Perkerson’s Principal Bender Earns Travel Scholarship to Peru with EF Educational Tours

Perkerson Principal Shawn Bender with Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal, Perkerson staff member and students

EF Educational Tours, the world’s leading educational travel company, has awarded a travel scholarship for a free EF Professional Development Tour to Peru this summer to Shawn Bender, Principal at Perkerson Elementary School in the Atlanta Public School District in Atlanta, GA. 

“Service learning is an incredibly important learning tool that empowers students and educators to solve problems in their own communities. Our program promotes positive thinking and reflection about the self and community, encourages greater civic engagement, supports positive cross-cultural and intergenerational experiences, and can create a lifelong connection and commitment to service and social action.” said John Giannatonio, Service Learning Program Manager at EF Educational Tours.  “Our program integrates education and international travel, provides service to communities and organizations in need, and mindfully develops educators who embody broad perspective and global compassion.”

Mr. Bender is one of 30 teachers, administrators and educational leaders selected nationwide for this unique professional development opportunity. As the world leader in international education, EF choses the scholarship recipients because of their interest in and dedication to international education, service learning, and global awareness. Mr. Bender comes to APS from his previous position at Tyler Elementary School in Washington, D.C. where he served as Assistant Principal for the last two years. In addition to this experience, he previously taught elementary schools in Atlanta and Brooklyn. Most recently, Perkerson Elementary was one of six new dual immersion elementary schools that were recently awarded start-up grants to support materials and professional development in the 2013 – 2014 school year. The school will receive a grant for start-up and training costs to implement dual-immersion instruction in languages deemed vital to the economic development of our state and region. Mr. Bender and the other scholarship recipients will travel on one of two EF Professional Development Scholarship Tours to Lima, Cuzco, and the Sacred Valley from June 24th to July 3rd, 2013. The free tour includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, meals, guided sightseeing tours and an EF Tour Director. In addition to visiting sites such as Machu Pichu, Korikancha Temple, and the Monastery of San Francisco, the EF scholarship recipients will visit local schools and participate in a two day service learning program in the village of Cachiccata.


“This is an amazing opportunity for U.S. educators to immerse themselves in a new culture, take part in a language exchange, and work directly with local school children,” Giannantonio said. “They will have a lot of valuable and rewarding experiences to bring back to their own classrooms and communities.”

An extension of its industry-leading educational tours for teachers and students, EF’s Professional Development Tours give teachers and administrators an opportunity to experience local cultures and education systems firsthand while traveling with other educators. Because EF is the only fully accredited student travel company, the scholarship recipients also may choose to earn professional development credit for coursework associated with the tour.

For more information about EF Educational Tours, visit

Congratulations Principal Bender!


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