Team Members

Staff
mary pat cropped portrait
Mary Pat Champeau
Director of Graduate Programs
Kim Childs
Operations/IT Manager
Zoe Weil portrait
Zoe Weil
Co-founder / President
Faculty
Sarah Bexell
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University
Natalie Ellen Evans
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University
Golestani Chitra speaking
Chitra Golestani
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University
Breeze Harper
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University
Dana McPhall portrait
Dana McPhall
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University
Cynthia Trapanese portrait
Cynthia Trapanese
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University
Kris Tucker portrait
Kristine Tucker
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University
Board of Directors
Haj Carr
stephanie hanner portrait crop
Stephanie Hanner
Neil headshot 2015
Neil Hornish
Stacy Hoult-Saros faculty portrait
Stacy Hoult-Saros
Board Chair
Kathleen Roberts Skerrett portrait
Kathleen Roberts Skerrett
Nirav Shah
Zoe Weil portrait
Zoe Weil
Co-founder / President
lori weir square portrait
Lori Weir
Curriculum Advisory Board
Shariff Abdullah portrait
Shariff Abdullah
Victoria O. Chiatula portrait
Victoria O. Chiatula, Ph.D.
Arun Gandhi portrait
Arun Gandhi
Paul Gorski portait
Paul Gorski
Hans Zambiasunset portrait
Hans Hageman
Mike Johnson portrait
Mike Johnston
Dana McPhall portrait
Dana McPhall
Sherri Mitchell by the river
Sherri Mitchell
Kiran Bir Sethi portrait
Kiran Bir Sethi
Rob Shetterly head shot
Robert Shetterly
Kathleen J. Tate, Ph.D.
Advisory Council
Leigh Alley
Marc Bekoff
Wendy Horng Brawer
Pierce Delahunt
Dianna Emory
Bruce Friedrich
Caryn Ginsberg
Michael Gillis
Amy Halpern-Laff
Alissa Hauser
Peggy Koch Palmer
Christian Long
Ihe knockout logo blue
Tracy Malloy-Curtis
Julie Meltzer
Dawn Moncrief
Eli Moore
Akash Patel
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Joaquin Phoenix
Lisa R. Rivard, Ph.D.
Paola Sackett
Jennifer Skiff
Sherry Streeter
Shawn Sweeney
Michael Tobias, Ph.D.
Khalif Williams portrait with children
Khalif Williams
Leigh Alley

Dr. Leigh Alley is a longtime leadership and instructional strategist, presently serving as the Executive Director of Maine ASCD and as a member of the part-time education faculty at the University of Maine at Augusta. As the director of consortia for school improvement, as a private consultant, and as a project director, Leigh has designed and implemented instructional programs in a broad range of topics including, but not limited to, literacy, equity, social-emotional learning, and whole-child education.

Growing up in poverty in the poorest county of America’s most rural state taught Leigh––a first-generation college graduate––the importance of education as a leveler of opportunity. Throughout her career, she has sought to bring educational access to the underserved, both learners and educators alike. Currently, Leigh uses her doctoral degree in Transformative Leadership to create new and innovative ways of “upschooling” educators and administrators in Maine and beyond, allowing them to improve their practice wherever they are, whatever their means.

Shariff Abdullah portrait
Shariff Abdullah

Shariff Abdullah is an author and advocate for inclusivity and societal transformation. Shariff’s meta-vision and mission are simple: we can create a world that works for all beings.

Shariff promotes heart-centered inclusivity, compassionate dialog, and a society based on vision and a localized and alternative political economy. His vision and work are informed by his inclusive spiritual practices, his growing up with racism and generational poverty, his legal background as a successful attorney, and his inclusivity experiences in over 100 distinct cultures, spanning 45 countries.

Marc Bekoff

Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He has won many awards for his scientific research including the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Marc has published more than 1000 essays (popular, scientific, and book chapters), 30 books, and has edited three encyclopedias.

His books include the Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal WelfareThe Ten Trusts (with Jane Goodall), the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, the Encyclopedia of Human-Animal RelationshipsMinding AnimalsThe Emotional Lives of Animals, Animals MatterWild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (with Jessica Pierce), The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons For Increasing Our Compassion Footprint, Ignoring Nature No More: The Case For Compassionate Conservation, Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears (with Jill Robinson), Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed, and Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and CoexistenceThe Jane Effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall (edited with Dale Peterson) was published in February 2015, The Animals’ Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age (with Jessica Pierce) was published in April 2017 and in early 2018, Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do will be published by the University of Chicago Press.

In 2005 Marc was presented with The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award for the work he has done with children, senior citizens, and prisoners. In 2009 he was presented with the St. Francis of Assisi Award by the New Zealand SPCA. In 1986 Marc became the first American to win his age-class at the Tour du Haut Var bicycle race (also called the Master’s/age-graded Tour de France). Marc‘s homepage is marcbekoff.com.

Sarah Bexell
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University

Sarah M. Bexell has worked in wildlife conservation, humane education and sustainable development for over 25 years. She holds a B.A. in biology and environmental studies from Augustana College, M.A. in biological anthropology from Northern Illinois University, M.Ed. in secondary science education from Georgia State University and a PhD in early childhood education with a cognate in science education from Georgia State University. Currently she is Clinical Associate Professor with the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work as well as Director of Humane Education for the University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection. At the University of Denver she teaches courses and internships in Sustainable Development and Global Practice, Humane Education and Animal Studies. She is also a Faculty Member with the Institute for Humane Education-Valparaiso University and the Director of Conservation Education at China’s Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

Wendy Horng Brawer

Wendy is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of 14000hours, an educational nonprofit working to redefine the primary purpose of school. She is building a network of parents, educators and school leaders who help schools become thriving learning communities for students and teachers alike. She served as the Director of Advancement and Partnerships for Prospect Sierra School in El Cerrito, CA for 11 years and is the founding Board Chair of enGender, a national nonprofit serving gender creative youth and their families. She also serves on the Vision Council of Stepping Stones Project, a mentoring and nature-based rite of passage program that supports youth transitions through adolescence and was a founding member of the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute (BATTI)/University of Pacific’s Masters in Educational Leadership program, from which she received her educational degree. Wendy also earned a Masters in Public Administration degree in environmental policy from Columbia University and splits her time between Maine and the San Francisco Bay Area where she has raised her three children, one now a graduate of the University of Michigan, another currently enrolled at Bowdoin College, and her youngest, in high school.

