One of my sons bought Zoe Weil’s book, Most Good, Least Harm. As he talked about it I became more and more curious. So I read the book, and it struck a chord deep inside me. I went on IHE’s website to learn more and it was there that I saw the opening for the executive director position. It felt meant to be.
I believe so strongly in the Institute for Humane Education’s approach to creating social change through education – inspiring people to become solutionaries and the important connection between human rights, animal protection, and environmental preservation.
I have tried to live a meaningful life and have devoted most of my life to helping others to grow, learn, thrive and be more positive and open-minded. I come from a strong lineage of pioneers in education and social change – between my two grandmothers and a great grandfather they started two progressive schools and one university, broke barriers for women’s rights, stood up for Jews in Germany before the war broke out, provided creative and emotional outlets for women in prisons, preserved and protected acres of woods in upstate New York, and started programs for inner city youth that still thrive today.
I look forward to helping to grow IHE’s programs and to deepen its reach and impact. Learners of all ages are seeking the tools to effect change and to make a difference in their lives, communities and the world – and that is what we offer at IHE. I am where I want to be – where raising awareness about and involving more people in IHE’s programs and resources can result in a better world for all.
Sarah Speare has leadership experience as a non-profit executive, entrepreneur and designer for social change. Most recently, she was a consultant to the non-profit Art At Work/Terra Moto in Portland, Maine, that uses strategic arts projects for social justice in municipal governments, and was an advisor to Project M in Belfast, Maine, that engages designers and creative thinkers to address global issues at the local level. From 1999 to 2009 she was the co-founder and president of Chomp Inc., a consumer foods company that was sold in 2009. Previous to that, she served as the first director of the Portland Arts and Cultural Alliance (PACA), and from 1985 to 1995 was the executive director of the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD).
Sarah has also been a community design consultant to non-profits throughout New England and has served on the boards of Spiral Arts, Maine Arts, Architalx and currently serves on the board of AIGA/Maine. A graduate of Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, with a certificate in Arts Management from Radcliffe College, she has been honored with a Fellow Award from the SEGD and won an Innovation Award from the Center for Design and Business in Rhode Island.
Sarah lives in Falmouth, Maine, with her husband Michael and a very social Boxer, Hazel. They have two sons, Nicholas and Emmett, both documentary filmmakers. She sings, does Kundalini yoga, has an eye for whimsy in nature that she captures in photos, and delights in her vegan kitchen.
“There are ways of thinking that haven’t been thought of yet.” This little bit of common sense is pinned to the bulletin board in my office and is like the North Star of education for me. If we aren’t striving to educate ourselves beyond the known world of accepted ideas, we risk never discovering our own capacity for original thought. 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.
Having worked in the field of education my entire adult life here in the U.S., as well as in developing countries, 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. When I am talking with an M.Ed. student on the phone and we are discussing connections between issues that confront our environment, our fellow creatures, our brothers and sisters around the world, we might suddenly find ourselves feeling as if these issues are so long-standing, so prevalent and intractable, that there is nothing we can do to help. This is when I look to my bulletin board and am reminded of what I already know to be true. The solution exists. It’s just embedded in a way of thinking that hasn’t been thought of yet. Let’s keep at it.
Mary Pat Champeau is the Director of Education at IHE and faculty at Valparaiso University and has been an educator for more than 30 years. She has an M.A. in English from New York University. She has been a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa, and has supervised teacher training programs in Southeast Asian refugee camps in Indonesia and Thailand. Before moving to Maine in 1994, she worked for organizations serving refugee populations and coordinated English language and American culture programs for the World Trade Institute in New York City. She currently lives in Maine with her husband George, son Liam, daughters Claire and Jing Hui Fan, and numerous animal friends.
Since I was very young, I have always wanted to engage in work that improves the quality of lives of others, both locally and globally, in a direct and meaningful way.
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 individuals — from students to mature adults — to 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.
What I’ve learned and experienced of IHE’s vision and mission resonates with my beliefs and values. Reading Zoe Weil’s books and listening to her talks fuels my desire to be a better person and an agent of change, and to make choices that truly reflect my values.
One of my favorite tenets in IHE’s teachings is that ”one person can do so much, but there’s so much more you can do by educating others.”
I believe the work of IHE is a strong and important force behind efforts to “change the DNA” of our educational system, this notion of disruptive innovation in education. Through the disruption of our classrooms, and curricula designed and customized through the positive lens of humane education, I believe that transformation is well underway.
