Arthur Pearson

Arthur is a nationally recognized leader in out-of-school time and outdoor education.  For five decades he has been a catalyst for innovation in the field.  As a seasoned organizational leader, he is masterful at distilling thoughtful strategy into actionable plans, building consensus across diverse constituencies, bringing the right talent to the table, and inspiring disciplined execution.  As a field builder, he has a unique ability to bring together practitioners, researchers, and policy makers to build communities of practice driven by evidence and data.

Early in his career, Arthur worked as an Outward Bound instructor facilitating teams as diverse as adjudicated youth, corporate executives, college students, and middle schoolers.  After operating in some of the most remote locations on the continent, he was instrumental in shifting the field from wilderness-focused to place-based and urban outdoor learning.  As Executive Director of Baltimore Outward Bound, he established one of the first school partnership-based Outward Bound programs in the country, operating out of a city park in West Baltimore.  As chair of the board of Hurricane Island Outward Bound, he promoted the growth of Baltimore Outward Bound and Philadelphia Outward Bound, both of which are now exemplars of partnering with local schools and school districts.

In his most recent role as Chief Executive Officer of Thompson Island Outward Bound, Arthur led the development of year round programs that integrate social emotional and academic development in deep partnership with K-12 schools.  In collaboration with the Boston Public Schools, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and the PEAR Institute, Thompson Island aligned its programming to support the grade specific science curriculum of the schools, the practices of Next Generation Science Standards, and social emotional learning.  Under his leadership, the organization played an important role in the Wallace Foundation’s definitive national study on integrating enrichment and academics in summer learning for underserved children.  Thompson Island was awarded the National Summer Learning Association’s Lands’ End Love Learning Award in 2019.

Throughout his career Arthur has consistently enhanced the field of outdoor learning through collaboration and coalition building.  He led Outward Bound USA’s participation in the S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation’s character initiative as the Founding Director of the Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab.  The Learning Lab brought together nationally recognized researchers and master practitioners from all the independent schools of the Outward Bound USA network to develop valid and reliable tools to measure instructional quality and student outcomes across the system.  As a trustee of Hurricane Island Outward Bound, he led a coalition of trustees of network schools to develop the first centralized marketing operation shared by all members of the network.  That model of shared marketing of national programs continues today after two decades of changing market conditions.

Arthur currently serves as a Field Consultant for the National Summer Learning Association, an Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance, and Senior Advisor to the Maine Outdoor School for All coalition and Thompson Island Outward Bound.

LinkedIn: Arthur Pearson