Haj Carr

Business owners often spin complicated stories about themselves, but Haj’s tale is very simple. To him, founding Trueline and being its CEO is all about community—working with a tightknit group of people to create and provide great marketing, branding, content and design from Portland, Maine. His credentials include founding and running multiple, successful companies involved in marketing, communication and sales. A Hawaii native, an avid salsa dancer, and a father, activist, vegan, he’s an on-the-move, hands-on person who enjoys speaking engagements, mentoring and any opportunity to swap ideas.

mary pat cropped portrait
Director of Graduate Programs

“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.

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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.

Victoria O. Chiatula portrait
Victoria O. Chiatula, Ph.D.

I am an Igbo from Anambra State Nigeria, West Africa, who immigrated to the United States and have lived and been educated on both continents. I have a B.S. in Elementary Education; an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction; a Ph.D. in Cultural Foundations and Policy Studies; and a School Administrative and Supervision Certificate.

Being a professional educator is my vocation and life calling, spanning more than 20 years of varied domestic and international work experiences as an elementary school teacher, education professor, school administrator, and scholar. I have core proficiencies in teaching (elementary, middle school, and university level), training, school district administrative leadership and management, cultural diversity and intercultural competence, community engagement, coalition building, educational research, curriculum development, and policy.
My passion and zeal is to serve, lead, and advocate for equity and access of education to improve the quality of life for culturally diverse and marginalized populations. By so doing, I am steadfast in building, mobilizing, and managing strong educational partnerships and coalitions involving community stakeholders and leaders across various governmental agencies and organizations domestically and internationally for outcomes that empowers children, families, and communities.

I am particularly skilled in designing and implementing innovative programs, curricular models, projects, and initiatives, as well as building and managing various coalitions across agencies at the local, state, federal, and international level to accomplish measurable deliverables. I am committed to using my passion and zeal to develop educational models as proactive tools for capacity building and sustainable development through transformative policies and practices both domestically and internationally.

Kim Childs
Operations/IT Manager

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.

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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.

Natalie Ellen Evans
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University

Natalie Evans has been teaching in College and University classrooms and online for over 12 years. She is a Fellow with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and has designed, written and taught courses in environmental ethics and environmental philosophy. With a diverse and extensive teaching background in media studies, ethics, philosophy and applied ethics, she shares her passion for social justice by gently challenging students to question their own beliefs in order to find new paths for communicating and effecting change using new media. Natalie holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees in Philosophy, along with a University Certificate in Environmental Science. Her Master’s dissertation focused on environmental philosophy, and her PhD thesis combined animal ethics and the study of animal consciousness.

Natalie has worked as a professor, a counselor for students with disabilities, an editor, a researcher, and as a developer of multiple applied ethics courses. She is the author of ‘Animal Ethics and the Autonomous Animal Self’ (as Natalie Thomas), and is currently editing a book on Business and Animal Ethics. She was also a member of a working group that published ‘The Ethical Cause Against Animal Experiments’, Edited by Andrew and Clair Linzey of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.  She currently teaches at the University of Guelph-Humber and the University of Guelph in Media Studies and Philosophy.

Pierce Delahunt

Pierce Delahunt is from New York and New Jersey both. They grew up hating most of their own education. Over time, Pierce came to social-emotional learning and activist-education as the pieces most needed. They look at IHE’s work, and their own, as the union of the two fields. He graduated with an M.Ed. from Valparaiso/IHE in 2017.
During the summer, Pierce works with Youth Empowered Action, an activist-education summer camp. During the school year, they tour the country’s schools, speaking to students about activism.

Dianna Emory

Founder of the Behavioral Medicine Center and Training Institute, Dr. Dianna Emory is a retired clinical mental health counselor and national educator; a builder of teams that advance personal and environmental wellness; and a volunteer and athlete with deep knowledge of land trusts, green spaces, and national parks. She is the author of Bonding with Nature: Responding to Life’s Challenges and the Aging Process, a philanthropic project (Seapoint Books, May 7, 2018). (Author royalties from retail sales of Bonding with Nature through 2019 benefit Virgin Islands National Park hurricane relief; after that time, author royalties from retail sales benefit medical institutions and organizations working on behalf of the natural world and her creatures).

While in private practice, Emory served on the Allied Health Professional Staff of Mount Desert Island Hospital and as an Adjunct Faculty member at College of the Atlantic. Her doctoral degree was completed at the University of Maine. Board leadership positions have included Friends of Acadia, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Schoodic Institute, Maine Clinical Counselors Association, the Northern New England Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and the American Mental Health Counselors Association. She lives on Mount Desert Island and in Brooklin, Maine with her husband, Ben. When not hiking, skiing, sailing, or paddle boarding in Maine, she is climbing the mountains or enjoying the waters of the Eastern Caribbean.

Bruce Friedrich

Bruce graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown Law and Phi Beta Kappa from Grinnell College and also holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics. Bruce is a popular speaker on college campuses and has delivered presentations on food innovation at most of the nation’s top universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT. Bruce has co-authored two books, including Clean Protein: The Revolution That Will Reshape Your Body, Boost Your Energy—and Save Our Planet with New York Times bestselling author Kathy Freston, contributed chapters to five books, and authored seven law review articles.