Kim Childs is the office and program support manager at IHE. She spent more than two years studying anthropology and sociology at the University of Vermont in Burlington. She also spent a year in Egypt, studying at the Arabic Language Institute at the American University in Cairo, followed by a term of Middle East studies. Kim holds a B.A. in international affairs with a minor in anthropology from the University of Maine in Orono.
In past years, Kim worked for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in mid-coast Maine and is also an alumna of three of its programs.
For several years, Kim led cultural and educational tours primarily in the Middle East, but also in the United States, Canada and Europe. This work led to the founding of her own educational travel company, which she operated with her husband for several years.
In recent years, Kim has worked in Maine in the areas of public health and geriatric social work. Before joining IHE, she worked at the College of the Atlantic in the Office of Institutional Development in Bar Harbor. She currently lives on Mount Desert Island with her husband, Doug, son Gabriel, daughter Isabella and a rescued racing greyhound named Chester.
Originally from Atlanta, Abba Charice Carmichael grew up in a socially conscious family and submerged herself in the arts whenever possible. Following a promise to her twelve year old self, Abba moved to New York City promptly after graduating college and brought along her studies in various artistic mediums and her passion of working for “the greater good”.
She currently produces a podcast called “The Many Shades of Green“, which aims to raise environmental awareness through interviews with experts and activists in the sustainability movement. It was through her podcast that she was introduced to an IHE graduate student and became involved.
Having for years dreamt up “eco schools of the future” where education was structured around content applicable to everyday life, Abba is overwhelmed and thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate and give her heart towards expanding IHE’s mission and growing a generation of solutionaries!
In addition to her passion for building a sustainable world, Abba has developed a wide range of skills from jobs as an actress, event coordinator, project manager, sales associate, website manager and assistant buyer. Abba founded ACCiting, LLC in 2011 to grow her business as a freelance producer, casting director, website designer, marketing consultant… and anything else that sounded a little daunting but fun.
Abba spends her non-working hours enjoying great food with friends, attending live performances and traveling to explore new cultures (4 continents and 24 countries — and counting). She holds an Associates of the Arts from Young Harris College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
She currently lives in Manhattan with her beau, their betta fish Gary and numerous plants. Abba’s lifelong goal is to grow as many friendships as possible and ignite collaboration. @abbacharice
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.
“I regard it as the foremost task of education to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an indefatigable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial, and above all, compassion.”
Kurt Hahn, a philosopher and educator who founded several schools, among them, Outward Bound, spoke these words in the middle of the last century. I once thought of them as perfectly describing the essence of Outward Bound. I now see them as describing perfectly a good and essential education that we need to support/strive to create now more than ever. In fact Hahn’s words describe well the heart of IHE’s educational methods. I am excited to join this team and guide the Solutionary Congress Program.
My husband and I live and grow vegetables at our home in Portland, Maine, with our beloved dog, Enzo.
Barbara Fiore originally joined IHE’s board in 2010. She is now the Program Director for the Solutionary Congress Program, having recently resigned from Board service.
She is a native New Englander who has never lived far from the sea. She holds a B.A in English, from the University of Maine at Orono and a M.Ed. from Antioch New England Graduate School. Beginning her career in experiential education, Barbara was an Instructor and Program Director for more than fifteen years at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School where she occasionally still instructs experiential programs. She worked in k-12 schools as an education consultant with KIDS Consortium for eight years where she designed and delivered service-learning professional development, and collaborated with school district and community leadership teams as they developed policies and support to integrate and sustain service-learning as a teaching strategy.
Barbara served many years on the Board of Directors for the Watershed School in Camden, Maine as a member and Board Chair; was recently the Program Coordinator for Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation’s Nordic skiing program; and guides hiking trips in the Swiss, French and Italian Alps and Dolomite mountain ranges.
I’ve read that every seven years our bodies — our very cells — completely renew themselves, creating a whole new us. The transformation I’ve undergone feels almost that basic, that primal. I come from a background of ignorance about the world and the impact of our choices on it. I didn’t give the way I lived my life a second thought until college. Then the changes came…slowly. I began to pay attention to the impact of my choices. First on animals and the environment. Later, on other people and cultures. And the more I paid attention to those choices, the more I saw the interconnection…and the power.
