - from teachers to administrators, Pre-K to Post-Secondary. If you know of someone who would be a great fit for the program, you also have the opportunity to nominate an innovator.

Key dates: 
December 2, 2015: Applications open
January 11, 2016: Applications close at 11:59 PST
January 18, 2016: Applicants notified of selection to program
February 24-26, 2016: In-person Academy in Mountain View, California, USA
January 18, 2017 or before: Launch date of new innovation projects

We’re excited to expand the program to reach more Innovators across North America and in other countries throughout 2016. Anyone is eligible to apply to the program although preference may be given to in-region candidates. Please stay tuned for more application dates and locations. We can’t wait to innovate with you.