Arun Gandhi portrait
Arun Gandhi

Born in 1934 in Durban, South Africa, Arun is the fifth grandson of India’s legendary leader, Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi. Growing up under the discriminatory apartheid laws of South Africa, he was beaten by “white” South Africans for being too black and “black” South Africans for being too white; so, Arun sought eye-for-an-eye justice. However, he learned from his parents and grandparents that justice does not mean revenge, it means transforming the opponent through love and suffering.

Grandfather taught Arun to understand nonviolence through understanding violence. “If we know how much passive violence we perpetrate against one another we will understand why there is so much physical violence plaguing societies and the world,” Gandhi said. Through daily lessons, Arun says, he learned about violence and about anger.

Arun shares these lessons all around the world. For the past five years, he has participated in the Renaissance Weekend deliberations with President Clinton and other well-respected Rhodes Scholars. Other engagements have included speaking at the United Nations, Chicago Children’s Museum, the Women’s Justice Center in Ann Arbor, Young President’s Organization in Mexico, the Trade Union Leaders’ Meeting in Milan, Italy, the Peace and Justice Center in St. Louis, Missouri, The Scottish Parliament and many more. Arun’s travels have also take him across the world to Australia, Croatia, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Lithuania, Nicaragua, South Africa, China, Scotland, England, Japan and many others. He is also a very popular speaker on college campuses. Arun has now spoken at Universities and Colleges in all 50 states of the USA.

Arun is very involved in social programs and writing, as well. Shortly after Arun married his wife Sunanda, they were informed the South African government would not allow her to accompany him there. Sunanda and Arun decided to live in India, and Arun worked for 30 years as a journalist for The Times of India. Together, Arun and Sunanda started projects for the social and economic uplifting of the oppressed using constructive programs, the backbone of Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. The programs changed the lives of more than half a million people in over 300 villages and they still continue to grow. Sunanda died in February of 2007 and the family is working to establish a school in poorest rural India in her name.

Arun is the author of several books. The first, A Patch of White (1949), is about life in prejudiced South Africa; then, he wrote two books on poverty and politics in India; followed by a compilation of M.K. Gandhi’s Wit & Wisdom. He also edited a book of essays on World Without Violence: Can Gandhi’s Vision Become Reality? And, more recently, wrote The Forgotten Woman: The Untold Story of Kastur, the Wife of Mahatma Gandhi, jointly with his late wife Sunanda.

Caryn Ginsberg

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.

Michael Gillis
Golestani Chitra speaking
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. 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.

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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.

Paul Gorski portait
Paul Gorski

Paul C. Gorski is an associate professor of Integrative Studies in George Mason University’s School of Integrative Studies, where he teaches classes such as Poverty, Wealth, and Inequality; Social Justice Education; Social Justice Consciousness and Personal Transformation; and Contemporary Issues in Social Justice and Human Rights. He recently led the design and development of the new Social Justice and Human Rights undergraduate and graduate programs. Paul is a Senior Research Fellow for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being and is serving his third term on the board of the International Association for Intercultural Education. He has been an active consultant, presenter, and trainer for nearly twenty years, conducting workshops and providing guidance for schools and community organizations committed to equity and diversity. He created and continues to manage the Multicultural Pavilion, an award-winning Web site focused on critical multicultural education. He has published more than 50 articles and eight books, focusing most recently on topics like poverty and educational opportunity, racial equity, and activist resiliency. He also has taught for the University of Virginia, the University of Maryland, Hamline University, and the Humane Society University. He lives in Virginia with his cat, Buster.

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Hans Hageman

Hans Hageman is a social entrepreneur. He has developed visionary solutions to improve education from Harlem to India. Hans grew up in Spanish Harlem, New York. His home was Exodus House, a pioneering residential drug treatment center started by his father.

Hans’s parents were his first teachers in the importance of service to others. He went on to attend Princeton University and Columbia University School of Law. After law school, he went on to work as a prosecutor, chief counsel to a U.S. Senate subcommittee and as a defense attorney. In the early 1990s, he shifted his mission to work

In the early 1990s, he shifted his mission to work with children who had been underserved by the education establishment. This led to his founding of the East Harlem School at Exodus, an independent school that predated charter legislation in New York. His work there was honored with an Essence Magazine award and the Robin Hood Foundation

His work there was honored with an Essence Magazine award and the Robin Hood Foundation Heroes Award, among others. It also brought him national media coverage from CNN, the New York Times, People Magazine, and the major television networks.

Hans went on to found two more schools. One school worked with teens who had left the public education system. Those students learned about the wider world through activities like desert survival training with Boulder Outdoor Survival School and First Responder training. They furthered their real-world learning with service projects to Ghana, Senegal, and Nicaragua.

The other school was for poor Hindu and Muslim girls at the primary/elementary levels in India. During this time Hans also worked with major metropolitan police departments to improve their communications with the local communities.

In 2014, he became the interim Executive Director for Jitegemee, Inc., a program that works with homeless children in Kenya. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Children of Conservation (CofC). CofC supports sanctuaries for chimpanzees, gorillas, and elephants in Africa. It does this in large part by addressing the roots of poverty in the local communities. Extreme poverty in these communities leads to poaching and environmental destruction.

Hans’s time in the Army Reserve, training as a Reiki master, Ashtanga yoga teacher training under David Swenson and his certification training in Permaculture Design through PRI, all inform his approach to the work.

Amy Halpern-Laff

Amy Halpern-Laff earned her JD at Stanford Law School and practiced law and mediation in NY and CT. In the early 2000s, she pivoted to education and nonprofit leadership, leading two civic engagement organizations in AZ and working with progressive schools. She is Director, Strategic Partnerships of Factory Farming Awareness Coalition, and Co-Executive Director of Ethics in Education Network, advocating for ethics-centered curricula that instills lifelong habits of rigorous and open-minded ethical inquiry. Amy is founder and principal of Berkeley Coalition for Animals.