I’ve discovered so much more joy and abundance and peace in the way I live now. It can be overwhelming to think about all the suffering and despair and violence and injustice and destruction in the world. It can be tempting to give in to the “I’m just one person; what can I do?” mantra that our culture feeds us. But still, with the struggle and the loneliness and the weariness of looking through a lens that sees the suffering and destruction all around us every single day, I have never felt more powerful.
As writer and activist Frances Moore Lappe says, “Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want.” My life is meaningful, joyful, and full of choices each day that support and nurture a world full of love, peace, compassion, sustainability and justice. That’s powerful. That’s transforming. That’s humane education.
Marsha Rakestraw joined IHE in January 2007 as the Web Content and Community Manager, and now she serves as Director of Education Resources & Alumni Relations. She’s also a faculty member for IHE’s online courses. Most of her life experiences have led up to her career in humane education; she just didn’t know it at the time. Marsha’s background includes extensive experience teaching at the Pre-K – graduate school levels, and more than 14 years working as a youth specialist in school and public libraries.
She was a founding member of Northwest VEG in Portland, Oregon, and gives humane education presentations on a variety of topics. Marsha helped organize the first two state animal rights conferences in Ohio, and has served on the boards of vegetarian, animal protection, and spay/neuter groups in Ohio and Oregon. She and her husband have been featured in The Oregonian and other media for their dedication to humane living.
Marsha has a B.F.A. in dance and a B.A. in English from Wichita State University, an M.L.S. in Library & Information Management from Emporia State University, and received her certification in Humane Education from IHE in December 2005.
Marsha is thrilled to be working with other humane educators and helping others learn about the power of their every day choices. When not pursuing humane education projects, she likes to spend her time reading, enjoying the outdoors, doing yoga, practicing Historic European Martial Arts (HEMA), plinking on her guitar, being occasionally crafty, and hanging out at her co-housing community.
Marsha lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and swimming-obsessed dog, Nala
View Marsha’s talk at the 2009 Let Live Animal Rights Conference. The topic: Humane Education as an Essential Element of Animal Activism.
Once I learned about the injustices being committed against animals, humans, and our planet, I knew I wanted to be a part of the solution and to avoid, in whatever way I could, being a cog in the wheel of violence and oppression. My background is in law, but when I was offered the chance to run a small animal protection organization in Florida, I couldn’t refuse. My path in life took a sharp and wonderful turn, and since then I have spent most of my professional and personal life advocating for society’s most vulnerable members.
Through my work, I have heard stories and have witnessed heart-wrenching abuse of humans, animals, and the earth. Whenever I think about the individuals responsible, I wonder how their journeys as humans would have been different had they been engaged in humane education. What if they had had an opportunity to nurture the innate compassion and creativity in all of us? What if they had had the skills to think critically, while considering the interconnectedness of all humans, other animals, and our planet? I’ve seen the spark in the eyes of students who have taken part in humane education programs — the eagerness with which they grapple with and seek solutions for real world issues. They are empowered as changemakers — as solutionaries. Every child has the potential to emerge as a kind, compassionate, empowered individual prepared to enter the world as an adult with the skills needed to navigate our ever-changing world.
Heather’s professional experience has been a combination of legal and public interest work, with a focus on development, public policy, education, and legislative campaigns. As Director of Development for IHE, Heather hopes to engage supporters at every level of giving and make sure each understands his or her critical connection to the success of IHE’s work.
Heather’s proudest achievements include initiating a thriving humane education program in South Florida (now led by an IHE graduate); raising necessary funds to open a mobile spay/neuter clinic that provides free spaying/neutering for low income families; working with three Philadelphia youth organizations to implement comprehensive policies to prevent child sexual abuse; and raising a kind and self-declared vegan son.
Heather lives in Philadelphia. She loves to be immersed in nature, hiking or trail running with her dog, vegan cooking, yoga, dancing, and live music.
“You are a really good guess speaker.”
This comment is from a 9th grader following a workshop about consumerism. I like the comment a lot. At first I had a good chuckle at the typo, but then I realized that being a “guess” speaker—one who promotes guessing, imagination, and critical thinking—is exactly what I hope to achieve.
Humane education was not my original career path. Far from it. I chose a career path which reflected another passion: fashion. After college, I became a fashion coordinator for a women’s wear designer. While I loved many aspects of my job, I slowly found myself making choices that conflicted with my own sense of ethics. Day by day, my professional decisions violated my personal principles. The day I was asked to include fur in a fashion show, was the day I made the decision to quit.
