Edgartown School teacher Alicia Knight, a recent finalist for the principal’s job at Chilmark School, won’t be back in her regular classroom this fall.

Instead, she is heading for Finland on a sabbatical, taking a year of independent study approved unanimously this week by the all-Island school committee.

It will be a return trip for Ms. Knight, who studied with educators in Finland two summers ago, Island superintendent Richard Smith told the committee Thursday evening.

“Finland really values education, culturally,” Mr. Smith said.

Island teachers’ union contract entitles them to apply for a sabbatical, at half pay and with full health insurance, after seven years on the job, he said. 

After their time away from the classroom, the teachers return the following year to share what they’ve learned.

“There’s an obligation for any person who is a successful candidate for sabbatical to come back and spread the knowledge that they gained and the practices they gained,” Mr. Smith said.

In Finland, Ms. Knight will be focusing on techniques for inquiry-based learning, an educational method that encourages students’ curiosity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

“I’m very impressed with what they’re doing over there, and I want to do a deep dive so that I can bring some of their good ideas back here to Martha’s Vineyard. We need to work on some 21st-century skills here,” she told the school committee Thursday.