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Stephanie Hanner

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.

Breeze Harper
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University

Breeze Harper has a Ph.D. in Social Science with an emphasis on leveraging diversity challenges for social impact. She holds an MA in Educational Technologies (emphasis in black feminist theory, social impact, and educational technologies) from Harvard University, where she received the Dean’s Award for her masters thesis work. She earned her BA in feminist geography from Dartmouth College and received the Innovative Thesis award for her work on heterosexism in rural geographies. Dr. Harper created and edited the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society.

Alissa Hauser
Neil headshot 2015
Neil Hornish

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.

Stacy Hoult-Saros faculty portrait
Stacy Hoult-Saros
Board Chair

Stacy Hoult-Saros joined IHE’s board in 2017. She is Associate Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Valparaiso University. She holds degrees from Millikin University, the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Chicago. Stacy brings 28 years of college-level teaching experience, including courses that explore environmental and human rights issues in Latin America. She completed the Graduate Certificate in Humane Education in 2015 and has focused much of her recent scholarship on intersections between humane education and language teaching. She has lead a number of committees and task forces and played an active role in diversity and inclusion initiatives at the University and in her adopted home of Valparaiso, IN, where she lives with her husband, teenage son and two 18-year-old cats.

Mike Johnson portrait
Mike Johnston

Mike Johnston is currently head of school at Colegio Maya in Guatemala. He has lead workshops and keynoted for teachers and administrators around the world on sustainability, global curriculum K-12 and how service learning should not just be what you do, but who you are as a school. As a member of the Compass Education team he is part of a growing community of passionate educators aiming to equip schools as learning communities to educate and act for a sustainable future. He has dedicated much of his time to not only ensuring students are properly prepared for the world’s most pressing issues but that they have the skills and desire to take action. With his Doctorate in Organizational Systems Mike helps to inspire and lead schools through times of change and educational transformation.

Peggy Koch Palmer

Peggy Koch Palmer has been involved with both education and entertainment her whole life.  She has worked as a producer, production coordinator, and assistant director in film, television, and commercials both in New York and LA.  She has also been a talent agent for theater, TV, and film in New York and LA as well as a literary assistant. After the birth of her two boys, Peggy began teaching and subsequently, became very involved with the International Baccalaureate Program at her sons’ school, Agoura High School, by founding a parents association for the fledgling program and helping to raise significant funds over several years during a time of severe state budget cuts. She has also been a booster club board member for Agoura’s award-winning music program and has maintained a blog for Agoura’s College and Career Center. She founded Road to Admission, LLC in 2013 to help high school students find the perfect college for them. During the summers, Peggy volunteers her time with College Summit, helping rising high school seniors from low-income districts apply to college.

Peggy holds a BA from University of Vermont and an MA in Education as well as a teaching credential from Pepperdine University. She holds a graduate level Certificate in College Counseling from UC Irvine and is a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the Western Association of College Admissions Counseling (WACAC), and is an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).

Christian Long

Christian Long is a designer, educator, and the founding partner of The WONDER Project, a design studio that helps schools and learning communities design and develop at the intersection of their mission and moonshots. Prior to that, he was a founding partner of WONDER, By Design, a multi-disciplinary school design studio; co-founded The Third Teacher+ studio within CannonDesign’s global Education practice; and founded Be Playful Design and Prototype Design Labs.

Christian works nationally and internationally with students, teachers and school leaders, educational architects, and a wide array of multi-disciplinary professionals to design agile schools for the future. He regularly presents keynote addresses at conferences around the world focusing on the relationship between human-centered design and the future of education. Overall he is an unapologetic advocate for wonder and curiosity as the root of all learning worth doing.

A much older version of Christian Long – many years into the future – can be found in semi-retirement at a tree-covered summer camp where he’ll continue to marvel first-hand at the shared joy of children and adults alike.

Education:

• M.Ed. – Harvard Graduate School of Education with a concentration on School Design
• Alumni – Design Discovery program at Harvard Graduate School of Design
• Alumni – Klingenstein Institute (for Emerging School Leaders) at Teachers College, Columbia University
• B.A. – Indiana University with a degree in English and K-12 teaching certification

Ihe knockout logo blue
Tracy Malloy-Curtis

Tracy Malloy-Curtis, Director of Legacy Giving at Mal Warwick Donordigital, has 20 years of experience in fundraising for advocacy and social justice organizations, with a primary focus on legacy giving and major gifts. She has worked at the ACLU, Citizen Action, International Rescue Committee, Seeds of Peace, and other national organizations. She currently advises a number of national progressive, environmental, and animal rights charities. Tracy is a former litigator with Dechert LLP.

She has a JD cum laude from Case Western Reserve School of Law, where she was the publisher of the Law Review, and a BS in political science from Southern Connecticut State University. She is currently a member of the board of the Orange County New York Arts Council.

Julie Meltzer

Julie Meltzer, Ph.D., is a self-described “pragmatic visionary” who is committed to creating schools that truly help students prepare to successfully meet their futures. She is a tireless advocate for literacy, justice and equity which she sees as integrally related. Julie supports teachers and administrators to develop collective efficacy within and outside of her district. She agrees with Zoe Weil that our best hope for the planet is to educate a generation of solutionaries. After extensive experience in education including as a teacher, teacher education faculty member, consultant, researcher, program evaluator, and project lead, Julie took the position of Director of Curriculum for the MDI Regional School System, a small school district near Bar Harbor, Maine. In this role, Julie has the privilege of overseeing and building the school system’s capacity relevant to all content areas K-12. Julie is a published author, sought-after speaker and editor/reviewer. When not focused on teaching and learning, Julie enjoys hiking, dancing, writing poetry, reading international women’s and children’s literature, and working for social and environmental justice.

