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Dr. Tim Shimp

From Client to Educational Learning Designer: Q&A with Dr. Tim Shimp

Dr. Marilyn Denison

A 30-year career in education prepped Dr. Tim Shimp to join our team, leveraging his expertise to bolster our proprietary educational design service; BOLD (Bridging Organization, Learning, and Design). Tim has worked in nearly every facet of the K-12 education system from educator to superintendent. Prior to signing on at DLR Group, he was an engaged client at Yorkville Community School District where we collaborated with him and his administration on an educational facilities plan for the district.

His resume is impressive, but it’s Tim’s conviction that the student experience is paramount in educational design that makes him a perfect fit on our team. I sat down with Tim and discussed his transition from being a client of ours to joining our integrated design team.

MD: What was your client experience like in working with DLR Group as an administrator?

TS: Team members actually lived the whole mindset of elevating the human experience through design. I saw through the research, through the relationships, through the innovative mindset that they didn’t want to just build a school; they wanted to change the experience for the staff, for the students, for the community, and they put their heart and soul into the work. They were never satisfied. They kept bringing new ideas back. They wanted to have a longstanding relationship with us, and I’ve seen that over and over with the people I’ve interacted with at DLR Group thus far.

DLR Group Master planning professionals planning the Renaissance Academy using visual design boards, scissors, post-it-notes

MD: What was it about our team and DLR Group that made you say, “I want to be a part of that”? 

TS: It was a number of things, starting with the level of professionalism that DLR Group employees have shown both as a client and now as a team member. Everybody feels very committed to the cause and the mission. What drew me to the firm as a client-partner is ultimately what drew me to the firm as an employer. They kept looking at new opportunities and new ideas to support us as clients and that’s what drew me to them both as a client and now an employee. It was a perfect storm. I was ready for something new and DLR Group and the educators here were looking for someone with my background. It’s really a perfect fit.

Instructor smiles while leading class discussion

MD: How does your educational background transition into this role as an educational learning designer?

TS: I’ve had the opportunity to work in all aspects of education, both as a teacher and as someone that’s overseeing teaching and learning. As a superintendent, I kept my hands in everything from operations to buildings and facilities, to teaching and learning. My mindset has always been, how do we create more engaging learning environments for kids? How do we make sure that that curiosity and imagination are activated and how do we maintain that curiosity and learning as the kids get older? If I can inspire school district leaders to think this way in my position at DLR Group, that’s a huge opportunity.

high-ceilings, custom lighting, large open-concept school learning center with multiple seating areas for privacy and collaboration

I’ve been involved with change management and I can speak from an educator lens. I’ve been part of that process of planning and building facilities. When I left Yorkville, the district was still working with DLR Group on a few projects. I’ve had experience in building design work with architects and I’ve kept involved with the best practices for teaching and learning. I think all of this lends itself to what DLR Group is looking for in this position and what we stand for in elevating the human experience through design.

MD: What excites you most about working on the BOLD team specifically?

TS: I have an entrepreneurial nature and when you have leaders telling you that your voice is going to be heard and that you’re going to be able to chase down your ideas and see them implemented, that’s pretty unique and special. I’m working on a team that has shared goals and vision for teaching and learning outcomes and drive and work ethic as professionals. We all push each other and challenge each other’s train of thought. I also admire the trust and respect they’ve shown me so early and their insight and ability to bring me up to speed so quickly and support me as a team member.

Students collaborate and learn skills that align with the job opportunities of their region in West Virginia
Marilyn Denison
Connect with me to start a conversation ➔ Dr. Marilyn Denison, Educational Learning Designer


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