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All of us were attracted to Lab Atlanta for its paradigm-shifting potential. To varying degrees, we had each begun to grow tired of the boxes, walls, and bell schedules in which most conventional schooling gets confined. Nevertheless, these educational constraints had grown quite familiar to us all--even comfortable. We had learned to know them well, and to operate competently within the inertia of this default system.

Embarking on a new path beyond those boxes, walls, and bells is liberating. But it is hardly the path of least resistance. As developmental psychologists, researchers and coauthors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey note, we are “surrender[ing] a familiar equilibrium for what will eventually be a new, more adaptive one” (from An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, p.114).

Despite our familiar comfort with the educational status quo, we embrace this unique opportunity to grow as individual professionals, and as a group of committed faculty colleagues. But that doesn’t eliminate the occasional, lingering sense of loss. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, the famous reflection by the French writer Anatole France seems pertinent here: “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

Okay. Point made. Enough of this melodramatic hyperbole. It’s equally true that these birth pangs are thrilling. Challenging at times, perhaps; but also deeply satisfying, truly delightful at their best. We enjoy an extraordinary creative opportunity here. We have a strong, rich, diverse ecosystem of kindred minds and spirits supporting our innovation process. Together with these willing collaborators and the extraordinary group of students who have enrolled for our initial semester, we can’t wait to start delivering on our distinctive mission: to develop civically-engaged, design-minded leaders focused on building a vibrant, sustainable future for themselves and the city of Atlanta.

Carpe diem, Lab Atlanta. We can’t wait to get going with our first cohort of students in January….

Mike Pardee, Associate Director