Julie has an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts/Drama from Colorado College, a Master’s Degree in Arts and Learning from Lesley University and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on program evaluation from Virginia Tech.

Dana McPhall portrait
Dana McPhall

I believe that the greatest gift we can give to children is the belief they can make the world a better place. Growing up, I often felt a deep desire to make a difference in my own life and in the lives of others, but rarely felt empowered to bring about positive change in the world.

Fortunately, as an adult, I have had the opportunity to be an advocate for marginalized people and other animals. Through my work with IHE, I have developed a commitment to ensuring children and young adults gain the social-emotional, critical thinking, and leadership skills needed to become changemakers themselves.

Dana has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit and government sectors. Dana has a Juris Doctorate and a Master’s of Public Policy, and has worked to protect and to seek justice for low-income women and children exposed to domestic violence and for animals suffering from cruelty and neglect. Two years ago, Dana graduated from IHE’s Master’s of Education-Humane Education program, and since then has volunteered with the Alumni Association Advisory Board. Dana has recently joined the Curriculum Advisory Board, and is helping to expand the ways in which IHE’s programming integrates issues of racism into its curricula. In her own community of Los Angeles, Dana also supports parents and educators in talking with young children about race and racism and other social justice issues.

Dana McPhall portrait
Dana McPhall
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University

“I believe that the greatest gift we can give to children is the belief they can make the world a better place. Growing up, I often felt a deep desire to make a difference in my own life and in the lives of others, but rarely felt empowered to bring about positive change. Fortunately, as an adult, I have had the opportunity to be an advocate for people, other species, and the environment, and am committed to ensuring children and young adults gain the substantive knowledge and the pro-social, critical thinking and leadership skills needed to become changemakers themselves.”

Dana has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit and government sectors. In 2015, Dana graduated from the Valparaiso University/IHE Master of Education-Humane Education program, and she also has a Juris Doctorate and a Master of Public Policy. Early on in her career, Dana worked to protect and to seek justice for low-income women and children exposed to domestic violence and for animals suffering from cruelty and neglect. More recently, Dana has dedicated herself to promoting humane education in both K-12 and higher education. Since receiving her M.Ed. degree, Dana has volunteered with IHE as part of both the Alumni Association and Curriculum Advisory Boards and is currently helping lead IHE’s efforts in integrating racial justice issues more deeply into the field of humane education. Dana has recently joined IHE’s faculty, and will be teaching a course called Race, Intersectionality and Veganism. In addition, Dana recently joined Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART) as the California Program Consultant. In her own community of Los Angeles, Dana helps support parents and educators in talking with children about race and racism and other social justice issues and is interested in developing more humane resources for parents.

Sherri Mitchell by the river
Sherri Mitchell

Sherri Mitchell was born and raised on the Penobscot Indian reservation. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maine, and received her Juris Doctorate and a certificate in Indigenous People’s Law and Policy from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. Sherri is an alumna of the American Indian Ambassador program, and the Udall Native American Congressional Internship program. In 2010, she received the Mahoney Dunn International Human Rights and Humanitarian Award, for research into Human Rights violations against Indigenous Peoples. In 2015, she received the Spirit of Maine Award, for commitment and excellence in the field of International Human Rights. And, in 2016, Sherri’s portrait was added to the esteemed portrait series, Americans Who Tell the Truth, by artist Robert Shetterly.

Sherri was a longtime advisor to the American Indian Institute’s Healing the Future Program and currently serves as an advisor to the Indigenous Elders and Medicine People’s Council of North and South America. She is the Founding Director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the global protection of Indigenous rights and the preservation of the Indigenous way of life. Prior to forming the Land Peace Foundation, Sherri served as a law clerk to the Solicitor of the United States Department of Interior; as an Associate with Fredericks, Peebles and Morgan Law Firm; and a civil rights educator for the Maine Attorney General’s Office, and; she was the Staff Attorney for the Native American Unit of Pine Tree Legal.

Sherri speaks and teaches around the world on issues of Indigenous rights, environmental justice, and spiritual change. Her broad base of knowledge allows her to synthesize these many subjects into a cohesive whole, weaving together the legal, political, and spiritual aspects surrounding a multitude of complex issues. Her work is being featured in an upcoming documentary film titled Dancing with the Cannibal Giant, and her first book Sacred Instructions will be in print in February of 2018. Sherri is also the cohost of the radio program Love (and revolution) Radio, which focuses on real-life stories of heart-based activism and revolutionary spiritual change

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Dawn Moncrief

Dawn Moncrief is the Founder and Executive Director of A Well-Fed World, a vegan hunger relief and animal protection organization that partners with and financially strengthens (1) plant-based feeding/farming programs, (2) farmed animal care/rescue, (3) advocacy campaigns, and (4) movement building. She holds a master’s degree in international relations and another women’s studies, both with a focus on economic development. Her work highlights the ways in which the consumption of animal-sourced foods in the U.S. and internationally exacerbate global hunger, food insecurity, and climate change. Special projects include Plants-4-Hunger, which provides alternatives to “gifting” animals for food in low-income countries.

Eli Moore

Eli Moore feels a deep calling to connect with young people in order to help equip them for the vital tasks of thinking clearly and living well. As a student, he traveled extensively in many countries, including China, Japan, India and Egypt. He studied the principles of Buddhism in Tibet, Hatha yoga in Nepal, the Performing Arts at the University of London, and Philosophy and Education at Columbia University. Upon graduating with an Ed.M. from Teachers College, Eli entered the field of education in earnest. He’s designed educational spaces and developed specialized curricula for charter schools; taught classes for sixth graders and seminars for college students; assisted the renovation of an independent school in Jamaica, and guided a group of elementary students on a voyage through the Marshall Islands. Currently, he’s the Director of Extended Day Programming and a Teaching Specialist at the Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he engages with teachers and students of all ages in innovative activities and creative projects that extend beyond the classrooms.