While I took what I thought would be a brief rest from fashion, I began volunteering in the education department at a humane society in Philadelphia. Ultimately I was hired as Director of Humane Education where I had the pleasure of working with Zoe Weil, who later went on to co-found the Institute for Humane Education (IHE). Thus, my humane education career began, almost by accident. A very happy accident.
In 1998, I decided to pursue my master’s in humane education and contacted dozens of graduate schools around the country. I quickly discovered that no such program existed and none of the graduate schools in education had even heard of the term humane education. Out of necessity, I cobbled together my own version of a master’s in humane education at the University of Pennsylvania.
In light of the challenges that I faced pursuing a master’s degree in humane education, it is a particular joy to be on the faculty of the nation’s first humane education master’s program. What a privilege! What fun!
Simply put, I can’t imagine not being a humane educator. Choosing a humane education approach in all I do is the key ingredient to leading my solutionary life and one that is positive, purposeful, and productive.
Melissa Feldman is on the faculty of IHE and Valparaiso University and has been a humane educator since 1985. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s of education degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980 and 1991, respectively. Melissa has been a humane educator for the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, Grey2KUSA, Peace Games, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Women’s Humane Society. For the decade before joining IHE’s faculty in 2008, Melissa offered humane education programs in the Boston area through her own humane education organization and was also on the faculty at Boston University as an instructor of English as a Second Language.
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. After the 1979 political revolution in Iran, the state court considered basic Baha’i beliefs such as the equality of women and men as “spreading corruption on earth.” Bahai’s in influential positions such as teachers were fired and even to this day, Baha’is are barred from pursuing higher education.
Witnessing organized oppression emboldened my commitment to democratic education and global citizenship. I was raised to appreciate the “unity in diversity” of humankind and to see humans as stewards of the earth and all its inhabitants. 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.
As I studied, taught, researched, and worked with non-profit organizations, universities, and grassroots organizations, I broadened my framework for social change. I perceived the power of transformative education to release latent potentialities of people to analyze their reality through critical thinking, raised critical consciousness, and action for social change. For instance, even though Iranian Baha’is are prohibited from access to higher education in their own country, they have transcended this limitation through transnational collaboration with non-Persian universities eager to provide access to higher education for this marginalized population through online courses.
I see education as a force that enables us to read the “word” (text), problematize the “world” (context), and obtain a new consciousness to change it. In his book, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” Freire explained that oppressed populations arrive at a raised consciousness about their role as agents of change by first critically analyzing the causes of oppression, “so that through transforming action they can create a new situation, one which makes possible the pursuit of a fuller humanity.” While there are numerous ways to conceptualize the path to social and environmental justice, I conduct my work with the premise that there is no “us” and no “them.” Whatever our outer labels may be, we are inextricably linked to one another and will see a more just and peaceful society when we learn to function as one ecological family.
Chitra Golestani co-founded the Paulo Freire Institute (PFI) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and is a PFI Research Associate, educator, and educational consultant. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Science and Comparative Education from UCLA and a Master’s in Education from University of California, Santa Barbara. Locally, her research with PFI explores the question: What motivates educators to employ an integrative pedagogical approach to social change? Her dissertation, “Teaching for Social Justice and Global Citizenship,” conducted in Los Angeles, explored how teachers employ best practices to effectively engage students in learning about social justice through dialogue in an integrative way. Nationally, her research on student engagement took her to various schools on the East and West Coast with UCLA’s CRESST. Internationally, she has conducted research on sustainable social, economic, and environmental development projects in Latin America and Africa. Presently, she teaches courses and lectures on various topics including human rights, social change, diversity, conflict resolution, global citizenship, social and environmental justice, and conscious living. She is engaged in numerous grass-roots programs aimed at raising students’ capacity to play their unique role as “solutionaries” for a more just, peaceful, and sustainable planet.
Kristine 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. Kristine holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Master’s degree in Special Education, Teacher of the Handicapped certification, Elementary Education certification, Middle School Literacy certification, and a graduate certificate in Humane Education.
Kristine has worked as an elementary education teacher, middle school teacher, special education teacher, literacy coach/staff developer, and college professor. She is co-author of “The Literacy Leadership Handbook: Best Practices for Developing Professional Literacy Communities.” Kristine is currently in the dissertation phase of her EdD in Higher Education and Adult Learning and works as a full-time educator at Ridge and Valley Charter School.
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). I changed my major and started on the path to becoming an elementary school teacher.
