What is TJEd?

Discovered and articulated by Oliver and Rachel DeMille, Thomas Jefferson Education, or “TJEd,” (pronounced “tee-jay-ED”) is an educational philosophy and a methodology by which great individuals throughout history were educated.

Thousands of families and professional educators are applying those same principles today, with amazing success.

“All men who turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.”

—Sir Walter Scott


What is a great education?

  • Is it good grades and high test scores?
  • Is it memorization/regurgitation of facts and dates?
  • Is it measured by how much income one can earn, by how much political power one can amass, or by popularity?
Every person has inner genius. Thomas Jefferson Education consists of helping each student discover, develop and polish her genius. This is the essence and very definition of great education.

There are really only three kinds of education, and they are best understood from the student’s perspective. Students get a good education for one of three reasons:

  • they are forced to study long, hard and effectively (the “Stick”)
  • they are convinced or manipulated to study long, hard and effectively (the “Carrot”)
  • they love to study long, hard and effectively (the “Love Affair”)

If the first two are “good,” the latter is truly “great.”

The Stick, the Carrot, or the Love Affair–these are the three types of education; and the love affair is by far the most effective.

Sticks, Carrots and Love Affairs


The carrot and the stick are mediocre forms of education. Only a true love affair with learning helps students discover their great inner genius, effectively develop it and greatly refine it to become their best and to deeply benefit society.

Why would anyone not follow this path? Because they were forced or convinced to do otherwise.

The educational conveyor belt attempts to bring all students to literacy by compelling parents and children to meet certain standards. Everyone is herded in the same direction, required to conform by fear of not measuring up.

The professional conveyor belt promises special rewards to the few who rise above the masses and follow a different assembly line (still conformist, but based on incentives rather than punishments) to gain higher compensation, status and perks. Too often the result of both belts is widespread mediocrity and many dysfunctional lives and societies.

For great education to occur, students must choose to study long, hard and effectively because they genuinely love it! It must be their passion and their delight. When students are deeply in love with studying, they learn in “the flow” and they absorb massive amounts of information, knowledge, understanding, connections and wisdom in a very short time.

TJEd or “Leadership Education” is the curriculum of greatness; it is based on mentors, classics and proven principles that develop each individual’s unique genius – principles that empower a life-long love of learning, healthy relationships and a powerful personal mission.

For the basic overview of TJEd, including:

  • the 3 Types of Education
  • the 7 Keys of Great Teaching
  • the Phases of Learning
  • The 7 Keys of Great Teaching
  • The 5 Environments of Mentoring
  • Tips for professional educators
  • Basic ideas for how to apply Thomas Jefferson Education in a home school
  • Teaching the classics of math, science, history, the arts, etc.
  • Thomas Jefferson Education in college and careers


A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century.

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