Akash Patel

Akash Patel began his teaching career in very small rural communities in Oklahoma where people had never seen or met “a brown Indian guy who spoke five languages and had traveled to over 30 countries.” He used his travel experiences to design all of his lessons. For example, he used his experiences of working with elephants in South Asia to teach children to make elephant poopoopaper and map elephant DNA to study poaching patterns. He currently teaches Spanish at a Title 1 ACE (Accelerating Campus Excellence) 100% low socioeconomic middle school in Dallas and has previously taught at a similar elementary school in Oklahoma City. In both schools, his students have come from very difficult backgrounds and have included gang members, drug addicts, and “juvenile delinquents.” The majority of his students at both schools had never traveled outside the US.
In his first year of teaching, he was recognized by the State Department of Education and the Multicultural Education Institute as the January 2015 Educator of the Month and the 2015 Multicultural Teacher of the Year for promoting global citizenship in his classroom and achieving a successful academic turnaround. Akash has connected all of his classrooms with people and professionals worldwide using virtual platforms such as Adobe Connect, Skype, and Google Hangout. At first, he started inviting his friends from social media platforms. Eventually, he mobilized over 1,000 volunteers from over 150 countries to join his Global Connect database at the Happy World Foundation, a Texas-based global education nonprofit he founded after the passing of his twin brother Anand Happy Patel. Patel also founded the World Experiences Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes exchange by creating opportunities for connectivity between international students and professionals from around the world and local schools, businesses, and public forums.
Patel frequently speaks at local and national conferences about his classroom experience. He has also trained over 5,000 teachers to use the Global Connect database and other multicultural programs. Today, thousands of American children travel to countries worldwide through Happy World Foundation’s global education programs. Patel was honored as a Global Teacher Prize finalist in 2018.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s compassionate living philosophy is propelling plant-based eating into the mainstream and forever changing how we regard animals.

A recognized expert and thought leader on the culinary, social, ethical, and practical aspects of living compassionately and healthfully, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an award-winning author of several books, including the bestselling The Joy of Vegan BakingThe Vegan TableColor Me VeganVegan’s Daily CompanionOn Being Vegan, and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. Her next book, The Joyful Vegan’s Guide to Life, is due out in 2019. She is an acclaimed speaker and beloved host of the inspiring podcast, “Food for Thought,” which was voted Favorite Podcast by VegNews magazine readers several years in a row. She launched a spin-off podcast called Animalogy in 2017. Along with fellow advocates, she recently formed a political action committee called East Bay Animal PAC to work with government officials on animal issues in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Colleen shares her message of compassion and wellness on national and regional TV and radio programs, including on monthly segment on Good Day Sacramento and as a monthly contributor on National Public Radio (KQED). She has appeared on the Food Network, CBS, PBS, and FOX; interviews with her have been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, U.S. News and World Report; and her recipes have been featured on Epicurious.com and Oprah.com.

Colleen lives in Oakland, CA with her husband David and two cats, Charlie and Michiko.

Joaquin Phoenix

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.

Lisa R. Rivard, Ph.D.

Literacy transforms communities and creates a culture of continuous progress. To me, literacy is the key to living a more impactive life. Yet, each day that passes in this digital age, the definition of literacy can, and should be, challenged.

I believe everyone has the right to live a literate life including each student that walks through our doors. Yet, I worry that we are not making bold moves to continuous redefine the competencies that our youth will depend on tomorrow. I love that the Institute for Humane Education is paving the way for educators to guide young people to be center stage in solving global ethical issues.

Lisa R. Rivard, of East China, Michigan, is an Adjunct Professor at Wayne State University and a K-12 Language Arts Consultant for Macomb Intermediate School District. She earned her Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University, Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Oakland University, and Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction and Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Michigan State University. Lisa completed IHE’s Solutionary Program Online Course and the Educational Policy Fellowship Program, a national program of the Institute for Educational Leadership.

Lisa has a passion for literacy and in recent years held the title of President for the Michigan Reading Association. Currently, Lisa serves on the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administers’ (MAISA) Early Literacy Task Force. Dr. Rivard was also recently appointed to the Michigan Governor’s Educational Advisory Council with a term expiring May 9, 2022.

Paola Sackett

Paola is originally from Colombia. She has a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics and a Graduate Certificate in Humane Education. In 2017, she left her job in Big Ag to focus her energy on fields related to advocacy for animals, humans and the environment. She currently serves on the board of directors of VegLifeDes Moines and volunteers at Iowa Farm Sanctuary. She also teaches Hispanic adults who want to complete their high school equivalency diploma, at a local community college.

Paola lives in Iowa with her husband, a loving dog, two bossy cats and with many house and garden plants. She is an avid gardener with a special passion for prairie plants.

Kathleen Roberts Skerrett portrait
Kathleen Roberts Skerrett

Kathleen Roberts Skerrett was appointed University Professor at the University of Richmond in June 2016. Kathleen has held academic and administrative appointments at McGill University, Grinnell College, and University of Richmond. She most recently served as Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at University of Richmond. Skerrett has witnessed the transformative power of discovery-based pedagogies on young people’s problem-solving capabilities and responsible leadership. She earned the Ph.D. in Theology and the Modern West from Harvard University and a J.D from the Schulich School of Law. She earned her undergraduate degree at Mount Allison University in Canada. Skerrett has lectured and published numerous essays on ideas of freedom in contemporary secular and religious thinkers.