Being raised by devoted parents (my dad, an avid outdoorsman who taught me early on to love and respect Mother Nature and all her inhabitants—and my mom, a strong and compassionate entrepreneur who taught me how to be independent, determined, and kind) not only provided a strong personal foundation but also became a part of my classroom teaching.
I have held and continue to hold all of these pieces in my work as an educator—my love of nature and animals, of determination and kindness, and the wonder of discovery and learning. The lens of humane education has helped me to connect these portions of myself and my work to the larger and interconnected issues of human rights, environmental stewardship, animal protection, and culture and change making. Through a solutionary focus, I am able to help my students (and myself) think more critically about who they are and what they value, the choices they make, and how we can work together to create humane and sustainable ways of living in the world.
Lexie Greer holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and will complete her Master of Education in Humane Education from the Institute of Humane Education and Valparaiso University in the summer of 2014. Lexie is a veteran teacher with 11 years of classroom experience. While in the classroom, she has also worked as a Reading Recovery teacher, ESL and literacy curriculum advisor, grade-level team leader, and literacy teacher leader trained through Teachers College. Lexie has also worked as a literacy consultant creating and implementing yearlong professional staff development workshops.
Lexie currently lives in Shepherdstown, WV with her husband and two dogs. She strives daily to make a practice of reading and writing, hiking with her dogs, trail running, studying yoga and meditation, and drinking green smoothies.
Approximately 30 years ago, I went to an interview for my first “real” teaching job. I did not have much experience teaching, and I had not really thought much about the blessing and responsibility of good teaching. The academic dean of this private girl’s school posed as his first question “What is your philosophy of teaching?” Well, I certainly couldn’t tell him that I had never entertained that question or that I was more concerned with the mechanics and techniques of teaching, as I was a novice. So I took a deep breath, realized that there was nothing in my brain in the way of an answer, and someone else (sounding remarkably like my voice) answered for me: “I think if teaching doesn’t result in living more compassionately, it has missed its mark.”
I still don’t know how that answer came from me three decades ago, but I do know that when I heard my response, I knew that it was what I truly believed about teaching. I believe that teaching to the whole person – body, mind, and spirit – results in a depth of understanding and connection that learning only with the mind never begins to uncover. I believe that we can “think” with our hearts, understand with our bodies, and intuit with our minds. I have seen the connections made in myself and in students that are the result of experiencing learning holistically, with every part of us engaged, vitally interested, and filled with the kind of joy and comprehension that comes from connecting all of our parts and processes in the act of learning. Learning that evolves in this way ignites a passion for continuing to uncover even deeper levels of knowledge. Learning that involves the heart brings to it the component of empowerment. I have noticed that not many of us get involved in creating change until our hearts are drawn into the task at hand.
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. Any situation, conversation, event, or decision is an opportunity to “remember who we are”; a Buddhist concept that teaches us that when we act in ways that are harmful, destructive, unmindful and unskilled it is only because we have forgotten our innate perfection and possibility. Humane education is the real life opportunity that allows us to express our humanity, compassion, sense of justice and possibility for shifting into paradigms that honor, enliven, and instruct us at our deepest levels of consciousness. It is the kind of education that softens the heart and forges the will. I feel truly blessed to be able to examine the big questions and often illusive answers that will take us to the next level of awareness.
Lynne Westmoreland joined IHE’s staff in 2011 as part of the Online Course Faculty. She holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts degrees in piano performance and a Master of Education in Humane Education. Lynne has been a pianist, accompanist, and piano and music instructor for 30 years. While always having a great love for music and for her students, she has also always been concerned with issues of justice, compassion, and environmental responsibility and has been a lifelong student of human nature in all of its fascinating ambiguities. After exploring many paths as an encore career, she met Zoe Weil at a festival and immediately knew that humane education was exactly what she had been looking for. The journey through this degree work has been more transformative, engaging, and sacred than could have been imagined.
Lynne lives in the Finger Lakes area of New York with her partner, Linda, and their elderly dog Taz. Her free time is spent reading, walking, biking, dancing, cooking, working on local environmental issues, and spending as much time as possible with friends.
Philip G. Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University, is a scholar, educator & researcher. He’s well-known for his Stanford Prison Experiment research and as the author of many books, including The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.
Diane Straus Tucker is the Publisher of the Washington Monthly.
Michael Tobias, Ph.D., is an ecologist, screenwriter, director, and the author/producer of over 25 books and 70 films.
