Jim Bentley

National Faculty – West

Jim Bentley is a lifelong student, educator, and filmmaker who empowers kids to make the world a better place by integrating environmental literacy, civic education, and filmmaking with project based learning. Currently, Bentley teaches 5th-grade in Elk Grove, California. His students compose Curiosity Films, a studio making short educational films about things that matter. They have tackled a variety of topics ranging from landscape blight to light pollution, and from household hazardous waste disposal to improving middle school literacy rates. A National Faculty member for the Buck Institute for Education and a Teacher Ambassador for KQED, Bentley has contributed to books on teacher effectiveness and prosocial education and blogs for and consults with numerous edtech organizations and nonprofits. In 2017, he became a Geo-Inquiry Ambassador, in 2018 a National Geographic Fellow, and in 2019 a National Geographic Grantee and Explorer. Bentley has spent the past two decades exploring big ideas with young people—sometimes leading, sometimes following, yet always recognizing there’s more to learn.