Thomas Arnett

Thomas Arnett

Senior Fellow, Education Research


My research focuses on identifying the circumstances that will enable student-centered models of learning to disrupt the conventional batch-processing approach to schooling. Early in my career as a middle school teacher in Kansas City, I encountered firsthand the limitations of conventional schooling as I struggled to build meaningful relationships with my students and differentiate my instruction to meet their individual needs. I left the classroom eager to work on making K–12  education systems perform better for students and teachers.

I first came across Clayton Christensen’s work during graduate school when my father-in-law, a technologist familiar with Clay’s work, gave me a copy of Disrupting Class, Clay’s book about K–12 education. This book stood out because it didn’t just offer a new vision for K–12 education; it also provided a comprehensive theory on how such a vision could come to reality in mainstream education.

What I value most at the Christensen Institute is the culture that emphasizes intellectual rigor alongside humility. Following Clay’s ethos of “anomalies wanted,” we embrace challenges to our thinking as opportunities for growth. I enjoy collaborating with colleagues who are eager to wrestle with big ideas in a shared effort to improve the world.


  • Senior Fellow, Education Research, the Christensen Institute
  • Director of Summer Academy Digital Learning Pilot, Achievement First Charter Schools, Education Pioneers
  • Corps Member/Middle School Math Teacher, Teach For America
  • Brigham Young University, BS in Economics
  • Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, MBA

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