Susan Tieger, M.Ed., taught in the Arlington, Virginia, public school system for 35 years. She worked with special education students at the elementary level.
Lee Anna Stirling, Ed.D., served in schools as a teacher, administrator and instructional strategies coach. She presents education graduate and professional development classes on peer coaching, diversity and multiculturalism, project learning, teachers in leadership roles and educators creating action plans to help keep themselves motivated and effective as teachers and role models.
Robert Shetterly is an artist, author, changemaker, and creator of the Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait series, which profiles historical and contemporary leaders and visionaries working for a better world.
David Selby, Ph.D., is the author of EarthKind, a humane education text, and professor of education in Plymouth, England.
Christine Renaud, Ed.M., is a social entrepreneur and documentary filmmaker, focusing on democratic education worldwide. She was recognized in 2006 as Québec’s most promising young leader in the field of education by the L’Actualité magazine.
Charles “Chick” F. Rauch spent 30 years in the U.S. Navy before retiring in the rank of rear admiral. Among other duties, Chick served as Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Human Resource Development, during which time his office developed the Navy’s early programs in Race Relations and Equal Opportunity, Women’s Rights, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Rehabilitation and Control, and Cross-Cultural Relations. After a full career in the Navy, Chick made a second career in higher education. Chick holds a B.S. degree from the U. S. Naval Academy, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School, and M.B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University.
Scott Plous is a professor of psychology at Wesleyan University, where he teaches introductory and advanced seminars on the psychology of prejudice and discrimination. He also managesUnderstandingPrejudice.org, an educational clearinghouse with over 2,000 prejudice-related web links and dozens of lesson plans, student activities, and interactive exercises.
Joaquin Phoenix is an actor, producer, music video director, musician, and activist. For his work as an artist, Phoenix has received a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe Award and three Academy Award nominations. Aside from his acting career, he has also ventured into directing music videos, as well as producing films and television shows. Phoenix is a social activist, lending his support to a number of charities and humanitarian organizations including Amnesty International, The Art of Elysium, and the Peace Alliance. Phoenix is also known for his animal rights activism. In 2005 he was awarded the Humanitarian Award at the San Diego Film Festival for his work and contribution to Earthlings, a video about the investigation of animal abuse in factory farms, pet mills, industry, and research.
Kirsten Olson, Ed.D., is an educational activist, speaker, consultant and teacher. She is Chief Listening Officer at Old Sow Consulting, which works with schools and school districts all over the country on educational equity and educational transformation. She is a founding board member and co-president of the board of Institute for Democratic Education in America, and is the author of two books about education, Wounded By School: Recapturing The Joy In Learning and Standing Up to Old School Culture and Schools As Colonizers, and dozens of articles about education.
Ralph Nurnberger, PhD. is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, where he has taught since 1975. He received the “Excellence in Teaching” award from the Graduate School of Liberal Studies in 2005. He has also served on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as Director of Congressional Relations at the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Export Administration and as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is a partner in Nurnberger & Associates, a government relations firm based in Washington, D.C.
Wendy Neu is an entrepreneur and activist, Wendy has worked at Hugo Neu for over 30 years, as Chairman and CEO of the Hugo Neu group. Wendy actively advocates for business and environmental integrity and leadership through her work within the industry, and works with environmental and social justice grassroots organizations. She has chaired the Government Relations Committee for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, was a founding member of the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling (CAER), and serves on the Product Stewardship Institute’s Advisory Council. Wendy has been honored by numerous industry and environmental groups, including NY/NJ Baykeeper (on whose Board she presently serves), the New York League of Conservation Voters and Earthday 2006. In 1989, focusing on the areas of social welfare and animal rights and rescue, Wendy organized and expanded a non-profit organization, Companion Animal Placement, dedicated to the support of senior citizens and animal rescue. Wendy is a Trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and a co-chair of the E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) initiative on the East Coast, which advocates for environmental legislation on behalf of NRDC. A graduate of Cardozo School of Law (J.D.), Wendy started out her professional career as a social worker for Trenton State Prison and the Yardville Correctional Facility, where she developed and implemented inmate work programs.
Don Levy is the founder of Smith Brook Farm, a creative consultancy. In 2012, he left Sony Pictures Entertainment after 17 years in senior marketing and communications positions to focus on research as a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California, develop and launch a family entertainment venture, and serve on the faculty of Boston University’s Los Angeles Program. He is also active in education issues. He is a longtime member of the TED Conference, the licensee for the independently organized TEDxConejo, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and The International Photographers.