Kiran Bir Sethi portrait
Kiran Bir Sethi

Kiran Bir Sethi is the Founder/Director of The Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India. She is also the founder of ‘aProCh’—an initiative to make our cities more child-friendly, for which she was awarded the Ashoka Fellow in 2008.  In 2009, she received the “Call to Conscience Award” by the King Centre at Stanford.

In 2009, she founded ‘Design for Change’ (DFC) – the world’s largest movement of change – of and by children. DFC is now in 44 countries—impacting over 2.2 million children and 65,000 Teachers. In September 2011, she won the prestigious “INDEX – Design to Improve Life Award.” In June 2012, she was awarded the “Rockefeller Foundation Youth Innovation Award.” In February 2014, she received the “Patricia Blunt Koldyke Fellowship 2013” from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Design for Change was declared Lego Foundation’s “Reimagine Learning Challenge Champion” in November 2014. In March 2015, she was amongst the Top 10 Educators, nominated for the Global Teacher Prize – instituted by the Varkey GEMS Foundation. In June 2015, Design for Change won the Commonwealth Education Good Practice Award. Kiran was conferred the Asia Game Changer 2015 Award by Asia Society in October 2015. In February, 2017 she was conferred the “Excellence in Instructional Leadership” Award at NDTV’s National Education Awards. She has been appointed as Ambassador, Vital Voices, in February, 2017 and in May, 2017, she has been nominated as a member of VVLead Fellowship, a partnership between Pond’s and Vital Voices. On 9th June, she met the Pope in the Vatican to sign an Agreement whereby D.F.C. will be introduced in over 460,000 Catholic Schools across the Globe.

Nirav Shah

Nirav Shah joined IHE’s board in 2018. Before joining IHE’s board, he ran a successful management consulting firm working around the world. He brings 25 years of finance, nonprofit management, strategic planning, real estate, legal, international expansion, government relations, and entrepreneurial experience with him. Nirav is retired and helps several nonprofit organizations increase their impact in our world.

Nirav and his family live in Denver, Colorado. He holds a M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign.

Rob Shetterly head shot
Robert Shetterly

Robert Shetterly was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated in 1969 from Harvard College with a degree in English Literature. At Harvard he took some courses in drawing which changed the direction of his creative life — from the written word to the image. Also, during this time, he was active in Civil Rights and in the Anti-Vietnam War movement.

After college and moving to Maine in 1970, he taught himself drawing, printmaking, and painting. While trying to become proficient in printmaking and painting, he illustrated widely. For twelve years he did the editorial page drawings for The Maine Times newspaper, illustrated National Audubon’s children’s newspaper Audubon Adventures, and approximately 30 books.

Robert´s paintings and prints are in collections all over the U.S. and Europe. A collection of his drawings & etchings, Speaking Fire at Stones, was published in 1993. He is well known for his series of 70 painted etchings based on William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell”, and for another series of 50 painted etchings reflecting on the metaphor of the Annunciation.

His painting has tended toward the narrative and the surreal, however, for more than ten years he has been painting the series of portraits Americans Who Tell the Truth. The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2003. Venues have included everything from university museums and grade school libraries to sandwich shops, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, and the Superior Court in San Francisco. To date, the exhibits have visited 26 states. In 2005, Dutton published a book of the portraits by the same name. In 2006, the book won the top award of the International Reading Association for Intermediate non-fiction.

The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over this country about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, US history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it.

Shetterly has engaged in a wide variety of political and humanitarian work with many of the people whose portraits he has painted. In the spring of 2007, he traveled to Rwanda with Lily Yeh and Terry Tempest Williams to work in a village of survivors of the 1994 genocide there. Much of his current work focuses on honoring and working with the activists trying to bring an end to the terrible practice of Mountaintop Removal by coal companies in Appalachia, on climate change, and on the continuation of systemic racism in the US particularly in relation to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Since 1990, he has been the President of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA), and a producer of the UMVA’s Maine Masters Project, an on-going series of video documentaries about Maine artists.

Jennifer Skiff

Jennifer Skiff is an award-winning journalist, author, and animal advocate. Her bestselling inspirational books, Rescuing Ladybugs, The Divinity of Dogs, and God Stories are published in seven languages.

For more than a decade Jennifer traveled the world as an investigative environmental correspondent for CNN. Her independently produced programs about animals have aired on the Discovery Channel and other networks throughout the world. Among other honors, she has received the prized Environmental Media Award.

Passionate about animals and their welfare, Jennifer works with charities throughout the world to bring relief to abused, exploited, and abandoned animals.

With her favorite Aussie and beloved dogs, Jennifer spends her life in perpetual summer between Maine and Australia.

Sherry Streeter

Sherry Streeter is an artist and community activist living in Brooklin, Maine. Retired from a career in illustration and graphic design, which included art direction of WoodenBoat and Hope magazines and a number of books, she now spends much of her time painting the natural world and working with non-profit organizations aligned with her love for community and nature. Her recent paintings, which can be seen in several local galleries, focus on avian life, landscape and the night sky. Her volunteer commitments encompass nature (Friends of Acadia, Schoodic Institute); community (Maine Community Foundation, Brooklin Youth Corps, WERU-FM); women’s health and well-being (Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, Equal Rights Maine), and justice (Americans Who Tell the Truth).

She has been involved in the organization of numerous events in support of these organizations and others, which include art exhibits, film festivals, speakers, fund-raising gatherings, as well as pro bono graphic design work.

Sherry holds a BFA from Syracuse University with further studies at School of Visual Arts, UMO and Southern Connecticut State University. She is a Master Gardener and recipient of a fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. She enjoys sailing, hiking and gardening in the summer and travel in the winter. She is very grateful to be living in Maine with her husband, Jon Wilson, and the extraordinary community that thrives here.

