IHE Staff and Faculty

3039591552_9131544502_o The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Humane Education website at http://humaneeducation.org/about-the-institute/ihe-staff/


Zoe Weil

Zoe Weil

In 1987, I found my life’s work and discovered that this work had a name: humane education. I taught several week-long summer courses to students in Pennsylvaniaone on environmental preservation and another on animal protection. I watched in amazement as these 12- and 13-year-olds became passionate, committed changemakers virtually overnight. Since teaching these courses, my commitment to humane education has never wavered. I believe it is the most effective and important way to create an informed, conscious, and caring generation, and to prepare young people to take their place as global citizens and solutionaries who will make the world a better place for all through whatever professions they pursue.
Read more about Zoe.

Sarah SpeareSarah Speare
Executive Director

I believe so strongly in the Institute for Humane Education’s approach to creating social change through educationinspiring people to become solutionaries and the important connection between human rights, animal protection, and environmental preservation.
Read more about Sarah.

Mary Pat ChampeauMary Pat Champeau
Director of Education
Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University

Humane education provides the framework for those of us who believe an authentic education should include an invitation to examine the world we live in and to apply our best thinking toward solving some of its problems. I hold firm to the idea that education is the most viable form of activism on the planet, and that injustice cannot thrive in a climate of awareness and compassion.
Read more about Mary Pat.

Melissa Feldman
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University

It is a particular joy to be on the faculty of the nation’s first humane education master’s program. I finally feel at home at IHE. If you are considering a career in humane education, if you are a parent encouraging compassion in your child, if you are a classroom teacher looking for practical teaching strategies, or if you are someone trying to make a positive difference in the world in your own unique way, you have found community in IHE. Welcome home.
Read more about Melissa. 

Chitra Golestani
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University

When I was a young child, most of my family fled from Iran because they were members of the Baha’i Faith, a faith whose members suffer persecution, imprisonment, and even death for their beliefs. It was not until I pursued higher education that I realized global injustices such as world hunger, intolerance, and environmental degradation are not simply due to scarcity of resources, technology, or know-how, but to a lack of collective will to see the interconnections between all beings. As poetically stated by Charlotte Brontë, “Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.” Thus, I dedicated my life to transformative humane education.
Read more about Chitra.

Kristine Tucker

Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University

Kris Tucker is a veteran teacher with 14 years of classroom experience. Her interest in humane education, adult learning, literacy, special education, sustainability, outdoor/experiential education, and transformative learning is indicative of her deep commitment to social change. She is currently in the dissertation phase of her EdD in Higher Education and Adult Learning and works as full-time educator at Ridge and Valley Charter School.
Read more about Kris.

Kim Childs
Office and Programs Support Manager

The common thread of my career has been working in educational and nonprofit venues, both in the United States and overseas, providing authentic and experiential learning opportunities that empower individualsfrom students to mature adultsto thrive,  using their passions and talents to make a difference in their communities and beyond. I have deep respect for the active role IHE plays in nurturing positive agents of social, environmental, and community change in ways that do the most good with the least amount of harm to people, animals, and our earth.
Read more about Kim.

Abba CarmichaelEmma Mathis
Markeing and Communications Manager

Having for years dreamt up “eco schools of the future” where education was structured around content applicable to everyday life, I am overwhelmed and thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate and give my heart towards expanding IHE’s mission and growing a generation of solutionaries!
Read more about Abba.



Barbara Fiore
Solutionary Congress Program Director

I believe strongly in the power of an approach to education that helps to develop good people who will effect positive change in the world. I worked in experiential, wilderness-based education for a long time and thought that approach was “the answer” to all of our world’s challenges. Following that, I worked in k-12 education as a service-learning consultant and thought that method was “the answer” to all of our world’s challenges. I have come to understand that no one approach to education is the only answer. Having discovered humane education through IHE in recent years, I now strongly believe that teaching about the interconnectedness between human rights, animal protection, and environmental preservation is essential to any form of education if we are to address the underlying systems that lead to an unjust, inhumane and unsustainable future on our planet.
Read more about Barbara.

Alexis GreerAlexis Greer
Online Course Faculty

I had not intended on becoming an educator—I was always told it was too much work for too little pay. In my second year of college I picked up a part time job as a second grade teacher’s aide and was immediately drawn in by the indomitable optimism and curiosity of the students, their unfettered love for discovery, and the unwavering trust they had in my ability to guide them and keep them safe. A week in, and I realized I had found my calling (or that it had found me).
Read more about Lexie.

Marsha RakestrawMarsha Rakestraw
Director of Education Resources and Alumni Relations
Online Course Faculty

I come from a long line of educators, and even though I had no intention of becoming a teacher, I discovered that teaching is in my blood. Throughout my professional evolution, you can see the commonalities: helping people learn new knowledge and skills and connecting them with their needs and interests; inspiring others to positive action. And learningalways learning. Again and again I return to teaching and learning and the power they hold to empower and free others.
Read more about Marsha.

Heather Veleanu
Director of Development

I am honored to a part of the IHE team, bringing my background in animal protection and development to support IHE’s vision to offer humane education to the widest possible audience. Zoe was one of the very first speakers I heard early in my career in animal protection almost two decades ago. Her message of nurturing the seed of compassion within all of us while promoting critical thinking, creativity and confidence to choose a wiser path resonated with me then, and I could not be more thrilled to support her ever expanding work now.

Read more about Heather.

Lynne WestmorelandLynne Westmoreland
Online Course Faculty

In most places of learning, whether that is kindergarten or post-doctoral work, we are instructed in what that institution or setting wants us to learn. In humane education, however, we are all allowed and encouraged to learn what it takes for us personally to live a life of integrity, service, and fulfillment. Humane education allows us each to develop those unique gifts that bring to the world the solutions and vision of our individual wisdom. We are all teachers and learners every moment of every day.
Read more about Lynne.