Jon Kilik is the producer of many award-winning films such as The Hunger Games, Dead Man Walking, and Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. He has produced over 30 other features by directors such as Oliver Stone, Jim Jarmusch, Julian Schnabel, Robert De Niro, Tim Robbins, and Gary Ross. He has received two Golden Globe awards and an Oscar nomination. Jon is a graduate of the University of Vermont where he studied film under Frank Manchel, Vivian Sobcheck, and Kim Warden.
Sandra Kleinman, Ed.D, is a national and international educational consultant with more than four decades of experiences intersecting multiple disciplines: culture, diversity, and global-mindedness in education, language and literacy development, curriculum design and inquiry-based pedagogical practices, formative and performance-based assessment, learner variability, and developmental neuropsychology. Weaving together these multiple perspectives has been a cornerstone of her professional work as a leader, teacher, mentor, professional educator, researcher, advocate, clinician, and program designer—in a wide variety of settings: higher education; PreK-12 schools; clinical settings; and, humanitarian, arts, and education nonprofit organizations. Sandy’s knowledge of how the mind develops frames her understanding of how students learn and how to apply that understanding to the design of equitable and humane educational practices. Like so many who are drawn to the mission and vision of the Institute for Humane Education and the New York City Solutionary School, Sandy is committed to the power of education to guide learners to reshape the world of the future through equitable, actionable solutions.
Steven J. Gross, Ph.D., is a psychologist and non-profit leader in the arts.
Christopher Greenslate graduated with his Master of Education in Humane Education from IHE in 2008. He is in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program at Vanderbilt University and a Research Assistant at Vanderbilt. Christopher also is co-author of the book, On a Dollar a Day.
Caryn Ginsberg has more than 20 years experience helping businesses and non-profits improve results through better strategy and marketing. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and leading animal protection organizations such as the ASPCA, Farm Sanctuary, The Humane Society of the United States and PetSmart Charities.
John Taylor Gatto is an educator and author, has received numerous teaching awards, and writes and speaks on educational reform.
Caroline “Callie” Curtis is Executive Director of the Dorothy Ann Foundation, a small foundation that gives grants to international non-profit organizations working in public health, environment, sustainable forestry, and energy issues.
Sam Chaltain is a writer an education advocate. A former teacher in New York City, Sam lives and works in Washington, D.C.
Douglas Alexander is a partner at the Internet Capital Group and an expert on high technology.
Lori Weir joined the board in 2016. Lori has spent most of her career in finance and issues pertaining to policy, with an expertise in foreign exchange. She began her career with a brief stint in investment banking, spent the bulk of her career working in various analytical and management capacities at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and is currently a strategist at a small investment firm based in New York and London. While at home raising her young daughters, Lori also founded a small consulting firm and carried out numerous analytic projects for large private foundations, where she gained insight into the workings of large philanthropies. She also co-founded a firm that carried out work for a Los Angeles based nonprofit focused on early childhood education, and she has been involved on a volunteer basis with strategic planning relating to innovation in her local school district, the Princeton Public Schools.
Lori is married and lives in Princeton, New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and rescue pup, Rosie. Lori enjoys running, yoga, traveling, and also being at home cooking and playing games with her kids. She earned a B.S., magna cum laude, in Economics with a concentration in International Finance and Multinational Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.A. in International Relations with concentrations in International Economics and American Foreign Policy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Tony Scucci, MSW, joined IHE’s board in 2012. Tony is a Senior Governance Associate at BoardSource. He has nearly 40 years experience in the nonprofit sector, providing board consultation and training, and conducting workshops on effective governance practices. In his private practice, Tony specializes in board development, executive coaching, executive leadership transitions, and team-building. His clients have included the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Association of Independent Schools, the Maine Arts Commission, the National Council of La Raza, the National Council for Urban Indian Health, the National Indian Health Board, and the Indian Health Service. He has also worked with various Somali Bantu Organizations.Tony graduated with a BA in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and with a Masters in Social Work from Boston College. He is a Licensed Master Social Worker in the state of Maine.
Laurie O’Reilly, Board Chair, joined IHE’s board in 2013. Laurie brings with her nearly 20 years experience in marketing, including communications strategy and implementation, branding, messaging, and digital media. She began her career in educational publishing before moving into the nonprofit conservation sector, and has spent the past 15 years working for New England’s most prominent environmental organizations, including the Appalachian Mountain Club and The Trustees of Reservations. Laurie currently manages marketing and communications for Conservation Law Foundation, which uses the law, policy, and the markets to solve New England’s most pressing environmental challenges.