Shawn Sweeney

Currently, Shawn serves the Jane Goodall Institute as director of community engagement where he has worked for 11 years. While today Shawn’s role focuses engaging the Institute’s audiences in all of their research, conservation and education programs, previously, Shawn supported the organization’s youth program Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots. Shawn Sweeney is a 2011 alumnus of the Institute for Humane Education’s masters of education program. In 2006, Shawn graduated from the College of Wooster with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. Shawn lives and works from home in Gilbert, Arizona.

Kathleen J. Tate, Ph.D.

Kathleen is Professor and Program Director of Teaching programs at American Public University System (APUS), having taught previously at the University of West Georgia (UWG) and Auburn University. She has consulted for various master’s and doctoral degree programs at Graceland University, Walden University, and Grand Canyon University, to name a few. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Online Learning Research and Practice, formerly known as the Internet Learning journal, published by Policy Studies Organization and the American Public University System. Kathleen is a former special education teacher who taught at a bilingual Title I elementary school in Texas.

Kathleen earned a B.A. in Soviet and East European Studies with a minor in Economics, M.Ed. in Special Education (concentration in Visual Impairments), and lifetime Texas teaching licenses in PK-12 Special Education, 1st – 8thTheatre Arts, and 1st-8th Elementary Education from the University of Texas at Austin. At the University of Texas, she studied Russian, Polish, Czech, French, and Latin as an undergraduate and braille as a graduate student. She completed a Ph.D. in Elementary Education with Cognate Specializations in Teaching and Learning and Creative Language Arts for Diverse Learners at Florida State University.

Kathleen discovered the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) in 2008, and began incorporating humane education into undergraduate teacher education courses at UWG, requiring teacher candidates to plan and teach elementary lessons in the field that integrated at least two content areas, the arts, and a humane education topic. At APUS, she incorporated humane education into a graduate course focusing on teaching arts across the curriculum in 2014, and created an undergraduate course, EDUC200 Humane Education: A Global Interdisciplinary Perspective, in 2019.

She has authored 13 articles, 13 online articles/blogs, and 1 children’s book. Of Kathleen’s publications, five pertain to humane education. Her research interests include mixed methods research, thematic/integrated instruction, arts-based/multiomodal learning, underserved/underrepresented populations, and humane education.

Cynthia Trapanese portrait
Cynthia Trapanese
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University

Cynthia Trapanese has worked with children in hospital settings, non-profit programs, theaters, and schools for over 30 years. Cynthia is currently a classroom teacher in an inquiry-based public charter school in San Francisco. Her teaching philosophy weaves together humane education, arts integration, and culturally relevant pedagogy. She has written articles about social justice-themed children’s literature, and co-authored a textbook chapter on culturally relevant classroom libraries. She teaches two electives in the IHE graduate program: Creative Activism—Solutionary Art and Artists, and Just, Good Food. Cynthia graduated from the Valparaiso/IHE Master of Education program in 2014. She has a Multiple Subject (TK-5) California Teaching Credential and ESL endorsement.

Kris Tucker portrait
Kristine Tucker
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Humane Education/Valparaiso University

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.

Michael Tobias, Ph.D.

The President and CEO of the Foundation is Michael Tobias, a global ecologist, anthropologist, historian, explorer, author and filmmaker.

Tobias obtained his Ph.D. in the Department of History of Consciousness from the University of California-Santa Cruz. Tobias has lectured widely. He was an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies & Adjunct Assistant Professor of English and the Humanities at Dartmouth College, an Associate Professor of Humanities at California State University-Northridge, the Garrey Carruthers Chair of Honors and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of New Mexico-Albuquerque, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Environmental Studies and Regents’ Lecturer, at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Tobias is the author of more than 45 books (both fiction and non-fiction, as well as several edited anthologies). In addition to his numerous books and published research papers, Tobias has written, directed, produced, executive produced or co-executive produced well over 100 films – TV series, documentaries and dramas, most pertaining to environmental, cultural, social or scientific issues. Tobias’ field research has taken him to some 80 countries where he has specialized in an interdisciplinary approach to environmental history, animal rights, scientific, ethical and philosophical frameworks for policy research, strategies and documentation, demographic analysis, ecological anthropology, biodiversity conservation, and non-violence activism. In 1996, Tobias received the “Courage of Conscience Award” for his commitment to nature and non-violence. In 2004 he was the recipient of the Parabola Focus Award for his long-standing body of work aimed at creating a better world.

Zoe Weil portrait
Co-founder / President

Zoe Weil (pronounced Zoh Wile) 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.

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 within a year. 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. In 2017 she was named one of Maine Magazine’s “50 independent leaders transforming their communities and the state.” In 2016 Good Housekeeping included her in their women over fifty “groundbreakers shaking the world.” 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.

lori weir square portrait
Lori Weir

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 was most recently a strategist at a small investment firm and a consultant at an education nonprofit. 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.

Khalif Williams portrait with children
Khalif Williams

Khalif has spent more than 20 years at the nexus of education and social change, guided by the wisdom of young people and hearing their clear longing for the beloved community. His work has long been deeply informed by his contemplative practice and sense of play as a musician, poet, and artist. He most recently served as lead consultant on strategy development and implementation for the Bay and Paul Foundation’s PreK-12 Transformative Learning Practices Program, and now is the Program Director. Over the last two decades, he has created partnerships for racial equity in higher education, consulted for nonprofits and community groups on strategy and organizational development, served as the Executive Director of the Institute for Humane Education, and provided on-the-ground transformative school leadership as the Director of the Bay School. He is committed to advancing efforts to steward the public trust to transform human systems that oppress, exploit and degrade into ones that nurture, repair and protect. He is currently an eager hands-on student of relational philanthropy, learning as strategy, network resourcing, peace, fatherhood, and zen meditation.