Laurie’s love of the outdoors was fostered as child growing up in Maine, while her love of animals was nurtured by the various rescue animals her family adopted during her childhood. Laurie graduated with a B.A. in English from Rivier College, with a focus on communications. She lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Neil Hornish joined IHE’s board in 2012. Neil is co-founder and director of education of the Compassionate Living Project, a humane education organization which creates and implements classroom projects for schools grades 4 through college. He produced a public access TV show “Animal Matters” for 10 years and Chaired the Conservation Commission in Granby, Connecticut. A Systems Integration Project Engineer at United Technologies Aerospace Systems, Neil is an alumnus of IHE, receiving his M.Ed. from Cambridge College in 2005. Prior to his M.Ed., he received an M.B.A. with a concentration in Environmental Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a B.S. in Mechanical Design from the University of Connecticut. Neil lives in Granby, Connecticut.
Stephanie Hanner joined the IHE board in 2014. Stephanie is the community engagement officer at Spectrum Generations, the Central Maine Area Agency on Aging. Previously she was communications manager at Sweetser, a statewide community mental health agency located in Maine. Stephanie is a graduate of the Institute for Civic Leadership’s Emerging Leaders program and has experience developing strategic communications, media and branding strategies in areas of nonprofit, finance, resort management, executive search and education. Stephanie received Master of Arts degrees in public and corporate communication and in diplomacy and international relations, both from Seton Hall University, and a degree in Public Relations from the State University of New York at Oswego. She lives in Bowdoinham with her partner, Liam.
Mary Lee Duff, Treasurer, joined the IHE Board in 2013. Mary Lee has been an advocate for IHE since meeting Zoe Weil in 1996. After graduation from Skidmore College Mary Lee lived and worked in New York City, where she enjoyed a career in the investment business, earned an MBA in Finance from NYU, and was very active in the New York Choral Society which performs at Carnegie Hall. She now lives in coastal Connecticut with rescued companions Lily, a miniature dachshund, and Carmen, a mischievous cat.
She has served on a number of boards and committees including New York Choral Society, New Haven Chorale, AHRC-NYC Finance Committee, Pace University Institutional Review Board and Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.
Zoe Weil (pronounced Zoh While) is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement that works to create a peaceful, healthy, and just world for all people, animals, and the environment through education. Zoe created IHE’s online M.Ed., M.A., and graduate certificate programs as well as IHE’s acclaimed workshops and courses.
Zoe is the author of seven books including The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries (2016), Nautilus Silver Medal winner, Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life (2009), The Power and Promise of Humane Education (2004), and Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times (2003). She has also written books for young people, including Moonbeam Gold Medal winner, Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs (2007), about 12-year-old activists inspired by their teacher to right wrongs where they find them, and So, You Love Animals: An Action-Packed, Fun-Filled Book to Help Kids Help Animals (1994). She has written numerous articles on humane education and humane living and has appeared frequently on radio as well as television.
In 2010, Zoe gave her first TEDx talk “The World Becomes What You Teach” which became among the 50 top-rated TEDx talks. Since then she has given five other TEDx talks: “Solutionaries” “Educating for Freedom” “How to be a Solutionary” “Extending our Circle of Compassion” and “How will you answer this question?”
Zoe speaks regularly at universities, conferences, and schools across the United States and Canada. She is a frequent keynote speaker, including at international teachers’ conferences in China and Mexico. She has served as a consultant on humane education to people and organizations around the world and has served on the board of directors of the Heroic Imagination Project and HEART, and as a steward at The Good Life Center.
In 2012 Zoe debuted her One-woman show, “My Ongoing Problems with Kindness: Confessions of MOGO Girl,” bringing humane issues to communities through entertainment. Also in 2012 she was honored with the Women in Environmental Leadership award at Unity College, and her portrait was painted by Robert Shetterly for the Americans Who Tell The Truth portrait series. Zoe was inducted into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame in 2010.
Zoe received a Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School (1988) and a Master’s and Bachelor’s in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania (1983). In 2015 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Valparaiso University. Zoe is certified in Psychosynthesis counseling, a form of psychotherapy which relies upon the intrinsic power of each person’s imagination to promote growth, creativity, health, and transformation.